WolfesBlogArchives: August 2004
Tuesday, August 31, 2004
THIS IS A SAD, SAD DAY FOR GUN RIGHTS. Keepandbeararms.com has been sold to the Second Amendment Foundation/Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms. KABA founder and director Angel Shamaya has been one of the great lights for gun rights. He has taken hardcore stands, raised money for important causes (like the Silveira lawsuit), kept us aware of Second Amendment news, and never yielded an inch.
Angel put heart, soul, mind, and money into KABA. And here's the kind of person he was, and is. While KABA was in its own desperate struggle to fund Silveira, Angel still made sure that KABA gave enough money to JPFO to earn a place as one of the honored members of the Producers Circle.
Unfortunately, gun owners didn't give KABA the kind of support KABA gave to the movement. I have the highest respect for Angel Shamaya. Let's say I have somewhat less respect for SAF/CCRKBA. I'm glad KABA didn't simply have to fold. But we'll be lucky if SAF/CCRKBA can do 1/10th as good a job as Angel did.
Posted by Claire @ 11:52 PM CST [Link]
"I GAVE UP A LITTLE LIBERTY ..."by Hugh Emerson, Libertarian Party of Missouri
I gave up a little liberty for security because I wasn't as prudent as my ancestors. I couldn't be trusted to plan for my retirement, so I let them withhold money from my paycheck for social security.
When I found out there wasn't a trust fund and that I could guarantee myself a better retirement if I could just keep my own money, I felt less secure.
I wanted my liberty back.
I gave up a little liberty for security because I wasn't as strong as my ancestors. I would probably just become a drug addict if drugs weren't so hard to get, so I let them wage the war on drugs in order to be more secure.
When I heard that a friend had experienced a "no-knock" search by accident because the police had transposed two digits of an address, and when I realized drug prohibition, like alcohol prohibition before, was creating the profits for gangs of organized criminals who terrorized the residents of our cities, I felt less secure.
I wanted my liberty back.
Read the rest here.
(Thanks, Ernie Hancock.)
Posted by Claire @ 02:32 PM CST [Link]
OOOPSIEDOODLE! Truth-in-media sorts are in a lather because venerable Harper's magazine reported on the Republican convention before it happened. A piece written, no less, by Harper's' editor Lewis Lapham says:The speeches in Madison Square Garden affirmed the great truths now routinely preached from the pulpits of Fox News and the Wall Street Journal -- government the problem, not the solution; the social contract a dead letter; the free market the answer to every maiden's prayer -- and while listening to the hollow rattle of the rhetorical brass and tin, I remembered the question that [Richard] Hofstadter didn't stay to answer. How did a set of ideas both archaic and bizarre make its way into the center ring of the American political circus?
And yes, that issue was on the stands and in the mail before the R's even arrived at the airport. The TiM watchdogs note -- rightly of course -- that this is the most blatant proof of media bias.
But what's the big deal? The conventions -- both R and D -- are so tightly scripted, predictable, and full of meaningless rhetorical blather that journalists might as well write their reports in advance, then spend those long, hot convention days vacationing in Bermuda.
P.S. I wish there was such lovely talk about reducing government and restoring the free market coming from the R party. All I've heard so far in speechy sound bites is "Bush good. Kill Iraqis."
Posted by Claire @ 12:26 PM CST [Link]
SPEAKING OF BOOKS as I was last night, I'm here to warn you against a turkey and tell you about another book that might just be a best-kept secret for anyone who expects someday to have to snatch freedom out of tyranny's clutches.
The turkey is David Cay Johnston's Perfectly Legal: The Covert Campaign to Rig Our Tax System to Benefit the Super Rich -- and Cheat Everybody Else. Johnston writes for the New York Times on tax issues -- including tax protest issues. I queued this book at the library after some folks alleged (and Johnston denied) that he admitted in the book that he finked to the IRS on some of the tax resisters he interviewed.
I never did find any admission of finking. But then, I admit I couldn't get motivated to finish the whole book before it had to go back to the library. Here's an example of the depth and fairness of Johnston's coverage:Dr. [Ron] Paul said that he shared the Joy Foundation's belief that requiring businesses to withhold taxes and keep records "is involuntary servitude" in violation of the Thirteenth Amendment, which outlawed slavery. The involuntary servitude claim is widely used by white racist organizations to justify not paying taxes. The problem of such claims is serious enough that Congress allows a 20 percent penalty for those who cite the Thirteenth Amendment as a rationale for not paying their taxes.
And that is Johnston's entire examination of the taxes-as-slavery issue! Racists like it. Congress doesn't. Bad. He goes on about tax protesters for several chapters, indiscriminately lumping scammers with sincere objectors, using smoothly sneering language to damn them all without considering their arguments.
They gave this guy a Pulitzer Prize?
Although there's a fair bit of interesting information in the book about maddening aspects of the tax system and IRS enforcement (including the IRS's notorious policy of going after little guys and letting the big fish off the hook), none of it can be trusted in light of such mindless (or I suspect, quite mindful) bias. Although the book appears on its face to be written for an intelligent, thoughtful audience, bland bigotry like the above coupled with wide-eyed admonitions like, "Don't cheat on your taxes. Don't even chisel. It will hurt," make the book ultimately appear more like a sophisticated propaganda vehicle than a real analysis of anything.
Did the guy fink? I don't know. But for all his criticism of the tax system and talk of "reform," he appears to be a shill for the business-as-usual your-bucks-are-our-bucks crowd.
A must-have for freedom conspirators
Earlier this month, woodtramp posted on the Claire Files forums:Regarding your idea of an underground network I'm thinking along those exact same lines.(Big suprise there.) I believe we need to take a long term outlook and should study historical examples of oppressed peoples resisting tyranny and try to learn and be inspired by their experiences. A good place to start would be to look at the methods of the Polish Solidarity movement under martial law. They used a decentralized strategy ... and they truely gave the government fits. A Good book about those events is
Mad Dreams, Saving Graces; Poland a Nation in Conspiracy.
I also queued this book up at the library and, one-third of the way though, I know I'm going to buy a copy and add it to my collection of keepers. Mad Dreams covers that peculiar moment between the 500-day spring of Solidarity and the fall of Communism. On December 12, 1981, Poland's Communist government declared martial law, arrested 10,000 political and union leaders (and a lot of uncomprehending folk who simply got swept up in events), and tried to regain iron-fisted political authority. But the genie of freedom wasn't so easy to shove back in the Communist bottle.
The handful of Solidarity leaders who had escaped the sweeps -- and many who had never been leaders before -- conducted a "do your own thing," totally decentralized non-violent underground resistance. This joyful, exhuberant, vigorous, and virtually planless grassroots revolt eventually defeated the tyrants.
Poland has a lot in common with America, including a historic passion for freedom and a romantic view of its past freedom fighters. This is an account of a strange police state in which people openly criticize the government while snitches openly infiltrate every gathering. In such a world, it's easy to see a near-future America -- a place where the forms of "freedom" are still observed while the actual substance of freedom is despised (but despised by leaders who don't quite dare crush as hard as they'd like). On page after page, there's also practical information about what Poland's underground conspirators did to overcome oppression.
The writer, American journalist Michael T. Kaufman (whose father was a Polish political dissident and prisoner before World War II) describes the quirky unreality of the times. An even greater sense of unreality comes from the fact that the book was published in 1989, just before the fall of the Berlin Wall and the collapse of worldwide Communism. So Kaufman writes about Poles' defeat of the worst of Communism within a country that was nominally still Communist. He knew that the political structure he describes was a mere shell; he just had no idea how hollow that shell was, everywhere in the world.
Unfortunately Mad Dreams appears to be out of print now, but Amazon Marketplace vendors have dozens of copies.
