WolfesBlogArchives: October 2006
Tuesday, October 31, 2006
TO BANISH TODAY'S GRAY FUNK, TC from a Higher Plane, sent this bit of cheer from Scott Adams, he of Dilbert fame:I think about the history of ATMs when I hear all the nervous Nellies wetting their pants over electronic voting machines. I believe those worries are totally misplaced. Now don’t get me wrong – there’s a 100% chance that the voting machines will get hacked and all future elections will be rigged. But that doesn’t mean we’ll get a worse government. It probably means that the choice of the next American president will be taken out of the hands of deep-pocket, autofellating, corporate shitbags and put it into the hands of some teenager in Finland. How is that not an improvement?
Statistically speaking, any hacker who is skilled enough to rig the elections will also be smart enough to select politicians that believe in . . . oh, let’s say for example, science. Compare that to the current method where big money interests buy political ads that confuse snake-dancing simpletons until they vote for the guy who scares them the least. Then during the period between the election and the impending Rapture, that traditionally elected President will get busy protecting the lives of stem cells while finding creative ways to blow the living crap out of anything that has the audacity to grow up and turn brownish.
The important thing with democracy – and this has always been the case – is that the citizens a) Believe the election result is based on the common sense and voting rights of the citizens, and b) Have enough handguns to wax any politicians who gets too seriously out of line (also known as a “check and balance”).
Posted by Claire @ 11:04 AM CST [Link]
DREAD. A perfect storm of it.
Part of it's merely personal. I've been sick -- unusual for me. Worse, the symptoms are mysterious and unyielding. I'm also in the early stages of a project that flat-out terrifies me, despite a supportive partner and years of experience that should tell me I can rise to the occasion.
But this occurs against the background of Our Beloved Leaders legalizing torture and declaring habeas corpus null and void (after 800 years) for arbitrarily chosen unfortunates. Now Glorious Leader signs another dead-of-night bill. This one eliminates historic protections against using the military to whack Americans. (See section 1076. Or read this article, both thanks to teotwawki.)
The crises meriting war against the people are so broadly defined they include any "condition" of "insurrection, domestic violence, unlawful combination, or conspiracy" that "opposes or obstructs the execution of the laws of the United States or impedes the course of justice under those laws." This could include all kinds of things -- mass resistance to the drug war, for instance, or to gun-confiscation laws. Peaceful draft resistance. Or a tax revolt. Or what happens if Americans react to hyperinflation with riots or resistance? [more]
Posted by Claire @ 08:11 AM CST [Link]
"WHY DO YOU CARRY A GUN?" Susan Callaway, who recently moved to Wyoming, writes of her experiment in open carry. Good on you, MamaLiberty.
I lived in Wyoming with my Significant Sweetie, who wore a North American Arms belt-buckle .22 everywhere he went. Never got a negative comment -- and many positive ones. Of course, the same man was once hassled by cops for wearing -- the mind boggles -- an empty holster. Susan's piece contains an even creepier example. There's simply no accounting for the mind of Authority.
Posted by Claire @ 06:32 AM CST [Link]
Friday, October 27, 2006
THE ULTIMATE DIY GUN PROJECT So, you've built yourself an AK from a parts kit and 80% receiver, and you're ready for bigger and better things? Well, how about an M134 minigun? Check it out, there's a parts kit and 80% receiver available!
Only $32,500 for the set - and there's only one, so don't too long!
Seriously, it's legal to buy and have. 'Course, you'd have to comply with NFA regs to actually build it, but...
Posted by Ian @ 07:32 PM CST [Link]
MORE AND MORE I'M STRUCK by the fact that a lot of leftists "get it." Like this guy, Joshua Holland.
Do I agree with his assertion that, "[T]ruly limited government is an anachronism. Perhaps it was appropriate in a time when small stakeholders toiled away in an agricultural economy, but it's simply impossible to govern a complex, modern, populous society like ours without a lot of staff"? Nope. No way. Guy oughta read up on some chaos theory if he imagines that vast social systems benefit by vast central governments. I disagree with lots of his specific views.
BUT virtually every word of his article shows that he understands the economic fraud the R's have pulled off for the last decades and the fantasy of the American people that has fed the fraud and been fed by it. Instead of parroting the standard (and obviously absurd) claim that R's want to "slash" government down to nothing, he nails the fact that the R's use faux libertarian rhetoric to connive their way toward giant government.It's a series of boldfaced economic lies, actually, based on the carefully crafted separation of spending and taxes. The rebel conservatives' favorite statistic is that under Clinton, the government grew by 3.4 percent annually, and under Bush it's "exploded" -- a word that's ubiquitous to the genre -- to an average of over 10 percent each year (for some reason, they never mention that government spending increased by 9.75 percent annually under Saint Reagan).
But they never discuss his tax cuts. They've enriched a tiny über-wealthy minority enormously, without doing anything to stimulate the economy. The cost, of course, is a tab the kids will have to pay -- massive deficits that legendary former Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan called "unsustainable."
