WolfesBlogArchives: January 2004

Saturday, January 31, 2004


When the State of Maryland hired a computer security firm to test its new [Diebold electronic voting] machines, these paid hackers had little trouble casting multiple votes and taking over the machines' vote-recording mechanisms. ...

Critics of new voting technology are often accused of being alarmist, but this state-sponsored study contains vulnerabilities that seem almost too bad to be true. Maryland's 16,000 machines all have identical locks on two sensitive mechanisms, which can be opened by any one of 32,000 keys. The security team had no trouble making duplicates of the keys at local hardware stores, although that proved unnecessary since one team member picked the lock in "approximately 10 seconds."

And that's in addition to the multiple electronic hacks the consultants easily managed to perform, according to the New York Times.

And Diebold, the maker of these 21st-century election-stealing machines trumpeted the study as a triumph.

Posted by Claire @ 06:17 PM CST [Link]

Friday, January 30, 2004

CARTOONIST KEVIN TUMA DOES IT AGAIN He's anticipated the inevitable B.U.L.L.S.H.I.T. Act before Congress has thought to pass it. But really, Kevin, you simply must quit giving them ideas!

(The link will open a pop-up window.)

Posted by Claire @ 01:27 PM CST [Link]

AN OHIO GRAND JURY HAS INDICTED HUNTER. If you're anywhere near Ashland, Ohio, it would be great if you could show up (all polite and non-cammo'ed, of course) to give moral support at his arraignment. He'll be before a judge this Monday, February 2, 11:30 a.m., at the Ashland Common Pleas Court.

Posted by Claire @ 08:34 AM CST [Link]

Thursday, January 29, 2004

SOMEBODY ASKED THE OTHER DAY HOW I COPE WITH ALL THE BAD NEWS. Good drugs and good friends do help. But good laughs are even better. The lead to this Web site arrived with the statement that if you're already being forced to take your shoes and belts off and be patted or body scanned at the airport, these folks might have the ultimate answer for airport security.

And yes, it's real. Unlike John Ashcroft's support for freedom, the intelligence of TSA screeners, and Bush's state of the union speech, it's Not A Joke.

(Thank you PowerMan for the smile.)

Posted by Claire @ 04:19 PM CST [Link]

OH. I SAID I'D POST AN UPDATE ON SWEETIE PIE THE DOBIE. Took her in for aspiration of her breast tumors on Monday. Results came back Tuesday: Inconclusive. The pathologist found cells that were "indicative of cancer." But he won't commit to saying they are cancerous.

According to the vet, the only way to get a more certain diagnosis would be to put her under anesthesia, excise the tumors, and go back to the lab. Unfortunately, the surgery can't be done under a local, and with Sweetie Pies heart condition, general anesthetic might kill her.

So there we are. If it's cancer, it's probably not an aggressive kind. She's doing pretty well for an 8-1/2 year old dobie foundling. Looks like the best course is just to let her enjoy life. Sorry for sounding in a rush here (which I am), but several people cared enough to ask about this sweet pooch, and I was overdue to say something.

Posted by Claire @ 03:30 PM CST [Link]

WE NEED TO LIVE RADICALLY. Five or six years ago, I wrote I Am Not A Number: Freeing America from the ID State. I updated it recently. But it still feels to me like a book that's before its time. Or maybe a book out of its time. Almost no one can relate to its message.

I Am Not a Number projects that the U.S. is going to become a total surveillance state no matter what we privacy lovers and privacy activists do about it. That's a no-brainer. It's already happening. Nothing controversial about that. But the book also proposes that those who truly value self-ownership will be driven to establish alternative underground communities.

Not just cybercommunities on the Net. Not just the libertarian equivalent of isolated communes. But full-scale, real-world communities that perform the functions that communities always have. People who truly want to preserve their freedom will eventually need to establish alternate, free-market, underground systems of transportation, communications, medical care, employment, insurance, and of course self-defense. And we'd better be starting those systems soon, because if we wait, Big Brother will already have us permanently locked in his gaze.

Some of these communities will be actual, physical "compounds" or towns that quietly exist outside the law. (Think of the polygamist communities that existed quietly, if illegally, for decades in Utah and Arizona. Until they stupidly brought attention upon themselves with forced, underage, and incestuous marriages, everybody knew they were there and nobody wanted to mess with them.) Other communities will be more like loose networks, providing services but not having any physical center.

Obviously, establishing full-scale communities will be difficult and risky. But the alternatives -- either giving in (after fighting like hell "within the system") or living as a lone Freedom Outlaw, forever roaming through and monkeywrenching a hostile society without support -- are worse. Are intolerable to some of us.

Posted by Claire @ 10:40 AM CST [Link]

Wednesday, January 28, 2004

I JUST LOST AN ARTICLE-LENGTH BLOG ENTRY I'd spent more than an hour writing. Gnrrr. The loss of the thing itself -- while I was polishing its final paragraph! -- was due to a screen freeze and this blogging software's (Greymatter's) unfortunate omission of a "save" feature. The loss of my backup copy was pure human stupidity, mine and mine alone. Well, the world will just have to do without that particular gem of Wolfeliness.

The lost entry was a good news/bad news piece about the dangers of travel restrictions for dissidents and other peaceful non-cooperators -- a followup to yesterday's pessimistic entry. I'll skip the long, detailed bad-news part and just restore the more cheerful conclusions.


After reading my fearful forecast, Jim Bovard -- a man I am convinced could find something to be optimistic about while kneeling in front of a guillotine, about to have his head lopped off -- wrote:

Posted by Claire @ 09:42 AM CST [Link]

Tuesday, January 27, 2004

DO YOU HAVE DAYS WHERE YOU FEEL LIKE SUCH AN OUTSIDER you're not sure you even belong on this planet? I'm having one of those. Sometimes it's merely psychological; to value freedom in a world that scorns it is alienating, all by itself. But sometimes I really wonder how some of us will manage to continue to live on this planet.

This morning's first mail brought news that the TSA is rushing implementation of CAPPS II, with its noxious profiling of every airline passenger and color-coding of those who are "fit" or "unfit" to fly. (And note that the airlines, some of which have gotten in such hot water with the public for turning over passenger information, will now be ordered to turn that info over to the fedgov. No mention of any warrants or subpoenas. Such silly, old-fashioned things, those court orders.)

The friend who sent the article -- a fellow activist -- fears what will happen to her when she must board an airplane for an overseas flight a couple of months from now. Will she be a "red" -- and therefore forbidden to leave the United States? Or will she merely be a "yellow" -- singled out for extra humiliation and harassment? There's NO chance this friend of liberty will be considered "green-for-go" by the current regime.

Then LewRockwell.com linked to this excellent, well-researched TSA article by Jim Bovard (adapted from his newest book, Terrorism and Tyranny), "Dominate. Intimidate. Control: The sorry record of the Transportation Security Administration." I could scarcely bring myself to click on another article about stupid, thuggish insecurity screeners. But because it was Jim, I did. And was reminded of some little-known facts about the "successes" of the TSA. This one, for instance: "Notable triumphs have included seizing a tiny pair of wire cutters from a Special Forces veteran who had been shot in the jaw in Afghanistan and needed the cutters to snip his jaw open if he started to choke ..."


Jim reminds us that speaking a single indignant word to one of these TSA bullies, or even questioning their procedures, can get you arrested.

