WolfesBlogArchives: March 2003
Monday, March 31, 2003
LET'S NOT FORGET THAT OTHER WAR BEING WAGED BY THE FEDGOV -- the one where millions of Americans are, or have been POWs. I'm talking about the Drug War. And so does Mary Lou Seymour in today's Liberty Action of the Week column. Specifically the war on those fearsome foes, the sick and dying folks who use medical marijuana.
Another good one, ML. Lots of practical things to do, as always.
Posted by Claire @ 07:44 PM CST [Link]
SOMETHING TO ADD TO YOUR PREPAREDNESS KIT. The ones shown here are the super-duper Type 95 models and cost a dollar apiece. Any local drug store can get regular ones at around $8.95 for a box of 50. My veterinarian says she'll beat that price by a couple of dollars any time I ask.
Posted by Claire @ 07:10 PM CST [Link]
ON A LIGHTER NOTE ... Somebody asked if I really live in a one-room cabin. Yep, here it is -- all 350 square feet of it -- still under construction, as you may notice. If you look closely, you can also see part of the mutt crew on the deck.
I designed the cabin, had the shell built, and am doing the siding & interior finishing myself. So I'm sort of a proud Mom to this little house, just as I am to my dog-family.
I've chosen to be poor because it's the best way for me to live in harmony with my principles (no SSN, not financing evil). Sometimes the insecurity of the life bugs me. Other times -- like when looking at my tiny gem of a cottage and my best friends -- I think I may be the richest poor person on the planet.
Posted by Claire @ 06:59 PM CST [Link]
Sunday, March 30, 2003
WHY AL-JAZEERA MATTERS if we believe in a free press.
Posted by Claire @ 03:52 PM CST [Link]
Saturday, March 29, 2003
THE SOLUTION IS FOR THE WORLD TO LEARN AND VALUE THE BILL OF RIGHTS.. Then no dictator will stand a chance. Send copies of the BoR to your friends in their own languages. Or how about if the government dropped millions of copies of the BoR on oppressed nations instead of bombs?
Posted by Claire @ 10:23 PM CST [Link]
AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL LISTS 111 COUNTRIES WHOSE POLICE OR "SECURITY FORCES" COMMIT TORTURE OR OTHERWISE ABUSE PEOPLE'S RIGHTS, 35 in which people are "disappeared" by their governments, 54 that conduct arbitrary arrests and detentions without trial ... and on and on. Human Rights watch lists 66 abusive countries in its latest report.
Even if you disagree with the specifics from these "left wing" groups, the basics remain: the world is filled with vicious dictators.
If you believe that it's the U.S. government's responsibility to invade a country solely to liberate that country's downtrodden people, then you must accept perpetual global war.
What are you willing to sacrifice In the cause of deposing every dictator who tortures, kills, enslaves, or imprisons his people without cause? What are countries like Cuba, North Korea, Zimbabwe, Angola, Libya, or Haiti (just to name a few) worth to you, personally? Would you sacrifice your son's life solely to liberate the people of those nations? Your daughter's? Yours? How much of your life are you willing to surrender in taxes to settle Columbia's problems or Myanmar's by force of American arms? If the U.S. deposes one dictator and the citizens of that country allow another to rise in his place, how many years, lives, and billions of dollars should we spend to re-invade, re-depose, and re-build? Are you willing to risk having your country, your state, or your hometown nuked, bio-attacked, or chem-attacked by some petty dictator who's angry at U.S. attempts to overthrow him -- or by residents of some country that resents U.S. occupation? Are you willing to live 100 percent of the rest of your life -- and have your children and grandchildren live 100 percent of the rest of their lives -- in a state of heightened alerts and curtailed civil liberties (the biproducts of wartime)?
If not, why not? These are all the logical consequences of your belief.
I want the dictators gone, too. Every last one of them. But this is not the way.