BTW, in Mad Dreams Kaufman mentions a pamphlet of the resistance called "The Small Conspirator" (written anonymously by a courageous member of the resistance, Czeslaw Bielecki). This booklet was filled with useful advice on everything from how to employ secret codes (keep them simple) to how to endure brutal interrogations. A copy of "The Small Conspirator" would be very useful to have. If anybody knows how to get a copy, tell us, tell us!
Posted by Claire @ 09:04 AM CST [Link]
Monday, August 30, 2004
WOW. I AM REALLY GRATEFUL to you guys for purchasing through the Wolfesblog Amazon.com links. I just checked the quarter-to-date report and you made me smile. In the first year of blogging, Amazon.com links brought a trickle. The last couple of months, not only have people followed and used links to specific books and DVDs, but a few of you have been using the Wolfesblog general Amazon.com link to purchase everything from Apple iPods to football team jackets to power saws.
Most popular items have been Jim Bovard's new book The Bush Betrayal, the DVD series Firefly, and the new Second Amendment novel, The Justice Cooperative. Many more people now seem to be buying items recommended on the Wolfesblog bookstore page, as well.
Sometimes these purchases bring Debra and me a few cents. Sometimes they bring a few dollars. Once in a while, $10 or $20. (Whoever bought that power saw and five copies of Jim's book ... we love ya. :-) The iPod, the DVD player, and the jacket were hot, too. )
Even better: Amazon.com recently started offering a "tiered" payment structure that rewards associates for overall number of items shipped. This means that even the smallest purchase might push us up to the next tier and increase overall earnings by more than the price of the item.
In other words, you're keeping Debra and me in ammo.
A big smooch to you all for buying via specific links you find here at the blog. An even bigger smooch to those of you who so kindly think to enter Amazon.com via a Wolfesblog link any time you shop there. It's a great way to support the blog while not taking one more hard-earned dollar out of your pocket. You'll always find a general Amazon.com link at the top of the sidebar on the left side of the blog, so you don't have to hunt for the link when you've got the urge to shop.
Just a note: We receive NO personal information about people who click through or purchase via our Amazon.com links. So you can buy in assurance that neither Debra nor I will ever find out exactly who it is that has that bizarre fixation on the music of William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy or the strange personal habits of William S. Burroughs.
Posted by Claire @ 11:12 PM CST [Link]
THOSE NYC LIBERTARIANS. I just love their Attitude.
Posted by Claire @ 12:12 PM CST [Link]
IF YOU WANT TO CATCH MY LAST RADIO APPEARANCE you can do it tomorrow night, 9:00 Mountain time, via In the Dark radio. I'll be on with host Bill Shields for one hour. And then I'm done, done, done!
Posted by Claire @ 07:58 AM CST [Link]
"PEOPLE LINED UP EARLY TO DROP OFF THEIR GUNS." Selling liberty's tools to the police at 20 bucks a throw. Fools. Would their brains improve if they read Mike Vanderboegh's oldie-but-goodie, "What Good Can a Handgun Do Against an Army ...?"
(Tks to SJ and PT.)
Posted by Claire @ 07:46 AM CST [Link]
Saturday, August 28, 2004
I'VE BEEN BUILDING A TRAIL BEHIND MY CABIN, which has cut down somewhat on my blogging time for the last nine days. The trail, though short, is very steep and full of challenges. Couple of swampy areas to cross. Treacherously slick clay soil on one of the steepest patches. Building the trail is a multi-year project that I'll probably write a couple of articles about, and there's usually no hurry in doing the work. But I'm pushing now to gravel the most vulnerable sections before the fall rains and winter snows erode the newly scalped earth.
Hauling wheelbarrows of gravel down a slick slope -- and trying not to end up with an over-laden wheelbarrow hauling me! -- seems like a grim job. But my body feels surprisingly good afterward. I'm tired, but it's a far more honest and less stressful tiredness than what I feel after a day hunched over the computer or listening to a ringing telephone.
Sometimes I take a break from the donkey work and screw decking into a footbridge. My first footbridge crosses the widest swampy spot. The air down there is close and cool and fetid, but also rich and fecund. Already Nature is thinking fall although the calendar says summer. Wet leaves drop on my shoulders and on the planks of the bridge. But the ground, even days after a helper and I scooped and scalped it, is defying our efforts by pushing out even more green growy things.
The dogs, of course, "help" with the project. The rescue dobie rests her head on my shoulder as I apply the decking to the bridge. The golden retriever does her bit by fetching back every stick or branch I toss out of the pathway. The pit bull mix supervises with a stern eye. Then once he's decided I'm competent to do the job, he leaves to find a more comfortable sitting spot.
I sleep well after a few hours of trail building. Last night a fugitive came to me in my dreams. He was on the run from a tyrannical government. His country was out to crush him and his ilk at all costs. But when I tried to express empathy, he laughed gaily and said, "Never get lost in the darkness. Always seek the light."
In nice, rational daylight that remark sounds about as profound as a missionary pushing pamphlets at the door. But in the dream it seemed full of wisdom -- a reminder not to get dragged down by the daily barrage of terrible news and instead to keep the mind's eye on what could be if freedom prevails.
Then this morning on TCF I found a thread that had veered off into discussion about what freedom lovers might call themselves (what with so many terms, like libertarian or anarcho-capitalist being either awkward or easy to misinterpret). Spider_boris had suggested fireflies, after the wonderful TV series. Somehow, coming on top of the dream command to "seek the light," it seemed perfect. People who love freedom enough to live free (even against sometimes insurmountable odds) are few and small, but are very bright lights. And we're not easy to capture or pin down.
So fireflies it is, I think.
There are no fireflies down in my swamp. They don't come this far west. But freedom fireflies can brighten anywhere.
Now, back to the wheelbarrow for me.
Posted by Claire @ 12:55 PM CST [Link]
Thursday, August 26, 2004
SNORT! CHORTLE! Of course, this FREE offer could just as well have been made to most of the delegates at the D's convention.
(Another good one, TC!)
Posted by Claire @ 09:59 AM CST [Link]
BURGLARS AND OTHER CREEPS: Don't mess with Hardeeville. Folks there may not spell their town's name right, but their aim is good.
(Doesn't it bother you, though, the implication in this article that it's questionable to shoot somebody in the face "merely" for breaking into your house in the middle of the night? I mean, wouldn't any rational person assume that a guy with a crowbar smashing his way in wasn't arriving to deliver your wife's Avon order? Or to ask directions to the nearest church?)
Posted by Claire @ 09:32 AM CST [Link]
Wednesday, August 25, 2004
NOTHING BUT GOOD NEWS ALL WEEK! First we learn that the guns-drawn raid on the high school in Goose Creek, SC didn't violate anybody's rights. Now one of our wise and heroic judges tells us the Elian Gonzalez smash-n-grab was perfectly reasonable.
I am just dancing with relief! Here I was, worried we were living in an incipient police state where overreactions and excessive brutality by cops were becoming the norm. And it turns out I was wrong, wrong, wrong! Thank heaven Comrade Judge has shown me the error of my ways.
I know Comrade Judge will also be very, very happy someday when someone kicks her own door down and drags her innocent little relatives off with machine guns pointing in their faces. Lucky judge. Lucky children. How fortunate to participate in the Amerikan way!
Posted by Claire @ 10:25 PM CST [Link]
WHOSARAT.COM "Largest online database of informants and agents." Tim Osman posted this over at TCF. To browse the database, scroll down and look for the links on the right. One link for informants. One for agents. Unfortunately, there's a shortage of real data or checkable evidence on most of these folks and it looks as if this database would be painfully easy to abuse. Still, it's the Internet small-town at work, doing what it does.
Bureaucrats and congressthings will never end the drug war on their own; there's too much power and money in it for them. We'll end it when the individual agents and snitches get the big lightbulb over the head that the war doesn't benefit them. This is an imperfect start. But the idea is good; hold the doers accountable for their deeds.
Whoohoo, an even better find, Tim, in the Internet small-town department. Prostitutes tracking cops. I love the cop who's so shocked, shocked, shocked that the hookers had his cellphone number. All the data they want on us and they can't handle even that much tit-for-tat? Weenies.