In the article about CAPPS II, you'll find this paragraph:

Suspected terrorists or violent criminals would be designated "red" and forbidden to fly. Passengers who raised questions would be classified "yellow" and would receive extra security screening. Most would be "green" and simply go through routine screening.

One question, of course, is why are "violent criminals" running around loose? But the best, and unintentionally ironic, part is the bit about "passengers who raised questions."

I'm sure by that phrase the TSA types and the reporter meant to imply "those who have bad credit" or "those who haven't filed tax returns" or "those who've been arrested for marijuana possession" or "those whose names sound too ethnic" or something like that. But how appropriate that they used that phrase -- "passengers who raised questions."

Yes, as hundreds of political activists (the ones on the "secret" no-fly list) have found, and as civil libertarians and angry American citizens have found, raising questions is indeed one of the best ways to lose your right to travel freely.

Any dissident from the old Soviet Union could have told you that.

They're gradually forbidding us uncooperative types access to airports, seaports, and international borders. Next come buses and railroads. What will we do when law, regulation, technology, cowardliness, and sheer masses of jackbooted thugs finally prevent us from driving on the public highways? What will we do on the day they can remotely shut off our vehicles, or program our vehicle tracking systems so that we "yellows" and "reds" are forbidden to enter certain freeway onramps or certain districts of cities? How will we live on this planet when that day comes?

Posted by Claire @ 12:01 PM CST [Link]

IT'S A DAMN SHAME that neither Sean Astin nor Andy Serkis was nominated for a supporting actor Oscar. And a pity the Motion Picture Academy doesn't have an award for best acting ensemble, because a certain ensemble of elves, dwarves, hobbits, humans, and wizards deserves that recognition. But 11 nominations for LOTR: Return of the King ... that's not bad. And I love it that Johnny Depp got a best actor nomination for Pirates of the Caribbean. (Betcha Sean Penn gets the award, though.)

Posted by Claire @ 11:33 AM CST [Link]

Monday, January 26, 2004

AND SPEAKING OF PRIVACY ... Cendant, the giant corporation nobody ever heard of -- the one that got blogged here last month for its participation in CAPPS II, is at it again. This time, according to the Washington Times, they're building a huge database for their own use that will put more than 200 databits about you at its disposal. (Actually, according to Don't Spy on US, they've been at it for quite a while.)

Remember: If you stay in hotels, make airline reservations, or rent cars, you're giving Cendant everything from your credit card number to your home address and your spending habits. And they're using the info you give them to purchase even more info on you from the big databasing companies.

A Cendant spokesperson makes pious noises about how they'd never disclose the data inappropriately. Right. Even if they actually meant that, just think about how the fedgov has recently redefined virtually every company you exchange money with as a "financial institution" -- subject to warrantless, subpoenaless searches of your records. Just think how virtually every corporation hands over customer records to the government without court orders, even without that quaint redefinition.

Even if you don't travel, or only make road trips and stay at mom-and-pop motels, you ought to read that Washington Times article on Cendant. It gives an idea just how far the privacy invasion has already gone. (For instance, remember how, a year ago, grocery stores were poo poohing the idea of "loyalty card" data ever being used against you? According to this article, insurance companies are already using shopping card data to deny coverage to people who buy cigarettes, "too much" liquor, or -- get this -- red meat.)

(Thanks to Katherine Albrecht for another day brightening article.)

Posted by Claire @ 09:50 AM CST [Link]

WELL, SO MUCH FOR HOWARD DEAN. I always thought he was the "coolest" of the Democrat candidates. Even the "I have a dream screech" seemed endearing. After watching some of the RoboCandidates, Dean came across as the only real, feeling, judging human being in the bunch. AND, despite running on a psuedo-commie platform, he did have kind words for both rebel flags and privacy.

But -- oops! -- Declan McCullagh now uncovers Dean's real position on privacy and it ain't pretty. If you want to be required to use your biometric national ID before logging onto the Internet, vote Dean.

Hm. Maybe Paul Jacob is right. the best Dem candidate might be Judy Dean.

Posted by Claire @ 09:34 AM CST [Link]

Saturday, January 24, 2004

I SAID I'D STAY AWAY FROM DISCUSSION ABOUT WHY BUSH WANTS US ON THE MOON. But John Vanderlippe has found the REAL reason, and even the various rocket scientists reading this blog won't doubt it.

See if you don't agree. (Illustration reprinted with permission. This link will open a pop-up window, so if you have a pop-up killer for your browser, you'll need to circumvent that.)

Posted by Claire @ 11:39 AM CST [Link]

Friday, January 23, 2004

IS SOMETHING GOING AROUND, OR WHAT? Another prominent libertarian, Jim Davidson, has been arrested. I have no details at all -- except that Jim claims to have been beaten by the cops. More when I can get it.

1/24 -- More info has been posted by members of The Claire Files forums.

(Thanks SS for the heads up and DLT for the confirmation.)

Posted by Claire @ 05:04 PM CST [Link]

NOT THAT ANYBODY AROUND HERE WOULD BE DUMB ENOUGH TO FALL FOR IT, but since we've all had to become professional paranoids about our financial doings, here's the latest e-mail scam (behind the "more" link). The message purports to be from the FDIC in collaboration with the Department of Homeland Security. It tells us our bank account has been used to violate the Patriot Act. It threatens to turn our records over to the FBI. We're supposed to get all alarmed and do something really stoo-pid.

You wouldn't. Of course. But it sure shows you what kind of country the Busheviks are creating, where innocent people really believe they might be reported to the FBI ... because innocent people really are reported to the FBI. All the time. For even dumber reasons than the ones invented by the scam-mailers.


Posted by Claire @ 04:56 PM CST [Link]

WHEN I SAW THIS PORTLAND, OR, NEWS STORY circulated by Mark Yannone, I thought about a remark made by the oily liar David Frum during Wednesday's radio debate with Jim Bovard. "We have all the freedoms we ever had." Yeah. Sure. Tell that to all these innocent photographers shoved around by federal cops -- cops who are ignorant of the law, but not in the least bit ignorant about techniques of brutality and intimidation.

Posted by Claire @ 09:40 AM CST [Link]

WE FOUND THE OWNER OF SWEETIE PIE THE DOBERMAN Or rather, he eventually found us a week or so after seeing our group's "found dog" listing. Odd guy. By his own lights, he loved Sweetie Pie very much. Not enough to biopsy her breast tumors (which he'd known about for two years). Not enough to search for her when she wandered off. But enough to train her very well. Enough to make her his cuddly housedog. Enough to make sure we knew what snacks she likes and what special commands she knows. Enough to make sure we were okay people and that she's well and happy in our care before telling us we could have her.

His consent wasn't really needed. By the time he called, Sweetie Pie legally belonged to her rescuers, anyway. But it was ... well, sweet. And good to learn her history.

She wasn't exactly a discarded breeding bitch, as I'd guessed. Just sort of. According to her mystery owner, she spent the first four years of her life being overbred and underfed in a commercial breeding operation. That accounts for the poor, ruined, unsightly breasts hanging from her otherwise-elegant body. This man bought her to breed to his male. She had a couple more litters before her health gave out and his male died. After that, he sold her to a friend, got her back ("too clingy"), gave her to his daughter, got her back ("can't have any more pups"), and then was more than a little relieved when his lonely girl roamed off earlier this month in search of company.

