… could courageously admit that the U.S. government is flat outa money, proclaim the need to raise the retirement age to 70, endorse an overhaul of all “entitlements,” state that it’s time to tell the American people “we’re broke” … and then say … wait for it … wait for it …
BECAUSE WE NEED THE MONEY…
War. Yeah. Not as in “defending our shores from foreign invaders.” But as in propping up inept dictators and their drug-kingpin families and sending computer-driven drones to kill women and kids because our peace-loving Democrat president thinks it’s a great idea and because we still can’t find Osama bin Laden nine years later so we’ll just keep whacking ragheads for the heckofit but when we’re done they’ll love us because we brought them the blessings of civilization not to mention finding real-or-illusory minerals we can exploit, but of course strictly for the benefit of the democracy-worshipping, freedom-loving but on the other hand primitive, dirty, barely out of the caves Afghanis who are beating us not because they’re past masters of eons of guerrilla warfare but only because (just as in Vietnam) we’re not allowed to kill enough of them to show them how to be truly civilized and grateful to us. That war.
Of course, R-partyarchs aren’t the only pernicious morons with a pulpit. There’s this babe in Chicago talking about ways to outfox the Supreme’s on yesterday’s McDonald decision. But Mara. Baby. You can’t reduce the number of handguns in Chicago. Remember, you have a handgun ban. There are no guns in Chicago! Isn’t that how they tell us bans are supposed to work? They make all guns go away, right??? So what can you possibly be talking about?
Okay, I know. I’m not supposed to go on about Stupid Gummint Tricks. But really. Sometimes these people are SOOOOOO amusing. In a Twilight Zonish, please-go-away-because-you’re-making-my-brain-hurt kinda way.
That particular moron has taken such a blogospheric beating that I could almost feel sorry for him. Almost. But who can resist Evans-Pritchard when he not only rips that poor snooty economist fella a new one, but asks if it’s time to get rid of the entire Federal Reserve? (Ron Paul, I think he’s just one upped you on your “audit the Fed” cry.)
Okay. Equal time for cats. This is not only amazing cat news, but the implications for severely injured humans are pretty awesome, too.
Gold. Yes, it’s likely to end up as a bubble. But in the meantime, take a look at that chart. Besides, the Dow really could go to 5,000. Are any actual humans investing in stocks any more? Or is it all just banks and computers?
Back to better news. Saw Toy Story 3 on Friday. In the Big City. In very subtle 3D. Pixar does it again. Cinematic miracles as standard stock in trade; what a concept. It’s at 98% fresh on RottenTomatoes.com and on track to become RT’s best-reviewed feature film of the year (another Pixar standard — ho hum). Of course, one out of 1000 reviewers might just think it’s the worst film of the year. ;-) Me, I bawled like a baby. And laughed. And marveled. And hung on for the wild ride. Don’t have kids? Me, neither — and who needs ’em for an excuse? Go see it, anyhow, if you haven’t already. Take your hankie. (I’m not sure how much the 3D added to the experience, ‘tho. It probably added emotional immediacy & a heightened sense of being in the action, but it was really very, very subtle. Unlike “Avatar,” the extra dimension isn’t crucial. Gads, Pixar just does such wonderful storytelling and creates such fabulous characters.) Oh yeah; think twice before taking really little kids. How a movie this intense got a “G” rather than a “PG” rating is a mystery.
No doubt, they’d love to. No doubt, if uber-authoritarian Joe Lieberman has his way, they’ll set up a plan to do exactly that. But is it possible? Or is this just more wishful thinking from powermad damnfools who believe the Internet is “a series of tubes”?
Denny Hansen, my editor at S.W.A.T. magazine, has asked me to write an article on that subject.
I have opinions. But they’re of the “everybody has one” variety. I have a little bit of knowledge. But I know this blog is read by people who have better opinions and more knowledge on technical matters than I. So mind if I pick your brains? I’ll gladly give credit in print (if you want it) to knowledgeable readers who offer solid info. Or opinions based on solid info.