Posted by Claire @ 09:48 AM CST [Link]
Tuesday, August 24, 2004
THIS PHOTO also makes its own quiet little statement.
Posted by Claire @ 01:47 PM CST [Link]
THEIR GULCH MAY STILL BE IN A PRIMITIVE STATE, but the folks who sent this photo appear to have their priorites in good order.
Posted by Claire @ 09:19 AM CST [Link]
DISMANTLE THE CIA? What's most (unintentionally) interesting about this New York Times article is that it presents the plan as some sort of shocking, virtually revolutionary act, coming oh-so-surprisingly from a former CIA stalwart in Congress. Read on and what you discover is a plan to maintain the CIA down to the last file clerk -- but expand intelligence gathering under three bureaucratic fiefdoms instead of one. And to inflict yet another powerful "czar" upon America.
This supposed act of rebellion is just another plan to expand government power. Another of the periodic and always futile plans to "fix" the always-broken CIA. So what's the NYT's motivation in presenting it as something revolutionary? Just because it comes from an R, in apparent opposition to the Bush administration? Whatever else this plan does, "dismantling" is about the last descriptor an honest person would use.
The Times is not only preoccupied with the deck chairs on the Titanic. It's fussing over whether the colors of the seat cushions match.
Posted by Claire @ 09:00 AM CST [Link]
Monday, August 23, 2004
NOW, WHAT WAS THAT YOU WERE SAYING ABOUT HOW only cops and soldiers can be trusted with guns?
Posted by Claire @ 10:52 PM CST [Link]
ORWELL IS TWITCHING. "SELF-RELIANCE" NOW RELIES ON GOVERNMENT HANDOUTS. Or so says George W. Bush as he continues to promote giving downpayments to would-be homeowners. These homeowner wannabes are people who can afford the monthly payments but who haven't bothered to save the money needed to buy.
A few years ago, a partner and I bought a small house from the recipient of one such (state-level) program. We rushed to close the deal just days before the house would have been foreclosed. Then we proceeded to spend $10,000 and a year of labor to erase the effects of neglect. The woman who purchased her "self-reliance" and her "American dream" with taxpayers' largess had merely inhabited the house for the two years she managed to hang on to it, clueless about the responsibilities of homeownership. We cleaned out hundreds of lottery tickets she'd left behind. For months afterward we continued to receive chain letters, pitches from psychics, and myriad get-rich-quick proposals sent to the woman, who had obviously had plenty of money to indulge in all of the above.
Pretty predictable outcome, as anybody with common sense could have seen.
When I read Jim Bovard's The Bush Betrayal I was startled to find that such gimme-gimme programs are one of the highlights of GWB's tax-and-spend conservatism. In today's Barrons Jim takes his literary lash to those programs once again. Since you must be a paid subscriber to access the article, Jim has given me permission to quote liberally from it. And I've put the most [ahem] liberal interpretation on the word "quote." Here's Jim ...Nothing Down[more]
The Bush administration's wrecking-ball benevolence
By JAMES BOVARD
ONE OF THE PROUDEST ELEMENTS of President Bush's "compassionate conservative" agenda has been government financial support to home buyers for down payments. Bush is determined to end the bias against people who want to buy a home but don't have any money. But he is exposing taxpayers to tens of billions of dollars of possible losses, luring thousands of moderate-income families into bankruptcy, and risking the destruction of entire neighborhoods.
Bush began pushing his down-payment plan in 2002. The administration's rhetoric echoed the grand works of President Lyndon Johnson's Great Society. A White House Fact Sheet issued June 17, 2002, declared that Bush's agenda "will help tear down the barriers to homeownership that stand in the way of our nation's African-American, Hispanic and other minority
families. ... The single biggest barrier to homeownership is accumulating funds for a down payment."
If true, the comment shows how much times have changed. The biggest barrier to homeownership for minorities used to be racial prejudice and unequal access to credit. Now, it's just the same lack of thrift that afflicts people of all races.
Nevertheless, Congress passed Bush's American Dream Downpayment Act last fall. It authorizes federal handouts to first-time home buyers of up to $10,000 or 6% of the home's purchase price, whichever is greater, to anyone with income 20% less than their local median income. In San Francisco, where the median income is more than $113,300, a family of four with an income of up to $90,500 is eligible for this freebie.
The president is also urging Congress to permit the Federal Housing Administration to begin making zero down-payment, low-interest loans to low-income Americans. The administration forecast that zero down-payment mortgages could be given to 150,000 home buyers in the first year. Federal Housing Commissioner John Weicher said in January 2004 that "the White House doesn't think those who can afford the monthly payment but have been unable to save for a down payment should be deprived from owning a home," National Mortgage News reported. While zero-downpayment mortgages have long been considered profoundly unsafe (especially for borrowers with dubious credit history), Weicher confidently asserted: "We do not anticipate any costs to taxpayers."
So down-payment handouts are now part of building up the American character. Bush proclaimed on June 16, 2003: "Homeownership is more than just a symbol of the American dream; it is an important part of our way of life. Core American values of individuality, thrift, responsibility, and self-reliance are embodied in homeownership."
Is individuality something that the Feds have any competence to try to mass produce?
Is thrift something which can be fertilized with billions of additional dollars of deficit spending?
Posted by Claire @ 09:48 AM CST [Link]
Sunday, August 22, 2004
"THE DOG ATE MY EUROS!" This story makes even a dog lover understand why some folks don't like dogs. And of course it also demonstrates that we shouldn't swallow the whole notion of fiat money.
(Ulrich, whatsamatter with you? Actually sending in a story about Germany, for a change, instead of about Kansas or Tucumcari, New Mexico.)
Posted by Claire @ 09:40 AM CST [Link]
HUNTER IS FREE. And he even gets his "detonator," his guns, and his Lord of the Rings souvenir sword back. Yay!!!
Here's Hunter's formal statement:As you may well have heard by now, my lawyers and I concluded a plea bargain with the Ashland county prosecutor's office Friday 8/20. The reason that this is the first you have heard of it is complete secrecy was part of the deal, for reasons which completely escape me. Be that as it may, everything went off without a hitch. The settlement included no jail time (well, technically a suspended sentence), a year's unsupervised probation, a $500 fine, and $300-odd dollars in court costs. All of my seized property is to be returned; specifically including my pistols, ammo, rifle, swords, and electronics.
So that there is no misunderstanding on this, everyone should be aware that I consider this settlement at best a damn fine fighting retreat, not a victory. The vitally important philosophical and legal points involved in the case are going to go unstated. From a personal and practical standpoint this is a very good result, but from a long-term viewpoint of preserving freedom this is a far less than optimal outcome. But I have a pretty strong aversion to ignoring the advice of people I am paying large sums of money for their expertise, and the unanimous opinion of the legal team was to accept this deal. This is by no means the end of the legal struggle, but it does mark the end of my own personal jeopardy.
Let me take this opportunity to as publicly as possible thank my lawyer, Jim Brightbill, for all his hard work, and congratulate him on securing such a favorable deal. It has been a long slog through a lot of twists and turns, but we made it. Let me also thank the other members of the legal team; I am only going to mention my sister, Brenda, by name because I haven't cleared mentioning the other five with them. The thanks are no less heartfelt for being safely anonymous. And she deserves special mention as the one who was there for me when I had only one phone call to try to begin fighting back in a very bad situation. She and the rest of my family and close friends have given me the emotional support that is so essential in a situation like this, and there is no way I can ever thank them enough.
