- Three new chapters this week in Jake MacGregor’s novel The Advisor. Chapter 19 and 20 on Tuesday. Chapter 21 last night.
- Good news from the lemonade wars. Well, if anything can be considered good news in this business of cops and code authoritah shutting down kids’ front-yard ventures. Can you imagine the kind of person who would — with “official” blessing — go out of his way to yell at little girls for selling lemonade? The mind boggles.
- But then, I suppose we’re supposed to be grateful that the criminal little lemonade pushers weren’t beaten and tasered to death. (NOTE: Heartbreakingly graphic photo. But OMG, read the quote from the murdered man’s father, who used to be a LEO.)
- Okay. After that we can use something light. And this, too.
- This is a very handy little book — and an excellent getter-starter for friends and relatives who may feel daunted by preparedness: The Prepper’s Pocket Guide: 101 Easy Things You Can Do to Ready Your Home for a Disaster
- Eejits. Don’t they realize this will never — and I mean never, ever, ever — even be possible, let alone desirable? How absurd that all this talk of “ending anonymity on the Internet” keeps coming from alleged techfolk. Do they have no clue what an Outlaw wonderland would result if anybody tried this? (Tip o’ hat to D.A.)
- “Hideouts or Sacred Spaces?” Weird in either case: the story of Europe’s mysterious underground chambers.
- Hope they mean it.
- Finally, in the category of stylish Outlawry: Did LulzSec trick police into arresting the wrong guy?
Archive for July, 2011
The local downtown (such as it is) features a series of tiny parks — just green squares, really, maybe with a badly carved and crumbling wooden statue. Each of these parkettes is named after somebody. Always somebody I’ve never head of. Usually somebody even local old-timers can’t remember. In one case (I know because the plaque says so) it’s a man who owned a print shop that lasted until 1936.
These sad plaques attempting to honor forgotten people got me thinking about legacies. Getting something named after you is usually supposed to be a tribute (not always, as in the notorious and NSFW case of Rick Santorum), but it almost seems as if it’s a guarantee of obscurity.
Oh, I don’t doubt that the men and women behind the eponymous parkettes were once vital members of the community. To whatever extent they actually contributed to the place and didn’t just do politics, I salute them even though I’ll never know who the hell they were. Still, the whole getting-stuff-named-after-you business is, IMHO, strictly to be avoided. Definitely a very poor way to ensure a legacy.
At best, it makes you seem boringly institutionalized. They do not name parks, bridges, and public buildings after Beat poets, guitar-smashing rockers, or psychedelic drug gurus. At worst, it tells the world you were a monumentally corrupt porker.
And legacies can be unpredictable. You may want to be remembered for one thing, then by accident of history become a legacy laughingstock. Even folks who are lucky enough to get a chance to exert some “legacy control” during their lifetimes, might still be grossed out by the outcome.
So as I say, I got to thinking. About legacies. I have some ideas about what I’d like my legacy to be (assuming I have one), and on how I hope it’s expressed. Of course, that’s largely up to the Fates. But thinking about how one would like to be remembered can make a difference in the choices we make and the way we live.
So what about you? What would you like your legacy to be? And what are you doing toward building the legacy you hope for? Use the comment section if you want to or keep it to yourself — but give it some real thought.
Please forget stuff like “I’d like to be remembered as the woman who found a cure for cancer” unless you’re really working on it. No “I want to be the man who led the world to eternal peace.” That’s hooey.
You being you and your life being what it is — or what you can make it — what legacy do you hope for?
A first-class rant from an ordinary small business person, Jim Garvin:
Sad that he still feels a need to talk with the minions of Mordor at all. But I’ll bet you millions of folks who eventually listen to this will be cheering, “Yeah! What he said!” — starting with his very first question to His Betters: “Are all of you completely crazy???”
- August 20 is Lemonade Freedom Day. “Because selling lemonade is not a crime. (H/T C^2)
- The Farmer Veteran Coalition. Beats the heck out of them coming back and joining the LAPD or the Podunkville “finest of the finest” SWAT team. (Thanking J. for this one)
- Yes, your dog really is reading your mind. (P :-) )
- Are you the addictive type? Sez here you might be leadership material.
- From Ellendra in a recent comment section who says, (finally) “even the Wall Street Journal is starting to notice” that there are too many federal laws and regulations. And that the feds are discarding more than one ancient legal principle as they metastisize all over the land.