The idea that Americans can have their big government cake and eat their tax cuts too is nothing more than a scam on a huge scale that's been perpetrated for forty years. It's left voters dizzy. Public opinion about budgets and taxes at Pollster.com is a tangled mess of contradictions. By 66-31 Americans think reducing the deficit is more important than getting tax breaks and by 2-1 they think the Bush tax cuts haven't done anything to help their own families, but by 58-30 they approve of the cuts anyway and by a margin of 50-35 they want them extended. It's psychotic.
Posted by Claire @ 09:04 AM CST [Link]
Wednesday, October 25, 2006
BUSH IS OUR FATE:Do you think so little of the United States that you truly believe the country you imagine still exists could be destroyed by this?
But Bush is the perfect embodiment of what has brought us here: he captures the arrogance, the determined anti-intellectualism and embarrassing incoherence, the insatiable greed for power and the predilection for violence, and the absolute conviction that fortune and God smile upon him and us as upon no other peoples in the entire span of history, in a single, pathetic, laughable imitation of a genuine human being.
George W. Bush is our fate, and our reward. We have earned him.
From commentary by Arthur Silber with a little help from a blogger named Werther. Werther makes the most eye-opening comment I've ever read about the relative might of the U.S. and Iraq -- really showing how guerrillas can stop the best-equipped army every time.
Of course intellectuals can be even more destructive than anti-intellectuals. (Take Woodrow Wilson -- please.) But Silber's right about Bush being the embodiment, the epitome, the virtual avatar of all that's wrong with the U.S. Silber doesn't mention another aspect: that Bush also embodies the blind idiocy and personal irresponsibility that says you can just spend, run up debt, and give out hand-outs forever without ever facing a consequence. And the cowardice of forcing others to do what you can't be bothered to do for yourself -- be it fight in a war or rob your neighbors. Those are the new American Way.
Posted by Claire @ 11:37 AM CST [Link]
Tuesday, October 24, 2006
LAUREN CANARIO IS A VERY BRAVE WOMAN. And a woman of principle. She's protesting the still-steamrolling Kelo outrage with mind, heart, and body. Her story (latest news below) reminds me of Juanita Nelson's gentle tale of adamant resistance to the income tax back in the 1950s. Nelson was in turn inspired by the harrowingly awesome resistance of World War II conscientious objector, Corbett Bishop. It takes more than I can even imagine to do what they do.
Here's Lauren's latest news, courtesy of Michael Fisher: [more]
Posted by Claire @ 09:33 AM CST [Link]
Monday, October 23, 2006
RESEARCHERS DISCOVER (OH, WE ARE SO SURPRISED) THAT spychipped credit cards are vulnerable to hacking. Not just vulnerable. Ridiculously, easily, criminally vulnerable.
And why do big biz and big gov think we won't notice a pattern here? They design and issue spychipped devices for us to carry (passports, credit cards, loyalty cards, drivers licenses) and assure us in glowing terms that they're so very, very, very safe. Then, quicker than you can say "identity theft," some computer geek in a university research lab proves the technology -- and our identities -- can be busted wide open with equipment about as sophisticated as two tin cans and a piece of string. Not only that, but companies' claims that our data is encrypted often as not turn out to be bogus -- or at the very least, the encryption is inadequate and the claims misleading.
Yet the march to chip us all and literally everything we own goes on. And on. And on.
(Thank you to CASPIAN's anti-spychip campaign.)
Posted by Claire @ 11:34 AM CST [Link]
Raving Reporter Thunder here.
Ever met someone and felt as if you'd known each other for a long time? I'm starting to notice that this is becoming quite commonplace at our TCF meet-ups. Lightning and I have attended several meet-ups and even hosted one ourselves this past weekend. At every single one, we've run into people that we got along with as if we'd all been friends for years. And, I don't think that this phenomenon is limited to just us. We've spoken to people that not only had the same feeling, but thought that everyone even LOOKED familiar. (Perhaps we're all on a post office wall somewhere )
Maybe the closeness is due to finding people that one can not only relate with, but talk to. We don't always get the opportunity to share with other people our true feelings and ideas on a day to day basis and we welcome every chance that we can get. Add on top of that the idea that so many freedom loving individuals are also friendly, intelligent, and generous and you can easily see why we all get along so very well. Of course there are always exceptions to the rule, but they are exactly that: exceptions.
If you haven't attended a meet-up yet, I highly encourage you to do so. You'll never meet a greater bunch of folks.
Posted by Thunder @ 11:16 AM CST [Link]
THE RESERVE CURRENCY TO THE BLACK MARKET. Will it soon be the euro and not the greenback?
This sort of news is normally Silver's bailiwick. But I just had to jump in. Will drug dealers, smugglers, and under-the-bed currency stashers become the avant garde of a global economic shift?
