WolfesBlogArchives: December 2005

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

I EXPECTED TO BE BLOGGING MORE THAN I HAVE, even in my year of silence. Holidays, deadlines, and my planned de-emphasis on All Things Netly all contributed to a five-day blogging gap. But the biggest factor is simply a change in mindset.

It's very easy to scan Rational Review News each morning, find an outrage or two, and blog a personal riff on the latest depredations of "democracy" and the doings of demagogues. Righteous wrath is a familiar, and all-too-natural state of mind and lord knows the daily bad news -- and the entire blogosphere -- holds plenty of fuel to feed the flames of rage.

But I aspire to spend the next year in a different state of mind. [more]

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

THIS WOULD BE AN EXCELLENT EDITORIAL even if it didn't conclude with a pitch to participate in a clever act of guerrilla agitation. Dig out those old tattered copies of 1984.

No, Congress will never, ever get it. But it's a relief to see a very mainstream news source getting it in such a dramatic way.

Posted by Claire @ 09:11 AM CST [Link]

Friday, December 23, 2005

WOULDN'T YOU KNOW IT, the first report I must give from my year of silence (which theoretically began on Wednesday) is that contemplative silence is hard work and I have a lot of habits to break before I can get out of my own way.

[more]

Posted by Claire @ 01:09 PM CST [Link]

YET MORE THANKS ARE DUE in the wake of our astonishingly successful fundraising auction for Bark. Early on, Fran Tully organized an effort to make a group buy, hoping to win the book then draw a final recipient from among his contributors. When the bids skyrocketed beyond the group's means, I figured that was that end of it. But undaunted, Fran and company continued privately to raise funds, with a paperback copy of The Black Arrow as the prize. Yesterday -- thanks to Fran, Manny, Maile, Lori, Patty, Jackie, Ron, Lynn, and Nathan -- $180 was added to the fund for Bark's cancer medicines.

More special thanks to B, D, K, and J, who also made generous donations this week, either to Bark's cause or to the Wolfesblog Starving Artist's Fund. And of course, to the unknown (to me) people who've sent contributions directly to Elias Alias on Bark's behalf.

Posted by Claire @ 12:36 PM CST [Link]

A GOOD CITIZEN REPORTS A TERRORIST THREAT. I've just heard from an ardent freedom lover who is also determined to be a good citizen of the modern surveillance state. The Department of Homeland (Achtung!) Security has a page (in fact has two) where you can report terrorist threats and dangers to the public health. Good Citizen #999-00-8672 (the number has been changed to protect the innocent) notes that he has already done his duty by reporting George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, various members of the presidential cabal, and a goodly number of senators.

Of course, everyone knows that I do NOT endorse snitching. By no means do I believe others should join Citizen #999-00-8672's one-man TIPS program. Certainly, aspiring Good Citizens should, if they choose to participate, take care to protect their identity against the those deadly -- and highly vindictive -- terrorists who hate America's freedom and are working full-time to destroy it.

Posted by Claire @ 12:25 PM CST [Link]

WELL, IT MIGHT NOT QUIIIIIITE SCAN, and a few of the in-jokes are very far in. But liberty-loving Montanaphiles will get a kick out of this: [more]

Posted by Claire @ 12:11 PM CST [Link]

Thursday, December 22, 2005

BRITAIN PLANS TO ERADICATE PRIVACY IN TRAVEL. This has been a terrible year for freedom, but this is a major loss. The online edition of The Independent reports that Britain will be first country to monitor every car journey. Thousands of spy cameras will read every license plate that passes, generating up to 100 million records every day. Data will be retained for 5 years or more.

It's all for security, of course. The Association of Police Chief Officers can barely contain their glee. ""This development forms the basis of a 24/7 vehicle movement database that will revolutionise arrest, intelligence and crime investigation opportunities on a national basis." Everyone loves another reason to spend tens of millions of dollars per year of taxpayer loot. The British intelligence agency MI5 will of course be given full access to all records.

There is scant evidence that any thought at all has been given to the mind-boggling potential for mischief, abuse, and tyranny. Britain seems determined to stay well ahead of America in spying on law-abiding citizens. A very few here fret about Bushimo spying on a measly 500 or so without the benefit of warrants, and there isn't enough spinal material in the entire US Congress to begin impeachment procedings against a regime that openly defies Congressional laws and authority. Meanwhile, Britain is well on the way to recording and analyzing every move by every slave on their island. It's truly sad to see a once proud people so casually renouncing freedoms they won at enormous cost nearly 8 centuries ago.

Posted by Silver @ 11:47 AM CST [Link]

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

"THE WOMAN WHO HITCHHIKED WITH CATS." George Potter begins serializing another inspired story. This one has special meaning for me. But as with all of George's tales, it's a glorious read for anybody who appreciates great storytelling.

And I want one of those $40 bills.

Posted by Claire @ 10:56 AM CST [Link]

HAPPY BIRTHDAY to freedom's (and my) good friend Kirsten. Unfortunately, yesterday she got a truly rotten "present" from her bank.

Sigh.