Posted by Claire @ 10:10 PM CST [Link]
Friday, March 28, 2003
HERE'S WHAT HAPPENS TO A MAN OF PRINCIPLE WHEN HE STEPS UP TO THE JUDGE'S BENCH: Attorney Marc Victor was appointed to a pro tem (unpaid) judge position in the Arizona courts. He was fired after one hour yesterday because he recused himself from drug cases. Judges recuse themselves all the time without having to give any reason (e.g. if they have a conflict of interest). But Victor did it because he believes the drug war is unconstitutional. He offered to trade with another judge for her non-drug cases.
Bam! One hour and out.
Posted by Claire @ 09:13 PM CST [Link]
YOU, TOO, CAN BECOME CITIZEN 430-21-4093. Yes, it's a real, live, legitimate, valid Socialist Insecurity Number and it can be yours courtesy of William Joseph Beck III. William -- aka the spirited blogger Billy Beck -- says he doesn't use it any more, so you might as well. Here, you can have his birthday, too (November 27, 1956), and his place of birth (Little Rock, Arkansas).
Billy says we're playing a game of tug-o-war with the government over this whole question of self-ownership vs. state control. His strategy? "Let go of the rope, ladies and gentlemen, and let the state fall on its ass."
I about laughed until I cried.
Posted by Claire @ 10:23 AM CST [Link]
SOME MALCONTENT IS SPREADING CALUMNIES ABOUT A WONDERFUL MAN. I won't dirty this blog by quoting or linking to these vomitous spewings. I will say that Aaron Zelman is truly one of the most honorable individuals I know. He and I have now worked together on two head-bangingly intense, year-long projects, The State vs the People and the upcoming video documentary "Innocents Betrayed." Even during moments we've driven each other crazy (which, believe me, can be frequent on projects like these), Aaron has never for a moment lost my respect and admiration. I'd put him high up on any list of the 10 most important people in the life-saving, liberty-saving work of restoring our right to keep and bear arms.
All you have to do is go look at the vast and deep stores of intellectual ammo at Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership to understand what this man's vision has forged. What you can't see there is Aaron's personal kindness, good humor, and integrity. Is he a diplomat? Uh ... no. And he could be quietly implacable if you crossed him. But never doubt the quality of this man's work and his honest devotion to it.
Shame, shame, shame on those who wish to cripple or destroy a vital labor of life and liberty merely to satisfy their own petty, festering spites.
Posted by Claire @ 09:43 AM CST [Link]
Thursday, March 27, 2003
I'm just testing the blog. Unfortunately, I'm not nearly as entertaining as Claire, nor do I have a particular cause to rant about.
Except the phrase, "You just hate America!" Man, that drives me nuts. You can complain about the IRS, the FBI, the BATF, the EPA, and a zillion other government things that you hate, and no one blinks. But complain about foreign policy, and suddenly you hate "America".
What's up with that?
Posted by Debra @ 09:46 AM CST [Link]
FROM THE 'NUFF SAID DEPARTMENT:The eruption of war in Iraq last week set in motion a massive global PR network, cultivated by the Bush administration during the months-long buildup of forces.
The network is intended not only to disseminate, but also to dominate news of the conflict around the world. ...
In a dramatic shift from past conflicts, administration officials have made it clear they'll rely on independent journalists, "embedded" by the Pentagon with military units, to act as one of their most reliable PR vehicles.
Yep, the wits who've said the media is not just "embedded" but "in bed with" have a point. This from PR Week, the folks who oughta know.
Posted by Claire @ 08:43 AM CST [Link]
IF THE GOAL WERE REALLY THE LIBERATION OF IRAQ, wouldn't 180 grains of lead, delivered by freedom-loving locals, do the job better than $75 billion worth of foreign killing power? Ricin in his Rice Krispies would do. Or a small bomb in his bidet. (Surely even this sly, secretive man has cooks, gardeners, maids, and bodyguards who get close to him.)