Carl Bussjaeger deserves special mention for his tireless work in speaking out when I was muzzled. It's been frustrating at times, brother knight, but you hung in there and never gave up, even when the only answer I could give you was "I can't talk about that". Special thanks to all my friends both old and new, who went out of their way to offer every sort of support imaginable - from JR & EC who took me out to dinner, movies, and banana splits more times than you can believe, to DB & ES who called periodically to make sure I was holding up and keep me posted on what the activist community was doing, EL, JL, & SC for all your behind-the-scenes work, Louis James & Sunni Maravillosa for dropping everything to kick things off back when this all started, FreeMatt & Charlie for scaring the hell out of me in my hotel room that night, "Mama" Sue for both publicity and personal support, all the members of LRT & TCF who jumped in whenever needed, and Angel Shamaya, Aaron Zelman, and Claire Wolfe for consistent and principled support and advice throughout this ordeal.
I am going to attempt to individually mention all the fine organizations that rallied to my side. FMN, JPFO, ISIL, FIJA, KABA, GO-NH, GOA, AFA, LRT, RRND, TPoL, TCF, the Mental Militia, FSP, FSW, and likely dozens of others I am forgetting. One of the great strengths of the freedom movement is that we all pull together when the chips are down, and my case certainly exemplifies that spirit.
Last, and most especially, I want to thank all those people who didn't know me before this all started who understood the important principles involved, and opened their hearts and helped out in every way imaginable. The financial support has kept me alive, and I even yet can't talk about just how effective your letters and commentary has been - keep it up, gang. You deserve the kudos for getting us to this first important milestone in this particular skirmish of the war for freedom. I personally promise you that the team that has been assembled to spearhead the "Free Hunter" effort is only beginning to produce results. We're not yet finished talking with Verizon, and there are a lot of other possibilities for action that we're exploring.
Jeffrey L "the Hunter" Jordan
Posted by Claire @ 08:33 AM CST [Link]
Friday, August 20, 2004
YOU'LL BE GLAD TO KNOW THAT guns-drawn raids on innocent high school kids are A-OK and don't violate anybody's rights. Whew, what a relief! For a while there, I thought some of our Sacred Men in Blue might actually have been behaving like a gang of criminal raiders. How could I ever have doubted their saintly perfection?
This item from Free-Market.net.
Posted by Claire @ 11:27 AM CST [Link]
I'M PRETTY SURE I COULD LOSE $8.8 BILLION, TOO. At least, I could promise to make a really, really good try at it. But it takes talent to disappear that much money in that short a time.
Posted by Claire @ 11:22 AM CST [Link]
A MONTH AGO TODAY I WROTE ABOUT ANTHONY HARGIS, wondering how a long-time figure in the freedom movement could be in jail for four months with scarcely a whisper being heard about his plight. Anthony was jailed after refusing to turn over the records of his private banking service to the IRS.
Anthony is still in the Santa Ana, California, jail. In response to my query, "Where the &^%$#@! are your supporters?" he writes:The answer is complex. Unfortunately most people in the freedom movement have a foxhole mentality. ... Another factor is just plain fear of the IRS. An attorney friend contacted 6-8 other attorneys about helping and when they learned the IRS was involved they said, "No way!" More, the IRS has indicated in its filings that it intends to audit every one of my customers/supporters.
Who can blame them for wanting to avoid publicity? For not supporting me? It's the Catholic Inquisition with a different name.
The IRS has accused Anthony of operating an illegal tax-evasion scheme. On the contrary, Anthony points out in his court filings that he never promotes his services as a way of avoiding taxes, and that when prospective customers ask about the tax benefits in his service, he explains that there are none.
This wouldn't stop the IRS, of course. And Anthony is all too right that the IRS has a notorious history of going after the customers -- the little guys -- while letting supposedly "illegal" business operators off the hook. It's quite the exception that Anthony, who owns the company, is in jail while his customers remain unmolested. It seems that's largely due to Anthony's courage and integrity in refusing to reveal information about them.
Here's the latest public letter from Anthony regarding his case.
It sounds as if he has adequate legal representation, and he says so many constitutional violations have been committed against him that he's hopeful of winning his case on appeal (which shows a lot of faith in the justice system for someone who's basically jailed without due process). But it's a damn shame if those he's defending are too intimidated to defend him.
Any of you folks with legal or PR skills who'd like to look into this case further? Get in touch. I'll relay your offers of assistance to Anthony. (Note, you'll need to remove "SPAMTRAP" from that e-mail address before sending.)
Posted by Claire @ 07:51 AM CST [Link]
Thursday, August 19, 2004
LAST DAY TO VOTE FOR YOUR FAVORITE FILMS in the Hardyville Freedom Film Festival is Friday, August 20.
So far, the results in a couple of categories are surprising. But one or two races are close. So tomorrow may decide everything. The winners for both Judges' Awards and People's Choice Awards will be announced in the September 1 Hardyville column at Backwoods Home.
Posted by Claire @ 08:14 PM CST [Link]
SPEAKING OF MEDICAL HELL, I watched an outstanding film on DVD last night. "The Barbarian Invasions" begins with the "Big Fish" premise: Estranged son travels to the bedside of his dying father; the film then focuses on the stories of our lives, real and wishful. Both were excellent films. I absolutely loved "Big Fish," but "Barbarian Invasions" knocks "Big Fish" on its scaly tail.
At first, I thought it was merely a standard domestic drama (not my favorite genre). I stayed with it only because of its vivid, Dantesque depiction of the Canadian health-care system. My lord, if socialized medicine is really like that (which I'm afraid it is), god spare us all. The movie soon leaves the worst of hospital hell behind, and gets better and better, more unpredictable, more witty, more lusty, more daring, more human, and more moving without ever even dipping near sentimentality.
Posted by Claire @ 07:32 PM CST [Link]
THESE TWO ITEMS ARRIVED SIDE-BY-SIDE IN MY MAIL QUEUE. Creepily fascinating coincidence, although in another sense it's no surprise that two such similar items covering the march of Big Brotherdom should spew down together.
In Ohio "inmates will wear 'wristwatch-sized' [RFID]transmitters that can detect if prisoners have been trying to remove them and send an alert to prison computers."
And in Washington, DC, "The Washington Hospital Center will use two types of UWB [ultra-wideband] RFID active tags. Asset tags are 1-inch cubes that can be screwed or glued to equipment; patients and medical staff will wear credit card-size tags. Each tag can be detected by the readers at a range of 600 feet."
The first item came from Katherine Albrecht of CASPIAN. The latter came from my RN friend Pat who added, "That's the day I leave nursing -- if I haven't before!!"
Of course nobody asked the prisoners if they consented to have their every step tracked. Who would? But it appears that doctors and nurses now have no more rights to privacy than do father stabbers and mother rapers.
Yes, yes, I'm sure all kinds of arguments can be made for the "practicality" and "security" of knowing which orderly is taking a 20-minute break instead of 15 or where Doc So-and-So may be catching a quick one when he's wanted in the OR. But where's the argument for treating human beings like human beings, instead of like mindless resources?
Docs, nurses, physical therapists, and all: When the government Big Bro and corporate Little Bro establishment get to be too much for you, remember you'll always have a place of honor in the free-market (by which I mean black market) economy.
Posted by Claire @ 07:11 PM CST [Link]
MISTAKE? WHAT MISTAKE? This guy is one of the few who actually belongs on a list of people who are a threat to national security!
Posted by Claire @ 06:57 PM CST [Link]
Wednesday, August 18, 2004
SO. WE KNOW IT'S NOT AN ILLEGAL SEARCH when they stop you in a "papers, please" checkpoint. It's not an illegal search when TSA goons snoop in your Sampsonite. It's not an illegal search when they pat your passengers in a Terry stop. It's not an illegal search to make you blow in a Breathalizer, pee in a bottle, or surrender your DNA. It's not an illegal search when cops strongarm your banker or bookstore into giving up your records without any legal papers.
Now, it's not an illegal search when a cop sets the drug dogs on you simply because you've got a past drug conviction and the bad luck to break down by the highway.