Try and have a happy one, anyhow, Kirsten. And to everybody: Enjoy the return of the light.

Have a Joyful Solstice.

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

RUMORS OF MY DISAPPEARANCE ARE HIGHLY EXAGGERATED. Today is the beginning of my disconnect, my year of silence.

Actually, the behind-the-scenes shutdown will be gradual. The landline phone won't be disconnected until late January, for instance, due to various potential fees, fines, penalties, and bookkeeperly complications. But as of today, I won't be responding to email, except strictly business messages, for the next year. (Thank you guys for being understanding about that.) And from here on I'll be blogging no more than three times a week (and hope the other Wolfesblogistas make up for my lack).

BUT. I'm never sure how to respond to the fond farewells I've received. Because I still think, for the most part, that you won't notice I'm gone. The "public" part of me will still be out here -- on Wolfesblog, in Backwoods Home, in SWAT, in JPFO projects, and the occasional Loompanics article. Life goes on and the dogs need their kibble. So work goes on, too. I won't have always-on Internet. Or even dial-up Internet. But I can still get three hours a week at the local library.

I'll just be less personally available through email, private messages & such. But since I'll be blogging more from the heart and less from the torture chambers and spy dens of the Bushevik-American police state ... well, I'll still be very, very visible.

Thank you to everybody who has wished me well and been supportive. Thanks even to the few who've questioned my good sense. But it all might be much ado about nothing. I picture you soon muttering, "Wait a minute. Didn't that woman say she was going to shut up? Well, why the heck is she still nattering?"

Posted by Claire @ 09:24 AM CST [Link]

REMEMBER THAT PAIR OF CONCERTS busted so brutally, and on such shoddy justification, last summer in rural Utah? Well, the concert-goers and promoters are fighting back.

Posted by Claire @ 09:07 AM CST [Link]

OH BROTHER. AS IF SALARIED SNOOPS AND PARANOIDS WEREN'T BAD ENOUGH, some citizens -- "nominated by police" -- are now being given access to a law enforcement database. Do anything "suspicious" around these busybodies with Cracker Jack cop badges and into the database it goes.

Heyhey, peeking through a knothole in the fence and gossiping about you to the neighbors just isn't high-tech enough these days!

You might be tempted to be glad that this is a state (Tennessee) effort. Don't give in to that temptation. Like so much else in American life these days, the initiative, support, and supervision is all federal. (Coming soon to a state near you!)

Below, I'm also printing a letter to the editor (Do blogs get leditors? Do blogs have editors? Be that as it may ...) that was sent to me this morning. The same letter was also sent to WorldNetDaily. It'll be interesting to see whether Farah and company print it. I have memories similar to those of the writer -- specifically of being told that the midnight knock on the door and the "papers please" checkpoints were hallmarks of America's enemies. They were everything Americans fought against. [more]

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

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

BUSTED. I just finished watching the DVD with that title (Busted: The Citizen's Guide to Surviving Police Encounters) and I highly recommend that everybody get a copy of this and watch it -- with significant others, friends, and older children -- several times a year.

Produced by and available from Flex Your Rights, Busted tells, but more importantly shows, both the foolish and the smart ways to handle various common police encounters. If you ever wonder why people with half a kilo of cannabis in their bedroom invite police in for a search, this movie answers your questions. The police in Busted's scenarios are as bullying and deceptive (without ever exactly lying) as the nasty ones you've encountered in real life.

I expect most people reading this already know, intellectually, what they should and shouldn't do when confronted by police. But knowing it and doing it are two different things. In the past, for instance, [more]

Posted by Claire @ 08:46 PM CST [Link]

YOU KNOW, WE COULD EASILY SETTLE THIS QUESTION about what constitutes torture and what is "merely" an uncomfortable form of interrogation. Rather than sitting here cringing as the alleged leaders of the allegedly free world exchange lawyerly weasel words to justify medieval practices, here's a simple solution.

Submit George W. Bush, Alberto Gonzalez, Condoleezza Rice, and Donald Rumsfeld to the interrogation techniques they claim are not "torture." Let them endure those techniques exactly as they'd be inflicted on anybody else -- just as vigorously, just as long, and with just as little knowledge of when the "discomfort" will stop. Let the CIA handle it. They've got decades of experience inflicting this alleged non-torture.

Then let Our Glorious Leaders come back and share their experiences with the world. If, after that, they still insist that waterboarding, strappado, hoods, electric shocks, biting dogs, extreme heat, cold, constant darkness, etc. aren't torture, I say we believe them.

Ready to volunteer, Dubya, Alberto, Condi, and Don? C'mon. It's all in what you tell us is a good cause.

Posted by Claire @ 01:55 PM CST [Link]

Monday, December 19, 2005

JIM BOVARD HAS ENTERED THE BLOGOSPHERE. And of course he's done it in true Bovardian style. Today's entry is titled "Maiming and Massage" and begins, "Republicans in Congress are pushing to make handjobs a federal crime. Well, not all of Ďem - just the paid variety. (Dinners, or even multiple happy hour drinks, are still apparently legal tender for such barter)."