Hell, a pop-gun would do the job -- if people would just get the Big Clue that Government Is Not Our Friend. But the countries cursed with the worst leaders show the fewest signs of getting that Clue. They effing love these Great Leaders strutting around with medals on their chests and mile-high portraits of themselves on every building. And until that changes, there's damn little point in killing hundreds of Ours and thousands of Theirs in the cause of "liberation."
Unless, of course, the cause is really something else altogether.
Posted by Claire @ 08:12 AM CST [Link]
Wednesday, March 26, 2003
DO SOMETHING. For freedom. Gloriously.
Posted by Claire @ 05:13 PM CST [Link]
WHY THOSE WELL-ARMED IRAQI CITIZEN-SUBJECTS AREN'T FREE. A nice short piece from William Lolli at Gunnewsdaily.com.
Posted by Claire @ 09:25 AM CST [Link]
A WORD FOR HERETICS, "DOMESTIC TERRORISTS," WRECKERS, SABOTEURS, DISRUPTIVE INFLUENCES, "ENEMY COMBATANTS," AND OTHER ENEMIES OF THE STATE -- that is, for anyone who subscribes to the weird notion that "freedom" doesn't mean surrendering all your freedoms: EscapeArtist.com.
Posted by Claire @ 09:17 AM CST [Link]
ACCURACY IN THE FBI'S DATABASES? HO HUM, WHY BOTHER? From USA Today and the Justice Department comes this charming news: the FBI is no longer under any obligation to make sure info on you is "accurate, relevant, timely and complete" before putting it in its criminal databases.
These are the databases, remember, that may land you in jail, keep you from getting a job, or prevent you from boarding a plane to visit your dying grandma. They're also the databases that cops have notoriously abused to search for information on ex-girlfriends, sexy strangers, and personal enemies.
The quaint old requirement for accuracy (imposed by the ever-diminishing Privacy Act) was often ignored, anyway. But ... well, at least it was there. We could point at it and scream about our "rights," which does seem to make us feel better.
The article didn't make it clear how the Justice Department became authorized to make an executive change in a law passed by Congress. Do such questions even matter these days?
Posted by Claire @ 09:08 AM CST [Link]
Monday, March 24, 2003
LAST NIGHT THE ANTI-GUN FLICK "BOWLING FOR COLUMBINE" HAD ITS FINAL MOMENT OF GLORY, winning Best Feature Documentary at the Oscars. Next year, the spotlight should be on "Innocents Betrayed" -- a film that shows the worldwide other side of the power of guns. Every gun hater should see "Innocents" -- should see what armed governments do to disarmed citizens -- then boo filmmaker Michael Moore even more loudly than he got booed last night. Let 'em cheer Aaron Zelman, who had the vision to make "Innocents." Let 'em cheer Richard Stevens, who (with Aaron) wrote the book on which the movie is based and who has been a vital creative spirit behind the production.
Go. Make a donation to help finish, promote, and distribute this film. Do it "for the children." Do it for me. (I'm the script writer.) Do it so Aaron can produce his next pro-gun film project. Do it because we gotta win the propaganda war or lose everything that matters.
Posted by Claire @ 01:17 PM CST [Link]
YOU'VE SEEN THE 1950s-STYLE "DUCK AND COVER" GRAPHICS AT READY.GOV. But what on earth are these bizarre little cryptograms from the Department of Homeland Security actually trying to tell us to DO? "Worry about dead fish during a hurricane"? "Use satanic-looking symbols to ward off superstitious terrorists"? What? The U.S. Department of Laughs has the answers that may save your life in the event that aliens attack or radiation turns you into a giant mutant.
(Enter this site with your pop-up-stopper software on! It's a pop-up jungle.)
Posted by Claire @ 09:46 AM CST [Link]
THE SUN IS GETTING HOTTER says a new study published at Space.com. Scientists aren't sure yet, but this might (whodathunkit?) be a cause of global warming.
I want to go on record right now as saying that, despite the U.S.'s responsibilities as the universe's one known superpower, I don't think it's our job to rush up there and Do Something about it.