So all's well now. She may be old and in shaky health, but she's a beautiful, happy, truly elegant girl and she's got a home for as long as she lives. It's off to the vet Monday for that long-overdue biopsy and chest x-rays. Cross fingers for good results.

My original post about Sweetie Pie also drew a bless-the-net benefit. Hours after I mentioned wanting a digital camera (something that's become almost a must for getting rescue critters identified or adopted), a generous reader wrote to offer one. A couple of books and a DVD go his way, a 2+ megapixel camera comes my way. And I think that's one heck of a deal. Doesn't the magic of the Internet still boggle your mind?

Now, if anybody out there writes Linux drivers for digital cameras, I'll be delighted to hear from you. (Remove (spamtrap) from the address before mailing.)

LATER: TC from a Higher Plane pointed me toward SourceForge, that amazing place where all good Linux development projects end up eventually. He even picked out two digital-camera software packages for me (one of which turns out to be already installed on my system). Now comes the challenge: getting them to work with a camera not already in their databases. When he wrote with the software links, TC suggested politely that I may have forgotten SourceForge. I confess. I go out of my way to forget SourceForge. A wonderful place. But what you find there is often not newbie-friendly. I batted my e-lashes and TC has now offered to help me figure out the camera-database dilemma, as well.

Lord, I wish every "neighborhood" was as neighborly as the Internet!

Posted by Claire @ 08:57 AM CST [Link]


Posted by Claire @ 07:05 AM CST [Link]

Thursday, January 22, 2004

JIM BOVARD DEBATES DAVID FRUM. Worth a listen (although why on earth the host kept insisting Jim is a "right-winger" or a "conservative" is hard to figure).

Posted by Claire @ 07:29 PM CST [Link]

JANKLOW GOES TO JAIL! :-) One congressthing down, 434 to go.

Sad that one man had to die for this. Strange, though, that one man's death will put a congresscritter in jail, but mass violations of the Constitution and Bill of Rights carry no penalty whatsoever.

Posted by Claire @ 07:19 PM CST [Link]

HALE DeMAR, THE WILLMETTE, IL, HOMEOWNER who got in legal trouble for shooting a burglar who'd broken into his home (twice!) has written a just about perfect letter to the editor about that night.

Posted by Claire @ 02:38 PM CST [Link]

"BY THE BOOK." A perfectly charming defense of the humble almanac.

The statement issued last month by the FBI advising law enforcement officials to be on the lookout for suspicious persons carrying almanacs struck many sensible people as indisputable proof that the government had finally lost its mind ....

I read [The Old Farmer's Almanac] primarily for the "Anecdotes and Pleasantries" section – the terrorist equivalent, I suppose, of someone saying they look at Playboy for the articles. I’ve learned to hypnotize a chicken (three different ways), how to tell if my toads are about to mate and all kinds of other irrelevant skills. But I have yet to come across an article that might help me or anyone else strike a blow against America. Not that I'm looking, mind you. And if carrying an almanac around with me – which I did, just this morning – makes me more of a suspect, I guess I’ll just have to live with the shame. And so will my mom, who sends me the new edition every Christmas.

Posted by Claire @ 12:24 PM CST [Link]

Wednesday, January 21, 2004

MILITARIZATION OF SPACE. Ah, that's another possibility. Brad Rodriguez (who'll probably hate it if I identify him Mr. Wendy McElroy; he's also a well-known computer guru in his own right) blogs another reason GWB might want to go to space. Brad's post includes info from Gordon P., who happens to be one of the helpful rocket scientists who very kindly told me I was blowing smoke yesterday. Brad's and Gordon's views dovetail neatly with those of THE Rocket Scientist, who expressed them here when Bush's space plan was unofficially officially announced.

Posted by Claire @ 06:33 PM CST [Link]

NOBODY HAS FILED TO RUN AGAINST RON PAUL. Isn't that nice? "Mr. Constitution" will remain in office. And 534 other federal legislators will have to face a truth they hate: that you don't have to be an unprincipled pork-barreller to be a well-loved legislator.

Posted by Claire @ 09:38 AM CST [Link]



"Our Glorious Leader is f*g scarier than I thought."


(Read the transcript of his state of the union speech.)

Posted by Claire @ 09:26 AM CST [Link]

NASA'S AT IT AGAIN. Wired reports on yet another terror-related datamining project from America's space cadets.

Bless Bill Scannell. He nails it:

"This is 21st-century phrenology," said privacy advocate Bill Scannell, referring to the discredited art of reading people's personalities from the bumps on their heads. "You might as well stick a couple of employees in a subbasement and have them read tea leaves."

Posted by Claire @ 09:21 AM CST [Link]

Tuesday, January 20, 2004

ERNIE HANCOCK SENT AN ARTICLE AROUND THIS MORNING about "lie-detector glasses" and their possible application in airport security.

The glasses use voice-stress analysis to determine (allegedly) if someone is telling the truth. If the TSA screener of the future asks, "Is that a bomb in your pocket or are you just happy to see me?" a little system of red-yellow-green signal lights in the glasses is supposed to tell him whether no means no or whether he should call out the SWAT team.

A few years ago, I wrote about voice-stress analysis, as done by a master, Mike Kemp. One fact that emerged vividly from the research was that VSA, to be even the tiniest bit useful, has to be properly read by a human being. It's at least as much art as science.

Mike analysed five or six .wav files of me answering questions. Those questions ranged from "What's your name?" to "Would you inform to the police about the activities of an associate?" On virtually every answer, my voice betrayed doubt and uneasiness. Not because I was lying, but because I don't see the world in black & whites.

My name? Which name? The one my parents gave me, that never fit? Or one of the names I've used professionally during my life? Or ...?

Would I inform on an associate? Never, ever, ever ... but what if I learned the associate was a serial killer? Or that he'd committed a drunken hit-and-run that maimed a young mother? That's a different matter than finking to the ATF, the IRS, or any of the other alphabet soupers. I wouldn't report my worst enemy to those creepoids, just on principle. But in my heart still resides some "good citizen" who knows violence against the innocent is wrong.

In every test, my voice reflected some sort of "if" or "yeah, but ..." A brain-dead mechanical analysis would have triggered yellow lights, or even flashing red lights, sirens, and machine-gun responses from that from Mr. TSA 2010. But in fact, all that my iffy responses indicated was that I have a conscience & that I was thinking about variables. Mike, with a combination of skill, experience, and intuition, was able to sort out ambiguities from guilty lies. But no mechanical or electronic device, however sophisticated, could have done that.

OTOH, just as trained people can fool a traditional lie detector (which operates on some pretty shaky non-science, anyway), a great liar can be flat-out smooth with VSA. Mike reported that almost no one could fool him -- but he admitted our friendly satirist Patty Neill impishly lied her head off without a flicker of conscience and looked like an angel to VSA.

Of course, the idea of using Magic Super Detecto-Glasses for airport security (like those X-Ray vision glasses they used to advertise on the back covers of comic books, I suppose) is still just that. An idea. But in the search for easy yes-no, black-white "answers" to security, it's an idea that will probably appeal to the folk who put mindless goons in charge of feeling up nursing mothers and ancient war vets in the name of "fighting terrorism."

Posted by Claire @ 01:23 PM CST [Link]

MORE REASONS TO GET TO THE MOON. A helpful fella who calls himself the Ex-Rocket Scientist or The Lawyer Formerly Known as an Aerospace Guy sends this compelling reason for getting to the moon.