You go, Jim!!! Meanwhile, I'm going off to add you to the blogroll.

Posted by Claire @ 12:36 PM CST [Link]

THE MOST REMARKABLE THING ABOUT THE FOLLOWING LETTER is the person who wrote it. It wasn't composed by some troglodyte, some angry freedom Ghost who lives his whole life in daily opposition to the government. It wasn't written by an Agitator, accustomed to street-level confrontations with power.

The writer is a prosperous, globe-hopping businessman who pays hundreds of thousands of dollars to the state in taxes each year. He enjoys all the pleasures of an upscale life -- when he's not working his tail off to grow his successful company.

The fact that he is a world traveler probably sparked this line of contemplation. If even a few men like him are starting to think like this, the powers that be had better tremble. [more]

Posted by Claire @ 08:19 AM CST [Link]

DEMOCRATS ARE "RECASTING" THEIR GUN-CONTROL IMAGE says the Boston Globe. Your first impulse, like mine, may be: "Yeah. Right. It's just politics."

But sometimes "just politics" accidentally leads to real change. In this case, there's reason to hope. I can't say more now. But the Dem leadership is well aware of just how hypocritically anti-gun the Bush administration has been behind its oily pro-gun rhetoric. And they may use that knowledge not only to gain advantage over the lying Rs, but actually to do at least one very good thing for gun owners. The next couple of months will tell.

Posted by Claire @ 08:01 AM CST [Link]

Sunday, December 18, 2005

TAKE ME OUT TO THE BLACK (AND STAY IN THE BLACK WHILE DOING IT)

Raving Reporter Thunder here.

We all remember SpaceShipOne's historic flight, becoming the first private manned flight into space and the first to be ready to launch again just a week or so later. Well, there's a new kid in town......

[more]

Posted by Thunder @ 09:27 PM CST [Link]

Saturday, December 17, 2005

PROFESSOR RJ RUMMEL COUNTS 262 MILLION VICTIMS OF DEMOCIDE but there are many graves of innocents yet uncounted. Prof. Rummel's definition of democide is The murder of any person or people by a government, including genocide, politicide, and mass murder. His definition excludes "the death of noncombatants killed during attacks on military targets so long as the primary target is military" aka "collateral damage." Democide therefore does not count many of the civilian victims of total war, such as those killed in the bombings of London, Dresden, Hiroshima and many other cities. Democide apparently ignores the 30,000 (Bushimo's estimate) to 100,000 (study published in The Lancet, free registration required) civilian victims of our invasion and occupation of Iraq.

It is sad but true that 100,000 is just a rounding error in 262 million victims. But what about the 30 to 90 million deaths that can be attributed to the US fedgov's highly politicized decision to outlaw DDT and actively discourage its use, despite an overwhelming lack of scientific evidence of serious hazard, and a record of preventing 500 million deaths? Read DDT vs. Death by Malaria by Dr. Robert J. Cihak, M.D., past president of the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons, and 100 things you should know about DDT for a good introduction.

I don't question Prof. Rummel's fine work, which is thoughtful and useful even if the results are horrible and frightening. But death by government is an even bigger problem than his grim statistics indicate.

Silver

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

Friday, December 16, 2005

WELL. SOMETIMES THEY DO SOMETHING RIGHT. Bless Russ Feingold, the only senator with the balls and brains to vote against the original Patriot Act, and now trying to save us from it again.

And oho, it seems that once again Mr. Bush might have been hoist on his own petard. Seems that yesterday's widespread revelations that he secretly ordered more spying (law be damned), might have strengthened the resistance just enough to doom the bill.

Posted by Claire @ 02:36 PM CST [Link]

THIS IS TRUTH on a profound level. On being a mafia "made" man and being a free human person; it all comes from within. The writing also ties in eerily, albeit indirectly, with the memory I was mysteriously moved to post last night.

[more]

Posted by Claire @ 09:00 AM CST [Link]

I'M LUMPING TOGETHER SEVERAL ITEMS that I've been meaning to blog this week. They deserve individual attention I haven't been able to give them. Some are news. Some are views. Some are beyond tragic. One is even nice. Here goes.

[more]

Posted by Claire @ 07:32 AM CST [Link]

A MEMORY CAME TO ME OUT OF THE BLUE TONIGHT and the ... um, gods or vibes or something told me to blog it even though it appears apropos of nothing. So here goes.

One summer when I was a teenager, my parents had me in this ... oh, for want of a better term call it a "day care for rotten adolescents." I was a rebel, as you might have already figured.

There was a small staff of painfully well-meaning social workers and then there were three college psych majors interning as counselors. One of them was Rick. He was nice looking. Personable. Competent. His only notable problem was that one of his arms was withered. [more]

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

Thursday, December 15, 2005

EXTENDING ITS TENDRILS RIGHT INTO THE JOCKEY SHORTS OF AMERICA, the fedgov is now planning to federalize the war on prostitution. Picture the happy little day when men become federal felons for getting blow jobs.