I know the standard freedomista response is, “Ha ha, they can’t do it! The Internet is built to route around damage.” True, to a certain extent. But if the plan is to order ISPs, search engines, and other corporate site owners to shut down or shut off certain functions “in an emergency,” that’s a donkey of a different species. And what about URLs? Isn’t the ‘Net’s centralized naming system vulnerable to political tyranny and underhandedness? Sites have been kicked offline before simply by having their domain names abruptly de-registered, right? Couldn’t a government just do it, or order it done, en masse?
So, geek-genius readers, what would the effect on the ‘Net really be if the .gov decided it wanted to rule the ‘Net — “for the children” or “to fight the thread of global cyber terrorism” or to “halt domestic terrorists”? Would key sites simply move (or clone themselves) offshore to avoid being subject to political orders? Would too many of the Big Boys like Google yield to pressure? Is the whole idea of a “kill switch” simply bogus? Or would a kill switch be at least partly effective? Or would the fedgov, if it so wished, really shut down or cripple major functions?
If so, how would commerce be affected? How would you talk with your friends in China or Iran if a president ordered ISPs to stop accepting traffic to and from such places? And how would non-geeks function? I mean, I know you smart guys have a million ways to “route around” government damage; in that way, the old claim is true and glory hallelujah. But what about Jo and Joe average? Could their Divine Political Rulers really pull the “kill switch” on them?
Tell me. Tell the world. Tell the comments section, if you’re willing. Links to great sources appreciated. If you have serious expertise but you’d rather tell me your thoughts privately, just say so in the comments and I’ll contact you via email.
Every person who ever takes a government office should have this tattooed on his or her forehead. Backwards so it’s readable in the mirror every morning: “Truth never damages a cause that is just.” — Gandhi (and Wikileaks)
And here’s one more. If you’re wondering why political efforts to “cut spending except of course for Social Security and Medicare and the Pentagon and … etc.” are doomed, now you know. Of course, you smart readers already did know. But maybe you could show one of those silly people who actually believes that government will ever … er, cut government.
Claiming the first-time homebuyer tax credit — from your prison cell! Gawd, dontcha just love the American spirit of enterprise?
And if life gets you down, if the news is too awful, if even the effort of being cheerful seems too much and you contemplate staying in bed all day with the covers pulled over your head (because the alternative is going to work and finally doing what the little voices under your tinfoil hat have been telling you to do), there’s always The Daily Puppy to put life in perspective.
Oh. And look at this. Thanks to Dave and Toban in a recent comments section, we have the paleo-libertarian discussion group (founded by Toban) and an LRC.com article (written by Toban) explaining the paleo-libertarian connection. That’s the paleo (nutrition) libertarian connection, as opposed to (or perhaps alongside of) the hyphenless paleo(political)libertarians. Gets complicated, doesn’t it?
Y’all may know that I have a friend named Debra. Some of you know her. She used to be an officer in the Free State Project. She was a founding member of The Claire Files Forums (now the Mental Militia Forums). Today, instead, she has a life.
If you know Debra, you know that she’s definitely Debra. Or Deb. Never, ever Debbie.
But she told me a story the other day that surprised me. It’s a simple story about a name. But it speaks more volumes than the Encyclopedia Britannica (since Wikipedia, though much bigger, doesn’t have volumes). She gave me permission to share it.
As a kid, she was Debbie. And hated it. About the time she entered high school, the unsavory film “Debbie Does Dallas” hit theaters. As you can guess, she hated even more that she was a Debbie. I can only imagine the difficult time smart-ass peers must have given her for a while. But Debbie was what the world called her and Debbie was who she remained.
Then one day when she was college-aged, she was introduced to a Deborah.
