WolfesBlogArchives: June 2005
Thursday, June 30, 2005
EVOLUTION OF THE ROBE. A cartoon.
Guess the cartoonist means the recent KKK case -- and implies that there's been real change. I think of the Nine Nazgul (as Silver describes them) and the Kelo decision and ... well, somehow the two robes don't look all that different to me. "Justice" in Mississippi may have improved. But in the nation ... ?
Posted by Claire @ 12:11 PM CST [Link]
THE NATURE OF MONEY YESTERDAY
by guestblogger Silver
Less than 35 years ago money was fundamentally different from the consensual mass illusion we call money today. During the 10,000-plus years since the invention of money, it has always been a commodity.
The commodity used as money has varied over time, places, and peoples. An amazing array of commodities have been used: cattle and other livestock, sugar, salt, copper, iron nails, tobacco, grain, tea, shells, feathers, beads, carved stones, various kinds of tools such as knives or spades, even fishhooks. Metallic coins were introduced in Asia Minor fully 600 years before the birth of Christ; King Croesus introduced coins of pure gold and silver about 550 B.C.
There are many properties that make a commodity suitable for use as money. One of the most important is durability. You don’t want your money rotting, walking away, dying, or being eaten by rodents and insects. Another is marketability; money is of little use if it is not widely accepted. A third is portability; carved stone money, with “coins” that were sometimes meters across, were not very good on this score. There are many others, and the process of free market competition and refinement that led to the near universal use of gold and silver as money is an interesting one. I promised to keep these essays short, so I will defer telling that tale.
One nice thing about commodity money is that its value can’t go to zero. The value of commodities certainly changes with supply and demand, but unless demand goes to zero, or supply becomes so plentiful that no one wants any more, there will always be some value to your commodity. If your commodity begins being used as money, its value tends to go up, as there are now two sources of demand: one for use as a commodity, and one for use as money. But even if the second source of demand vanishes, you are not stuck with something worthless, just something worth less.
The fact that money has always been a durable commodity has some very important implications for those who want to live free. There are few things that curtail freedom more effectively than debt; free men and women adjust their lifestyles to their means, and the wiser among them invariably save some part of their money. The savings are used to make large purchases such as houses or educations, to cover expenses when illness or job loss curtails income, and to provide for one’s old age. Free people take care of themselves, and that means saving.
Saving money is impossible if the money is not durable. Cattle money is problematic because it takes a lot of work to feed, water, and tend the animals, things you can’t do so well as you get older. Grain money is likewise subject to rot and infestation. That is why, for thousands of years, the frugal, the wise, and the free have saved gold and silver coins.
It is possible to save this way today. It has never been easier to buy gold and silver bullion coins; a few mouse clicks or a phone call, send a paper check or some electronic bits to the merchant, a short while later the postman gives you a small and curiously heavy package. You have turned hallucination into cold hard reality. You can even do so in IRA and 401(k) accounts, although you have to find someone you trust to hold the coins until our masters say you can have them. You have to trust the masters not to change the rules before that day comes. Readers of this blog have reason not to be so trusting, but you can save directly, without the IRA/401(k) tax benefits.
Durability was lost when money became a consensual mass hallucination. It was not lost by accident. Future essays will explore who profits, and how, from non-durable money that makes saving by free people all but impossible.
Posted by Silver @ 04:16 AM CST [Link]
Tuesday, June 28, 2005
THAT WAS A VERY GOOD REVIEW OF THE BLACK ARROW at LewRockwell.com today. Yeah, let's have more rebellion and romance, less poly-ticking. That's what life's all about ...
Posted by Claire @ 10:42 PM CST [Link]
OH, THIS IS A GOOD, GOOD DAY. :-) Developer proposes to build a hotel on Justice David Souter's land.Justice Souter's vote in the "Kelo vs. City of New London" decision allows city governments to take land from one private owner and give it to another if the government will generate greater tax revenue or other economic benefits when the land is developed by the new owner.
On Monday June 27, Logan Darrow Clements, faxed a request to Chip Meany the code enforcement officer of the Towne of Weare, New Hampshire seeking to start the application process to build a hotel on 34 Cilley Hill Road. This is the present location of Mr. Souter's home.
Clements, CEO of Freestar Media, LLC, points out that the City of Weare will certainly gain greater tax revenue and economic benefits with a hotel on 34 Cilley Hill Road than allowing Mr. Souter to own the land.
The proposed development, called "The Lost Liberty Hotel" will feature the "Just Desserts Café" and include a museum, open to the public, featuring a permanent exhibit on the loss of freedom in America. Instead of a Gideon's Bible each guest will receive a free copy of Ayn Rand's novel "Atlas Shrugged."
Posted by Claire @ 01:38 PM CST [Link]
NOW HOW'S THAT FOR A MOVIE POSTER, EH? This day-brightener came to me from Scott the Browncoat, who says Serenity isn't the only movie freedom lovers should be looking forward to.