Is there anything -- anything? -- those freaks in Washington don't want to control? Watch your willies, boys -- because Big Brother Sister has designs on them. And I think the word "femizazis" could soon take on an entirely new meaning.

Oh yes ... Happy Bill of Rights Day. Celebrate it while you still can. By this time next year, anyone who mentions the BoR might be rounded up and hauled away. After all, we libertarians are a worse threat to the nation's "security" than those deadly anti-war Quakers.

(UPDATE: Oh. Guess I was wrong about the possibility of us being suppressed, repressed, or oppressed. AZ just sent a news release in which Our Glorious Leader assures us "We are standing with dissidents and exiles against oppressive regimes and tyranny." I feel so much better now. Boys, just offer those willies up to the fedgov and quit complaining. You druggies, just spend your decades in jail without protest. You Quakers -- well, you heretical ingrates you, I guess you ought to be burnt at the stake. Shut up all of you and COMPLY! It's all in the cause of freedom.)

Posted by Claire @ 07:53 AM CST [Link]

YOU GUYS ARE ASTONISHING. From the moment Debra and I posted announcements of our eBay auction to raise funds for Bark's cancer medicines we watched a little miracle.

Within minutes we had the first bid and a warm note from the bidder. Swiftly Sunni Maravillosa picked up the word and added to it, encouraging those who couldn't buy to donate. Fran Tully got the idea of raising money for a group bid. Kirsten wrote a profoundly touching tribute. Freeman blogged the word. The delightful David Codrea not only posted the news but made a pretty astonishing bid -- which (sorry, David) was rapidly overtopped by even more astonishing bids. Rational Review News listed us among events and causes to support -- even though they themselves are a cause currently in need of funding.

I don't know who else out there might quietly have spread the news.One of liberty's most staunch and steady friends pitched in with a PayPal donation (thank you, MLS), and others who said they couldn't buy the book we're auctioning pledged to send money to help with Bark's meds.

And a lot of folks knew pretty quickly that the book was going to be beyond their means. Because those bids leapt up and up and up all day, quickly surpassing my wildest imaginings. Four days before the auction closes, Vin Suprynowicz can already be assured of bragging rights to "single copy of The Black Arrow sells for hundreds of dollars!" And you guys have -- once again -- earned my respect and love for doing so much to help friends in need.

Remember this next time somebody sneers about "selfish libertarians."

-----

I owe an apology to a few very unselfish libertarians. In the auction copy I said the cost of Bark's meds was being borne entirely by Basil Fishbone, Iloilo Jones, and Elias Alias. I failed to credit TCFers who've already sent several hundred dollars to help the cause. Since eBay won't allow copy changes once bidding is underway, my hasty words have to stand. I wanted to give kudos to the three who've given their all to help a friend in need, but I didn't mean to slight other generous friends. Bark is blessed to have friends like Basil, Iloilo, and Elias. But the blessings go wider and deeper, too.

Posted by Claire @ 07:24 AM CST [Link]

O LITTLE TOWN OF HARDYVILLE. Today's column says that our "don't tread on me" attitude is only half of the secret to what makes Hardyville unique.

Posted by Claire @ 06:57 AM CST [Link]

AIR MARSHALS IN BUS DEPOTS? Given all the mentally ill people who have no other means of transportation, I presume this is to reward the shooters with a more target-rich environment.

Posted by Claire @ 06:54 AM CST [Link]

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

BOOK REVIEW: PICKING UP THE PIECES

Blogispondent Ian here. I recently received a copy of a newly available book by Sorcha Faal and David Booth, entitled "Picking up the Pieces: A Practical Guide for Surviving Economic Crashes, Internal Unrest, and Military Suppression." I though it looked a interesting, particularly based on the advertising blurb :


In the span of less than 3 months: Gasoline prices will rise 500%. The prices of both food and shelter rise over 300%. Unemployment levels reach over 30% and are still climbing. The savings of millions evaporate overnight due to currency devaluation and bank failures. Unrest will begin in the larger cities first, then spreading out into the countryside. Strong and repressive laws are newly enacted as Police and Military forces spread throughout the country to counter all signs of growing rebellion.

...

Gathered from historical archives, and hundreds of personal accounts, this book will provide you with all of the information you need (and from those who have lived through, and survived these same events) to survive what you are about to face in your lives. It will give you this information, KNOWLEDGE, when you need it most, NOW.


[more]

Posted by Ian @ 12:46 PM CST [Link]

Thank you for the amazingly successful Black Arrow
FUNDRAISING AUCTION
for Bark's cancer treatment.

$865!!!!

Update 12/21. If you thought that was generous ... the winning bidder just sent a note saying he's "rounding up" his payment to $1,000. And the sweetheart still says he's adding the $8 postage! On top of that, one of the non-winning bidders (there are no losing bidders in this auction) has promised to donate his bid amount. Another sent $100 to help pay for Bark's medications.

All this is in addition to donations that came in during the course of the auction -- including one from a friend who asked that his $250 be split between Bark and Wolfesblog/TCF. (It's going to be a pleasure to hug you next time we meet, A.) And Debra and I have no way of knowing what might be on its way directly to Bark's caregivers and friends. Oh, those selfish (NOT!), selfish libertarians ...