When, reflexively, she called her new acquaintance Debbie (because of course, all Debras and Deborahs are immediately reduced to Debbies, just as all Charleses instantly become Charlies or Chucks and all Williams become Bill). The woman responded, “I prefer Deborah.”
And Debra — the soon-to-be-former Debbie — was struck dumb. She laughed as she told me this, but her astonishment at the time was real. “It was a bolt from the blue,” she said to me. “A revelation. The beginning of my liberation. You might think it’s ridiculous, but until that moment, it had never occurred to me, ever, that I had any say over what people called me. I just thought that if my family, friends, and the world wanted me to be Debbie, I was stuck being Debbie forever.”
That revelation led her to take more control over her own life. And each little act of self-ownership brought her more revelations about how much of her own life truly belonged to her and nobody else.
Years ago, I wrote an article titled “Whose Name is it, Anyway?” It’s one of my favorites (even though, as is usual with me, it does ramble on a bit) and one of the most informative articles I ever wrote. It’s about what I called the “tiny freedom” of being able to change one’s own name at will, without permission from government or anybody else. It’s also about the fascinating history of naming. And about having a name that means something to us and suits us at whatever stage of our lives we find ourselves.
Still, it never occurred to me that being able to assert control over one’s name or nickname would come as a revelation to anybody, or that such a revelation would set anyone on the path to greater freedoms.
But you never know. It’s amazing and wonderful how freedom can dawn. Sometimes, it just doesn’t take that much to start breaking free. Other times, small gifts are given to us when we’re already on freedom’s path — small gifts that end up making huge differences.
It’s so frustrating hearing people bitch that, “I can’t become more free because of X, Y, or Z.” (In one extreme case, a person whining about his plight online “couldn’t” become more free because his aging parents might not leave him $300,000, and without $300,000 he couldn’t take a single step — not one step! — toward any sort of preparedness or independence. That’s an extreme case, of course. But plenty of other excuses abound.)
Yet plenty of tiny, everyday miracles abound, too. Along with tiny, everyday acts that we take to free our minds & thereby begin freeing the rest of ourselves.
Do you have a story of one of those itty-bitty moments that turned into a life-changing revelation? How some small event or realization set you on an entirely new and more free course of life? Or how some small decision you made or act you took led to greater vistas of freedom? The comments section is all yours …
To recap, a primal diet (primal nutrition really, since it’s not something you just do until your waistline shrinks) consists mostly of vegetables, meat, nuts, animal and vegetable fats, and limited amounts of fruit and dairy (depending on which “expert” is talking).
It excludes nearly all grains (a bit of corn and rice allowed, but no gluten grains at all), all sweeteners whether natural or artificial, lentils, and all oils and fats derived from grains or legumes. Technically, it’s high fat, moderate protein, and low carb — though since the idea is that you can eliminate all the darned calorie-counting, carb-counting, etc. once you’re eating the right foods, it’s not usually put in those terms.
I’m “going pure” on it for a month, though I’m sure I’ll modify it after that (some lentils and sweeteners will return, I’m pretty sure).
Anyhow, here’s how it’s going:
From day one, I’ve felt “lighter” in some way I can’t explain. At first I thought that might just be a psychological effect. But it’s lasted too long to be an illusion.
My energy level has slightly, though definitely, increased. I find myself wanting to move around more, pushing myself farther and harder on walks through the hills without any sense of drudgery.
Although neither the scale nor the tape measure are telling any super-dramatic stories (couple of pounds down, half inch off the waist maybe), I’m clearly getting some shape back. The “cottage-cheesy” look is melting out of my middle.
Virtually every digestive problem I’ve ever had has disappeared. This isn’t entirely due to primal nutrition. The small miracle of discovering lactobacillus acidophilus earlier this year was a bigger factor. But the combo of the two is heaven-sent. No grains seems to mean no bloating, among other things.
I’m expanding my food horizons and doing more cooking with fresher foods.
One of my off-grid friends has pointed out that virtually every part of the primal diet can be produced by small homesteaders. No vast fields or specialized equipment needed. Just the right climate, soils, space for animals, etc.