I'd never heard of this one. But Scott writes:"V For Vendetta" is based on the graphic novel of the same name by Alan Moore (great british comic author). It is one of the first modern comics to go beyond superhero stories and jump into art. And this is art for adults. The following is from [the book's listing on Amazon.com]: "A frightening and powerful story of the loss of freedom and identity in a totalitarian world, V for Vendetta takes place in an alternate future in which Germany wins WWII and Britain becomes a fascist state. A vigilante named 'V' stalks the streets of London trying to free England of its ideological chains."
The cast looks intriguing. Definitely going to keep an eye on this one.
The tagline asks us to "Remember, remember the Fifth of November" -- Guy Fawkes Day (the character "V" wears a Guy Fawkes mask). But it wouldn't do to release a film on a Saturday night, so November 4 is the date to await.
Posted by Claire @ 11:52 AM CST [Link]
Monday, June 27, 2005
Keeping It Simple, Stupid!
Raving reporter Thunder here. Many of us in the freedom-loving community have embraced the concept of gulching. For those not in the know, might I suggest this short primer. Well, as we all know there are different types of gulches. Some people may choose to vacate themselves to the backwoods of New Hampshire, some may retreat to the mountains and hills of one o' dem square states. Heck, some may even retreat to the desert surrounding the strip of Las Vegas or Palm Springs. Many will build their homesteads off-grid, utilizing wind, solar, or hydro power. A few may even utilize all three, if the resources are available.
The main hurdle once you're generating your own power is not using too much of it. The electrical resources that one will have when generating their own are [more]
Posted by Thunder @ 07:50 PM CST [Link]
THOSE JOLLY BRITS ARE AHEAD OF US AGAIN. And could it be that one reason they're so eager to impose a national ID card is that their government plans to make a handy profit selling the data?
It seems, however, that even the usually bovine British might finally be ready to rebel against at least one aspect of their surveillance state.
(This item found via Wendy McElroy's McBlog.)
Posted by Claire @ 08:44 AM CST [Link]
Sunday, June 26, 2005
I THOUGHT, IN THIS TIME OF GLOOM AND CONSTANT BAD NEWS, That it would be nice to show a small success story. The dog above is Suki, a feral rescue dog who came into my life on Memorial Day weekend, 2004.
Here's what she looked like at the vet's office the day my friend Ken and I brought her in on an improvised blanket stretcher. (Click only if you think you can handle it -- and then remember that she smelled even worse than she looked.)
And here's my favorite photo showing a typical moment in the oh-so-tough life Suki endures today.
You can see she's still not quite as furry as she ought to be. And she's still semi-wild and easily frightened. But on those days when it seems life has been in vain, it's encouraging to look at Suki and say, "Well, at least I've done one good and worthwhile thing."
Posted by Claire @ 04:10 PM CST [Link]
BUT DON'T WORRY. The feds have never used the Patriot Act to get library records. That's what they keep telling us (with a sneer toward "hysterical" privacy activists). And surely our masters wouldn't lie?
Good thing the freedom to read still has some friends. But the enemies are still at it and they're sneakier than we are.
(Thanks to Mystery Woman for the links.)
Posted by Claire @ 03:42 PM CST [Link]
THE NINE NAZGUL
The relentless assault upon privacy, property, peace, and freedom seems to increase in scope and intensity with every passing day. The torrent of vile spew from SCOTUS at this time of year exacerbates the trend.
Each new outrage reinforces the image of SCOTUS as the nine Nazgul. Like the dark lords in Tolkien’s works, these creatures were once human. They had lives, families, and homes. Long ago they were seduced by power, and little by little they have given up their humanity, their compassion, even their ability to read and understand the plain meaning of simple, declarative language. Now they live in a netherworld, interacting with our world only to further erode the chains that once bound their master. They can cause great fear among mortal men and women, but they feel nothing, and no longer understand sickness, or privacy, or liberty, or life itself.
“They could see things in worlds invisible to mortal men; but too often they beheld only the phantoms and delusions of the State. And one by one, sooner or later, according to their native strength and to the good or evil of their wills in the beginning, they fell under the thralldom of the power that they wielded and began to support the supremacy of the State over all things. And they became forever invisible save to those that served the State, and they entered into the realm of shadows. The Nazgul were they, the Benchwraiths, the Enemy's most terrible servants; darkness went with them, and they cried with the voices of death.”
(My apologies to JRR Tolkien for paraphrasing The Silmarillion. )
Today’s Nazgul believe that their rituals and dark powers protect and legitimize their evil works. They tell each other that crafting aggressive language citing the writings of their predecessors makes their rulings wise and just.
The charade is failing. The naked hand of power reveals itself ever more clearly, as it smites the sick, the poor, and the innocent with increasingly careless abandon. Today only the minions of the state pay heed to the screeching of these Benchwraiths. Their legitimacy begins and ends at the muzzles of the State's guns, for they have long ceased to be fit judges of anything at all concerning the affairs of a free people.
Posted by Silver @ 05:49 AM CST [Link]
Saturday, June 25, 2005
THUNDER IS RIGHT. The ruling that your property belongs to whichever gang of rich mucky mucks colludes with government to take it came straight from the belly of the Beast. Now the Beast is slavering in anticipation of the bloody meals it itself intends to consume.