Posted by Claire @ 12:23 PM CST [Link]

BUY GOLD FOR LESS THAN $240 PER OUNCE. Is it too good to be true? As David Morgan, editor of The Silver Investor points out in
How to buy Gold for $252.00 per ounce! what is happening isn't so much gold going up as the value of our currency being systematically destroyed.

Sure, gold closing at $540 made headlines, and represents a 24-year high. But the value of the dollar has plummeted in those same 24 years. Morgan links directly to the FED's own calculator to show that $540 today buys only about as much as $252 in 1981, the last time gold sold for $540 per ounce. As of noon today the spot price has fallen to $511.60, equivalent to $239 "1981 dollars." Such comparisons are tricky and fraught with error, but as Morgan points out, the FED's calculations are likely to be kinder to the FED than most of us would be. Being the victim of relentless theft tends to skew one's opinions about the thieves.

Gold is a commodity and follows the same rules of supply and demand as any commodity. Demand is surging right now both for seasonal reasons and because a tiny fraction of people are losing faith in the bits of colored paper that we are forced to use as money. Gold is still a bargain by pretty much any historical measure you care to use.

I buy gold not because it is a good investment, but becuase I'm pretty sure it is not a bad one. Gold in any of its many forms is also a welcome and treasured Christmas gift.

Merry Christmas!

Silver

Posted by Silver @ 11:09 AM CST [Link]

ON THE RELIABILITY OF CONFIDENTIAL INFORMANTS and their handlers.

Posted by Claire @ 09:14 AM CST [Link]

KIM DU TOIT HAS SENSIBLE WORDS on the senseless practice of kicking down doors without extreme justification. But I'd like to take that one step further.

He writes:
[more]

Posted by Claire @ 08:29 AM CST [Link]

THE LATEST SUMMARY AND CORRECTIONS ON THE CORY MAYE CASE from Radley Balko, the hero of this battle.

Posted by Claire @ 07:56 AM CST [Link]

EXCELLENT ARTICLE ON VERMONT SECESSION. And it speaks volumes that this "left-wing" movement is being praised in a "conservative" publication. The lines are shattering, as they must.

Posted by Claire @ 07:54 AM CST [Link]

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

JUST WANT TO RECOMMEND that anybody interested in the fate (and now the ongoing appeals) of Cory Maye get their news from Radley Balko. Balko is the only blogger who, to the best of my knowledge, is getting first-hand information -- including documents -- from both the prosecution and the defense on this outrage. He's doing a heck of a job tracking down statements and records.

Also a clarification: [more]

Posted by Claire @ 03:40 PM CST [Link]

BILLY BECK makes a one-word correction to yesterday's Wolfesblog entry on the Cory Maye travesty.

Let's have less euphemasia, Billy says. And I'm afraid he's right.

Posted by Claire @ 11:52 AM CST [Link]

THE ONE THING YOU CAN SAY FOR CERTAIN ABOUT GOVERNMENT is that everything it does will make matters worse. Like the Patriot Act renewal -- which leaves all the police-state dross in place, adds a few purely cosmetic and toothless "safeguards," and (as always) adds even more gross offenses against American citizens.

It's a no-brainer: New law equals bad law; regulation equals freedom-stealing regulation. The occasional exception is so rare that it's certainly not worth wasting time watching and hoping for. Even when a law passes that contains some freedom improvements (rare), the same bill is invariably also larded with police-statisms.

So why write about it? I mean, I'm glad others do. But after all these years, I feel I've done my bit.
[more]

Posted by Claire @ 09:29 AM CST [Link]

V FOR VENDETTA. It not only has some of the greatest-ever movie posters, but the early reviews are ecstatic.

(Thanks to S for the heads-up.)

Posted by Claire @ 08:55 AM CST [Link]

I'LL BE ADDING TO THE BLOGROLL: A Day in the Life of Fred. Fred blogs about his life of voluntary simplicity. Which, as he notes, can be a life of pleasure and beer drinking, not merely the rigidly narrow path of left-wing eco-purity many imagine.

I found Fred through Dave Gross, who chose his own simple life to avoid condoning Bush's war. Motives and mileage may vary.

Posted by Claire @ 08:38 AM CST [Link]

Monday, December 12, 2005

I'VE BEEN READING RADLEY BALKO'S COVERAGE of the tragedy of Cory Maye. Maye is on death row for shooting a home-invasion burglar who turned out to be a cop smashing into his duplex at 11:30 at night.

I should have blogged about this days ago. But some injustices leave me so stunned that I'm speechless until I can find something useful to say about them. Weirdly enough, I had just completed an article about stupidly fatal paramilitary police raids. On the day I learned about the Maye horror, that article was flatly rejected. (I'll probably recraft it and submit it elsewhere. If not, I might blog it later.)