- And now for a little illicit puggery: Thug Pug, Steam Pug, Merpug, and Pug Boat. And I gotta get me one of these, only bigger.
I haven’t forgotten that I owe y’all the next (and hopefully last) installment of “Responsibilities of a Resident of the Police State.” Just been too busy to sit down to a long rant.
When not earning money today, I spent an hour and a half with my Friendly Local Contractor examining a) why one side of the bathroom is several inches lower than the other and b) why parts of the foundation of the house don’t appear to be attached to anything. (My astounding powers of deduction tell me that these two facts may be connected!)
Some parts of the foundation touch the ground but not the house. Others are stoutly attached to the house but fail to reach earth. Very interesting. I think this house may have been designed by Rene Magritte.
Good news, though. Friendly Contractor tells me a) that all the important bits of the house are, in fact, supported by something other than air, b) all the bits that went haywire went haywire decades ago and have long since stabilized, c) the worst-looking damage is cosmetic, and d) (oh, bless you, Friendly Contractor) the fix will be dirt cheap.
It’s nice (and rare) when an old house surprises you in a good way.
- Radley Balko, who posts a lot of photos on his blog, has just posted the best two ever, bar none, no possible comparison: Cory Maye as a free man.
- How come Al Quaeda is always responsible, even when Al Quaeda isn’t responsible?
- “Playing to Your Strengths.” For some, this might be a no-brainer. But for others (e.g. who were forced or simply fell into their career paths), not so.
- Charles Hugh Smith is a wonderful thinker. He’s just come up with the best analysis of what the Euro really is and what the current goings on in European finances really are.
- “The U.S. Government and Activist Technology.” (Tip o’ hat to C^2; I think he’s also the author of the piece, but there’s no byline.)
- And similarly … “Subtext, and Saving the World.” Brilliant!
Fred Reed nails it. As usual.
This ties in nicely with my ongoing rants & is why I titled them for residents of the police state, not citizens of.
Well, how about a raffle ticket for a used gun?
Or maybe bid on an auction for a used gun?
See, here’s the deal. A person calling himself the Easter Bunny (seriously; he doesn’t dare go by Anonymous because these days the FBI will bust you for that) has offered me a gun to raffle or auction.
Here’s the further deal. His catch is that I design my own camo pattern (he suggests Peeps and melons but I dunno about that) and offer this as the world’s first (and perhaps only) Claire Camo firearm.
The probable gun is a Mini-14, older but nicely tricked out. It has a six-position stock. Other possibilities are an AK47 or a bolt-action .308, but he and I are both leaning toward the Mini. In any case, it would be
professionally semi-professionally amateurishly uniquely painted with DuraCoat & you guys might even get to help design the new camo.
So back to the question at the top of this post: Would you be interested in bidding on this if I put it up for auction? Or would you buy a $10 raffle ticket if this were the top prize (with second and third prizes to be named)?
All the legalities would be observed, including shipping the firearm through an FFL in the winner’s state if a FTF transfer isn’t possible.
Color selections are frighteningly limitless, including such options as “Goddess Purple,” “Barney Purple” (yes, that Barney), “Harley-Davidson Orange,” “Furious Mike,” and “Bronx Rose.” Mr. Bunny’s offer is almost too generous, and DuraCoat and the equipment to apply it are a bit of an investment, so I’m only going to do this if people are enthused.
Interested? Suggestions? Tell me!
Two more chapters of Jake MacGregor’s globe-spanning novel The Advisor just went online.
Chapter 17, in which we get a little blessed relief.
Chapter 18, in which we don’t.
To those of a certain age, “Telex” may evoke memories of large, unwieldy, chattering ancestors of the fax machine.
S., who found the information, comments (this will make more sense if you’ve read a bit on the above links):
I suspect there will be a number of interesting variations on this technology. For example, the The Mental Militia forum is almost certainly monitored by one or more Three-Letter Aacronyms. The Telex approach requires many different machines in the network to run a Telex server, and is therefore somewhat difficult and slow to deploy.
Imagine that the TMM server ran a modified server, let’s call it Telex-2 server. People could log into TMM (or another, single website) and would appear to read innocuous stuff. The small group who were trusted and/or in the know enough to have installed a Telex-2 client would be accessing a secure forum, which might contain censored literature, discussion of verboten topics, notice of meetings, a marketplace, etc.