Posted by Claire @ 09:20 AM CST [Link]
Sunday, March 23, 2003
I'M SPEECHLESS WITH GRIEF OVER GULF WAR II. Thank heaven for intelligent voices, more articulate and informed than mine. Take a look at Forbes magazine's Best War Blogs. These five blogs include pros and antis -- and even one blog that claims to be posted by an observer on the ground in Baghdad. I'm also impressed by Andy Carvin's Gulf War II discussion list. I have little tolerance for the yammering that goes on on most e-mail lists, but this one is different. Participants dedicate themselves to an exchange of news and informed discussion of developments. Although both pro- and anti-war voices are present, there is little flaming or ranting. The occasional jackass is booted from the list too swiftly to ruin the discussion. You can subscribe via this link or visit the Yahoo page linked above.
Posted by Claire @ 01:58 PM CST [Link]
Thursday, March 20, 2003
I DON'T UNDERSTAND THE IDEA THAT DISSENTERS SHOULD ZIP LIPS IN WARTIME. Never have. The most patriotic thing I can do is keep urging my country to be its most noble, freedom-enhancing best. And shouldn't I do that most urgently when I believe it's gone the most wrong?
Here are a couple of good articles that discuss wartime dissent. "Sock Time or Patriotism?" by Myles Kantor talks about what's going on now. "Some Dare Call it Treason" by Bill Berkowitz starts with current demands to silence dissent but goes on to examine wartime dissent and laws to silence it, going back to World War I. "Treason" is the more important of the two articles.
(Anyway, as my Constitutionalist friends will point out, despite the bombs and missiles now flying, the U.S. government is not legally at war. Yeah, yeah, I know how silly it is to imagine the fedgov should be bound by the Constitution these days. But I'm an old-fashioned girl. I believe decent people have to maintain some standards of conduct.)
Posted by Claire @ 09:39 AM CST [Link]
Wednesday, March 19, 2003
WAR. It's surreal thinking that as early as this evening U.S. forces could be pounding the hell out of Iraq -- a nation whose leader is a creep (and what else is new in this too-human world?), but which otherwise shows no sign of intending any harm to our country. I think of Stalin, the ultimate cynic, who said, "A single death is a tragedy. A million deaths is a statistic." Politicians, Bush and Stalin alike, know that when we hear of mass deaths, we'll forget to empathize with the very individual pain and terror each victim felt. And with our new high-tech war, Bush is counting on us watching the selected clips on TV and simply being proud of our killing power, as Germans were no doubt proud of Blitzkrieg.
It would be a blessing if every vicious dictator were overthrown -- and a vastly greater blessing if we could overthrow the subservient mindset that makes us crave "great leaders" in the first place. But if it's America's job (and not the job of well-armed locals) to depose politicians simply because they're vicious, corrupt, murdering bastards, then why aren't U.S. troops amassed on the borders of about half the countries in Africa? Surely Mr. Mugabe of Zimbabwe is no prize. And how about Asia? Mr. Kim Jong Il by all reports runs a sadistic fantasy state that makes Iraq look like a haven of human rights and sanity by comparison (and has threatened to lob nukes at us, besides).
Mr. Bush, if your aim is really to liberate the oppressed, regardless of the amount of oil under their feet or the strategic locations of their countries, you've got a big job ahead of you.
Posted by Claire @ 09:25 AM CST [Link]
Monday, March 17, 2003
I WAS ON ERNEST HANCOCK'S RADIO SHOW IN PHOENIX THIS MORNING -- only my second media interview in the last three years. The other interview was on the Louie Free show in Cleveland a couple of weeks ago. (See, I don't have to go to Cleveland; I've already been.) Both these hosts are great guys and great freedom lovers. Besides, I know Ernie & there's nobody who puts more verve, more sheer, infectious energy, into the freedom fight than he does.