I recently talked with criminologist Peter B. Kraska (the man who created the meme "militarizing Mayberry"). His research shows that there are about 40,000 paramilitary police raids in the U.S. each year and that some 80 percent of them are used in routine (albeit extraordinarily dramatic) service of drug-war search warrants. NOT arrest warrants, mind you. But search warrants. Police are smashing down doors in the middle of the night solely to gather evidence of possible drug activity. And all too often, they find either no drugs or some petty amount of drugs -- but leave a dead body or a shattered family behind. And they always, in these ill-planned, poorly justified, unnecessarily violent attacks on little guys, leave a growing gulf between police and the citizens they're supposed to "protect and serve."

In Cory Maye's case, he probably wasn't even the cops' target. It appears to be another case of "mistakes were made." Or, giving the very, very most charitable interpretation, another case of absurdly sloppy (to non-existant) investigative work. But the police get the benefit of the doubt, while Maye is scheduled to get a lethal injection.

Police paramilitary raids against minor, non-violent law-breakers must stop. NOW. And completely. Every, single one of them is a tragedy -- a completely unnecessary tragedy -- waiting to happen. And the very fact that police agencies are choosing -- choosing -- to violently attack citizens who have offered no hint of violence is already a tragedy for the nation and for civilization.

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

HOW A RESISTANCE MOVEMENT GROWS. I was thinking about yesterday's blog entry -- about the latest "advance" in the federal government's desire to control who is -- and isn't -- allowed to work in the United States.

It occurred to me that this has implications far, far, far beyond any that small-minded men like James Sensenbrenner can imagine. [more]

Posted by Claire @ 08:14 AM CST [Link]

Sunday, December 11, 2005

YET ANOTHER GROUP IS (RIGHTLY) WORRIED that yet another law is going to create a national ID card.

All these groups are right about all these dreadful laws. But in this case, they're agitating about nine years late. The groundwork for his particular program was laid in 1996, in public law 104-208, Division C, Title IV, Subtitle A, Sections 401-404. I wrote about it in I Am Not a Number! That law created a pilot program giving the Social Security Administration direct, immediate approval over who's "allowed" to get a job and who isn't.

I've been waiting for the other shoe to drop all these years -- and it looks as if it finally might. Aaron Zelman, it's your pal, your own beloved "representative" in Congress, James Sensenbrenner, who's responsible for this one -- just as he was the big mover behind the Real National ID law. You and the other locals up there in Wisconsinland really need to start heating up a bucket of tar and plucking some chickens.

Posted by Claire @ 04:59 PM CST [Link]

THIS STATEMENT FROM BRITAIN'S TINY BLUR (corrected link!) shows exactly why government will grow and grow and become more oppressive all the time. Create social problems via government action, then "solve" those problems with more government action, all the while claiming to defend helpless citizens against crime and chaos.

Notice that he admits that guns and (criminal) willingness to use them both became more of a problem following Britain's ban. But does the thought of repealing the ban occur to him? Nooooooo. Not that. Never. Instead government needs to "reform" the justice system to take away more individual rights that have prevailed for hundreds of years.

(Thanks to SJ for the link.)

Posted by Claire @ 04:50 PM CST [Link]

Saturday, December 10, 2005

IF YOU HAVEN'T ALREADY MADE ITS ACQUAINTANCE, I'd like to introduce you to The Webzine, a new online publication edited by David M. Brown.

How to describe The Webzine? Well, it's libertarian in philosophy, but eclectic in approach. It refreshingly celebrates life and literature and music and movies as much as freedom.

For a leisurely weekend read, I highly recommend The Webzine's reprint of Jim Powell's "The Battle for the Bill of Rights", a concise history of how the Bill came to exist.

I learned about The Webzine when Brown asked to reprint an article of mine. My curiousity was instantly piqued by the fact that he chose "Learning to Loaf" over any of my political rants.

Since it declares itself to be "for the better sort of person," I'm not sure I'm actually qualified to read The Webzine. Nevertheless, I'm putting it on my regular places-to-visit list.

Posted by Claire @ 02:07 PM CST [Link]

STRANGE, SAD FEW WEEKS. Two of my local acquaintances died within 10 days of each other (both far too young, one barely past 40). Dave Duffy of Backwoods Home has bypass surgery. Now R.W. Bradford, founder of Liberty magazine, dies. He was just 58.
[more]

Posted by Claire @ 01:51 PM CST [Link]

Friday, December 9, 2005

I WAS GOING TO BLOG DOUG THOMPSON'S CLAIM that Bush called the U.S. Constitution "just a goddamned piece of paper."

But then I decided: Why bother? It's not like we're exactly surprised to learn that this is the viewpoint of anybody in Washington, DC, right?

Still, Bush's comment is right up there with Nixon's, "When the President does it, that means that it is not illegal."

Posted by Claire @ 06:00 PM CST [Link]

SAD TO HEAR of it, but a long-time moonshiner has passed on at the ripe old age of 101.

Raving Reporter Thunder here again. I wasn't going to blog this story that NuclearDruid over at TCF was so kind to post for us, but I had to share a buddy of mine's comments when I told him about dear old Maggie.

Upon reading the story, my friend replied, "Awesome. A community that actually takes care of itself regardless of the law."