I'm always blown away by this little stat:Citing Federal Reserve estimates, Grant writes that "between 55% and 70% of the $703 billion of U.S. currency outstanding circulates outside the 50 states."
Up to 70 percent of U.S. paper money isn't circulating in the U.S.?
Silver has ruminated before on the potential impact of huge amounts of dollars (including both currency and e-promises) quietly resting in foreign hands.
Posted by Claire @ 09:11 AM CST [Link]
Saturday, October 21, 2006
COOL FIND AT THE GUN SHOW Blogispondent Ian here. I have to admit, I like gear. Or rather, I like the Platonic ideal of gear; items that allow me and my rifle to work together more effectively and more efficiently. Alas, I decided to run with a rifle that hasn't seen mainstream use in several decades. There's not much gear out there for the Garand, and even less that is both useful and well thought out. So, I'm always on the lookout for stuff that I can adapt to the M1.
So while I was at a gun show the other day, I noticed a pile of East German pouches on a dealer's table (you can recognive the East German stuff by the raindrop camo pattern). I've got a bunch of East German AK mag pouches, and like them, so I took a closer look to see what these were. Turns out they were pouches for SKS clips. Looking at them, it struck me that they might work well for M1 clips...and for $2 each, I wouldn't exactly be hurt if they didn't.
So I took one home, and tried it out. And it works really well! The pouches are divided into three sections, and each section holds a pair of en bloc clips tight enough to stay in position (cartridges pointing down), but loose enough that it's easy to get a solid grip on them when pulling them out. And, the partitions mean that you can pull out several of the clips, and the remaining few won't be rattling around loose. The clips sit fairly low in the pouch, but that doesn't seem to interfere with getting them out...and it keeps them from falling out when you move around. The pouches have loops for up to 2" belts, so they can be used on either standard dress belts or military web belts.
In addition to being well-suited for holding M1 clips, these pouches are also just the right size, I think. Six clips in a pouch means I've got 56 rounds on me (8 in the rifle, plus 48 spare), which is a good compromise for situations where I want more than just a single extra clip or two, but don't want to drag out the full cartridge belt. And in fact, a pair of these pouches would carry a few clips more than the old military-issue cartridge belt. Given the price, I've been kicking myself for not buying every one that this dealer had.
**Note - I don't have any experience with the site I linked to above - it's just the first place I found with pictures of these particular pouches.
Posted by Ian @ 09:08 PM CST [Link]
INTERESTING ENOUGH THAT NEWSWEEK says potential voters are leaning 55-37 percent to the Dems. No surprise that even evangelicals and other solid Bush supporters seem to be through with the bastard. Hot stuff for an ex political junkie like me (even though I don't participate any more). But not unexpected.
Also expected -- and sad -- is this bit:Asked to name the issue that is most important to their vote, 31 percent of respondents cited Iraq, 18 percent said the economy and 16 percent said health care.
Iraq, yeah. But where's freedom on this scale? Where are the people concerned about warrentless phone taps, military tribunals, and the small but basic little right not to be waterboarded by medieval thugs?
Posted by Claire @ 05:54 PM CST [Link]
LOL. DID ANYBODY AT CBS ACTUALLY READ THE HEADLINE before posting that article? In case some editor comes to its senses soon and changes it, it is:
PRIEST'S RELATIONS WITH FOLEY TO BE PROBED
Probed? You can't make up anything that funny. You really can't.
Posted by Claire @ 01:05 PM CST [Link]
Friday, October 20, 2006
MAN, IF THIS DOESN'T SINK THE BUSHEVIKS, nothing will. Kevin Tillman on the Iraq war and his brother's birthday. Badmuggafugga already posted this at TCF, but as he said, it's a scorcher. A Keith Olbermann-type statement from a man with about 10,000 times Olbermann's street cred. A man who's been there, done that, and lost his brother and best friend to prove it.
Spread it far and wide.
Posted by Claire @ 07:05 PM CST [Link]
THE VERY DEFINITION OF DESPERATION. During National Character Counts Week (no kidding, it really is), a president nobody else wants to be seen with stumps for an adulterous congressman who battered his young mistress and a senator who called a brown-skinned individual a "macaca" (monkey) and welcomed the U.S.-born citizen to America (among other gaffes).
The WashPost story on philandering congressthing Sherwood is an eye-opener. These pathetic personages couldn't even fill up a 25-table fundraiser. Yet they believe themselves entitled to rule the world. And hey, Debra, the Soviet connection you pointed out yesterday comes up again. The biggest donors at the lightly attended fundraiser wore badges marked with -- guess what? -- red stars.
Posted by Claire @ 11:29 AM CST [Link]
QUOTE FOR THE DAY:People unfit for freedom -- who cannot do much with it -- are hungry for power. The desire for freedom is an attribute of a "have" type of self. It says: leave me alone and I shall grow, learn, and realize my capacities. The desire for power is basically an attribute of a "have not" type of self. -- Eric Hoffer, longshoreman and philosopher
Posted by Claire @ 07:48 AM CST [Link]
Thursday, October 19, 2006
With the death of Habeas Corpus -- as well as the pretense that we live in a free country -- many are still defending the actions of the Bush administration as necessary for peace, security and freedom. Not just for ourselves, but for the entire world.