I don't have any more media appearances planned. I'd really rather be a hermit in the woods, so I avoid these things when I can. However, in May I'm scheduled to make my first in-person appearance in lo these many years at the Missoula, Montana conference of the Free State Project. Other speakers include columnist Vin Suprynowicz and Sierra Times publisher J.J. Johnson.
Posted by Claire @ 02:35 PM CST [Link]
YOU CAN TRUST YOUR GOVERNMENT -- to make a hash of things. From the U.S. Senate comes a report that federal agencies are sloppy in protecting your social security number and other confidential data. They grant access to your SSN -- and your identity -- to all sorts of folks without much regard for who those folks or what they may do to you. This earned a Privacy Villain of the Week award from the National Consumer Coalition's Privacy Group, which rightly points out that federal agencies have absolutely no incentive to fix the problem. It's not like they're going to lose either "customers" or revenue by abusing your trust.
The NCCPG also correctly notes that the real answer to the identity-theft problem is to quit using the SSN or any other single "open sesame" (like fingerprints or retinal scans) as a universal identifier.
Alas, this isn't the entire solution. The very databases themselves -- when combined with incurable human stupidity -- compromise our security in ways old paper files never could have. I have a friend, for instance, who's doing some computer work for a financial-services company. This company has the sort of files on its customers that ... well, let's just say that if they don't know whether you wipe your butt with your left hand or your right, it's only because they haven't put that field in the form yet. My friend was startled to learn that this company had simply given her access to everything in their customer files -- total information on thousands of people who had been assured that their information was confidential -- no protections, no blocks on the info at all. Fortunately my friend is so honorable she won't even look at the data, let alone steal it. So that particular group of customers lucks out. This time. But luck is all that protects them from financial rape.
Posted by Claire @ 08:35 AM CST [Link]
Sunday, March 16, 2003
FIRE, THE FOUNDATION FOR INDIVIDUAL RIGHTS IN EDUCATION, is publishing a series of guides to teach college students their rights to free speech, due process, religious liberty, and other freedoms that have been dying on our increasingly thought-controlled campuses. The downloadable FIRE Guides to Student Rights on Campus look like a healthy antidote to the sickness that has been turning colleges from havens of inquiry to halls of Inquisition.
Posted by Claire @ 05:26 PM CST [Link]
ANYONE SERIOUSLY INTERESTED IN ALTERNATIVE ID would benefit by lurking in the forums at shadowcrew. It may take time and patience, but you'll find out what you need to know. Somehow, I feel paranoid about putting this link up, as if too much attention to shadowcrew will result either in a flood of idiots or a flood of agents provocateur that will ruin the site. So I may not keep this blog entry open for long. I've had strange experiences with the site, anyway. It comes and goes as mysteriously as the Weapon Shops of Isher.
Posted by Claire @ 04:32 PM CST [Link]
I AM A COMPLETE IDIOT. Also a propagandist, a liar, and [gasp!] a liberal. At least I am according to a reader who just responded to one of my articles. "Indignant in Indiana" also made another damning accusation. This particular accusation is often included in letters of this sort and is intended to reveal the truly satanic depths of my depravity: "You're just in it for the money."
For the record, I took a 67 percent pay cut (and sometimes a 100 percent pay cut) when I gave up corporate communications for the pleasure of bringing excitement to the lives of men like Mr Indignant. But it was the right decision. I wouldn't go back.
Thing is, I got to wondering what Mr. I does to earn his money. If he flips burgers or drives a forklift, picks up trash or clerks in a C-store ... isn't he "just in it for the money"? Don't millions upon millions of folks work solely for the paycheck and not for any joy, satisfaction, or meaning in their work? And isn't it terribly, terribly sad that millions of human beings drag themselves to hated jobs every day, just to get money -- and then give 40 percent of their money -- and of their precious working lives -- to the government?
And isn't it odd that we find this state of affairs to be normal?
And isn't it funny that we find it offensive for others to do what they do "for the money" when we do it for the money, too?