No need for ninja-masked guys in black, no need for expensive trials.... She wasn't hurting anyone and, in fact, was an upstanding member of the community that was always trying to help others. Why should she be ostracized for what boils down to basically her being a good cook?

Kinda harkens a bit back to Claire's recent posts about STOP SNITCHIN', doesn't it?

Posted by Thunder @ 12:43 PM CST [Link]

OK.....THEY HAVE TO ANNOUNCE THIS?!?!?

Raving Reporter Thunder here.

Some of you may remember from last year the incident where the Utah DOT fired a 105mm howitzer shell into a house. Well, this year, it seems that they find it necessary to announce that they aren't going to shell any houses this year.

If you live in Utah..........duck.

Posted by Thunder @ 12:10 PM CST [Link]

Thursday, December 8, 2005

FEDERAL CHARGES HAVE BEEN DROPPED AGAINST DEBORAH DAVIS. But that was due to a technicality. The policy of demanding "Papers, please!" from bus riders still stands.

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

SEND GOOD THOUGHTS JOHN GILMORE'S WAY TODAY. He's not only challenging stupid security ID requirements but the use of secret laws and regulations.

Posted by Claire @ 08:06 AM CST [Link]

Wednesday, December 7, 2005

WHY WOULD ANYONE ASSUME that differences of opinion, lifestyle, or tactics automatically imply condemnation of all other opinions, lifestyles, and tactics?

I also have to add my bravissimos to cowardly_lion's distinction (in that discussion thread) between "uphill" and "downhill" libertarians. (I confess that I am an "up-or-downhill" libertarian, depending on my mood and the task ahead. But the image of simply sledding around government control freaks and leaving them sputtering and stumbling calf-deep in snow makes me smile.)

Posted by Claire @ 11:58 AM CST [Link]

I THINK IT'S ENCOURAGING that the government's case was built on The UnPatriot Act and the defense case (such as it was) was based solely on the right to free speech. And a jury simply didn't buy the government line -- even with the magical word "terrorism" being invoked.

I don't agree with Sami Al-Arian's views. But locking people up for their views is a lot worse than holding such views. The government seems to be having a lot of trouble with these flimsy "terrorism" cases.

Posted by Claire @ 10:45 AM CST [Link]

RANDALL THE DREAMER (A MAN OF MANY GIFTS) spotted this pretty cool-looking long-range shooting simulator CD. Check out the online demo version, all you rifle folk.

Posted by Claire @ 08:20 AM CST [Link]

WWJD? WHAT WOULD JEREMY DO? Andrew B. poses the question (and creates a new meme) as he ponders college students being required to give their hand as their ID to go about their ordinary campus business.

As I read this article, I couldn't see a single reason for any of this. With the possible exception of high-security labs or some such, they're apparently doing it primarily just because they can.

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

OUR OWN KATHERINE ALBRECHT IS INTERVIEWED IN MOTHER JONES. Activism does indeed make strange bedfellows -- and good strategic connections.

MJ: How might the government use this technology for homeland security?

KA: Depending on your politics, you may attend a peace rally or a gun show or a talk by a Muslim cleric or a union meeting or a particular political rally, all of which are protected by the First Amendment. But in the RFID world, federal agents could attend that meeting with a hand-held reader hidden in a backpack, mill around long enough to capture a couple thousand RFID numbers associated with the people at the meeting, upload all of that to a central database, cross-reference it, and figure out everybody who was there.

Also, once youíve got the private sector wielding all of this technology, they are at liberty to sell that information to the federal government. At that point, the government does not run a foul of Constitution restrictions for essentially spying on its own citizens. There are a lot of private sector-government partnerships in sharing of this information once itís been gathered, and we anticipate that there will be more and more of that in coming years.

BTW, when I did my last Amazon.com bookstore update, I neglected to add 2005's most important book -- Katherine and Liz McIntyre's Spychips. Fixed that a few days ago.

Posted by Claire @ 08:06 AM CST [Link]

Tuesday, December 6, 2005

YESTERDAY, AFTER BLOGGING DECLAN MCCULLAGH'S ARTICLE on the most recent developments in the federal plan to track all U.S. road travel, I got in my truck and turned on the radio.

NPR was just embarking on another of its interminable commemorations of landmarks in the civil rights movement. I nearly turned the noise machine off. NPR goes on at absurd length about these things ("The anniversary of the day Martin Luther King parted his hair on the left instead of the right" "The date on which Rosa Parks thought about thinking about not giving up her seat on the bus") and I'm tired of it. But I hung in there and their story about the Montgomery bus boycott ended with a King quote that smacked my head pretty good. [more]

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

I SUPPOSE WE'VE ALL HEARD ABOUT JERRY FALWELLS' CAMPAIGN to "put the Christmas back into Christmas."

As absurd and offensive as the let's-not-offend-anybody holiday nonsense has become, Falwell somehow manages to make a return to tradition even sillier. Note that he doesn't want to put the Christ back into Christmas as Christians used to wish. No, he wants to put the Christmas back into "holiday trees" and put the Christmas back into "holiday shopping."