Is there anything left that IS an illegal search? Well, indeedy and by golly, there still is. Here's one gutsy judge who not only said it was illegal for cops to bust into a home by force five seconds after knocking -- but who makes it clear that the homeowner was behaving like a perfectly reasonable American when he fired a shot at the goons who did that thing. Wow! Common sense still lives. At least in one little corner of Arizona.
Thanks to Jac for the little candle flame of good news in these dark times.
Posted by Claire @ 01:52 PM CST [Link]
THANK HEAVEN SOMEBODY IS FINALLY SAVING US FROM THAT DREADFUL MENACE TO SOCIETY!!!LONDON (Reuters) - Strippers and pole dancers should be banned from performing in stretch limousines, according to a British report.
Uh ... what's a pole dancer?
Or would I really rather not know?
(Tks, Rick, Our Man in Europe.)
Posted by Claire @ 12:56 PM CST [Link]
JIM BOVARD IN THE NYT on the TSA and your luggage. Due to Times style guidelines, the words "f-----g looters" have been deleted from this article. The -------s are due to Wolfesblog style guidelines.
Posted by Claire @ 11:07 AM CST [Link]
PORTER GOSS REALLY DID make the "Big Brother" remark. Here he is, live on RealPlayer. (And thank you, Joel, for ferreting out that weasel.)
Posted by Claire @ 08:42 AM CST [Link]
Tuesday, August 17, 2004
PORTER GOSS, GWB'S NOMINEE FOR HEAD OF THE CIA wants the agency to spy on and arrest Americans. NPR also quotes Goss as saying that one often has to make a choice between "dead brother and Big Brother" and that Big Brother is the better choice. (I've been hoping to verify that quote since NPR first ran the item on August 11. But so far, they're the only source I've found for it.)
Posted by Claire @ 11:54 AM CST [Link]
FOR THE LAST WEEK MY INTERNET CONNECTION HAS BEEN ... well, I think the technical term for it is "stinky." Or perhaps real geek jargon for its condition would be "putrid." I get five minutes -- maybe -- of good connectivity before my zippy super-fast DSL service starts carrying all those bits and bytes on snail-back. And then the snail dies. So I restart the network (thank heaven for Linux, which makes that easy) and try for another five. My ISP spent the first three days denying it had a problem and the last three saying how much it values its customers and is diligently working, etc., etc., etc.
The Internet has done awesome things; no denying it. Among its many wonders, it's made it possible for me to work at home, for clients I've never met in organizations thousands of miles away. But this is one more reminder, in an ever-growing heap of reminders, that I may be spending more time serving my computer than my computer spends serving me. Between equipment failures, hardware upgrades, software upgrades, application freezes, sticky keys, reboots, spam-deletion, getting distracted (and depressed) by the daily overdose of news, and dealing with the Net's whole complex, time-consuming (but often gratifying) social world ... I feel like an acolyte in the worship of the silicon calf. A low-level initiate in some arcane monastic order dedicated to the adoration of the HTML code.
Day before yesterday I took a big pair of clippers to my blackberry brambles -- while scarfing up plenty of nice, ripe berries, straight off the vine. I helped the local yard guy build a log bridge over a tiny streamlet on the hill behind my house. I wasn't really much help; I'm sure I was actually of more use to the project when I was running up and down the slope to fetch bottles of water or bring down scrap lumber to hold the ankle-deep mud at bay -- that is, when I was leaving Mr. Yard Guy alone to do what he knows how to do. But it was good. Sweat. Mud. Timber. Good.
Yesterday, with the Net clogged with doomed snails, I sat at the computer for hours anyway. But actually writing instead of rushing off to look at the latest URLs to arrive in the mailbox. Writing about a character who (among other things) was having his own sweat, mud, timber experiences. Not so good experiences for him; good writing for me.
I must eventually go into the woods and the beach and up to a lighthouse to research this character's travels. Poor me. How I suffer for my art. No connectivity, not even by snail-back, on the beach.
Posted by Claire @ 07:23 AM CST [Link]
Monday, August 16, 2004
WANT TO GET AN AUTOGRAPHED COPY of The Freedom Outlaw's Handbook and help the Badnarik for President campaign at the same time? Here's your opportunity. This book will be personally autographed to the auction winner -- message of your choice (provided you don't want me to write anything immoral or fattening. Illegal I'm perfectly willing to do. ;-) ).
Posted by Claire @ 07:51 PM CST [Link]
THE FBI COMES KNOCKING. If you're an antiwar protestor. Or the neighbor of one. Or a family member of one.In the last few weeks, beginning before the Democratic convention, F.B.I. counterterrorism agents and other federal and local officers have sought to interview dozens of people in at least six states, including past protesters and their friends and family members, about possible violence at the two conventions. In addition, three young men in Missouri said they were trailed by federal agents for several days and subpoenaed to testify before a federal grand jury last month, forcing them to cancel their trip to Boston to take part in a protest there that same day.
"The message I took from it," said Sarah Bardwell, 21, an intern at a Denver antiwar group who was visited by six investigators a few weeks ago, "was that they were trying to intimidate us into not going to any protests and to let us know that, 'hey, we're watching you.' ''
Six FBI agents for one itty-bitty girl war protestor? Real terrorists must be thrilled to know feds consider political intimidation to be higher priority than catching hijackers and murderers.
(Rick, do they do this stuff in Germany, too?)
Posted by Claire @ 09:22 AM CST [Link]
ATEK3 REVIEWS THE JUSTICE COOPERATIVE -- the new book in which crime victims learn to take justice into their own hands.The first thing that sets 'the justice cooperative' apart from other books written by members of the gun culture, is an almost total lack of gun fetishism. I mean in most 2nd amendment book the author spends 5 minutes pouring over the details of each gun, TJC didn't at all. Didn't even mention the brands of any of the guns.[more]
The book had the kind-of info-tainment aspect of 'Molon Labe', 'Patriots: Surviving the Collapse' and 'Unintended Consequenses', where the author imparts useful knowledge to the reader while delivering the story line.
This book would be right up the alley of most conservatives and libertarians. Libertarians who are against the state killing
Posted by Claire @ 09:04 AM CST [Link]
JIM BOVARD ON "CAPPS3." So if you order a vegetarian inflight meal, do they assume you're a PETA terrorist, or what?
Posted by Claire @ 08:44 AM CST [Link]
Sunday, August 15, 2004
"SKScapades" IN HARDYVILLE. The August 15 Hardyville column tells the almost entirely if not quite exactly true story of what happened to the SKS one man buried way back when we were all doing that thing. The column has links to definitely exactly true advice on ways to cache needed and valuable goods.
Posted by Claire @ 07:27 PM CST [Link]
I'VE BEEN EXPERIMENTING WITH COTSE.NET over the weekend. Several folks I know use Cotse as their web and e-mail anonymizing service. I've always avoided it before because ... well, Cotse might as well have a "No Non-Nerds Need Apply" sign on it. It's nowhere near as user-friendly as Anonymizer.com. But it seemed to offer pretty comprehensive privacy services all in one simple, low-cost package.
That it does. Two different kinds of proxies to hide your IP address from casual snoops while you browse, Easy access to the Mixmaster anonymous remailer. Privacy-enhanced web mail and POP/SMTP mail (which also gives you the ability to send all your other outgoing mail through Cotse's servers, while preserving your existing addresses). Anonymous access to IRC and newsgroups. Bunch of other little features like a reminder service and the ability to filter and redirect mail in probably a dozen different ways.
Nice service for just $5.95 a month. When I ran into a configuration problem, however, Cotse's tech support reinforced my "Nerds Only" impression. I got lightning-fast replies, even on a Saturday evening. But they were replies, not actual responses. The attitude was pretty much, "Go figure it out for youself" until I pressed and pressed. Then they gave me a polite, detailed answer. (The problem may be a glitch in one of my browsers; it's not Cotse.net's problem, but they could have helped me eliminate possibilities sooner, rather than later.)