It sounded eerily familiar, and no wonder.
As a child of the Cold War era, I remember the denouncement of the Soviet Union, particularly of their state-sponsored propaganda. The 1966 poster above reads "For Peace, Security, and the Freedom of Nations!"
Sounds a lot like what Bush has been saying, doesn't it? But just as in the Soviet Union, the vast majority of people will mindlessly parrot the sentiment, never questioning their own steadily-decreasing peace, security, and freedom.
For more Soviet-era propaganda posters (many of which will seem similarly familar), visit InternationalPoster.Com
Posted by Debra @ 03:20 PM CST [Link]
TODAY IS THE 225TH ANNIVERSARY of the British surrender at Yorktown. We now consider that the day that the American freedom fighters (aided by the French) officially won the Revolutionary War, although in fact skirmishes went on for months and the Treaty of Paris ending the war wasn't signed until November 1782, more than a year later.
In digging around for info, I discovered that British General Charles Cornwallis had actually made his offer of surrender on October 17. How very fitting. October 17 -- Tuesday of this week -- is the day Americans surrendered their hard-won republic to the most vile whims of their own modern King George. What a mirror image. The gods do have a sense of humor after all.
Posted by Claire @ 12:51 PM CST [Link]
OF ALL THE SAD COMMENTARY on the death-by-1000-cuts of our republic (the latest blow striking Tuesday with some bizarre unintended (?) consequences attached), the single remark that hit me hardest came from a politically knowledgeable friend.
Discussing whether it was time for freedom lovers to get out of the country he commented that, apprehensive though he is, he simply has too much at stake here to leave. Then he added, "I tell myself that millions of people survived Nazi Germany, the Soviet Union, and Mao's China. Millions are surviving in North Korea. So I know it's possible. Just keep your head down, I guess."
For all our cries of alarm over the years, it somehow seems the ultimate tragedy that very good Americans are finally having to contemplate spending the rest of their lives regarding their country as one large prison camp to be endured and hopefully, survived.
Jim Bovard adds some scathing commentary on how the Washington Post (and we should also add, the rest of the mainstream media with one exception*) treated Tuesday's catastrophe as just one more routine bill signing. The death of the ancient writ of habeas corpus? Ho hum. The death of due process? "In other news, Paris Hllton today ..."
* And here's another, even better broadside fired by that one, exceptional journalist who, without mincing words, tells it exactly how it is.
Posted by Claire @ 09:15 AM CST [Link]
Wednesday, October 18, 2006
HABEAS CORPUS 1176 - 2006.
Yesterday a grubby little liar signed away 830 years of progress in restraining tyranny. He was assisted by a Congress infested with poltroons, pederasts, and traitors. The nation yawned and changed the channel.
Silver here. You have to go back to medieval times to find the origins of the doctrine that prisoners have the right to face their accusers in open court, before a (supposedly) impartial judge. The Assize of Northampton codified the king's right to have certain cases brought before his court, or so Wikipedia says. The king was the highest court in those days, and presumably would compel the transfer of prisoners and their cases instead of having them tried by barons or other nobility with a direct interest in the outcome.
Trying to read the text of The Assize of Northhampton doesn't shed a whole lot of light on Habeas Corpus, but it does bring up some interesting parallels with yesterday's outrage.
In 1176 trial was by "the ordeal of water," in 2006 we all learned about waterboarding.
In 1176 "whoever refuses to swear fealty is to be seized as an enemy," in 2006 we have illegal combatants by executive fiat, no oath required.
In 1176 the "justices shall make inquiry concerning custody of castles... and give the information to the lord king." In 2006, the NSA does the wiretapping of all voice and all internet traffic, and gives it to the king. They do this despite a law expressly forbidding it.
In 1176 one who "confesses (a felony) before lawful men, he may not afterwards deny it before the justices." In 2006, torture is used by "lawful men" to elicit confessions, and the tortured are not given access to the justices. In 2006, if one so much as misleads a federal lawman, even when not under oath, that IS a felony.
This will not end well. This path has been followed before, and the results are always the same. What is remarkable about this time is the apathy of the 300 million people who are about to be marched away to the Gulag.
Where were you when tyranny became the law of the land?
Posted by Silver @ 03:21 PM CST [Link]
HEY! How come you guys aren't v*ting for your favorite films in the Hardyville Film Fest? With just three days to go, tallies are way down from last year.
Yeah, yeah, I know I keep banging on what a pointless exercise v*ting is. But in this particular case, you actually can make a difference and nobody is going to get taxed, regulated, or killed because you pulled a lever. So make an exception. Follow that link and v*te, v*te, v*te!