But outrages like the Kelo decision also make interesting allies. BlackEnterprise.com has one of the best analyses on Kelo's devastation of private property rights. Perhaps the Beast's diverse prey will unite in defense.
Posted by Claire @ 10:28 AM CST [Link]
Friday, June 24, 2005
THE MAD LAND GRAB HAS BEGUN!
Guest blogger Thunder here.
It would appear that the ink on the Supreme Court decision allowing theft of private property has not even dried yet and already localities are seizing the opportunity to start their sprees of wholesale pilfering of privately owned land to give to other people.
The town of Freeport, Texas and their lawyers jumped into action without hesitation.
Bastards. I would wax a bit more eloquent than that, but I'm almost too angry for words. I feel violated.
Posted by Thunder @ 09:38 PM CST [Link]
WHAT CAN A SERVER LEARN ABOUT YOU AND YOUR BROWSER? Charles Curley sends this series of tests that are far more detailed than others I've seen. Check out the vulnerabilities, opportunities, and revelations your browser offers to the Net -- and to hackers, crackers, spammers, spyware makers, and snooping gummint scum.
Posted by Claire @ 10:55 AM CST [Link]
Thursday, June 23, 2005
The nature of money today
Silver here. It is a real honor and a privilege to be a guest in this place, and I thank Claire for the opportunity.
The focus of this blog is freedom. What does money have to do with freedom? Money is one of those things, like air or electricity, which is so common and deeply ingrained in our everyday lives that most people don’t bother to worry about where it comes from, how it is made, who controls it. Take it away, and your life gets very difficult, very quickly. Manipulate it, and unscrupulous people can take advantage of the ignorant or unwary.
Most of us know from personal experience what comes from not having enough money. Charles Dickens was succinct: “Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen six, result happiness. Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pound ought and six, result misery.”
Happiness is not the same as freedom. A sweeping, unfair generalization about Amerika today would be “fat, dumb, happy, and less free every single day.” You can be poor and free, rich and a slave. (I'm aiming for rich and free, but that's another story.) As a nation, we’re rich, and we’re slaves. There are reasons we have come to this, and the nature of our money is one of those reasons.
Individual liberty is meaningless if it does not include the freedom to trade with others, to make contracts, to exchange goods and services. Even the most die-hard gulchers at TCF spend a lot of time discussing how gulches might organize their economies and trade within a gulch or with other gulches. Almost no one seeks individual autarchy, absolute self-sufficiency. The wondrous array of goods and services available today makes any attempt to live in complete isolation an exercise in severe deprivation, with a life that is shorter, sicker, lonelier, and much, much harder than it needs to be.
Money is absolutely essential to trade. There are no advanced barter economies in the world today. The introduction of money completely revolutionized trade, allowed entrepreneurs to make complex calculations regarding costs, prices, and profits, and solved the problem of one farmer with one cow to trade trying to find one merchant to sell him just the right combination of shoes, clothes, drink, spices, glass, jewelry, cooking oil, and fuel. It’s not that barter can’t work, it’s that money works so much better that barter immediately becomes a very minor part of economic life whenever money is introduced. Money was created by and for free people and free markets. Theft and violence, the basis of all government, preceded the creation of money, and when money was introduced governments quickly shifted their demands from shares of crops and indentured servants to money.
The nature of money today is very different than it has been for thousands of years, different than pretty much all of the recorded and unrecorded history of humanity. Modern money is a consensual mass hallucination. Today's money has no substance, no value of its own. We believe in our money because it is easy and convenient to do so, and because our masters command it. With direct deposit, credit cards, and on-line banking services, it is quite possible to live a perfectly normal lifestyle while only rarely touching the bits of colored paper that we call money. Most Amerikan money is in the form of electronic bits. They keep track of our bank accounts, record the transfer of money from our employer’s account to (first) the ever-growing legions of tax collectors, your 401(k), perhaps various loan payments, and whatever is left to your bank account, while reporting every detail to the federales on request. Most of the new money being created out of thin air is no longer printed; why pay $20 and change for $1,000 in new bills when you can do the same with a few keystrokes?
When William Gibson explored the concept of the matrix in his book Neuromancer it was possible to enter and exit at will. Today’s matrix, the consensual mass hallucination we call money, is nearly impossible to exit. But like all illusions, there are those who control its workings for their own benefit. In the essays to come, I hope to pull the curtains aside just a bit for those who are curious about this cornerstone of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
Posted by Silver @ 08:27 PM CST [Link]
TCF COMBAT RIFLE POSTAL MATCH
Blogispondent Ian here. I would like to announce that the first TCF Combat Rifle Postal Match will be taking place over Independence Day weekend! For those of you not familiar with postal matches, the idea is that a bunch of people all shoot the same course of fire and then mail their targets to a single person for scoring. It allows us to hold a rifle match without needing to get everyone together at the same shooting range. For the privacy-minded, you may scan your targets and email them in rather than using a mail carrier.
Everyone with a military-style rifle is encouraged to participate, regardless of skill level. Click "more" for detailed information: [more]
Posted by Ian @ 03:10 PM CST [Link]
WELL, THE FEDDIES CERTAINLY WASTED NO TIME cracking down on those evil dangerous sick people following the Supermes' verdict in the Raich case.
