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Living Freedom by Claire Wolfe. Musings about personal freedom and finding it within ourselves.

Want to Comment on a blog post? Look for and click on the blue No Comments or # Comments at the end of each post.



Archive for June, 2010

Claire Wolfe

Only a Republican …

Tuesday, June 29th, 2010

… 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…

FOR WAR.

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.

John Boehner. Hands-down winner of the Statist Pig of the Day Award.

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.

—–

More on morons: Ambrose Evans-Pritchard gives a grand, glorious whack to one of their number at the Federal Reserve.

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.)

Claire Wolfe

Supremes rule as expected on McDonald

Monday, June 28th, 2010

After Heller, almost inevitable. Sure. All the usual governmental caveats apply. But it’s lovely to imagine Mayor Daley throwing himself on the floor screaming and threatening to hold his breath until he turns blue. And knowing that it won’t do the poor, spoiled bully boy one itty-bitty bit of good.

Link to the decision (.pdf).

Claire Wolfe

Monday miscellany

Monday, June 28th, 2010
  • An 11-pound hero. (Thank you, S&L, for the news.)
  • Another great dog story.
  • 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?
  • “A Sermon on Ethics and Love.” (Hail Eris! All Hail Discordia!) Tip o’ hat to C2 for this and the kitty story above.
  • “Don’t mind me; I’ll just die here in the dark.” Good one from J.D. Tuccille. About preparedness. Or the defeatist lack thereof.
  • Surprise, surprise. Police state powers are growing as Obama and Janet Napolitano continue Bushevik policies. And here’s one more cheery example.
  • 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.
Claire Wolfe

Can they really put a “kill switch” on the Internet?

Friday, June 25th, 2010

Can our Dear Leaders actually put a “kill switch” on the Internet?

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.

Many thanks!

Claire Wolfe

Thursday thoughts

Thursday, June 24th, 2010
  • Perfect example of the broken-window fallacy. Not to mention public relations idiocy. Yes — the Gulf oil spill is good for you!
  • 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)
  • You remember that “ending welfare as we know it” thingie back in 1996? Uh. Well … not quite.. (That chart is from a June 1 Heritage Foundation report, which contains many other “fedgov by the numbers” charts guaranteed not to make your day.)
  • 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?
  • But enough, enough, enough of the bad news. This week also brought us the only commencement address in the entire known-and-unknown history of mankind that wasn’t just a cartload of horsepucky. Something to think about. Words to live by.
  • 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?
Claire Wolfe

Itty-bitty acts of self-ownership

Wednesday, June 23rd, 2010

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 …

Claire Wolfe

How that primal diet’s going

Tuesday, June 22nd, 2010

Been two weeks now since I started that primal-paleo-neanderthal-caveman-evolutionary diet. (Someone really has to settle on a good name for this thing.) Some folks offered helpful advice and some asked to be kept posted on progress, so this seems a good time for a check-in.

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:

The Good:

  • 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.

The Bad

  • 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.

The Ugly

What ugly? There is no ugly. I’m getting rid of my muffin top. And I feel “en-light-ened.” That’s beautiful.

Claire Wolfe

Monday miscellany

Monday, June 21st, 2010
  • This WSJ article focuses on the behavior of investors (and draws, I think, some dubious conclusions). But the heart and soul of it is about the psychology of going along with the crowd. Good info not to live by.
  • The NRA’s free-speech sellout from a different political perspective.
  • He loves his Mac. He doesn’t hate Windows. In fact, he thinks Windows 7 is a great product. But he’s switching to Linux.
  • Well, whaddaya know? Portugal decriminalizes virtually all recreational drug use and the universe fails to implode.
  • “Patience and Personal Finance.” News you can use if you’re working on getting out of debt. (News impatient people like me can use any old time.)
  • Why it may take years for the housing market to be healthy again.
  • “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.
 
 


 
 

 
 
 
 
 
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