Posted by Claire @ 11:55 AM CST [Link]
IN THE AKIRA KUROSAWA FILM DERSU UZALA (which I watched a few days ago) tough but crass and clueless Russian explorers meet a gnomish, enigmatic native hunter in the wilderness. This hunter, the Dersu of the title, is at first a target of their bemusement and laughter. But once they realize how much he knows about woodcraft, the explorers (particularly Captian Vladimir Arsenyev) admire and rely on him.
In one early scene, they shelter from a rainstorm in a hut Dersu leads them to. As they're about to depart, Dersu insists that they leave portions of rice, salt, and other durable food behind. "Why?" the Russians ask, "Surely we're not planning to return here?" "Of course we're not," Dersu chuckles. "The food is for other people who come after us. They find food, they live. No food, they might die."
Arsenyev is in awe, because now he believes that Dersu is not only an expert in survival and tracking, but that he has a "great soul," leaving food for others he doesn't even know.
Posted by Claire @ 09:54 AM CST [Link]
Monday, October 16, 2006
PERMISSION TO TRAVEL? You may have heard that the Department of Homeland (Achtung!) Security has proposed that no one be allowed to travel internationally to, from, or via the U.S. on any plane or ship without first being granted federal government permission. If the DHS doesn't give a specific "yes," you don't get a boarding pass. Not even if you're a U.S. citizen merely getting the hell out of this madhouse. (This seems counter to media accounts, which focus only on planes coming to the U.S.)
Seems this ought to be some wild claim from the Alex Jones crowd. Or perhaps some fetid old policy recently uncovered in the Soviet-Era Kremlin archives. Not so, of course. It's yet another truly paranoid reality from the even stranger folk of the Bush administration. Edward Hasbrouck, The Practical Nomad, has more. Note -- no surprise -- the the Department of
WarDefense proposes to exempt itself and all its privileged collaboratorscontractors. (Wouldn't want to interfere with those rendition operations, now would we?)
Speaking of the terrors of travel, I watched United 93 on DVD last night. Expecting something of the quality of a TV movie of the week despite the passionately positive reviews, I was (please pardon the terrible pun) blown away.
My God, that is one hell of a movie. After nearly two hours of heart-pounding dread, I burst into tears at the final fadeout. Hard to watch, definitely. But I highly, highly recommend it if you haven't already seen it.
Although the title focuses on just one of the hijacked flights (and that is the only plane we ever get inside), Paul Greengrass' intense slice of realism covers the entire 9/11 catastrophe from the POV of air-traffic controllers, FAA officials, and the poor saps tasked with U.S. air defense, who found themselves ill-informed, ill-equipped, and absolutely leaderless on that fatal day. (In this cast-of-hundreds picture, which prominently features a dozen of the actual workers and officials who tried to cope with events they couldn't even imagine, the one person notably missing is George W. Bush. Even after he finally quit reading My Pet Goat to those grade-schoolers, he could not be found anywhere by those who desperately awaited his orders.)
This movie doesn't wring its hands over the multitude of failures. It doesn't create false drama with heart-rending backstories or made-up characters. It just tells it like it was (and adds a few highly believable guesses about what went on in United 93's last moments). That's what makes it so mindblowing.
Posted by Claire @ 10:29 AM CST [Link]
Sunday, October 15, 2006
THIS IS THE YOUNG LADY whose very rough sketch I slashed out two weeks ago to help me deal with a mood of angry despair.
Now (with the permission of her parent, who just received the framed original of the above) I can show you what she really looks like. Has an attractive, intelligent face, doesn't she? The dolphins symbolize (uh oh, now Claire's starting to get all pretentious and artsy} ... well, actually they symbolize nothing more than one of her prime lifelong interests, marine mammals, their behavior and biology. The real pretentiously artsy part is where the hard line that defines most of her dissolves over there on the right so that her figure seems to merge with the watery dream-dolphin world.
Didn't notice that, eh? Uh ... okay, maybe that's more apparent in the original. Or in my fevered skull. :-) Anyhow, hope you enjoy the picture. It might be the best thing I've done to date.
Posted by Claire @ 12:34 AM CST [Link]
IN HARDYVILLE The Coup continues. Will the new "legitimate" governors of Hardyville ever agree on exactly what they want to start controlling first?
Posted by Claire @ 12:10 AM CST [Link]
Saturday, October 14, 2006
THE RECESSION WILL START AFTER THE ELECTION but it will start, most probably within the next 5-10 months. My August 28th posting explained the significance of the inverted yield curve in predicting recessions. When short-term bonds pay more than long-term bonds, and the pattern persists for over a month, a recession always follows.
Now the yield curve has been inverted for 2 months.