Helium-3? It's a fusionable substance so potent that a single shuttle load could power the U.S. for a year while producing little pollution or radioactive waste. It may not be the reason Bush wants to go to the moon. But in the long run perhaps it could be a powerful reason for being there, nonetheless. Let's hope some space entrepreneur gets it before the Busheviks do. (And how come we're only hearing about this stuff in obscure space journals?)

(LATER: Okay, okay! I give in. I've just heard from three -- count 'em, three -- physicists or other science-genius types who tell me this whole idea of helium-3 is still at the science-fiction stage. A great idea, but unproven and economically absurd. One said there are fuels right here on earth capable of doing very much the same thing for vastly less $$ and there's still no economic incentive to utilizethem. Their messages were friendly, erudite, astute, and not even as patronizing as I might really deserve. Although I'm tempted to ask if I can blog some of their comments, as well as any rebuttal the Ex-Rocket Scientist may care to offer ... well, enough's enough. I was born to be the arty type and I'm stickin' to that. Sounds as if it'll be up to our kids or grandkids to explore the value of helium-3. Now, after this brief intermission, we'll continue with the blog entry ...)

But speaking of Bush's reasons, his "research base on the moon" sure fits in with America's base-o-mania. Chalmers Johnson writes of "America's Empire of Bases." Even if you already have an idea of the scope of U.S. military presence abroad, it's a stunning account of just how vast (and profitable to certain parties) our global government presence is.

A base on the moon seems perfectly logical, since we've filled just about every available spot on this planet with bases, already.

(Thanks to MJY for the find.)

Posted by Claire @ 09:40 AM CST [Link]

SO NOW IT'S NASA AND THE CENSUS BUREAU. You know that data you gave to the friendly Census Bureau? The data they always said was strictly confidential, never identifiable by individual, and only, only, only ever used "in the aggregate," cross our heart and hope to die, so help us God? Well now we find out your census data ended up in that infamous NASA airline security study, too.

I know it's hard to bear the shock. But your government lied to you.

(No, wait a minute. Your government didn't lie to you. You're too bright to answer all those snoopy, unconstitutional questions about your race, children's birthdates, and the number of TV sets in your house, aren't you? The government just lied to all those other people, the naive, trusting, foolish, socialized ones who filled out their census forms diligently and are probably proud to find out they've been "chosen" to participate in a federal profiling project. Okay then. No harm done.)

Posted by Claire @ 08:53 AM CST [Link]

Monday, January 19, 2004

Dobie03a (6k image) MEET THE NEWEST MEMBER OF THE FAMILY. Sweetie Pie, a red doberman, wandered in last week. The folks who found her were in awe. "She's got to be a show dog," they said when they called our rescue group, "She's so wonderful, so obedient, so pretty." They expected a frantic owner to call at any moment -- particularly because it appeared this girl had recently had pups. They couldn't figure out how she'd gotten lost in the first place, since she's a total "velcro dog" who doesn't want to be more than 10 feet from her human's side.

But nobody ever called. Or put up lost-dog posters. Or placed an ad. Or answered our ad.

It was a few days before we could fetch Sweetie Pie down from the town where she'd been found, and then it took only a few minutes for the vet to give us a hint about why nobody was searching for such a beauty: bad hips, bad heart, probable breast cancer, and a serious case of middle age. She'd had puppies, indeed, but not recently. Probably dozens of puppies over the course of her life. Between endless nursing and the tumors, she only looked like a recent mom.

What we appear to have is somebody's discarded breeding bitch, no good for making money any more.

The vet will do more checking later this week to see if it's really cancer and whether it's metastasized. I'll keep you posted. In the meantime, it took about two seconds to fall seriously in love with this girl. All her health problems aside, the folks who found her were right. This is the gentlest, most loving, most exquisitely mannered, most beautiful dog you'd ever want to meet. I've never had any experience with dobies, but if they're like this, sign me up as a life member of the dobie fan club.

Even Robbie, The Great And Terrible Pit Bull (Mix), is being nice to her, as though he recognizes quality when he sees it. And if you knew Robbie, you'd know that's saying something. His general response to foster dogs is "Kill first; ask questions later. Preferably while enjoying a mouthful of their entrails."

(I cheated on the photo. This isn't really Sweetie Pie, but another rescue dobe I Googled. It could be her twin sister, though. I've got to beg, borrow, steal, or garage-sale a digital camera! Until I can post pix of my own, please accept this slightly inferior substitute.)

Posted by Claire @ 03:49 PM CST [Link]

AND WE THOUGHT THEY'D ONLY BE SPYING ON MOSQUES. Two years after the Justice Department gave itself the right to spy on churches, a Florida church discovers it was probably under surveillance during the Free Trade of the Americas summit two months ago. Terrorism? No. Suspected anti-globalism. (They're still awaiting further documentation to see if their fears are borne out.)

Posted by Claire @ 12:34 PM CST [Link]

HAPPY ROBERT E. LEE DAY! Celebrate by doing something rebellious.

Posted by Claire @ 09:13 AM CST [Link]

Sunday, January 18, 2004

BACK IN SEPTEMBER, NORTHWEST AIRLINES DENIED FINKING ON PASSENGERS. Now it's admitted that it gave data on its customers -- possibly millions of customers -- to NASA for some mysterious "airline security" project. Nobody's explained yet what NASA's doing in the "airline security" business. And if you've flown Northwest in the last few years, I can't imagine this project makes you feel more secure.

Posted by Claire @ 10:32 PM CST [Link]

Saturday, January 17, 2004

OH, HOW TERRIBLE! It seems some little malcontent minority of shoppers might muck up "loyalty card" databases to the point of making them useless. Now, wouldn't that be a tragedy?

(Be sure to follow up the link given in the article, http://epistolary.org/rob/bonuscard/, which has many more great links of its own.)

Posted by Claire @ 01:33 PM CST [Link]

DOES IT SOMETIME SEEM AS IF THE ECONOMY IS A BALL BALANCED ON THE NOSE OF A SEAL? Or maybe the economy is the top member of a human pyramid atop a bicycle atop a high wire? It's seemed like that since the 1970s at least (if not earlier, when politicians pulled that last precious-metal backing out of U.S. currency) and the doomsayers have been wrong again and again. Yet that pretty, bright-colored ball can't stay up there forever. Eventually somebody in that human pryamid is going to twitch and everybody had better hope there's a net underneath. This report by a major money manager predicting a stock market "bloodbath" in 2005 or 2006 makes a lot of sense, as does Gary North's analysis of some strange recent money moves, "Sitting on a String."

Yeah, I know Gary North's track record isn't great and that the whole field of economic analysis and forecasting is about as reliable as casting runes or reading the I Ching. But one of these days ...

Posted by Claire @ 01:27 PM CST [Link]

Friday, January 16, 2004

SUCH A SURPRISE. A black-robed ignoramus says Washington, DC's, gun ban is legal.

Posted by Claire @ 10:37 AM CST [Link]


Guns are bad. All my life, it's been that simple. At my son's preschool, if a child pointed a banana and said "bang," he was admonished to "use the banana in a happier way." As far as I was concerned, the 2nd Amendment gave us the right to protect ourselves against invading armies, not the right to buy a gun and keep it under our beds. So what would make someone like me change my mind?

It's a familiar story to gun folk. Take an anti-gunner to the range and take a pro-gunner home. But it doesn't usually make the L.A. Times.