Thank god we have the state to protect us. Otherwise ... well, my lord, we might have anarchy!
Posted by Claire @ 01:32 PM CST [Link]
HOW IRONIC. I review the movie The Castle on the morning of the day the U.S. Supremes say the government really can take your property and give it to another private party ... as long as the mucky mucks consider the transaction an "improvement."
And won't they always consider it an improvement to see your property in their pals' hands? Especially when it means more tax loot for them?
Posted by Claire @ 11:47 AM CST [Link]
DO YOU FEEL A DRAFT? Pentagon begins creating detailed student database.WASHINGTON - The Defense Department began working yesterday with a private marketing firm to create a database of high school students ages 16 to 18 and all college students to help the military identify potential recruits in a time of dwindling enlistment in some branches. ...
The new database will include personal information including birth dates, Social Security numbers, e-mail addresses, grade-point averages, ethnicity and what subjects the students are studying.
And typically ...Privacy advocates said the plan appeared to be an effort to circumvent laws that restrict the government's right to collect or hold citizen information by turning to private firms to do the work.
(Found by Thunder.)
Posted by Claire @ 09:29 AM CST [Link]
DARRYL VS. GOLIATH. (A review of The Castle, Rated R for language, 83 minutes, Australia 1997.)
Darryl Kerrigan has a great life. He's thrilled that his family's home is at the end of the Melbourne airport runway where the "big, beautiful machines" fly so close overhead that it almost feels as though they're going to drop on the house. He's delighted to live under the power highlines, which to him symbolize all the greatness of mankind's creations. His porch has the best plastic trim on the block. He's amazed at the glory of every meat loaf his wife cooks. He's even got a daughter who's the first in the family to graduate from "college" -- with a degree in hairdressing.
In fact, the whole Kerrigan family is as loving and as near perfectly content as a family can be.
Until one day they receive notice that their home is being taken by compulsory acquisition (the Australian equivalent of eminent domain) to expand the airport. Their neighbors' homes are being taken, too.
It's all according to law, explains a polite lady bureaucrat. There's an agreement between the federal, state, and county governments and the airport commission that allows it.
"Yeah?" demands Darryl, "Well where's the agreement with Darryl Kerrigan, 3 Highview Crescent, Coolaroo?" [more]
Posted by Claire @ 12:41 AM CST [Link]
Wednesday, June 22, 2005
COMPANY IS EXPECTED. Old friends from TCF, Silver and Thunder will soon be joining Ian, Debra, and me for 45-day stints as Wolfesblog guest bloggers. I've asked them to post at least once a week -- and more often if they like.
I'm not going anywhere; I just thought some additional voices would go well in this little chorus.
I admire Silver's expertise on money and economics, and those are probably the topics he'll focus on. Thunder ... well, he just rants reel gud. And after his role in The Bug-Out Campout I'm hoping he might also gift us occasionally with survival gear reviews, recipes, and such.
Posted by Claire @ 08:39 PM CST [Link]
OOOOH. PAYING TO BE BIOMETRICALLY SCANNED AND DATABASED. Well, isn't that just a hot little trend for the fast-lane folk? Especially considering this is being done -- by a "free-market" private contractor, of course -- on behalf of the TSA, which has so recently given yet another demonstration of its trustworthiness.
(Thanks to SJ.)
Posted by Claire @ 12:31 PM CST [Link]
THE TOP 100 MOVIE QUOTES OF ALL TIME. Very good. :-) But where's "No matter where you go ... there you are"? And its variations?
Posted by Claire @ 12:15 PM CST [Link]
Tuesday, June 21, 2005
HUMAN BEINGS ARE NOT MADE TO "MULTITASK." So indicate several recent studies. And it's not just about whether we can safely drive and talk on a cellphone at the same time. It's about whether we do our best as human beings.
Mystery Woman sent this link after reading yesterday's post on "How to be Idle." Like a lot of us, all my conditioning says "do, do, do." But the more seriously I delve into the virtues of idleness, the more I realize how much went wrong when we surrendered the ideal of leisure for the rather less pleasant ideals of "the work ethic" and "productivity."
What the hell did we let ourselves be talked into? The work ethic initially may lead to greater prosperity. But ultimately, it seems to lead to nothing but a more frantic work ethic ... which spills over into an ethic that says that even our play and our family activities must be carried out with a terrible intensity of pace and purpose. We work at everything as though we're convinced the whole world (espcially the economic world) will collapse under our feet if we stop.
Then, already exhausted, we discover that pleasurable idleness itself becomes hard work -- largely because of all the internal and external barriers we have to break through to find that sort of simplicity again.
Posted by Claire @ 01:45 PM CST [Link]
WALLY CONGER ON "LEFT LIBERTARIANS."
Murray Rothbard, Karl Hess, and Samuel Edward Konkin III were all bridge-builders to freedom lovers on the left. Unfortunately, they're all dead. But libertarianism (aka "classical liberalism") began on the left. And it's as important as ever -- maybe moreso -- to keep those bridges open.