The inversion is not as severe as it was in 2000 (red trace) but the correlation with recession depends more on how long the inversion lasts rather than how deep. Every day the curve in the chart stays below zero, the more certain a recession becomes. How bad and how long is anyone's guess, but frankly I'm concerned. [more]
Posted by Silver @ 11:57 AM CST [Link]
GASOLINE IS CHEAP, JUST BEFORE THE ELECTIONS. How convenient. Americans were clearly unhappy about paying $3 per gallon, despite the sniggering from gas-tax victims in Europe, who routinely pay twice as much. There is credible evidence that the price of gasoline is being manipulated. Henry M. Paulson, Jr., former Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Goldman Sachs, was sworn in as Secretary of the Treasury on July 10, 2006. Less than a month later, Goldman Sachs sold over $6 billion worth of gasoline futures contracts. Whether you believe in market manipulations or not, dumping $6 billion worth of anything in such a short time will drive prices down, even if only temporarily.
Speaking of temporary, does anyone remember Katrina and its effect on oil? With production facilities and pipelines wrecked, the fedgov sold and loaned nearly 21 million barrels of oil in late 2005, drawing down the Strategic Petroleum Reserve. That's what the SPR is for, right?
There's just one teensy little problem. The law creating the SPR requires that In no case may the Reserve be drawn down under this subsection ... for more than 60 days with respect to each such shortage.
If you think that the 20 million barrels have been replaced, you haven't been reading about the fate of the rule of law. See for yourself; the SPR inventory is shown here.
If the SPR had been managed according to law, the price of oil (and gasoline) would almost certainly have gone even higher than it did. But the rule of law is dead in this country; so dead that few even notice when laws passed by Congress are openly defied.
Posted by Silver @ 11:27 AM CST [Link]
THE COOLEST THING ABOUT A KNIFE-MAKING WORKSHOP is that right from the get-go even a total n00b can produce something worth cherishing.
I just returned from three days of knife making. Came home with one gorgeous completed knife and one blade still awaiting a wrapped Japanese-style handle. This workshop was a gift from Masked Woman, an artist and enthusiastic recent newcomer to blade-crafting. It was taught by her friend and very nice person, professional bladesmith JLS. Before we went, Masked Woman told me how instantly satisfying the work would be. But given the complexities -- all the cutting and grinding and heat-treating and the workshop/forge crowded with scary-looking equipment -- I couldn't believe her until I found myself watching a knife shape emerge in my own hands.
Posted by Claire @ 10:42 AM CST [Link]
Thursday, October 12, 2006
LOVE AT FIRST SIGHT. Blogispondent Ian here again. I went to a gun show the other day, just because it was there. I wasn't really looking for anything, but you never know when you'll find a good deal on ammo or something, right? Well, I took along this generic Glock I had that I was trying to sell, thinking that maybe I could find a buyer.
Posted by Ian @ 07:43 PM CST [Link]
PATRICIA DUNN AND SOME UNSAVORY MEN OBTAINED A FEW DOZEN PHONE CALL RECORDS. Whether or not "pretexting" is illegal isn't very clear, although it is certainly unethical. As a result, Ms. Dunn and others have been charged with crimes, forced to appear before Congress, and are the subject of investigations by the FBI, and the Securities and Exchange Commission.
GEORGE BUSH AND SOME UNSAVORY MEN OBTAINED BILLIONS OF PHONE CALL RECORDS. The fact that this is illegal is very clear, as Congress passed the FISA law in 1978 because a previous criminal in the White House had done the same thing, on a very much smaller scale. A Federal judge ruled the program unconstitutional, but her superiors just ruled that the spying can continue. No one has been charged with crimes, no one has been forced to appear in hearings or testify under oath, and the FBI admits that it seeks the phone records of reporters.
The pretense that this nation respects the rule of law hasn't borne much scrutiny for a long time. Now there's simply no denying the obvious facts. The law is a tool to hammer the peons. It does not apply to political parasites, mass murderers, torturers, sadists, or any other foul thing that infests the corridors of power.
Posted by Silver @ 06:00 AM CST [Link]
Tuesday, October 10, 2006
KIPLING ON YAMMERHEADS Blogispondent Ian here, and I'm sure you know some of them. Those people who can quote chapter and verse from any obscure philosopher in the history of written language - but wouldn't dream of actually acting on any the libertarian philosophy they know so well. Well, Rudyard Kipling knew the type too.
And Tomlinson took up the tale and spoke of his good in life.
"O this I have read in a book," he said, "and that was told to me,
"And this I have thought that another man thought of a Prince in Muscovy."
The good souls flocked like homing doves and bade him clear the path,
And Peter twirled the jangling Keys in weariness and wrath.
"Ye have read, ye have heard, ye have thought," he said, "and the tale is yet to run:
"By the worth of the body that once ye had, give answer—what ha' ye done?"
See the complete poem, entitled "Tomlinson", here. Better yet, find the musical adaptation done by Leslie Fish.
Posted by Ian @ 06:34 PM CST [Link]
Monday, October 9, 2006
I ALMOST FEEL SORRY FOR KIM JONG IL. Remember waaaaay back when Bush called Iraq, Iran, and North Korea the "axis of evil"? Said they were all trying to develop WMDs to take over the world or whatever.