(Registration required to access this one. Sorry.)

Posted by Claire @ 10:26 AM CST [Link]

"SCARED, TRIGGER-HAPPY YOUNG MALES." That's what Doug Casey called his latest LewRockwell.com essay. But it's really about a lot more than that -- including the dangers of leaders who believe God orders them to go to war and the possibility (however infinitely small) that Hillary Clinton might turn out to be a libertarian.

Posted by Claire @ 10:14 AM CST [Link]

I'VE NEVER UNDERSTOOD THE ATTRACTION OF WEBCAMS. Might have to change my mind after this great story of a woman's life being saved by her webcam viewers.

Posted by Claire @ 09:59 AM CST [Link]

Thursday, January 15, 2004

"DO IT YOUR WAY." An essay by Sunni Maravillosa on the joys of individualism and discoveries made during a mid-winter desert walkabout.

Do libertarians need a central plan, organization, or policies for freedom? Not at the end of this journey.

Posted by Claire @ 02:34 PM CST [Link]

WatnerIDBook (8k image)

THE NEW BOOK, NATIONAL IDENTIFICATION SYSTEMS: ESSAYS IN OPPOSITION is sitting on my desk. This anthology may be only a modest trade paperback with a bit of a high price tag ($45). But it packs a lot of information.

This is the first book I know of that views national ID in historic, present, and future perspectives.

Past: It goes back to early dreams of pan-surveillance, traces the development of driver licenses and birth certificates as means of citizen-tracking, talks about Russian propiska (residence control) and even includes a fascinating essay about how surnames (and in some cases numbers) were forced upon subjugated Indian tribes for the benefit of bureaucrats.

Present: Discusses how social security numbers, ID chips, and even the federal census or an immigrant's green card are threats to our liberties. This section opens with a good overview present and planned surveillance of all Americans.

Future: Looks at both hopeful and terrifying future scenarios. This section also includes several essays on ID resistance.

Carl Watner assembled and edited the essays with assistance from Wendy McElroy. Contributors include both academics and many people you'll recognize from the freedom and privacy movements -- including Carl himself, privacy maven Robert Ellis Smith, Charlotte Twight, Sunni Maravillosa, Patty Neill (!!! -- her satiric essay demanding national ID numbers for all politicians), and me. I'm proud to have contributed two essays of my own and an excerpt from The State vs the People, co-authored with Aaron Zelman.

Posted by Claire @ 02:23 PM CST [Link]

JOHN ASHCROFT AND JAMES BOVARD COME TO HARDYVILLE! Really. They were just in town to debate the Patriot Act. I admit, Mr. Ashcroft had to be dragged in kicking and screaming -- Hardyville definitely not being His Kind of Place. But Jim came willingly and (I think) had a good time.

Posted by Claire @ 08:53 AM CST [Link]

Wednesday, January 14, 2004

MONDAY I WROTE ABOUT ARTICLES PIRATED TO THE NET by a Mega Publishing Corp. It appears the situation's going to have an honorable ending, but it's still rather weird and definitely instructive for anyone who ever publishes anything. Here's an update.

Posted by Claire @ 12:48 PM CST [Link]

CANADIANS: SHOW US YOUR TAX RETURNS. Canadians crossing the border will have to let U.S. officials poke into their tax records, income, and investments. Yes, and of course it's to "stop terrorists."

The privacy implications for taxpayers are obvious. The future could get very interesting for non-taxpayers.

Posted by Claire @ 12:09 PM CST [Link]

A MOMENT OF PERSPECTIVE. Last week I was working with Aaron Zelman on a JPFO alert. The alert was built around two news stories, from which we were drawing Big Implications about tyanny consuming America. Before publishing it, we ran it by the most astute of all JPFO-friends -- who saved us from ourselves. He pointed out that we were way off base; in the second of our two stories, the terrible, tyrannical news really had a far less ominous interpretation. Not an entirely positive interpretation. But certainly a more innocent one than we'd given it.

So we junked the second half of that alert and put the rest aside. In thanking our friend, I cracked, "Oh well. One thing we can be sure of. If we're looking for a better example of American tyranny, we won't have to wait around long for one to show up."

And sure enough, by the very next morning, we had a truly ominous, horrible story with which to complete our alert.

Over the weekend, when I didn't have time to blog much, at least five true horror stories about the loss of privacy and freedom hit the news. This morning, Sunni Maravillosa (who generously sends newslinks to others while searching for stories to cover on Free-Market.net) sighed that today was shaping up as another "good (bad) news" day -- what with stories of VeriSign advancing the goal of a global RFID network and the Bush administration once again pushing for the IRS to use private tax collectors (a move that has serious privacy implications, as well as extending the reach of tax goons). And that's not to mention that the juggernaut of CAPPS II and the color-coding of all air travelers keeps rolling on, despite the fact that nobody but the fedgov -- and its fat-and-happy private database contractors -- seems to want it.

And did I mention the two ghastly actions by the U.S. Supreme Court that the media barely commented upon? One leaving the government free to "detain" people without even saying whom it's detaining, and the other authorizing roadblocks in which cops can stop innocent citizens and quiz us for tips about crimes that may have happened in the area. (Has the Supreme Court ever met a Fourth Amendment violation it didn't love?)

But believe it or not, I'm not here today to focus on bad news. [more]

Posted by Claire @ 09:09 AM CST [Link]

Monday, January 12, 2004


The propaganda. The lies. The rhetoric. The nationalism. The flag waving. The pretext of 'preventive war'. The flaunting of international law and international standards of justice. The disappearances of 'undesirable' aliens. The threats against protesters. The invasion of a non-threatening sovereign nation. The occupation of a hostile country. The promises of prosperity and security. The spying on ordinary citizens. The incitement to spy on one's neighbors -- and report them to the government. The arrogant triumphant pride in military conquest. ... The demonization of government appointed 'enemies'. The establishment of 'Homeland Security'. The dehumanization of 'foreigners'. The total lack of interest in the victims of government policy. The incarceration of the poor and mentally ill. The growing prosperity from military ventures. The illusion of 'goodness' and primacy. The new einsatzgrupen forces. Assassination teams. Closed extralegal internment camps. The militarization of domestic police. Media blackout of non-approved issues. ...

Posted by Claire @ 02:01 PM CST [Link]

THE LAST FEW DAYS THERE'S BEEN A LOT OF NEWS I WANTED TO BLOG but didn't have time to get to. Most items were on the theme of privacy -- including some very important stuff. Then this morning eight messages come pouring down from Declan McCullagh's Politech mailing list -- and six of them are those dying-to-blog stories.

Go to Declan's temporary archives & check out these Jan. 12 stories:

* [Politech] Feds plan to rachet up demands for air passenger info [priv] Declan McCullagh
* [Politech] Grocery stores apologize for attack on anti-grocery card activist [priv] Declan McCullagh
* [Politech] New York Univ. on defensive after student data appears on Web [priv] Declan McCullagh
* [Politech] Casino chips may be implanted with RFID tags [priv] Declan McCullagh
* [Politech] Speed camera accuracy challenged, once again [priv] Declan McCullagh
* [Politech] Adobe bows to gvt pressure, includes banknote detection in Photoshop Declan McCullagh

Whew. Thanks, Declan, for doing it all.