Posted by Claire @ 01:34 PM CST [Link]
NOT A MELTING POT, BUT ... Something else altogether, says Thunder.
I've been considering opening Wolfesblog up to two or three other posters -- both to add variety and to make sure there's plenty of content here even on days I take a break. Thunder is one of the people I'm talking with. We haven't quite worked out a co-blogging or guest-blogging arrangement, but he already submitted his first rumination.
Not only does Thunder have an ... er, unique idea about freedom lovers. It turns out (cue Twilight Zone theme) he and I have a weakness for the same rare and strange version of a classic 1950s concoction -- which you'll find at the bottom of his message.
I'll now leave the stage (or should I say the kitchen?) and let Thunder take over:When we grew up, with most of us attending government schools, we were taught that America was the Great Melting Pot. A smorgasbord of cultures and nationalities. A buffet, if you will. The main dish on this buffet was freedom. It's what attracted all of those different peoples here from around the globe. The freedom to live their lives the way they wanted to, not how they were told to do.
Times have changed however. No longer is freedom the meat and potatoes of the buffet that is America. True freedom lovers have become a minority. Ostracized, ridiculed, and damned near hated by the vast majority of Americans nowadays, the freedom-loving community has now become one of the most dreaded of dishes on the American buffet. We've become ...............
Posted by Claire @ 01:30 PM CST [Link]
Monday, June 20, 2005
HOW TO BE IDLE. I'm still working on it. Others are more accomplished:
I had lunch with these French people who said, “Travailler moins, produire plus.” In other words, the less you work, the more you produce. And certainly in my own experience—even in the really good jobs—a lot of the day is just spent sitting there, staring at your screen, pretending to work, checking your emails, on the phone to your girlfriend. I realized I’d rather work hard for two or three hours in a day—which was the only real work I was doing—and then bobble about the rest of the time, in the park or whatever. I’ve found that there isn’t any correlation whatsoever between the hours put in and the quality of what comes out. Most of the Beatles’ songs probably originated in about five minutes. Often, the things that a lot of work has gone into have been incredibly bad because they’re over-worked.
Posted by Claire @ 01:00 PM CST [Link]
Sunday, June 19, 2005
ACTORS, ACTRESSES, MUSINGS ON MUSES. Wally Conger praises Batman Begins, which I hope to see as soon as it hits the local one-plex.
I'd probably have gone, anyway, but this week I belatedly discovered the wonders of Christian Bale, who plays Batman/Bruce Wayne. I'd been aware of Bale, but not until my movie-reviewing pal Oliver recommended The Machinist did I bow before Bale's glories. His performance in that film is astonishing.
I've seen three of last year's five "best actor" Oscar performances, including the winner. And Bale demolishes them all (including the performance by my favorite actor, Johnny Depp). So of course, they didn't even nominate him.
Sigh. Not the first time the Hollywoodizens have been so short-sighted.
Bale, who is 6'2", also reduced his weight to under 120 pounds to play the role of Trevor Reznik, a man tormenting himself into non-existence. No camera or lighting tricks; that emaciated creature who looks like he just staggered out of Auschwitz is all Bale -- or what was left of him. Doing that to himself may have been madness, but it was effective madness.
Bale's performance got me thinking about great contemporary actors and actresses. Mostly actors. I have to ask where are the actresses?
In about five minutes with a pen and a notepad, I can think of two dozen contemporary actors who've given at least one performance (and sometimes many more) that just flat blew me off my feet:
- Johnny Depp (who's never given a bad performance)
- Tom Hanks
- Gary Oldman
- Ewan McGregor
- Hayden Christensen
Friday, June 17, 2005
REVIEW: THE BOOK OF TWO GUNS, BY TIGER MCKEE
Blogispondent Ian here. For some time I've been keeping an eye out for a good comprehensive book on practical/defensive shooting. Every one I found seemed a bit limited, though. They tend to focus on a single aspect of shooting - either on a particular type of firearm (rifles, pistols, shotguns) or on a particular type of competition. Many also seem to consist of only fairly basic info. Put together they would be great, but my limited budget wasn't going to let me pick up a half dozen such books at $20 or $30 each.
I recently saw one reviewed on a discussion forum, and it seemed to be just what I had been looking for. The price was about standard, at $24.95, so I took a chance and ordered it before having the chance to peruse a copy. The book was Tiger McKee's The Book of Two Guns: The Martial Art of the 1911 Pistol and AR Carbine, and I'm glad I bought it.
The book began life as McKee's training diary as he set out to master the art of fighting with firearms (he makes no claim to have achieved this, though in the book's introduction Clint Smith speaks very highly of his skills). Years later, it was suggested to him that he organize and publish it, as the collected information from many different shooting schools and resources could be useful to many people. The final published version still looks very much like a personal notebook, although it has been polished. The text is all hand written (perfectly legible), and all the (numerous) illustrations were draw by the author. The text is in addition riddled with misspellings and grammatical errors. I suppose these were left to retain the flavor of the book...I find them a bit annoying, but they are not indicative of flawed information.
