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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 January, 2012

Claire Wolfe

Opting out and opting in

Tuesday, January 31st, 2012

I turn the blog over this morning to two commentors at Earthineer:

Oilman2, who says that small farmers (and by extension many more of us) should opt out.

And Earthineer founder Dan Adams who answers that we should opt in.

Claire Wolfe

Monday miscellany

Monday, January 30th, 2012
Claire Wolfe

The caging of America

Sunday, January 29th, 2012

Meant to put this up Saturday morning as a weekend read. It’s a bit long, though a good one even for those of us who already know too much about the prison-state: “The Caging of America.”

Claire Wolfe

Privacy & security roundup

Sunday, January 29th, 2012

Tips of hats to SC, MJR, H

Claire Wolfe

The things people do to dogs

Sunday, January 29th, 2012

… sometimes just by doing nothing to dogs.

I have a house guest this weekend. Canine. Female. She’s angelically sweet, adores (and is submissive to) the other dogs, and wants nothing more than to love on and be loved.

Unfortunately, in her 1-1/2 years, she’s had not one second’s worth of training. She’s boisterous, destructive, un-housebroken, doesn’t know a single command, and has borne at least one litter.

She’s absolutely gorgeous and when I put her in my backyard kennel (which fronts on the local makeshift soccer field), she was immediately surrounded by neighborhood boys admiring her for all the wrong reasons: “That’s the most buff pit bull I’ve ever seen!”

Because of course she has to be a pit bull on top of her other disadvantages.

I finally had to move her inside for fear that someone’s admiration might turn into kidnapping and heaven knows what fate. (I already caught one teenager trying to get into the kennel.)

She’s with me for only three days until she can be transported to a rescue in another county. On Friday another woman pulled her (with her owners’ cooperation) from a garage where she had spent her whole life.

The family that owned her thought they loved her (and the seven other dogs tied up or running around their house). They were aware enough to be adamant that the dog — Perro Loco — not go to anybody who would “fight her.” They seem never to have abused her. But OMG, how much harm you can do to a dog just by doing nothing to a dog!

I hate to admit it. But sweet though she is, I can’t wait to get her out of here. I only hope the out-of-county rescue (which supposedly has an excellent pit bull rehabilitation program) can save her from the typical pit bull fate.

Claire Wolfe

NPR does a non-idiotic story about guns!

Saturday, January 28th, 2012

Okay, the reporter makes a few statements that reflect cringe-worthy ignorance. Still … this is a good report. And the last line (last paragraph if you read instead of listen) is just howlingly marvelous.

Seems NPR is also coming to understand the nicely Outlaw concept of “law-abiding law breakers.” :-)

Side note: This is the first time I’ve ever seen any news about the LeBaron clan that wasn’t about weird murders. Instead we’ve got honest people defending themselves against murderers.

Claire Wolfe

The natives are more restless than they may appear

Thursday, January 26th, 2012

The following was sent to me by a long-time reader with the subject header “I HATE Flying.” But it says more than that. Thus my headline.

What follows is all from reader JP:

—–

Hey Claire,

Due to financial issues, I surrendered, and took a contract because I need the money. Part of the work requires me to travel to Austin, Texas; and Eugene, Oregon. Yesterday, I came back from Austin, and went through the TSA portal.

I have flown exactly six times since the TSA was created. The last time was 5-1/2 years ago. EVERY SINGLE TIME I have been awarded extra attention. I think I mentioned a previous time where they forced me to turn my trowser waist down to see if there were any balls down there [sic].

On the way to Austin, I was selected for the stupid scanner. I opted out, and got the full pat down – much worse than five years ago (and that was bad). Yesterday, on my way home, in a very busy airport, I was selected yet again.

The first problem, was that they made me stand in a small 3-sided box and wait about five minutes. I was already shoeless, beltless, jacketless, hatless, and humorless, so I finally asked a blue-shirt exactly how long I was going to have to wait before I was molested (yes, I used that word).

That seemed to spur them, and they opened a little gate (with no latch of any kind), and waved me, and a wheelchair-bound man into the pat-down area. I was told to step into a little area and spread my feet. Silly me, I put my feet on these little orange-yellow Ronald-McDonald SHOE marks on the floor. Blue-shirt said to spread my legs wider – much wider.