No comfort food! No crackers, no strawberry shortcake, no fried Cheerios, no quick-grabbing of something out of a box, no sourdough bread, no malted milk balls or Andes mints, no honey or stevia or brown sugar in my tea.
Similarly, none of the “staples of life.” Like pizza. Or sandwiches. Or Chinese restaurant food with “mystery ingredients” in it. When friends want to get together for a meal, I’ve now become one of those difficult people who can’t eat this or that. (Hopefully this will diminish after my month of being “pure,” but I don’t expect ever to eat many grains again.)
The first few days, I was light-headed and grouchy from being denied any quick sugar hit. It passed quickly, though.
Because of having no sweet or cakey things to top off a meal, I often feel hungry after eating, even when I’ve had plenty.
Many of the snacky things that are allowable — for instance, bacon, beef jerky, or a cupful of straight heavy cream (for the fat more than for the dairy) … well, I just cannot convince myself they’re long-term healthy choices. Others are simply unfulfilling. Blueberries? Fine for breakfast, but not in the league of a big slice of apple pie with ice cream. But what the heck. If you take away my Canelas (Mexican cinnamon crackers), I’ll accept a cup of straight whipping cream as partial compensation — for now.
What ugly? There is no ugly. I’m getting rid of my muffin top. And I feel “en-light-ened.” That’s beautiful.
“Disrespect for Government is as American as Fried Bananas.” LRC.com ran this article last week. It’s about contrasts between Latin American attitudes and U.S. American attitudes toward government and law. Thing is, the folks down south know their governments are corrupt and dangerous. So they don’t give them any respect — and also don’t favor using them to harass or manipulate their neighbors. A lot of people (me included) shudder at the thought of living in some country where police expect bribes and politicians are nakedly corrupt. But there’s a darned good argument in favor of such places.
And finally, just to get your weekend off to an extra cheery start, that Active Denial pain ray we’ve been hearing about for years has finally made it into Afghanistan. You can be sure it’ll win hearts and minds when the U.S. fedgov starts microwaving women, children, and old men.
But I am the neighbor Joel refers to as W. or Uncle W. — and I suspect his attempt to turn me into a person of the male persuasion for literary purposes has fooled very few readers.
So there you have it. Yes, Joel is the hermit neighbor who lives in the next trailer down the ridge. It’s nice having a crotchety old one-legged hermit for a neighbor. They leave you alone, which is good. Except when you don’t want to be left alone. Which is also good.
Joel is very much like his fictional character Shadow, from stories like this one. And he and Shadow are both more suited to being desert rats than I.
So that’s that. Joel, you can now quit your unconvincing attempts to hide my identity.
On the other hand, this isn’t sweet at all. It’s crude. In the oily sense. Yet it’s strange how something so terrible can look beautiful when captured at the right moment, in the right light.
And if you’re interested in a good site for following oil spill news — with speculation, but speculation by very knowledgeable people — The Oil Drum is a good place to start. The link goes to a current article that supports the viewpoint (that we’ve been hearing increasingly) that the well structure itself is compromised and the leak will keep getting worse. But no Alex Jonesy stuff this time.
Oh, just what we need! “A Fannie and Freddie for Food.” Government-grocery store partnerships, all across this great land! That’ll ensure that we all have full bellies and healthy nutrition, won’t it? Ya sure, you betcha. (And really, while I knew I lived in an actual desert, I had no idea that living 10+ miles from the nearest grocery store put me in a “food desert.” Geez, should I just curl up and die, or what? You poor folks who live above the arctic circle somewhere or in rural Wyoming just ought to shoot yourselves before you starve to death, I guess.)
It was just a rumor earlier this week, but now seems confirmed. The traitorous NRA has once again sold out gun owners and liberty — this time by crafting a special exemption for itself to an upcoming campaign finance law.