In short, a very good service for those who exactly know what they're doing. Easy to access and reasonably priced. An excellent daily privacy news feature there, as well. But beginners wanting snoop-safe surfing would do better with Anonymizer.com. Or perhaps IDZap.com.
Posted by Claire @ 06:41 PM CST [Link]
Friday, August 13, 2004
THE WHOLE PITCAIRN ISLAND STORY IS SO BIZARRE. Not only the pre-emptory confiscation of guns, but all of it. Culture clash of major proportions on a tiny island that was already one very odd place. Imagine a trial where 1/6 of the entire population -- your neighbors and relatives, all -- was on trial for sex crimes. And where the defendants claimed their deeds weren't crimes but the cultural norm.
Somebody should make a movie.
Posted by Claire @ 09:12 AM CST [Link]
ANYBODY BEEN TO SEE I, ROBOT? Even though it's at the local one-plex, I haven't gone. Too many reviews make it sound like a plain old cop thriller with androids but not much Asimov in it. Ex-Significant Sweetie Charles Curley liked it (sort of) though:[Charles' local one-plex] finally got "I, Robot" in & I went to see it last night. I'm pleased to report that it is not a biography of John Kerry. They definitely got Susan Calvin's character down right. :-)
Libertarian message time: the protagonists are able to reject the "logic" of a robot-run nanny state. Let's see if audiences can figure out the implications for a human-run nanny state.
Don't read this paragraph if you haven't seen the film: I think they blew the Three Laws of Robotics. "Sonny" (who should have been named "Danny") should have realized that the first law trumps the promise he made.
Posted by Claire @ 08:54 AM CST [Link]
YOU KNOW THOSE SPECIAL TSA-APPROVED SUITCASE LOCKS Debra blogged about the other day? The double locks that both you and the govgoons can open? HA! Jim Bovard writes to report that, "Many travelers are double irate because after they bought locks supposedly approved by TSA, TSA agents cut the locks anyhow. Apparently some of the TSA agents did not get the master keys. Or perhaps they just don't give a damn."
Exactly what the traveling collaborator should have expected.
Posted by Claire @ 08:41 AM CST [Link]
Thursday, August 12, 2004
CRITTER'S CAMPAIGN TO END CHECKPOINTS Is now officially up and running. Damn the checkpoints! Full liberty ahead!
Posted by Claire @ 02:47 PM CST [Link]
THE LATEST FROM LADY LIBERTY.At the Statue of Liberty, recently reopened after a two-year closure, stashing a package offers a glimpse into the future. To rent, close and reopen lockers, visitors touch an electronic reader that scans fingerprints.
"It's easy," Taiwanese visitor Yu-Sheng Lee, 26, said after stowing a bag. "I think it's good. I don't have to worry about a key or something like that." ...
Smarte Carte's fingerprint lockers were introduced two years ago at the Minneapolis-St. Paul airport, and also can be found in Chicago's Union Station and the Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure theme parks in Florida.
The company adopted the biometric system for the airport lockers to assure the Transportation Security Administration that the bins could not be rented by one person then opened by someone else.
Ah. So it's illegal now to send your kid or your wife to open your airport locker? Who knew?
This news from privacy maven Richard M. Smith, who kindly posted it on the CASPIAN staff list.
Posted by Claire @ 02:25 PM CST [Link]
Wednesday, August 11, 2004
NEW, FROM OUR EDGAR J. HOOVER LINE OF ACCESSORIES
Debra here. The new "TSA Approved SearchAlert Suitcase Lock" was selected as a Best Product of 2003."...the TSA have formerly been requiring all bags to be unlocked. And, if they came across a bag that had been locked, they'd have to destroy the lock so as to open the suitcase.
They have now agreed to allow suitcases to be built with special locks, and/or add-on special locks to be used with any suitcases - these locks have a dual keying system. One 'key' (either a physical key or a combination lock) belongs to the owner, and this key or combination has many different variations, so that your key is unlikely to unlock the next guy's suitcase as well as your own. But the second key is a 'master' key that only the TSA has (in theory!) and this master key can open all locks in that series. This means the TSA can now easily unlock and relock your suitcase if it needs to inspect it."
When I first read this, I thought the notation "in theory" in the preceding paragraph was a slam against government. In retrospect, however, it looks like a slam against those Evil Corporations who could use the technology for nefarious purposes. As if pawing through your silkies and delicates is a perfectly legitimate activity.
Posted by Debra @ 12:23 PM CST [Link]
HAVE FUN AT THE OLYMPICS.Recent leaps in technology have paired highly sophisticated software with street surveillance cameras to create digital security guards with intelligence-gathering skills. ...
[The surveillance system] gathers images and audio from an electronic web of over 1,000 high-resolution and infrared cameras, 12 patrol boats, 4,000 vehicles, nine helicopters, a sensor-laden blimp and four mobile command centers.
Spoken words collected by the cameras with speech-recognition software are transcribed into text that is then searched for patterns along with other electronic communications entering and leaving the area -- including e-mail and image files.
The system, which includes components already used by U.S. and British government intelligence agencies, covers all of greater Athens, nine ports, airports and all other Olympic cities.
From CNN and Rick.
Posted by Claire @ 08:00 AM CST [Link]
MOTTO FOR THE RESISTANCE. To every tyranny action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.
Posted by Claire @ 06:34 AM CST [Link]
SO. It's not just old blind ladies, stubborn ranchers, and seatbelt scofflaws the cops manhandle and haul off to jail.
Another article states that the 86-year-old Mr. Wallace was "overly assertive and disrespectful." Tsk, tsk.
Posted by Claire @ 06:26 AM CST [Link]
Tuesday, August 10, 2004
GREAT BUMPER STICKER I spotted about an hour ago on the rear of an SUV: "Keep your dissidence."
Posted by Claire @ 07:10 PM CST [Link]
LIZ MICHAEL SAYS IT BETTER THAN I. "The Revolution Has Started: Haman’s Gallows and the Mordecai Element." Thanks, RagnarDanneskjold, for ferreting out that link. Don't know why I didn't blog that column when it first appeared.
Only one thing I really disagree with. Should the day of Bill of Rights Enforcement ever come, I don't think we should go on a revenge spree -- even if we can rightly tell ourselves it's a justice spree.
I think we ought to make it very, very, very damn unappealing for the agents of tyranny to inflict their depredations NOW, while they're inflicting their will upon us -- or trying to. I think every IRS agent would do well to realize that awakened people can be as deadly as awakened rattlesnakes. Every cop who conducts a seatbelt checkpoint or an insurance checkpoint should be be given lots of incentive to stop doing it. That's the aim. To get them to STOP. To make tyranny suddenly much less appealing, much less fruitful to the workaday agents of megagov.
Critter's idea, for instance, is a start. Then what if victims of checkpoints managed to get digital photos, names, and badge numbers of all the participating officers? And perhaps their SSNs and home addresses? And what if those officers learned that every American unjustly stopped was one more individual American personally pissed off at the individuals committing the injustice?
This is not a threat. But we'd all be healthier and more free if it were a fact of life.
Forget making them pay some theoretical price after (and if) liberty is restored. It's too late then and all we do is halt our own forward progress by wallowing in the past. Should freedom lovers ever actually rise into the ascendency, our best course would be to forgive all but the most egregious engineers of tyranny and move on.
The best revenge is living well, right? And even better if at the same time we get to watch talentless, moneyless former govgoons flail around trying to figure out what value they have to offer free people in a free world.
Posted by Claire @ 06:43 PM CST [Link]
I SCARED MYSELF YESTERDAY. It's a terrible thing to face the fact that you see no moral principle against shooting the bastards. But if the American Revolution was moral -- because it was fought to replace tyranny with freedom and was fought only after other remedies failed -- then its equivalent must be a moral act today.