The book is relatively short at 172 pages (physical size roughly 6"x8"), but is packed with a tremendous amount of information. McKee covers the basics quickly, and continues right on to cover many less commonly discussed subjects. For example, when discussing shooting positions he includes (and illustrates) half a dozen variations of kneeling and seven prone positions, giving the problems and benefits inherent in each one. This sort of detail is present throughout the book, inclusing the sections on malfunction clearances (both two-handed and single-handed), use of cover, shooting with a flashlight, retention, using a firearm as an impact weapon, human psychology and physiology, and combat mindset. In addition, every section gives coverage to both handguns and rifles (shotguns are never specifically mentioned, but much of the rifle information is applicable to shotguns). I really can't begin to list all the topics McKee covers.
I very highly recommend this book to anyone who is looking for either a single gunfighting reference or for an addition work to supplement an existing library. Images of a number of pages are available at Amazon.com, and it can be ordered either there or through the Shootrite Firearms Academy.
Posted by Ian @ 06:57 PM CST [Link]
Thursday, June 16, 2005
MORE ON THE "EVERYBODY IS A CRIMINAL" FRONT. Justice Department pushing for ISPs to keep your surfing and e-mailing data for law-enforcement purposes.
No great surprise, of course. In fact, the surprise is that they've waited this long to get aggressive about pushing for it. But still ... when and how did American business acquiesce to the presumption that every business must become an agency of law-enforcement anytime the state orders it to do so?
Wednesday, June 15, 2005
WHOOHOO! POSSIBLE EARLY RELEASE FOR SERENITY? So reports Vlad Taltos at TCF. And just read what the film distributor -- not notably a member of the cheering throng -- says about the advance screenings and the movie's prospects!
POOR MRS. NAT. Life has gone rough for her. Fortunately there's an herb that might help ease her misery.
Tuesday, June 14, 2005
COULD COMMUNITY ENCOURAGE UPRISING AGAINST KLEPTOCRACY? It's a possibility to consider.
I read this and for some reason I think of Boston before the American Revolution. By today's standards, the hottest hotbed of popular agitation was a small town (about 15,000), where leaders all knew each other and whipping up a rebellion was a matter of rousing quite a small rabble.
(Found amid Rational Review News. Always a great source.)
AHA. WE KNEW THIS WAS COMING WHEN HE STARTED TALKING about "homeland" security.
(Tip of the hat to AZ.)
Monday, June 13, 2005
TWO NEW REVIEWS OF REBELFIRE: OUT OF THE GRAY ZONE! :-) :-) :-)
First, the individual cleverly disguised as atek128 writes:At first glance, it's "another" book of the rapidly growing 'libertarian revolutionary' genre characterized by Unintended Consequenses, Enemies Foreign and Domestic, Patriots: Surviving the Coming Collapse, Molon Labe, and The Black Arrow. I say "at first glance," because the book distinguishes itself from the others for several reasons. The main one is age of readership. UC and BA both are pretty racy for kids and people uncomfortable about sex, however, RebelFire isn't very racy (the main character isn't even 18), so it has the chance of appealing to a greater audience.
Another difference is the age of the protagonist. In almost all the books of this genre, the main characters are old enough to remember the "good ole days" before the laws encroached enough to make everyone a criminal. Their rebellion is of course understandable. Jeremy on the other hand is quite young, and has grown up in a police state never knowing what true freedom is like. His mental and emotional progression is believable.This is the story of one ... young man with every conceivable disadvantage and no spark of liberty in his life except that which comes from deep within himself and inspired by the music and lyrics of a rock music group that is suddenly banned. Gradually he learns the harsh lessons of integrity and liberty as he climbs the mountains of terror and danger that stand between him and his dream. Along the way he finds a few kindred souls and bonds with a big ugly dog, not understanding at first what his dream really means or where it will take him, only that he's willing to die to reach it. ...
I wish that every parent who sees government as benevolent, or even a "necessary evil," could read this book and discover where that evil is taking us. It's right around the next corner and we don't have much time left before the Gray Zone engulfs us all.
The book comes with a CD so you can hear the music too! Get your copy, and get one as a gift for someone struggling with teens and their music, or doubtful about the push to destroy our privacy and liberty. This story might change their outlook forever.
Susan thinks the story stops, unfinished. Well, yes and no. Rest assured this book has a wrapup that'll leave you satisfied. But definitely there's a bigger story still to tell -- and Aaron and I hope to get a chance to tell that tale. It all depends on whether RebelFire catches fire with readers. Thank you, Sue and atek128 for helping it on its way.
WHEN I HEAR PEOPLE TALK ABOUT HOW BAD THESE TIMES ARE GETTING (and when I talk about that subject myself) I sometimes think about what our grandparents or great grandparents lived through. I wonder then whether things are becoming bad as rapidly as we believe or if this government by fiat is just American business as usual.
Think about how much went horribly, horribly wrong for freedom in the early years of the twentieth century. Take the period from 1913 to about 1936. You have passage of the income tax and creation of the Federal Reserve (in the same year, yet!). Prohibition. The subverting of the U.S. Senate to take the states out of the state-federal equation. Then all those monstrous New Deal programs, culminating in social security.