Now, with a provision in place to protect organizations that just happen to look exactly like the NRA, it’s ready to accept an anti-free speech bill.
For the sake of the 2nd amendment? Hardly. Even if the Bill of Rights was a Chinese menu from which you could pick your favorites, the NRA has made sure that its oh-so-special provisions ensure that some other, smaller, tougher political gun groups, like Gun Owners of America (which just happen to be growing while NRA members increasingly desert), are muzzled while the big old NRA gets to continue peddling its message of “compromise, compromise, compromise.”
My first thought was, “Not much different than I’m already doing.” After all, I’ve been consciously pursuing (and preaching) freedom for a long time. I’m out here in the hills, doing pretty much what I want, with people I want to be with. I live in a place where you can strap a gun on and go downtown (such as downtown is) and nobody will give you a second glance. A place where the neighbors are self-sufficient and helpful — and nice, besides. A place where we can legally do stuff like this in our very own backyard:
(And yes, that’s a suppressed, full-auto, and completely legal Mac-10 being fired by one of our visitors on one of the two firing ranges here at Last-Chance Gulch. He’s on a hill above the pistol range. There’s also a 600-yard rifle range.)
Who could ask for more?
But then …
A year ago, I was taxed out of a home that I owned free-and-clear, a home I built. Because government remains the ultimate owner of all our property.
I’m here in the desert — which is not my natural environment — living in a friend’s fifth-wheel trailer in part because it was the only place I could afford to go. I’m grateful for it. Very. But now I’m faced with other choices. I’ve been kicking those choices back and forth across my brain for about two months now and only just now realized that whatever decision I eventually make will be formed largely by government dkitats, government avoidance, or my fears of what government might do.
By the end of this summer, I have to move out of where I am now. I’m fortunate enough to have three interesting choices:
Less than a mile from here, on a windswept hilltop, sits an empty, fully furnished single-wide whose aging owner built it for Y2K and never set foot here after that turned out to be a non-event. Our neighbors have right of first refusal on the property, but they’re interested only in the land. If they can buy the place, they’ve offered to rent the dwelling to me quite reasonably.
I’ve also looked at a couple of rather cool little houses in a distressed area of my beloved northwest. These houses can be gotten for less than many people pay for their cars. They’re beaters, of course. “Handyman specials” as they say. But they’re cute, affordable — and just sitting there in a market that has flat-out died.
Finally, the — believe it or not — most budget-minded option is to go back to Panama, where I have a line on a small, furnished apartment. Even when I factor in the airfare and paying a friend a nominal sum to care for my dogs for a few months, this option will cost even less than moving less than a mile across the valley. (It would be temporary, however; I don’t qualify for residency in Panama and don’t know whether I’d want to.)
So again … that all sounds good. Three options — and not one of them a bad choice. That’s a type of freedom, isn’t it?
Each option has its own natural (that is, non-governmental) pros and cons.
Option 1 lets me stay near good friends, live in glorious open spaces, and not have the burdens of ownership. But, oh the thrice-damned-desert winds! And really, it’s not certain whether my sweet neighbors will be able to purchase the place.
Option 2 gets me back up north and closer to my friends there. It puts me in a nice small town within walking distance of stores, and gives me the joys of ownership (I can paint the house black with purple stripes if I want to because it’s mine, mine, mine). But it means a major move and all the costs and responsibilities of home ownership.
Option 3 means being gloriously warm all winter, living amid the beauty of a rain forest, and experiencing another culture. But my dogs won’t be with me, I’ll be far from friends, and my hablo-ing of Espanol is pretty feeble.
I could sort through those choices and consider myself lucky. It’s the governmental complications that hurt my brain.
What if I rent the single-wide, then the feds create hyperinflation and I’m stuck with payments that escallate beyond my means? I’ll end up not just homeless, but hopeless. Guess I’d better buy.