The beauty is that instead of a network of servers running Tor or Telex, a single server could provide secure, well-obscured access to a group of like-minded people. The TLAs might wonder at the level of interest in a site hosting pictures and discussions of well-formed goat udders (I actually saw that following Mutti’s links on TMM) but would have no clue what information was actually being shared, or that any info was being covertly shared.
No smoke, no key words, no interest. They can vacuum it all up and learn nothing, in fact they get more noise in their databases. I think picture and video sharing websites would make good screens, as they use a lot of bandwidth. That makes it that much easier to mask the traffic signature from the secret site.
Another example: When people communicate with PGP, it sends up red flags. They can’t know what we are saying, but they know we are talking, and that we use PGP.
If there were a picture-hosting site with Telex-3, we could use it to store and forward PGP-encrypted messages. I post a picture of an especially nice goat udder, but as the picture is uploading my Telex-3 client sends the PGP message. When you log into the site, the message is sent to you along with a suitable image for cover. No one sees that an encrypted message was sent.
This is the kind of technology that will enable phyles. I’m not a software guru but there are plenty of smart people who will take this and run with it. It’s good news for the good guys.
Hm. It’ll be very interesting to see which governments will scream in alarm about this and try to forbid its adoption. How many alleged “lands of the free” will suspect their own citizens of using telex privacy to perform Evil Plots against them?
Not our “land of the free,” of course. Never that. Our government serves and respects its citizens, always …
Okay, enough heavy stuff for the moment. On the lighter side …
Have you ever wondered why those legions of Irish clog dancers almost never move their arms? Seems silly, doesn’t it, to flat-out not use such an expressive part of the body?
Well, this brief video explains why by showing the origins of Irish dance.
Shamelessly stolen from Patrice Lewis’s Rural Revolution blog
Changing perceptions at the end of empire
It steamboats come steamboat time
The empire demands obedience. But the more harshly it demands, the more desperate it is. A government that sends thugs to kick down people’s doors at 6:00 a.m. or that shuts protestors within barbed wire enclosures is a government that is frightened. And weak. Not strong.
Our particular empire exists in the age of public relations. It realizes that We the Mob can be kept quieter longer via bribes than by oppression. But times change. The bribe money runs out. The PR curtain is ripped away, revealing the real beneficiaries of the welfare-warfare state — those with power and pull. The people become cynical. But the empire first doesn’t recognize the change, then doesn’t know how to respond. It’s the classic “when your only tool is a hammer …” dilemma. Empires aren’t fast on their feet. they stick with formula. As Einstein said, it becomes madness.
At the end of empire, the rich get richer, the poor suffer. But the rich — that is, those who get rich on pull and not by having to satisfy the customer — get stupider. They become as blatant in their folly as the members of any ancien regime, headed for a fall.
As things fall apart and the emperor’s nakedness becomes obvious to all, adherents of empire propose plans that are ever-more desperately idiotic.
The empire will strike back — as it just did against supposed members of the super-hacker group Anonymous. But empires, by their top-down, insulated-from-Clue nature, inherently don’t get it — even when the rebels are laughing right in their faces. “Anonymous” isn’t an organization. It’s … anonymous. I don’t know whether it has leaders; you probably don’t know, either. Nobody even knows whether “it” exists as an “it” in any traditional sense. But it’s hydra-headed. Bust one “leader” or a handful of “members,” and others arise.
Empires never really get this. Not even when they think they do. (Does one, single person here believe that the Pentagon, for instance, will win this particular war?)
Eventually — and perhaps in isolated places, at first — even the expected defenders of political corruption say no.
I don’t necessarily agree with the timeline of The Fourth Turning. When you set out to “prove” a historic point, it’s easy to pick any events that uphold your thesis and ignore others. But this much is true: change, when it comes, can come rapidly and in unexpected ways.
How can we doubt that? Most of us were alive to watch the Berlin Wall be torn down chunk-by-chunk by young revelers. Most of us were alive to watch Boris Yeltsin mount a tank and proclaim the end of the “invincible” Soviet empire. These were events that not one mainstream “expert” would have predicted even months earlier, and almost nobody on the outside saw coming. But one day … there they were.
That’s huge. One of the two biggest empires on earth, gone overnight — and with minimal violence. How can we forget that?