One person could easily have lived consciously through all that and still been a relatively young adult with WWII and the grim paranoia and federal overreach of the Cold War still ahead. [more]
Sunday, June 12, 2005
FINGERPRINTS AREN'T GOOD ENOUGH, APPARENTLY. Seems your darling little baby needs an iris scan, too. Repeat after me, "It's FOR THE CHILDREN. It's WILL KEEP US SAFE."
(Thanks to SJ for the happy news.)
JUST RECEIVED A SNAILED COPY OF LIBERTY WATCH, a new libertarian magazine out of Nevada. On its cover, Volume 1, Issue 3 features a photo of a wind-blown Vin Suprynowicz with a pair of shooting "ears" resting around his neck. "Backfire," says the teaser, in 72-point type, "Laissez Faire Books refused to carry Vin Syprynowicz's novel, a decision that proved a pleasant boost for sales. Vin talks about the controversy, the R-J and The Black Arrow."
Inside, a six-page spread (wow!) balances between discussion of the controversy and (even more interesting to me) Vin's writing techniques. Indeed, it does seem as if LFB shot itself in the foot by refusing to carry Vin's novel due to its sexual content. And didn't hurt Vin or his work one bit. LFB certainly has a right to carry or not carry whatever it chooses, but the decision to exclude The Black Arow (and the knowledge that the new management probably would have excluded The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged because of their sex scenes) is still mind-boggling.
Good article. Good magazine, for that matter -- tres slick and obviously supported by some heavy-duty advertisers. It has the upscale look of an alternative city 'zine, including restaurant and wine reviews and news and entertainment all focused on Nevada, and especially Las Vegas. But the main thrust is just what the title implies -- guarding liberty.
I don't find an online edition, but for $36 you get the monthly print 'zine plus a weekly e-mailed version. Liberty Watch, 3111 S. Valley View Blvd., Suite B-109, Las Vegas, NV 89117.
CARRYING ONLY A BIBLE AND A COPY OF THE DECLARATION OF INDEPENCENCE Russell Kanning got arrested at the airport -- as he indended. Now he's refusing to post bail. Gutsy man. Fine Agitator work.
Thursday, June 9, 2005
NOW THIS IS THE KIND OF COURAGEOUS AND PRINCIPLED ACTION that could halt tyranny in its tracks. If only more businesses and organizations would stand up and be mensches!
Wednesday, June 8, 2005
RICH LUCIBELLA REVIEWS REBELFIRE -- and totally, totally nails it!Jeremy is us...all of us....in the very near future. He's been coddled, drugged, threatened and brainwashed by The State in a monochromatic world where few things make sense. A world in which virtually everyone is a criminal for lack of ability to keep up with all the new laws and regulations. A world in which "Why?" becomes a pointless question.
And, like us, Jeremy is helpless and unskilled. But as the pages turn we realize that, like us, Jeremy yearns for freedom, self dependence and self expression. We follow the amazing journey of this young man as circumstances demand he come of age, become a man and finally step up to the plate as the Hero he can be.
Written from the viewpoint, nobility and passion that only our teen years can muster, this is hardly a book just for that age group.
Rich is the publisher of S.W.A.T. magazine and founder of The Firing Line, where his review appears. Since RebelFire: Out of the Gray Zone isn't "about guns," a review from Rich would be an unexpected pleasure, even if he hadn't so totally Gotten It. (I think Rich would kick my butt and tell me that freedom is about freedom, no matter which of the 10 amendments you might be looking at at the moment.)
Tuesday, June 7, 2005
I DON'T OFTEN JUST PICK THINGS UP FROM TCF AND SLAP THEM INTO THE BLOG. But this hoot and howl from penguinsscareme deserves to be immortalized. Why call the cops or risk a road-rage encounter when you can dance (yes, dance), instead?
Now, this is one instance in which I'd really welcome learning that about five surveillance cameras were pointed at the scene.
WE HAD A FEEDING FRENZY AT TCF YESTERDAY. It was ugly. It diminished and dimmed TCF for a while. But it was also a healthy reminder of just how easy it is even for relatively decent people to devolve into a snarling pack.
Two things happened at once to bring the worst out in some of us (me included). One was that a notorious troll showed up for the second time in the TCF gun forums. He'd been banned a week or two ago (as I gather he's been banned from just about every firearms forum on the Net), but he turned up again under a new identity and this time folks wanted a little time to play with him, to twit him, before the inevitable ban.
Just a few hours before that, some of us finally became impatient with a well-meaning new TCFer who ... well, think of that kid in grade school who always wanted to become a part of your little gang, but who just didn't get it. He'd hang around on the edges of your activities. He'd try to dress and talk like you ... but no matter how book-smart he might be, he just didn't have social Clue and the more eagerly he tried to participate, the more irritated you became.
That was us. Not the Clueless kid. But the gang affronted by an outsider's eagerness. We turned on him with a snarl.
For a day, TCF became less than itself. Became "shabby" as one of the participants in the feeding frenzy noted after Debra got disgusted with us all and kicked the troll out as much because of our behavior as because of his. It was creepy how quickly a good board could go bad. How good people could unleash their inner beast against vulnerable targets. (It's also creepy how just a couple of prolific, off-kilter participants can turn a good forum into a poor one, but that's another issue.)