Posted by Claire @ 12:08 PM CST [Link]

DAVE GROSS, WHOSE BLOG "THE PICKET LINE" DETAILS HIS EXPERIMENT IN LEGAL TAX RESISTANCE, posted a thoughtful, reflective three-parter on January 7, January 8, and January 9 about the nature of everyday evil and resistance to it. It's called "Nazis Creep Me Out."

Here's a sample from the middle entry.

As I grew older, I came to understand that the evil I feared wasn't an aggressive race of inhuman slant-eyes (nice to get our crudest bigotries out of the way early), or a strangely-moustached set of men in funny pants and jackboots from a country that existed in black-and-white. It started to dawn on me that the evil was still around, and that if it came to where I lived, there's a good chance it would come speaking my language, handing out gold stars to good boys, and looking far more respectable and civilized than its victims. And I came to understand that I needed to learn how not to be one of the victimizers as much as I needed to learn how to keep from being one of the victims.

Posted by Claire @ 08:39 AM CST [Link]

I GOT A SHOCK LAST NIGHT. A whole gaggle of my print-only articles (or so I and my and my publisher thought!) turned up on the Internet without my knowledge.

Well, what am I bitching about? This is the Internet. It happens. This was different, though. This time the piracy wasn't done by some slope-foreheaded cretin working out of his clutter-strewn back bedroom. It wasn't done by some low-budget publication desperate to make its reputation off the brains of the unwilling. It wasn't even done by some libertarian who'd raised "because I can get away with it" to a philosophic principle.

It was done by one of the biggest publishing companies in the U.S. -- a company whose many famous-name imprints wouldn't, under any other circumstances, think of touching work like mine. And it was done on a large, large, top-of-the-Google-listings scale. My articles were only a nit. The entire magazine in which they'd appeared was reproduced, issue after issue of it, right down to the letters to the editor. Hundreds of other magazines, as well.

When I queried my own publisher, he was more upset than I. After all, it was only a handful of articles for me, but his whole livelihood was being given away. (And you can forget the netly mantra that free exposure will lead to paid subscriptions. Partial exposure, maybe. But what people know they can get for free they won't and don't pay for. Would you?)

Turns out, though, that without knowing it, my publisher might have given "permission" for this. His bookkeeper has been getting a small annual check from Mega Publishing Corp. They've never been able to find out what it was for, not even when they've called Mega Corp to ask. But they've cashed it ... and that might be all it took to put themselves in this position.

But that's not the whole story -- and Mega Corp surely knows it. Because even if such a "contract" could hold up in court or private arbitration, my publisher would be accidentally selling what he has no right to sell. Magazines rarely buy all rights to articles written by freelancers. They may buy first North American serial rights or one-time reprint rights or Internet archive rights or some other limited or combined rights. The authors retain ownership of all other rights. Since that's standard throughout the publishing business, Mega Corp is undoubtedly aware that it's republishing the work of thousands of individual authors which the "seller" simply doesn't own and can't legally re-sell.

Life on the net just gets weirder and weirder. Most writers live at the economic edge, anyway, and this sort of stuff is killing us. And it's killing the publishers on whom we depend. And it's not killing us in the legitimate ways that "building a better mousetrap" or coming up with a more clever marketing strategy have always enabled one business, or one technology, or one entire industry, to triumph over another. It's killing us because technology + a total lack of ethics is being allowed to trump technology + honorable business practices. The decent are being destroyed by the unprincipled.

If I met a young person today who was thinking of writing for a living, I'd urge him absolutely to go into some other field.

Posted by Claire @ 08:08 AM CST [Link]

SNOOP-O-PHONE. The Iron Man sends this item, and asks, "And how long before they can turn on your cell phone's microphone remotely without you knowing? Voila! You're carrying around your own tracking device."

Parents will be able to track their teenagers 24 hours a day using secret bounce-back SMS messages.

Parents using the "text track" technology get a return SMS instantly revealing their child's location.

Teens will have no idea when their parents have done a check-up.

Child tracking will be within the budget of average parents. ...

The technology can also be used by employers to track workers.

The article says that "privacy experts" warn that pedophiles and stalkers could also hack into the system to locate kids. Nowhere in the article is it mentioned that gummint agents could also use a cheap system like this to track us. Whew, I guess we're safe then.

Posted by Claire @ 07:14 AM CST [Link]

Saturday, January 10, 2004

THE SAGA CONTINUES. WHEN HUNTER WENT TO GET HIS SUV BACK, THE COPS ... did %^$@!-ing typical cop things. How disgusting these creeps are! And they expect other people to have respect for "lawnorder"? Faugh!

Read Sunni's update. [more]

Posted by Claire @ 05:17 PM CST [Link]


An interview with Loompanics founder Mike Hoy on censorship and "evil" books.

"Nameless Dread: The Function of Fear in a Controlled Society" by Thom Metzger, one of my favorite Loompanics writers.

(My article "The Quisling Effect" is also reprinted in the supplement.)

Posted by Claire @ 01:35 PM CST [Link]

Friday, January 9, 2004

MATT GAYLOR INVITES OHIO ACTIVISTS TO HELP SEND HUNTER HOME IN STYLE. Meet Saturday morning, January 10, in Ashland. Start with breakfast, then send The Hunter safely on his way to New Hampshire. (He'll have to come back to Ohio next month for the next round of legalisms, but in the meantime he's got his vehicle and can drive home.) Click for details. [more]

Posted by Claire @ 07:51 PM CST [Link]

OHIO GETS CONCEALED CARRY ironically, just a little too late for Hunter.

Posted by Claire @ 08:54 AM CST [Link]

FEDERAL COURT CASES WITH SECRET DOCKETS. Wowee, pretty scary. Not just closed hearings. Not just (outrageous) secret evidence. Not just sealed affidavits. Not just unnamed accusers. Oh no. All those are just routine parts of the American police state. But now -- federal court cases with absolutely zero, zip, nada, NO public record they even exist.

Posted by Claire @ 08:48 AM CST [Link]

DANGEROUS MISDIRECTION -- AGAIN AND AGAIN. UNSAFE ON EVERY SIDE. So now the superheroes of the TSA are saving us from terrorism by forbidding airline passengers to congregate outside of airplane restrooms on any flights coming into the U.S. An Australian airline spokesman described the edict as "silly and unenforceable."

"It's [a toilet] a very prime piece of real estate on an aircraft at certain times in the flight," he said. "It's obvious that whoever thought this up in the US authority hasn't travelled on a 14-hour flight to Australia."

Then (or actually, before) we have the well-known Christmas Eve security alert from the FBI, warning police everywhere to be on the lookout for the dreaded Almanac User. John Young of Cryptome has now put the confidential memo online, where we can see that it also covers that equally suspicious and deadly individual, The Map Consulter.

And (because the silliness does go on -- but also because I'm building up to a point, really I am) there's the case of the military mom who took her 10-year-old son to Staples to buy him some flight-simulator software -- only to get a visit from the police* because some clerk thought her request was suspicious. (Scroll down to second news item.)

What's most pertinent is the mother's reaction:

Posted by Claire @ 08:15 AM CST [Link]

"SOURCES" SAY BUSH IS ABOUT TO ANNOUNCE BIG SPACE PLANS. A permanent base on the moon. A manned mission to Mars.

It would be wonderful to see this as great news. But how strange. How utterly out of the blue. It reeks of spectacle to keep us little folk from becoming too restless about all the various "wars on this-n-that" and our bizarrely lurching-and-reeling economy.