Next, I was ordered to raise my arms to the five-and-seven position, palms up – a gesture I saw in several religious paintings from the renaissance – identical to sinners raising their hands in supplication to an angry god. Even the gesture of surrender in a scanner could not be more sordid, in my view.

I told my polite, blue-shirt that I considered this a violation of my 4th amendment rights, a violation of my person, and I only complied under duress. He said, “That’s nice.” He proceeded to tell me what he was doing at each stage. And, there were a LOT of stages. Somehow, blue-shirt seemed to think that if they touched my privates with the backs of his hands, then it would be more-better.

As I stood there, I watched the poor bastard in the wheelchair. He was made to elevate himself out of his chair; lift each dead leg; push himself forward, almost falling out of the chair; take his gloves off, and so on. He was clearly paralyzed, with the telltale wasted lower body, and obviously not a threat.

They asked me to take a seat, which I refused, then demanded that I lift each heel so that he could swab my now-filthy socks for yet another scanner. Wheelchair submitted to similar treatment. He was affable and polite, and seemed perfectly at home. I don’t know why I was morbidly fascinated by the spectacle.

We waited together for the green-light allowing us to find our respective tubs-o-stuff and I asked him how often this happened to him. He looked up at me, anger showing in his face, displacing his former smiling, affable, “chattel smile” and told me “Every time. Every damned time.”

The change was a light-switch. Seen only by me. When blue-shirt returned, the switch flipped again, and Wheelchair’s grin returned.

An hour-or-so later, I met up with Wheelchair again. I asked him if he noticed how the 13 year-old girl in my line was given a choice of scanner or metal-detector. He said, yes, he’d noticed that. It angered him that they would give a 13 year-old a “choice.” But, not because she was allowed to opt-out. Rather, because they should have naturally directed her to the metal detector, as it was clearly no radiation threat.

Wheelchair made a deep impression on me. The underlying anger was something to behold, and the blue-shirts were completely clueless that they were held in such deep contempt by him. They think Wheelchair may have actually liked that whole process. With me, they knew what they were dealing with. I hid none of my disdain.

My hope is that there are lots of Wheelchairs out there that are being misinterpreted. That they are legion, and unknown to their counterparts around Amerika.

I have to hope that, otherwise, the alternative is too depressing.

JP

Claire Wolfe

Wednesday miscellany

Wednesday, January 25th, 2012
  • It just had to happen eventually, didn’t it? Ron Paul action figures. I like the man. But seriously, I agree with Joel. It’s getting a little nuts. Okay, maybe the superhero action figure is sorta funny. But since when do free people set up idols to worship?
  • The dog: man’s best friend for more than 33,000 years.
  • If this is a “minor infraction” I’d hate to see what serious violence is. But of course, if the cop loses his job over this, some other PD will consider him prime material for their wrong-house-puppykittyciding-drug-raiding SWAT team. (Tip o’ hat to C^2.)
  • I am unacquainted with the art of Mr. Rhymes and know his name only because I love to read about celebrities, even if (and sometimes because) I’ve never heard of them. But he’s dead-bang right about the Megaupload bust.
  • Why is it that they take our freedom in big gobbling gulps, then dole it back in such tiny, wimpy doses? Hey, Indiana: Free people have a right to resist the state and all its agents — particularly those who come storming in unannounced. Period. Without a lot of ifs, ands, and butts.
  • Speaking of which …
  • Oh yeah. Remember what was left of the Fifth Amendment once the NDAA got through with it? You can forget about that now.

Finally — marketing for the (very!) soon-to-be-released Hunger Games is getting fiendishly (and I mean that literally) clever. Lionsgate has now opened CapitalCouture.pn — a site that “celebrates” the style and fashion of the games.

If you don’t yet know The Hunger Games trilogy don’t be offput by the shallow, fashion-obsessed site. That’s the point of the thing. In the books (and the looks-to-be-fantastic movies being made from them), hapless teens from outlying districts are forced to fight to the death in an annual display of subjugation to the all-powerful state of Panem (thus the .pn in the URL, though in reality that belongs to Pitcairn Island). The games are orchestrated in Panem’s capital city, a vision of future decadence based on Rome of empire days.

Costumes are hugely important to the games (and become inadvertently vital to the success and survival of Our Heroine, Katniss Everdeen). So I think this is a darned clever way of showcasing them and hyping the movie. Even if it is shallow, ugly, and grotesque — just like Panem, the capital, and the games.