Iran and Iraq immediately responded, "What on earth are you talking about? We don't have any plans to make WMDs!" Meanwhile, North Korea says, "Damn straight. We're developing NUKES! In your face, evil westerner!"
So the US does the logical thing and invades ... Iraq.
This past July, North Korea sent off something like half a dozen long- and short-range missiles for testing purposes. The missiles were rumored to be designed to carry nuclear payloads.
So the US immediately starts planning an invasion of ... Iran.
I figure this morning's nuke detonation was the equivalent of Kim Jong Il jumping up and down, waving his arms and screaming in his shrill little voice, "I'm EVIL, damnit!! PAY ATTENTION TO ME!!! Why won't they take me seriously? Stupid Americans."
More importantly, I wonder who we're planning to invade as a result. Saskatchewan, maybe?
Posted by Debra @ 01:42 PM CST [Link]
I'LL BE AWAY LEARNING TO MAKE KNIVES most of this week. Is that cool, or what? I've been casually curious about knife-making for years & when I asked a friend-I've-never-met about it, she instantly offered to get together with her knife-making friends and teach me. No way could I pass that up.
I've asked fellow blogistas to fill the gap in my absence, so keep on visiting. In the meantime, here are several links of interest, just in case you don't have enough information in your life:
- Good article from Steve Trinward on the ways health insurance actually perpetuates the problems it claims to solve and why a "free market in wellness" might be a better option.
- And a great short history of taxation in America from a freedom loving perspective.
- In the No Good Deed Goes Unpunished department, the Navy lawyer who beat the White House in the famous Hamdan civil liberties case is being forced out of the service despite his stellar performance.
- If you hang out at The Claire Files forums, you might already have seen this one. But it's so interesting it bears broadcasting. Did you know that the first people on earth to bear the name "terrorists" were ... wait for it ... members of a government. Kudos to The Dunedan for the revelation.
- Also from TCF, spider boris turns us on to an outstanding new blog from Dan McGinnis, a cussedly independent res dweller determined to provide a home for his family despite all that wonderful government "help" he's received. I'll be adding this one to the blogroll and watching to see how his adventures in free-market living go.
Posted by Claire @ 01:10 PM CST [Link]
Raving Reporter Thunder here.
As you all know, Claire is a dog person. Because of that, I thought it'd be fitting to blog about this amazing dog (Google video). I get the feeling that it's not just the dog that is special, but his owner as well. He seemingly has the natural talent to bring the best out of animals. I can only hope to have the same level of rapport with my dog or any animal for that matter.
I'm currently dogless at the moment. I don't have the room nor permission from Lightning's cat to have one at the moment, but that will change one day.
(Thanks to FreedomCommando for the link)
Posted by Thunder @ 08:29 AM CST [Link]
Friday, October 6, 2006
HAVE PRIVATE PARTIES ACTUALLY OBTAINED the a copy of the infamous no-fly list? Will its 44,000 names of "terrorists" eventually be made public? Will Robert Johnson, Gary Smith, John Williams, and the president of Bolivia ever be allowed to fly again in the U.S. without being inspected, detected, and rejected?
Posted by Claire @ 08:41 AM CST [Link]
Thursday, October 5, 2006
NEW BOOK AND DVD RECOMMENDATIONS in my Amazon.com aStore. Included this week in Featured Products:
- Tommy Chong's prison memoir
- A book on investing in "hard" assets as the dollar collapses
- Cool underground tech stuff (catapults, rail guns, Tesla coils, etc.)
- The third season DVD of Penn & Teller's Bullsh*t
- The just-released paperback version of Katherine Albrecht and Liz McIntire's "Spychips"
- And more.
Check it out.
This week I also aimed for a better selection in Books by telling Amazon's intelligent product-selecting software to display only books associated with the key word "liberty." See if you think they did a better job than they did last week. (The aStore is a beta that lets me feature up to nine products of my own selection then chooses the rest based on its own criteria. IMHO it's a great thing that still needs a few more refinements.)
The aStore also works as a regular Amazon.com search engine. So those of you who've been kind enough to do all your Amazon.com shopping through Wolfesblog links can use the aStore to do that. Happy shopping.
Posted by Claire @ 03:41 PM CST [Link]
JUST A QUICK THOUGHT ON ONE SMALL ASPECT OF PREPAREDNESS. This is the season for case-lot canned-goods sales in supermarkets. Yesterday, for less than $40, I picked up enough edible-straight-from-the can goods for about three weeks of emergency eating. Not fancy eating, of course. Should the power be out here for a extended time after a nasty storm, I'm sure I'll get damned tired of vegetarian refried beans and pineapple chunks. But I'll be adequately nourished.