And this is what you do when government's already growing twice as fast as it did during Clinton's day? And when the federal budget's already looking like the aftermath of a drunken credit-card binge? You come up with a big, flashy spending program that's literally out of this world?

Hey, guys. Just get out of our way and the brilliant entrepreneurs and explorers among us will get us up there without putting an even bigger tax burden on our grandkids' backs.

LATER: The Rocket Scientist has a different -- and somewhat more ominous take on this. Click more to read a real expert's POV: [more]

Posted by Claire @ 07:13 AM CST [Link]

Thursday, January 8, 2004

RICHARD SIMKANIN FOUND GUILTY ON 29 INCOME TAX COUNTS. Sigh. No doubt by a fully un-informed jury.

Posted by Claire @ 05:17 PM CST [Link]


Sunni Maravillosa writes:

Just wanted to let you know that I will be appearing on Ernie Hancock's radio program tomorrow morning to discuss Hunter's situation. It will be a brief appearance, and is scheduled for sometime between 10-10:30 a.m. EST, or 8-8:30 Mountain time, which is where he broadcasts from. The details on the radio station: KFNX AM 1100, 602-277-5369 and 1-866-536-1100. Webcast and chat available from http://www.ernesthancock.com/ .

Posted by Claire @ 04:57 PM CST [Link]

Wednesday, January 7, 2004

IS FRIENDSTER THE NEW TIA? Not much time to make blog entries today (though I'm working on a future entry that's a bit of a think piece). So I'll just drop this note and run: Have you considered what might happen to all that data you've been entering at Friendster?

The indefatiguable Sunni found this one. How she finds time for all she does, I don't know. In fact, it looks like a really good (bad) news day over at Sunni's Free-Market.net daily news, so if you need a news-and-commentary fix, that's a place to go.

Oh, yeah ... People continue to come through for Hunter. It's tremendous.

See ya tomorrow.

Posted by Claire @ 11:51 AM CST [Link]

Tuesday, January 6, 2004

THE MEDIA DO RIGHT BY HUNTER and deserve thanks for this accurate and fair article about Hunter's friends coming to his defense.

Posted by Claire @ 11:14 AM CST [Link]

LEDITORS FOR HUNTER. Susan Callaway (formerly Sierra Sue or Mama Sierra, over at SierraTimes, has a nice article on Hunter's outrageous concealed-carry arrest. Her article includes the full text of two leditors by FIJA-ians Iloio Jones and Don Doig. Nice going, folks.

Both letters are models of the kind of calm, reasoned approach that can most help Hunter's cause.

BTW, speaking of help for Hunter, you guys are coming across, big time! Legal defense funds are pouring in -- nearly $1,000 in the first 36 hours or so, and that's just to the accounts Debra and I monitor. No idea how much may be on its way to KeepAndBearArms.com, which is taking the snail-mail donations, or to Sunni, who's also accepting some donations (including "walking-around" money for Hunter -- who still can't get his vehicle back or return to his job or his home). If you want to donate online but refuse to use PayPal, KABA should soon have alternate online donations set up.

Posted by Claire @ 09:05 AM CST [Link]


Item A: Taken by by 12 to 17 million Americans a year. Even according the the most damning and pessimistic estimates, this substance causes few serious side effects and only about 1/8 as many deaths as aspirin.

Item B: This product, also used by millions, causes a 41 percent increase in strokes, a 29 percent increase in heart attacks and a 26 percent increase in breast cancer among those who consume it.

So which one gets banned?

Oh, one further datapoint. Item A is an over-the-counter supplement. Item B is a prescription drug made by a politically connected pharmaceutical giant.

Click for the answer.


Posted by Claire @ 08:02 AM CST [Link]

Monday, January 5, 2004

EVEN BETTER FROM OWK: "T'was a Night in Late August." This guy's on a roll!

Posted by Claire @ 04:12 PM CST [Link]


I was whistling a tune, and there was a noticeable spring in my step, as I flung open the door to the bank, and swaggered up to the teller. She counted out my $97.32 with the precision of a machine, and then with a wink offered me the customary loli-pop usually reserved for the children of customers (which I must admit took a bit of the swagger from my gait). Still though, I had my hard-earned money, and it was good.

So out the door I went. After only three steps, or maybe four, I felt a hand on my shoulder. I turned to face a man with a gun in his hand. Behind him, were dozens more. Street toughs from the look of ‘em.

“Can I help you?” I asked, doing my best to look menacing. “You sure can” he said with a smile and a flourish. To my amazement, he turned to his associate and barked “Shine his shoes Mickey”.

At that point a little rat-faced fella with a wooden box and a brush scampered up, and plopped himself unceremoniously at my feet. I simply stared at him. He returned my gaze with expectation, and after awhile he complained, “I can’t shine your shoes if you don’t put your foot on the box”.

“But… but, I don’t want a shoe-shine” I protested, “I’m wearing sneakers”.

“It don’t really matter what you want” he shot back. “We had a vote, and decided that everybody needs a shoe-shine”.

For the rest of OWK's story, go here.

Posted by Claire @ 02:17 PM CST [Link]


Posted by Claire @ 01:57 PM CST [Link]

I HAVE TO KILL A DOG THIS MORNING. A vet will administer the injection, but the decision will be mine. This is a hard one. The dog -- a foster, not one of my own -- is lying peacefully on a cushion near my bed, looking for all the world perfectly well-behaved and reasonably healthy. The thought that she'll soon bound enthusiastically into my truck on her way to die is almost too much.

The group I work with is no-kill. In the rescue field, that doesn't mean "absolutely never under any circumstances kill." It means never kill a healthy, adoptable animal, simply because there's no permanent home available. It means that if a sick or aged dog comes into our care, we treat it to the best of our ability, rather than writing it off. (And amazingly, many, many adoptors are happy to take in old or chronically ill animals.) But under two circumstances, we do euthanize: when an animal is too sick for us to treat or when one might be dangerous.

This dog doesn't fit neatly into any category. She's old, but hardly on her last legs. She has arthritis, but that's treatable. She has an obnoxious personality, but a few months of behavior-modification work might do wonders. She goes from docile to hostile unpredictably, but hasn't made any serious attempt to injure anybody. When she's content, she's very, very sweet, and when she doesn't get her way, she's horrid.

She's sweet right now and it's easy to forget that less than 12 hours ago, she tried to bite me. (It was a very half-hearted attempt at a bite, I have to say.) And when she's sweet, she has that look of utter trust that only a dog can have.

If we had a ton of money and a dog-behaviorist available, we'd save this one. But we don't. The cold reality: even if someone wanted her (which no one does), she's too risky to adopt out. So hard, so hard ...


This post generated a new discussion thread on The Clairefiles forums, some of it critical of my choice and some viewing animal rescue from a very different perspective. If you're interested, look in.

Posted by Claire @ 09:42 AM CST [Link]


Nine months after the demise of Saddam Hussein's regime and his feared mukhabarat (intelligence) operatives, Iraq is to get a secret police force again -- courtesy of Washington.

The Bush administration is to fund the new agency in the latest initiative to root out Ba'athist regime loyalists behind the continuing insurgency in parts of Iraq.

The force will cost up to $3 billion (£1.8 billion) over the next three years in money allocated from the same part of the federal budget that finances the Central Intelligence Agency.