Has this man joined Pat Robertson in the "I never think before I open my big yap" club? [more]

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

Monday, December 5, 2005

THE ROADS BELONG TO BIG BROTHER. Declan McCullagh tells of the latest federal grants. These may ultimately mean you "agree" to 100 percent surveillance of your travel or your vehicle's ignition system won't work.

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

boot-tee (15k image)

SPEAKING OF EXCELLENT TEE SHIRTS as I did a couple of times last week, JPFO has just come out with a winner.

Picture yourself. Your "Boot the BATFE tee-shirt has large designs on both sides, delivers an in-your-face message, and makes trendy wearing at gun shows, shooting ranges, and federal show-trials of wrongly accused gun owners.

This is part of JPFO's campaign (in cooperation with bold gun-maker Len Savage) to deliver the knockout blows to the fedgov's second most terroristic agency, now that gun owners have finally got the evil and incompetent BATFE on the ropes.

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

"MISTAKES GET MADE." Yes, all by themselves and always without any responsibility on the part of high government officials or their privileged contractors and friends, "mistakes get made." Or "mistakes are made." And the "appearance of wrongdoing" is created.

Poor slobs from the inner cities or the rural trailer parks of America go to prison or to the graveyard for a few ounces of dope or a little meth or for beating up some other guy on a drunken Saturday night. They're held fully, painfully, miserably, personally responsible for every tiny act they commit. "Mistakes aren't made" by high-school dropouts or [more]

Posted by Claire @ 09:02 AM CST [Link]

Sunday, December 4, 2005

RACISM? JUST STATISM.The International Association of Chiefs of Police the same organization that reminds police officers that "the law does not require that the threat of death or serious injury be imminent" before summary execution of anyone who might be a suicide bomber, wants to disarm off-duty police officers.

It seems that there have been a handful of cases where off-duty officers, who are nearly always armed, have been shot by fellow officers who thought they were criminals. Vin Suprynowicz writes about this in If a black man is armed, is he a criminal?.

Vin does a fine job dissecting the racist overtones of this policy, but there is a simpler explanation, one that applies to all cops, racist and otherwise.

Police have become militarized, with army-style weapons, tactics, training, and mindset. Armies are trained to find and kill the enemy.

We, meaning citizens, are now the enemy. When a soldier sees someone pointing a gun, or any other weapon, and that person isn't in the right uniform, soldiers are trained to kill them. When a cop sees a gun in a non-uniformed hand, he or she is now trained to act in the same way.

It's not racism, although I can certainly believe that race is a factor. What we are seeing is the predictable results of erecting a police state.

Silver

Posted by Silver @ 09:23 AM CST [Link]

Saturday, December 3, 2005

WELL, I GUESS IF I WATCHED TV OR HUNG AROUND WITH GANGSTAS I'd have known that the "Stop Snitchin'" shirts were already famous. Or infamous as the case may be.

Wearing them to trials might not be the brightest thing anyone could do. But this is a truth that needs telling:

[more]

Posted by Claire @ 12:49 PM CST [Link]

Friday, December 2, 2005

snitchdg12022005 (29k image)

OH MAN, I WANT ONE OF THESE!!! Where can we get 'em? Not in Boston, if the mayor has his way. Mr. Mayor is so upset by this item of attire that he's willing to violate the first, fourth, fifth, and possibly 14th amendments to snatch them out of stores all over his city.

(Found via LibertyFilter.)

Posted by Claire @ 07:35 PM CST [Link]

SAME OL', SAME OL'.

Raving Reporter Thunder here.

The spyware wars are over - and spyware has won.

Remember that company that was hated and reviled for being a spyware provider? Used to call themselves Gator. Well, now they're known as Claria. And the government has now given its blessing on the companies product even though it is virtually unchanged fom the previous 'bad' version.

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

THE HEADLINE SAYS IT ALL: U.S. Is Said to Pay to Plant Articles in Iraq Papers. (NY Times link, requires login, sorry about that!)


WASHINGTON, Nov. 30 - Titled "The Sands Are Blowing Toward a Democratic Iraq," an article written this week for publication in the Iraqi press was scornful of outsiders' pessimism about the country's future.

"Western press and frequently those self-styled 'objective' observers of Iraq are often critics of how we, the people of Iraq, are proceeding down the path in determining what is best for our nation," the article began. Quoting the Prophet Muhammad, it pleaded for unity and nonviolence.

But far from being the heartfelt opinion of an Iraqi writer, as its language implied, the article was prepared by the United States military as part of a multimillion-dollar covert campaign to plant paid propaganda in the Iraqi news media and pay friendly Iraqi journalists monthly stipends, military contractors and officials said.

As Claire said when I pointed this out to her, "Goebbels would be proud." razz

Posted by Debra @ 08:50 AM CST [Link]

Thursday, December 1, 2005

HO HO HO. With way more than a little help from the creative thinkers at The Claire Files forums, The Claus and his elves are busy once again building fun, practical, backwoodsy gifts for Hardyvillians and honorary Hardyvillians.

Posted by Claire @ 10:30 AM CST [Link]

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