The Berlin Wall is a particularly vivid example of how change comes. For decades, people had been shot — killed — just for trying to get over that wall. But when “steamboat time” came, when the wall was ready to fall, all it took was a chain of bureaucratic screwups … and the world shifted.
Moving into the light
To those who say that only violent revolution will do … well, there are so many answers to that.
Is violent revolution sometimes necessary? Of course. But if you’re eager for it, please tell me how you expect freedom to emerge on the other side of the bloodbath? Tell me how you expect Enlightenment values to rule the day when most of the population has been so diligently conditioned by government schools, government-sucking media, and government itself? Most people wouldn’t know freedom if it bit them on the backside. The sixty percent whose daily lives hang on government checks aren’t going to thank you for depriving them — and they’re sure as heck not going to rush to help you restore values that they consider meaningless abstractions (if they consider them at all).
Doubt it? Just go ask any 10 people on the streets to tell you what’s in the Bill of Rights and why it matters.
Violent revolution may — may — be necessary. But unless hearts and minds are ready for freedom, the aftermath is going to look more like the French or Russian revolutions than like the Olde American one.
But there are other forms of revolution. And other forms of battle. Look around you; there are thousands of weapons that fire no projectiles, and rebels able to wield them.
And what of humor and irreverence?. Amazingly powerful weapons, those. I’d go so far as to say there’s nothing a tyrant fears more than people who no longer take him seriously.
And the ordinary — yet extraordinary — power of networks? One of the factors that helped bring down the Soviet Union was a crude, primitive samizdat of fax machines, mimeograph machines, copiers, and radios. The kind with tubes. How much more power do we have, literally at our fingertips?
You might be able to cancel the program, if you have the power. But you can’t stop the signal. Not these days.
Is anything going to happen fast? Who can say? It steamboats come steamboat time. Even if Nostradamus had been as prescient as the supermarket tabloids pretend he was, neither he nor anybody else could have said when any particular “steamboat time” would come or what form any particular “steamboat” would take.
I’ve been reading a couple of books lately that give a little historical perspective on the dilemmas we face. One is American Jezebel: The Uncommon Life of Anne Hutchinson, the Woman Who Defied the Puritans by Eve LaPlante. The other is Judge Sewall’s Apology: The Salem Witch Trials and the Forming of an American Conscience by Richard Francis.
When the insufferably self-righteous Puritan leadership exiled the abrasive, outspoken Mrs. Hutchinson from the Massachusetts Bay Colony, they no doubt considered it a victory. Indeed things didn’t turn out so well for Hutchinson and her own. She first fled to the nascent Rhode Island colony, but the pesky Puritans continued to send agents to dog her. When it looked as if her enemies might take over Rhode Island, she and a number of her children sought refuge with the Dutch in what is now New York. But stubborn woman that she was, she stayed put when warned of an Indian attack — and she and all but one of those with her got scalped and burned.
No doubt her enemies crowed. But by their intolerance and cruelty to Hutchinson, they gave birth to the very thing they detested — religious freedom as an American political principle.
A few decades later, Samuel Sewall — a good man, though one whose values might be incomprehensible today — served as a judge in the Salem witch trials. Everybody agrees that those trials are a black mark on American history — superstition and credulity meeting teenage drama and social prejudice, resulting in mass hysteria and judicial murder.
Yet five years after the fact, when Judge Sewall examined his conscience and made a public apology (the lone judge out of nine to have the courage to do so), he helped change standards of justice and evidence — and even helped change the Yankee mindset. From the murderous “mistakes” of Medieval, symbolic, black-and-white thinking flowered a great intellectual revolution.
So you never know how change will come or when. But you can know that the darkest days and darkest events force light to dawn.
Another thought, if it’s any comfort. This one’s on the timing of change and is for those who think we lack gumption because we’re not holding The Revolution right this very minute.
Did you know that, eighty-six years (almost to the day) before citizens of Concord and Lexington sent the Redcoats scurrying, the leaders of Boston arrested hated governor Edmund Andros, staging armed rebellion against his rule? Andros was the agent of a far-off king and they weren’t willing to put up with his high-handedness against them. They still considered themselves loyal Englishmen — as most American colonists would until the late 18th century. But when ass-kicking time came, they were ready to kick ass.
Still, it took their “steamboat time” another century to truly arrive. No point in despairing if our steamboat doesn’t dock tomorrow.