Oh, but the taxes on those cute little houses are even higher than the ones that drove me out of Cabin Sweet Cabin! And what if inflation or governmental overspending or whatever drives the taxes or the city-owned utility rates up beyond what I can pay? They’ll take my house away!
And every time I read something like this I think, “This country is getting too damned scary. (The FAA is feeling pressure because of the “need” — the NEED??? — for Predator drones to be flying over the U.S.???) I should just get out.”
But if I go to Panama, I know darned well they have random (and not-so-random) ID checks there. And if I stay beyond 90 days at a time, I’ll become an “illegal.” And geez, when they have their census, you can’t even have fun evading the government snoop; you actually have to stay in your house on a certain day until somebody comes and gives you a permission slip saying you’ve complied. And I’ll have to learn how to bribe petty government officials. Oh god, and to get there and back, I have to submit to TSA assault … No, I’ll just stick it out in the U.S. no matter how bad it gets.
So … I’ll just rent the single-wide across the valley. Because, after all, this is as good a place as any to sit out whatever economic chaos the government might cause. And here I can be useful to my neighbor who’s no longer “allowed” by the government to drive into town for groceries despite the fact that’s he’s probably a better driver than I am.
But still … I’d really rather own a home, even with all those potential drawbacks. And there’s going to be hyper-inflation, you just know there is. So buying really is better. And up in the northwest it’s easier to grow your own survival garden so that when the fed finishes trashing the dollar …
Sorry to go on so. Maybe this is all “just me.” Friend Jim calls this “Hamleting,” and I do admit that even in the best of times I’m prone to sit in thick muddles of indecision (until I suddenly make my choice and act so abruptly that my friends think I’ve leaped onto the back of some wild impulse).
But if governments in general — and the threat of onrushing, government-caused, economic chaos in particular — weren’t so omnipresent, virtually every big life decision would be a whole lot easier.
So what would I do if I “woke up in freedom”? In this particular instance, I’m not sure. What I think is that, if I had been living in freedom all along, I never would have felt the need to limit my income so sharply. I’d be more prosperous. I would never have been driven out of Cabin Sweet Cabin by taxers. It would be possible actually to own one’s own home. Houses and everything else would be more generally affordable because they wouldn’t be loaded with hidden taxes and costly regulations. And in all probability I could buy a house (which wouldn’t be owned by a bank because the government wouldn’t have wrecked the economy), rent a weekend place if I wanted one, and jet off to Central America for a few winter months.
But that’s wishing.
What I’d do if I woke up tomorrow and all stupid tax- and inflation- and tyranny-related obstacles were removed is … um … let me think on that.
There are “experts” predicting hyperinflation. There are “experts” who sneer at that, pointing out that we’re obviously in greater danger from deflation. Here’s the best explanation I’ve seen of why the latter can easily lead to the former.
“Toxic Citizens.” Even the WSJ is now noticing. And it says what’s bad for U.S. citizens living abroad may eventually be bad for the USA.
Okay, but on the lighter side … You’ve been to that site. I know you have. Or at least you’ve seen its animal photos with their cute little “I can has cheezburger” captions. But. Here’s the difference between just playing around online and turning a good idea into a mini-empire. Long live creative capitalism!
I mentioned last week that I’m doing a 30-day experiment in primal nutrition (a subject on which blog commentors have been of huge help, thank you). So far, okay. But Sunday night I got to wondering: “Geez, if this really turns out to be the way to eat — no grains, no sweeteners, just meat, veggies, nuts, and fruit, basically — what’s up with all that long-term storage food sitting out there in the barn?” I mean … wheat berries, TVP granules, sugar, germade, pinto beans, powdered milk, even those notorious lentils I like to joke about … sure that could keep a body alive in rough times. But what would primal emergency food preps look like? The very next morning, purely by chance, I stumbled upon Mark Sisson’s only slightly tongue-in-cheek answer. Nope, I’m not eating Fido, even post-apocalypse. But there are other possibilities …