Posted by Claire @ 09:19 AM CST [Link]

Sunday, January 4, 2004

BOB NEWLAND ANNOUNCES PUBLICATION OF A NEW PRINT ZINE. HEMPhasis will be an advocate's voice for growing and using industrial hemp, and for ending the stupid "war on hemp," a plant that just happens to be one of the most beneficial ag products known to mankind.

Posted by Claire @ 03:09 PM CST [Link]

OUR ARRESTED FRIEND HUNTER COULD USE A FEW MORE THINGS. Hunter has been caught far from home by his felony firearms arrest. Even though he's out of jail, he's been unable to return to his home state or go to work. Keep those contributions to his defense fund coming! But on the fifth page of the "Hunter arrested" thread at The Claire Files forums you'll find a couple more ways to help.

For one, Hunter could use some "walking around" money. (Address for sending it posted on the forum.) The police not only confiscated his weapons, but everything right down to his tee shirts and tooth brush -- and so far, they're refusing to let him have even his Christmas presents back. Hiring lawyers, staying in hotels ... that's depleting his resources quickly. (Thank you, Ladylearning, for thinking of this!)

For two, he could use letters to local Ohio media. Sunni has posted some of the key messages that will most help Hunter shake off the media-generated image of a "lone-nut militia whacko sniper suspect with strange electronic devices and an arsenal in his car."

Posted by Claire @ 02:25 PM CST [Link]

ORDERING PIZZA IN 2010. (Or sooner, maybe.)

Posted by Claire @ 02:14 PM CST [Link]

Saturday, January 3, 2004

HELP JEFF "HUNTER" JORDAN ESCAPE THE OHIO POLICE STATE! Sunni Maravillosa and Don Lobo Tiggre have set up Free Hunter: Fight Ohio's Gun-Grabbing Goons, a site where you can get updates on Hunter's case. They've also created a page that gives you every possible option for making a donation to Hunter's legal defense. Options now include check, cash, MO, PayPal, and e-gold. Please help liberty's good friend, Hunter!

Posted by Claire @ 02:43 PM CST [Link]

Friday, January 2, 2004

LIBERTY'S GREAT FRIEND HUNTER HAS BEEN ARRESTED. &%$#@! Hunter, aka Jeffrey Jordan, a great and true stalwart of liberty, has been arrested while traveling across Ohio. The charges against him are felonies and are solely because of his peaceful possession of firearms. Ohio is a s*y place to get arrested for carrying guns. And with the recent sniper shootings there, the media is making a bigger-than-usual stink over Hunter's weapons.

Hunter is not only a true friend to liberty, but an extremely loyal person who'd help any of us if were were in trouble. Please, let's do anything we can for Hunter.

Posted by Claire @ 10:05 AM CST [Link]

IT'S AMAZING THAT SO MANY FREEDOM LOVERS ADVOCATE A NATIONAL SALES TAX. And it's weird to hear some Libertarian candidates endorsing one. Have we forgotten that theft is theft? Do we hate the IRS so much that we blind ourselves to the fact that a national sales tax bureaucracy could be just as intrusive? We definitely blind ourselves if we believe a national sales tax would actually replace the income tax, instead of horrifically being imposed on top of it.

But Jason Auvenshine, state chairman of the Arizona libertarian party, has come up with something new: an analysis that shows why political powers increasingly want a national sales tax and why such a tax has a good chance of being imposed. Here's the crux of his argument:

If the sales tax passes, Uncle Sam switches from taxing income to taxing consumption just as the largest demographic in American history switches from earning lots of income to consuming their life savings in retirement. This allows a significant percentage of baby boomer savings to be taxed twice: Once when it was earned as income under the old system, and again when it is spent for consumption under the new system. Pretty slick, but what did you expect from politicians? The public "demand" for a sales tax like FairTax is being engineered as much by those who know the gravy train's going to get pretty dry under the current system as it is by freedom lovers who rightly despise the IRS.

To read his complete statment, just click ... [more]

Posted by Claire @ 08:32 AM CST [Link]

VERY INFO-RICH OP-ED IN THE WASHINGTON TIMES on why prions (the "rogue" proteins responsible for mad cow disease, aka BSE) are a particularly dangerous disease transmitter and why even the new, improved U.S. ag practices may leave us in grave danger of an insideous disease that can take decades to reveal itself. Written by an M.D. with expertise in BSE.

Posted by Claire @ 08:12 AM CST [Link]

Thursday, January 1, 2004

I'M GUILTY OF MALICIOUS MISREPRESENTATION! So says We the People, in response to my 12/19 blog entry.

But fact: They did promote their conference using the names of "invited speakers" who hadn't given consent or even shown any interest in accepting the invitation. Fact: Some speakers never even knew (until told by friends) that WTP was using them to promote the conference. Fact: It's shockingly unethical to use the names of prominent people for promotional purposes without their consent. Fact: When asked by some speakers to remove their names from the conference agenda, WTP was (to say the least) slow to comply.

My heavens, weeks after Aaron Zelman asked them to cease and desist and 13 days after I twitted them for doing it, they're still listing Aaron this morning as a confirmed speaker at a Second-Amendment panel. (Should they pull or edit that article, here's today's archived version of it.) (And folks, if you don't want to change your original article, there aresuch things as retractions and notices of correction.)

But you want to see something really funny? Here's an indignant protest from one of the conference organizers, all het up because another event organizer did exactly the same thing to them!

LOL, you'll just have to pardon me if I don't grovelingly apologize to the promoters of the "Give Me Liberty" conference for my "misrepresentation."

(And thank you to the conference "speakers" who sent me the above links. These "speakers" are Not Happy Campers in WTP Land -- and if you paid good money to see them, forget it. They are NOT going to be there. BTW, I wish no ill to any sincere person in the freedom movement, even when I disagree with them or they with me on issues. But sincere people don't have to resort to deceptive and unethical tactics to bring people to their cause.)

Posted by Claire @ 10:24 AM CST [Link]


Posted by Claire @ 09:54 AM CST [Link]

Blog_PuebloCrew_13finger (61k image)

NO MATTER HOW BAD THINGS GET, YOU CAN ALWAYS RESIST. 2003 was a rotten year for freedom and there's not much sign that 2004 will be better. But at risk of being optimistic (optimism being against my religion), remember this year that no matter how bad things get, there's always -- always -- some way to preserve your individuality and strike back against tyrants.

They guys above -- remember them? -- were captured by the North Koreans back in January 1968. Now, if you're going to fall into the hands of tyrants, the North Koreans are about the last ones you'd choose. For sheer human kindness, they make Joseph Stalin look like Mister Rogers. But even after months of captivity and torment, and even after being forced to confess to crimes, these Americans managed to strike back, persuading the bad guys that their gesture was the "Hawaiian good-luck sign." To start the year with an even bigger smile, read the "confession" of the crew's commander, Capt. Lloyd Bucher. Out loud.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch where (despite optimism being a heresy, punishable by the Inquisition) things are still a hell of a lot better, TC sends this lovely .pdf document from a higher plane. Use it to intimidate a bullying bureaucrat or enforcer. And, as TC also notes, this color-of-law warning isn't just a joke. It has teeth. The FBI even has a whole department to investigate color-of-law abuses. (And yeah, yeah, no need to remind me that's like the foxes having a department that investigates hen-house invasions.) It's still something.

New Year's Cheers!

Posted by Claire @ 09:48 AM CST [Link]

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