We face all the evils the colonists did (and worse), from brutal warrantless searches to soldiers enforcing domestic law, to taxation without representation -- in our case, regulations levied by unelected bureaucrats who often act as legislator, cop, judge, and jury. Yet our ancestors didn't have to put up with Carnivore, Echelon, Total Information Awareness and TIPS (both apparently alive despite Congress having killed them), random body searches, permits to travel, the welfare state, and the drug war. The colonists did have gun confiscations. Or rather, attempted gun confiscations. In Lexington and Concord.
Hate it. Regret it. Fear it. But if the American Revolution was moral, then then only question that remains is whether its equivalent today would be practical. Right now, it wouldn't. Right now, there are other, if slower and less sweeping, pressure-relief valves for individual freedom lovers. But times change. Government thinks it's herding sheep, but it's also herding freedom lovers toward the decision between liberty and death. And at that point, whose death will become the only question.
Posted by Claire @ 10:03 AM CST [Link]
Monday, August 9, 2004
"BIG BUSINESS IS BECOMING BIG BROTHER." New ACLU report on government/business surveillance collaboration. Good overview article from Wired. Your mom should read it. And your neighbor.
Posted by Claire @ 09:44 AM CST [Link]
PEOPLE HAVE STARTED USING THE EXPRESSIONS "Claire Wolfe time" and "half past Claire Wolfe" to talk about how bad our loss of freedom is becoming. I can't tell you how strange it is to have my name becoming a metaphor for the moment a shooting war begins.
It must be an odd feeling to have one's name applied to any object or event, be it a sandwich or a boycott. But this is scary. Even scarier that I first saw both these expressions in the writings of complete strangers, so I can't tell myself it's just a handful of libertarian pals using them to twit me.
What's scarier is that I can no longer think of any moral reason not to "shoot the bastards." I can think of many, many pragmatic reasons not to attack government thugs and their bosses. I'm still not advocating that anyone commit violence (not even against TSA screeners, federal prosecutors, or cops at checkpoints -- though I understand the impulse).
But with freedom being sucked away and absolutely no one making any effective large-scale effort to restore it (but lots of people making effective large-scale efforts to destroy it), I can easily see how the next checkpoint or the next arbitrary detention or the next demand for biometric ID will simply be The Moment for some of us. Not just for the edgy Carl Drega people, either. But for good, solid, sensible people who must make the choice either to live with themselves or live as a cowed, obedient comrade of the Stalinist state being created around them.
Monkeywrenching, mini-gulching, and Outlaw enterprise -- three of the things I wholeheartedly do advocate -- can only go so far toward fighting tyranny. Or rather, they can go a long, long way, but they'll take generations to succeed, and such covert, black-market freedom efforts will likely end up creating a criminal subculture something like the one that so blighted post-communist Russia. Or for that matter, the one that now blights the worldwide recreational drug trade.
Sometimes survival of freedom's soul requires uttering a big, fat, frickin' loud, emphatic, get-out-of-my-face right this minute, no doubt about it, this planet ain't big enough for the two of us NO.
And that "NO" -- as governments understand and dread -- is best enforced at the point of a gun in the hands of a determined citizen willing and ready to use it.
Why must anyone be squeezed into making that choice in America, of all places? Nothing is more heartbreaking. Why the hell can't governments just get out of our way and let ordinary people go about their business unmolested?
Posted by Claire @ 09:26 AM CST [Link]
SO SAD. TWO PRIVATE ROCKETS DOWN. Rubicon 1 explodes and falls into the ocean in Washington state.
"Hey, the government has wasted way more money and time than we have," [one of the project volunteers] said with a grin. That's right; NASA wastes more every minute than the little amateur built rocket cost in its whole lifetime.
spider_boris over at The Claire Files forums also reports that Armadillo Aerospace lost its rocket over the weekend. I can't reach the Armadillo site this morning. If it's them and not me, you might have to wait a while to find out what's behind that link.
And Red Adair died. Not many men left like him in this age when safety and security dominate all.
Posted by Claire @ 08:42 AM CST [Link]
Sunday, August 8, 2004
I LIKE WALLY CONGER'S NEW BLOG. He calls it Out of Step. Seems pretty much in step to me. He writes beautifully about film and books. (And he's so right about why the new Manchurian Candidate won't shock us.)
Posted by Claire @ 03:25 PM CST [Link]
Saturday, August 7, 2004
OUTKAST, LOU REED, AND NOTORIOUS B.I.G. are among the musicians whose works are not welcome in Kansas libraries.The very political Rage Against the Machine is also verboten. The state attorney general -- not anybody within the library system -- made the judgment.
Librarians -- who usually know better -- aren't objecting. Funny they don't see the difference between librarians choosing what to stock in their institutions and law enforcement officials telling them what they're not going to stock.
(From Rick ... once again keeping an eye on Kansas from somewhere near the Danube.)
Posted by Claire @ 01:08 PM CST [Link]
The Justice Cooperative. It's a new second-amendment novel written by Joe Martino and highly recommended by Matthew Bracken (author of Enemies Foreign and Domestic). I haven't read it yet, but I'll bet a lot of Wolfesblog readers are going to.
(Tks SJ for the lead.)
Posted by Claire @ 01:03 PM CST [Link]
Friday, August 6, 2004
WHY HAS THE U.S. JUSTICE DEPARTMENT DECIDED that an assortment of publicly available government publications on asset forfeiture techniques are now not to be viewed by us peasants? Absurdly, the publications librarians have been ordered to destroy include -- believe it or not -- a copy of a law, the Civil Asset Forfeiture Reform Act of 2000 (CAFRA).
You know, every time you think the Bushcroftians can't get any stranger or scarier ... they do.
Posted by Claire @ 02:41 PM CST [Link]
JPFO WEIGHS IN ON THE OSHKOSH GUN CONFISCATIONS.Whatever happened, the Oshkosh police obviously behaved outrageously. Whether the unconstitutional confiscations were department policy, superior officers' orders, or screwups by incompetently dangerous cops who neither knew nor cared anything about the Fourth Amendment, those confiscations were unAmerican in the deepest sense. In fact, they were anti-American.
But frankly, it's hard to defend citizens who are so deeply in denial that -- in this day of anti-gun hysteria and ninjafication of American police forces -- they'd open their doors and willingly let police rifle through their possessions. Those victimized residents also have a responsibility as citizens, as Americans. And they failed in their responsibility as seriously as the police did.
And what is going on here in New York?Officers confiscated somewhere between five hundred and a thousand guns from the home of 63-year-old Thad Schank. He faces a weapons possession charge. Police also say one of Schank's weapons was stolen a couple months ago, which means it's somewhere out on the streets. When police realized just how many guns Schank had, they decided to get them out of his home, so that no more guns would end up in the hands of criminals.
Posted by Claire @ 10:12 AM CST [Link]
BUSH TELLS TRUTH! TAPE AT 11."Our enemies are innovative and resourceful, and so are we. They never stop thinking about new ways to harm our country and our people, and neither do we." -- George W. Bush, August 5, 2004
(Tks to Doc!)
Posted by Claire @ 10:10 AM CST [Link]
LEST WE FORGET:Internet blogger Gan Golan described the area: "It's like a scene from some post-apocalyptic movie -- a futuristic, industrial detention area from a Mad Max film. You are surrounded on all sides by concrete blocks and steel fencing, with razor wire lining the perimeter. Then, there is a giant black net over the entire space." ...
One workman at the site characterized the area to a New York Times reporter: "Does it look like a concentration camp? I'm Jewish. It looks like a concentration camp."
Jim Bovard in the Baltimore SunCue Democrats.
I'm happy to say that I watched none of the convention, and I look forward to to devoting just as little attention to that of the Republicans. But Zeynep Toufe of Under the Same Sun took a gander and failed “to hear the words ‘torture,’ ‘abuse,’ or ‘Abu Ghraib’ mentioned anywhere in the Democratic National Convention.”
Just to make sure it wasn't just a bad sample, Zeynep searched through the transcripts of the speeches as they were posted to the Democrats' website. None of the transcripts mentioned those words ...