Claire Wolfe

Google continues its journey into Mordor

Tuesday, January 24th, 2012

… not to destroy the One Ring, but to join up with Sauron. How exactly does this qualify as “non-evil”? On the contrary, outside of government, this is about as evil as it gets on the Internet. Universal tracking across all Google sites and products with no opt-out?

D., who sent the link, added that he googled “f**k you Google” and got 41 million hits. :-)

For safe, private searching, StartingPage.com and DuckDuckGo.com are your friends.

If you must use Google for anything (I still find Google’s YouTube and image searches very useful), go to your browser’s cookie management window and delete cookies as soon as you’ve finished your site visit. (On Firefox, it’s Edit –> Preferences –> Privacy.)

And use the BetterPrivacy add-on to remove flash cookies.

I don’t know the procedures for other browsers (other than Opera, whose cookie-management leaves a lot to be desired). Maybe IE users, Safari users, etc. can add that info to the comment section.

Claire Wolfe

Tuesday links

Tuesday, January 24th, 2012

Soldier getting message from parents thanking him for fighting for freedoms they don't have

Source. And just think — we’ve gotten so much freer since Russmo created this oldie-but-goodie!

(Thanks to the feeder of needy Panda bears.)

Claire Wolfe

Melancholy on a rainy evening

Monday, January 23rd, 2012

The crisis takes a much longer time coming than you think, and then it happens much faster than you would have thought …. It took forever and then it took a night.”

Dr. Rudiger Dornbusch

The people who make wars, the people who reduce their fellows to slavery, the people who kill and torture and tell lies in the name of their sacred causes, the really evil people in a word – these are never the publicans and the sinners. No, they’re the virtuous, respectable men, who have the finest feelings, the best brains, the noblest ideals.

Aldous Huxley

My new-old house has a pleasant sun porch. Makes more sense hereabouts to call it a rain porch.

It’s not heated or insulated, but it’s small enough that five minutes with a portable heater makes it cozy. So the dogs and I sit out there a lot. Though the porch has big windows that face the street, I can relax in a bentwood rocker, sip coffee or wine, and gaze out onto the nearby hills in privacy. The house across the street, like many in the neighborhood, is a repo that’s been sitting empty for months. Nobody sees me as I gaze over its roof and watch the sun set or the storms roll in.

I love the way rain runs down the glass, rendering this rather unpretty neighborhood soft and impressionistic. The reflections of taillights on the rainslick pavement are like Christmas.

Tonight, with the aid of a glass of white Zinfandel, it looked so beautiful I could almost cry.

But tonight, too, I reflected on how unsafe it now feels to be in what I once thought of as my own country. Door-kicking cops. Unchecked surveillance. TSA VIPRs roaming the highways. Authorized assassinations. Infinite detentions. Plans to revoke U.S. citizenship without due process. Perpetual wars. Asset forfeiture and coerced plea bargains in place of justice. A government that considers every individual to be a criminal while considering itself to be above all law. So many things on the verge of chaos and collapse.

When I was a kid during the cold war, I had this image of the Soviet Union as a place that was always gloomy — perpetually leaden skies, perpetually leaden people, gray and brown garb, no joy. Even as a young adult I had a hard time wrapping my brain around the idea that even in darkest Siberia they had sunny days. Or that Russians loved their country. Or wore bright colors. Or that they sometimes sang and laughed and danced and joked.

Even now, I have to make a conscious mental adjustment to picture unfree places having sunshine or joy. Or residents who burn with love for them. It’s hard to consider that unfree, threatening places have the same small joys and great beauties as freer ones, when you create a little haven from the politics. Beauties like rain softly blurring the view through big windows. Or lights glowing on the pavement like Christmas. Joys like eating cherries and chocolate and sipping wine in the company of sleeping dogs.

Of course, I’ve just conflated two different kinds of mental adjustment.

I knew the USSR was unfree; in my childish mind I just couldn’t picture it beautiful. I know this spot is beautiful; in my all-too-adult perception I’m just having a hard time reconciling its peaceful beauty to how unfree and dangerous the country that contains it has become.

Claire Wolfe

Rand Paul “detained” by the TSA

Monday, January 23rd, 2012

We can hope this latest idiocy will contribute to that agency’s eventual, well-deserved downfall.

Follow-up.

 
 


 
 

 
 
 
 
 
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