Dogs in a pack. Schoolkids on a playground. Cops bullying "civilians"? Guards strutting their power over prisoners? "Good Germans" smashing Jewish businesses?
Ah, but it can't happen here. We're not like that.
BECOMING A RETIRED, INVISIBLE PIRATE. A bit "lite" on details, but Joe Blow's plan has merit.
Monday, June 6, 2005New York-based Citigroup said the data were stored on computer tapes, and lost while UPS, the world's biggest package carrier, was shipping them to an Experian credit bureau in Texas.
The tapes, which also contained Social Security numbers, covered CitiFinancial Branch Network customers and about 50,000 customers with closed accounts from CitiFinancial Retail Services. Customers of CitiFinancial Auto and CitiFinancial Mortgage are unaffected.
Citigroup on Saturday mailed a letter to customers about the problem. It said it has received no reports of unauthorized activity, and said there is "little risk" of the accounts being compromised.
Most fascinating of all, CitiGroup claims the tapes were being moved using "an enhanced security procedure" worked out with UPS. But:Citigroup said its missing tapes were shipped from Weehawken, New Jersey on May 2. It said it first learned of a possible problem on May 20 when Experian called to request a tracking number.
An enhanced security procedure in which priceless data on individuals can be missing for up to 18 days without anybody being aware there's a problem??? Criminy, that sounds more like government security!
Also worth noting: It appears that all this customer data was put at risk in the first place solely because CitiGroup was selling it to a third party.
(Thanks to Mystery Woman.)
THE FEDS CAN GO ON PERSECUTING SICK PEOPLE. And Washington can continue to wrest power from the states. So pronounce the Supremes.
EDIT: Some good discussion of the issue at The Firing Line -- particularly the comments by Anipitas (scroll down).
Hope the Supremes enjoy using the Constitution for toilet paper. But bad as this is, it's also another sign of how far out of touch the federales are with the people -- and that, in the long run, is a hopeful sign for change.
Sunday, June 5, 2005
WONDERFUL WALLY CONGER has written the first full-length review of RebelFire: Out of the Gray Zone. Wally also joins six others who've given the book five-star reviews on Amazon.com. Thank you, guys!!!!!
A little novel without a traditional distribution channel or a major media push has to struggle to survive and thrive, especially in today's radically changing book market. Ironic thing: more and more books are being published every year. But there are fewer and fewer real, sink-into-a-book readers. People look for how-tos, self-improvement, professional guides, quick trash reads, and trendy novels. Those who take time to explore the unusual, or who take real time to read fiction at all, are increasingly rare birds.
I'm hopeful about RebelFire. Aaron, on the other hand, worries. But we both know it's an uphill battle. So thanks to all who are giving Jeremy's story a push.
BTW, Amazon's got the wrong price listed -- $17.95 is the postpaid price. Should be $13.95 retail We'll get that fixed. But at least they no longer have those ominous words "out of print." In the meantime -- and all the time -- you can buy the book, listen to the music, download stickers and logos, order a very cool tee-shirt, and read the first four chapters at RebelFireRock.com.
(Tks to Mystery Woman for the booksellers' link.)
THE STATES MAY BE GETTING CLOSER to achieving their long, leering dream of taxing the Internet. A coalition of 43 governments says they could have a system in place by October to get "their" $16 billion cut of the Net take.
Never seems to occur to them that 1) it isn't "theirs" and 2) they're planning to take away a lot of the incentive for Net-buying.
(Tks to SJ for the link.)
Friday, June 3, 2005
HOW THE FEDS BUSTED SHADOWCREW. It was quite an operation, right down to a dramatic raid with that startling new innovation in weaponry: "MP5 semi-automatic machine guns" (if this Business Week article can be believed).
Judge for yourself whether to believe the rest of the article. Most of the info could have come straight from the feds' PR flacks. Among other things, it treats the ShadowCrew as a "gang," when the site was much more like a bazaar.
Still ... interesting.
(Thanks to My Mysterious Friend for sending this one.)
Wednesday, June 1, 2005
A TRUST SERUM. Now wouldn't the gummint like to get its hands on that!Scientists have created a “trust” serum that could help in the treatment of autism or phobias but could also be a dangerous weapon in the hands of confidence tricksters.
Research in Switzerland has revealed that sniffing a hormone called oxytocin makes people more likely to trust others, raising alarming implications for the manipulation of an emotion critical to social and economic relationships.
Oxytocin might be abused as a “trust serum” that could be sprayed over crowds at political rallies, piped into a casino or business meeting, or exploited as an aphrodisiac to persuade a romantic target to drop his, or her, guard.
Don' t worry, though. The effects are short-term. They'll wear off shortly after you've handed over all your cash, helped create a smiling scene for the media, or pulled your level for that clean, wholesome politician.
"CLOSING THE BORDERS OF HARDYVILLE." With a lot of help from freedom's friends, it's about practical steps to take against Real ID.
Contacting your congressthing isn't one of those steps. That's rather like contacting Jeffrey Dahmer to politely request he quit eating people.
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