Yes, still more to come …
Moving beyond misconceptions
Comment threads on part I and part II were full of interesting insights. Well, comments around here nearly always are. But these were interesting for the mix of wisdom and folly they contained — both held with equal passion.
When I challenged people (sarcastically, I admit) to point me toward a single local government that consistently and reliably obeyed the law, respected individuals, and kept within its bounds, people responded with exactly the sort of examples that proved my point. Yes, you can demonstrate that when local governments become sufficiently corrupt and abusive, angry voters will rise up and kick ass. But I already acknowledged that.
Nobody came up with a single example of true “good government” even at what ought to be the most easily managed level.
Matt did point out, correctly, that if good government did exist, it might not get much media attention; botched SWAT raids and politicians caught in the act of bribe-taking do make better press.
Nevertheless, if voting and vigilance create good government, there’d be hundreds, if not thousands, of examples to point to. There aren’t any. At best, you get slightly more tolerable versions of tyranny, slightly less corrupt oligarchies, slightly more favorable forms of favoritism, out of the vigilance-and-voting arrangement. That’s all you’ll ever get — and in most cases not even that much.
The moment you set up an organization that’s empowered to take other people’s money and boss other people around, the word “good” simply can’t apply.
Joel sums things up pretty well. You can vote out all the rascals in the world, but you’re still stuck with a system that attracts rascals and bullies and corrupts the rare good people who dare enter it.
The saddest thing is that despite centuries of evidence, so many people hold voting as some holy ritual, some magic rite. “If enough people would just vote, all would be well.” When it doesn’t work, it’s because the people failed to vote diligently enough.
No, that’s not the saddest thing. The saddest thing is that so many have been conditioned to believe that our only choices are the two “Vs” — a) voting or b) violence. “We must make the magic rite of voting work. If we can’t, blood will run in the streets.”
Now that’s a heck of a choice.
Is the universe really that limited? Nonsense!
We could get into some philosophical meander here and point out that voting is a form of violence, as is government itself. But let’s leave that for the philosophical types. For the rest of us, it’s a matter of doing what works to increase the amount of freedom — in the world and in our worlds. And right now, at this moment, for We the People who’ve watched a police state (albeit a kinder, gentler one) rise up around us, neither voting nor violence is an effective option if our aim is to live free.
“But what do we do instead?” There’s the eternal cry. And what’s strange is that all manner of people (including me, including lots of commentors, including legions of creative bloggers) offer answers to that question every day. For years we’ve been tossing out alternatives.
Few want to hear. Because of course the answers aren’t as easy-peasy as spending five minutes of bi-annual or quad-annual (is that even a word?) v*ting (and getting righteous over news stories in between). Nor is it as dramatic (and pleasantly distant) as the image of we, our heroic selves, (someday) taking up arms and blasting in Rambo-esque glory at The Tyrant’s Legions — after somebody else starts the revolution we’re so adamant to have.
The real answers take 10,000 forms and involve (as one commentor scorned) everybody “doing their own thing” (“Hippies,” he snorted).
The real answers involve individual responsibility. Ugh. How dreary. How tedious. How unheroic. How very unfashionable.
I want to clear up another misconception. A couple of comments noted (rightly) that nobody has any responsibility to a police state. True. But that’s never been my point. It’s not about performing any duties to the state. It’s about duties we feel toward ourselves, our families, our communities, our civilization, our principles, and our fellow man when we’re stuck living within a police state.
Now, if you don’t feel any of those, fine. Go your own way. (In fact, you probably already have gone your own way; I doubt that many consciousless, conscienceless folk have read this far.)
So this is about responsibilities we personally believe we should undertake — to create change within whatever sphere we adopt as our own. It’s about the responsibility to keep the tyrant from kicking our door down by preempting it from kicking down the doors of other innocent people (or punishing it when it does). It’s about the responsibility to ensure our own freedoms by kicking back when others’ freedoms get trampled. It’s about blowing the miasma of tyranny away from frightened, discouraged souls.
It’s about the long haul.
But. Here’s the good part. Responsibility doesn’t have to be dreary or tedious. Nor does revolution (if and when it comes) have to be bloody.
Stay tuned for more.
And thank you to everybody who’s heard all this before — and maybe even said all this before. It needs to be said again periodically, and in different words, so that new people can hear and discouraged people can mine old concepts for new courage.