This is in addition to those infamous superpails of dried lentils and super-sized boxes of oatmeal from Costco, of course. It's even in addition to the canned goods (both home and storebought) still rotating onto my dinner table from last fall. But simple canned goods are a fine first-line defense -- for those days when everything is so topsy-turvy that you need to keep meals as simple as possible.
For anybody who hasn't gotten started with emergency preps -- because of budget, space, or being overwhelmed with all the possibilities and necessities -- those plain old canned goods that are so cheap right now at the local grocery store are a pretty good place to start.
Posted by Claire @ 10:16 AM CST [Link]
THE GOP AND THE MARQUIS DE SADE. Sadism, says Will Grigg is the organizing principle behind today's Gross Old Perpetrator party.
Posted by Claire @ 10:02 AM CST [Link]
Wednesday, October 4, 2006
LESSEE NOW ... I'M GOING TO BUY YOUR OVERPRICED PRODUCT and you're going to limit my use of my own computer if I don't jump through your hoops? Uh ... no, I don't think so.
Posted by Claire @ 03:39 PM CST [Link]
HELEN CHENOWETH. Wow. I don't believe I've ever before seen an obituary of a congressperson that consisted mostly of mockery and insults. Next to Ron Paul, she was one of the best to serve in the modern U.S. House. Give her credit for being one of the few Revolutionaries of '94 who really was. And extra credit for being one of the rare honest politicians; she kept her promise to term-limit herself while most of her compatriots weaseled out of theirs.
Jim Bovard sent that sad link. He also blogs about his own little connection with Chenoweth.
Posted by Claire @ 11:15 AM CST [Link]
Tuesday, October 3, 2006
COMIC RELIEF. As the "More Moral Than Thou" Party's leaders scramble to hide the fact that they knew about Foley's underage-page habit for months (and possibly as far back as 2001), Jim Bovard ponders one of the most recently revealed Foley Follies. He asks what were the rest of the warmongering R's doing during a certain vote while Foley was having his fun-fun-fun?
Posted by Claire @ 03:58 PM CST [Link]
Monday, October 2, 2006
THAT GREAT CONCEPTUALIZER AND GENUINE SECURITY EXPERT Bruce Schneier likes to point out that the fedgov is fighting the war for terrorism as if it were scripting a Hollywood blockbuster. They plan for a terrorist gang armed with suitcase nukes descending on the Empire State Building in helicopters in broad daylight taking the beautiful young wife of the nation's most powerful senator hostage.
Despite all their talk, they really don't plan all that well for less film-worthy, but perhaps more likely, attacks. They go for the Harrison Ford/Bruce Willis approach.
It's understandable. After all, the 9/11 hijackers picked the most Hollywood method they could think of. And besides, there's no doubt an appeal to "goin' for the glory" in your planning. You, too, might get the Harrison Ford role in real life, Mr. Homeland (Achtung!) Security 'crat.
But that got me thinking. If they're such big movie fans, how come they're not also learning from science fiction movies? [more]
Posted by Claire @ 06:34 AM CST [Link]
Sunday, October 1, 2006
OH, THOSE WACKY REPUBLICANS. They're just a laugh-a-minute. In an effort to (you'll pardon the expression) head off charges that they tried to pull a cover-up in the Mark Foley sex scandal, they've now turned their full fury on the hapless ex-congressthing. They -- gasp! -- actually want him to be held accountable under the tougher Internet sexual predator laws he spent so much of his time both passing and breaking.
But here's the real laugh. Be sure you don't have any spittable liquids in your mouth as you read this. Rep. Tom Reynolds, the big dick of the House re-election effort for the Rs, actually said, "Mark Foley betrayed the integrity of this institution."
Ohgod. My sides are absolutely splitting. I think I might rupture something.
Posted by Claire @ 12:26 PM CST [Link]
WITH HELP FROM A CERTAIN FELLOW WRITER a new kind of Hardyville adventure begins today.
Posted by Claire @ 11:56 AM CST [Link]
THURSDAY AFTERNOON I GOT SO DEPRESSED I COULDN'T WRITE. Until then, the week had been swimming right along. The weather was beautiful, my workload light. I had just one more article to write. Even though it was on the nausea-inducing topic of civil asset forfeiture, I knew exactly what I needed to say, so I expected to breeze through it.
Then I tried to answer one little question for the article -- why the BATFE charged Rick Celata a cost bond to challenge the theft of his possessions. The 2000 law CAFRA (Civil Asset Forfeiture Reform Act) supposedly ended the injustice of forcing people to pay 10 percent of the value of seized goods for the "privilege" of trying to get their possessions back. (And that's before any attorney's fees -- which helps explain why 80 percent of asset seizures go unchallenged.)
I never did get an answer to that question. As far as I can tell, only Customs and UnPatriot Act cases are still subject to cost bonds. But as I read through law-review articles and various asset-forfeiture manuals, I found myself sinking into a moral morass that only a lawyer could understand and only a depraved government could create. [more]
Posted by Claire @ 08:18 AM CST [Link]
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