Sadder yet are the folks who go to work every day and "for the money" enforce or comply with freedom-robbing regulations, waste billions of hard-earned tax dollars on boondoggles, prosecute the insane drug war, build and maintain the Big Brother databases, and put non-violent men and women in jail. How many times have we heard that the obnoxious bureaucrat at the EPA or the guard at the prison camp is "just an ordinary person trying to get by"? Just an ordinary person whose security comes from stealing freedom. And it's so often all just "for the money."
Funny that folks like Mr. I aren't more offended at that.
All things considered, Mr. Indignant, if I'm going to be in some occupation "for the money," I'll stick with writing about freedom, thanks. And you're free to think whatever you like of it. But any time you want to swap your monthly paycheck for mine, I'm ready to make the trade -- as long as the money you got wasn't stolen from some poor tax-serf.
Posted by Claire @ 03:53 PM CST [Link]
Saturday, March 15, 2003
THE STUNNING RECOVERY OF ELIZABETH SMART, the 14-year-old girl kidnapped out of her bedroom last year in Salt Lake City, reminds me of two other stories that show how easily people surrender their individual will. Some folks have commented how strange it was that Elizabeth didn't just walk away during one of the many chances she got -- as if that showed that a kid snatched at knifepoint was somehow a willing participant.
I think we don't even begin to understand how easily human minds can be twisted by master manipulators.
The first story is that of Colleen Stan, The Perfect Victim, held captive for seven years, much of it under incomprehensible sexual torture, who eventually came to view herself as a sort of second wife to her married torturer.
The second story (which I must relate by memory, since it happened in the 1970s) was that of a reporter in California who, with the intention of investigating the Moonies, accepted the invitation they were then extending to spend a weekend at a church camp. By the end of a single weekend, this skeptic, this investigator, was so stressed out at the thought of leaving her new "friends" that she was panicked and vomiting.
And that's not even to mention the case of Patty Hearst, of course.
The reason I mention any of this is that I suspect our loyalty to the very government that is steadily taking our freedoms away is a form of Stockholm Syndrome:An abuser traumatizes a victim (who does not believe they can escape, or truly can not) with a threat to the victim's survival. The traumatized victim, who perceives isolation from outsiders; who could provide nurturance and protection, must look to the abuser to meet those needs. If the abuser shows the victim some small kindness, the victim then must bond to the perceived positive side of the abuser, denying (or dissociating) the side of the abuser that produced the terror. The victim begins to work to see the world from the abuser's perspective so that they may know what keeps the abuser happy, thus helping to insure the victim's survival. As a result the victim becomes hypervigilant to the abuser's needs and unaware of their own.
Does that describe any tax-paying, state-educated supporters of omnipotent government that you know? Yes, if you're "good," the state will protect you -- from itself.
Posted by Claire @ 09:11 PM CST [Link]
LOSING MY BLOGINITY. Well, this is it. The first real and official entry in Wolfesblog. For a long time, I didn't get why blogging is so popular. I mean, the typical blog is about as fascinating as your Aunt Violet's 30-year-old slides of her vacation in Cleveland ("And after I took that one, your Uncle Henry noticed that his fly was open, ha ha ha.")
Most blogs are for the benefit of the bloggers' egos.
Why blog then? Because a blog is a perfect form of Web site for writers and readers on the go. And because some blogs, like Glenn Harlan Reynolds' InstaPundit.com and Eugene Volkh's The Volokh Conspiracy have risen far above the genre. The best blogs have become a lightning network for news and the conscience of the Internet. Considering that, I'm just a little late entering the blogosphere.
Visitors who remember my old Wolfe's Lodge -- that glorious and complex site -- will find Clairewolfe.com a different animal. Not as big an animal, for sure, but fast, sleek, graceful, and lively (if I do my job right). I hope I can make this blog both informative and fun for visitors.
And, trust me, I have no plans to go to Cleveland.
Posted by Claire @ 08:15 PM CST [Link]
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