Dave Gross at The Picket Line
Posted by Claire @ 10:07 AM CST [Link]
Thursday, August 5, 2004
ON MONDAY, WHEN WE'D ALL BEEN ALARMED ORANGE and people in east coast financial districts were ready to duck and cover under immanant Al Quaeda attack, I kept telling myself it's news, you really ought to blog it. Of course, it wasn't news at all; just electioneering. The gut knew what the head didn't. The DHS is no doubt right that competent terrorists surveil and plan for a long, long time, but there was never a hint of a clue that those named buildings were in danger on that particular day or this particular week -- from three-year-old data. Data from before the 9/11 attacks. Finally along comes an article that expresses the alarming disgust of it all. And points out another bit of cynical electioneering in the name of the War on Terror. Wonder what's going to happen on the day they cry "Wolf!" and there really is a slavering beast ready to pounce.
LATER: After I wrote the above I heard an NPR report that said there was indeed new evidence pointing toward an attack in August or September of this year. The reporter stated, "No one who has seen both sets of reports doubts the need for this warning" -- that is, for the orange alert.
This is where I really hate distrusting the government. It's obvious that terrorists do mean to attack and ultimately destroy us. But it's equally obvious that nothing the government ever claims is trustworthy. So do you pooh pooh the alert because you're 99 percent certain that six months from now the "August or September" part of the picture is going to turn out to be a Bush administration fraud or a forgery they can claim to have been duped by? Or do you take it seriously because the threat and the danger is so serious -- and thereby allow yourself to be manipulated and duped for the sake of livening up the presidential campaign? Or do you pooh pooh the alert -- and then learn to your horror the threat was genuine and deadly?
AGAIN: Jim Bovard also twits government wolf-crying and citizen disbelief 8/5/04 blog entry "The Great Orange Whine."
Posted by Claire @ 04:41 PM CST [Link]
DID ANYBODY FAINT WITH SHOCK when the FCC declared that VoIP phone services have to be configured for easy tapping by the alphabet soupers? ... No, guess not. It's just one more thing, one more thing, one more thing, one more thing freedom lovers will have to monkeywrench or work around. Fortunately, those of Advanced Geekitude are already preparing their tactics, like the good old Slashdot crew.
"I guess me and my terrorist buddies will just have to go back to using encrypted email."
"Just speak in Navajo pig latin with a Klingon accent."
But as one Slashdotter reminds us, the world of total identifiability and total "accountability" for Internet content will be a grim and dreadful place.
Posted by Claire @ 08:41 AM CST [Link]
LOCKING UP "DEADBEAT DADS" or taking away their professional licenses because they're behind in child support payments makes about as much sense as fighting forest fires by pouring gasoline on trees. Wendy McElroy decries this insane practice.
Posted by Claire @ 08:22 AM CST [Link]
Wednesday, August 4, 2004
PIRO AND LARGO ARE AMERICANS STUCK IN TOKYO. They're too broke to go home. It's a long story having to do with booze, depression, girls, and ... well, I guess you have to read the 'toon to figure it out. Jac, who does read it, sends along this episode. Hm. Given the state of things here in the land of the free, maybe Piro and Largo are better off stayin' right where they are.
Posted by Claire @ 12:28 PM CST [Link]
SORRY ABOUT MY ABSENCE. I'VE BEEN DOING RADIO INTERVIEWS during what would otherwise be my blogging time. This morning I was on a call-in show in Missouri on which one of the callers inadvertently brought up an important point.
It was an interesting show, in general. The hosts were quite rowdy, good humored, and libertarian without ever being explicit about it. The three men who phoned in at the end of the 45-minute chat were of a different stripe: very sober, intelligent, respectful, but markedly Bush-conservative. They were well-informed in a mainstream way. One "knew," for instance that Patriot Act Section 215 (the library fishing-expedition provision) has never been used even once -- because that's what John Ashcroft claims. But he didn't know about the substantial number of librarians who report that Section 215 has most definitely been put into action in their own libraries.
The first caller, having listened to the hosts and me bantering for a half hour observed, "You start with things everyone can agree with about privacy and so on. But then you go over the edge." He didn't approve of going over the edge. For instance, although he agreed that armed citizens on airplanes would seriously deter hijackers, he considered it folly for me to talk about it because "there's not a snowball's chance the government will ever allow it." So in his eyes, the only anti-terrorism measures open for legitimate discussion were ones the government will allow. And allow in the present moment.
My reply on that particular point wasn't great. I simply agreed that it was my job in life to be the one to go over the edge or cross the line, then went on to deal with his other issues. I wish I'd pointed out that, unless somebody goes over the line ... somebody discusses the "impossible" ... somebody pushes the boundaries ... then things never really change. The outrageous ideas of today become tomorrow's reality if enough people, or enough really serious people, get behind them. Thousands of bad outrageous ideas have become government policy. Isn't it time for some freedom-enhancing outrageous ideas to get more of a hearing?
I'm well aware that my ideas (and real hard-core freedom ideas, expressed by thousands of us) aren't mainstream and I don't expect mainstreamers to like or adopt them (which is one reason why this whole mainstream radio-interview business increasingly looks like a waste). I understand the comfort and practicality of staying within what can be achieved.
But it's what can't be achieved right now that's most worth aiming at.
Posted by Claire @ 11:59 AM CST [Link]
Monday, August 2, 2004
WOW. LIBERTY POST HAS JUST BANNED ALL MENTION OF LOOMPANICS. Really. See for yourself. A poster on that site merely mentioned (and apparently linked to) Loompanics as a source of interesting books ... and LOP!
The reason? The owner of Liberty Post (whose name I don't know) claims that linking to that evil, bad, dangerous publisher could violate the Patriot Act and get her (?) and her webmaster pitched into prison. Removing not only the link but the very name "Loompanics," she (?) cited the case of Sherman Austin. Austin posted bomb-making info on his web pages, advocated violence, and went to prison for it. His case isn't even remotely analogous to this one.
Below are the ringing endorsements of liberty and ringing denunciations of cowardice from my editor and publisher. You go, Gia and Mike! First however, I want to make my own position perfectly clear:
Yeah, I'm standing here waiting for the black helicopters to come and get me. ... Still waiting ...
Now, we do live with a government that's gone power mad and hates free speech. But if anybody really believes John Ashcroft is going to send ninjas after somebody for linking to a perfectly legal publisher of perfectly legal books, then the proper response is [more]
Posted by Claire @ 05:58 PM CST [Link]
MICHAEL MOORE EDITS A NEWSPAPER. Seems his "documentary" standards haven't improved since he fictionalized a good bit of Bowling for Columbine.
Posted by Claire @ 09:21 AM CST [Link]
IAN HAS THE BLOG TODAY WITH ANOTHER RANGE REPORT. This is a good one for those of us who don't practice enough with our shotguns and big-caliber rifles because of the Dreaded Recoil.
By Ian McCollum
Since writing my range reports on the M1 Tanker and Beretta 1201FP, I've had a chance to get back out to the range for more work with both of them. I took along some newly-acquired Winchester low recoil buckshot for the Beretta and a Smith Enterprise M1 Garand brake for the M1. Both worked wonderfully.
First, a bit of background on low-recoil shotgun ammo. The way the recoil is reduced is simply by reducing the powder charge until the muzzle velocity from the shell is around 1150 or 1200 feet per second (full-power shells have velocities 100-400 fps more than that). This ammo is effectively identical to the "tactical" shot and slugs you might see for sale. The story I've heard about the origin of this weaker ammo is that it was originally marketed to police departments, whose less [more]
Posted by Claire @ 09:05 AM CST [Link]
Sunday, August 1, 2004
HARDYVILLE IN SPACE. The new column is online at Backwoods Home. It's about Firefly, so it won't be new to readers of this blog or The Claire Files Forums. But spreading the word ...
Posted by Claire @ 10:29 PM CST [Link]
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