Whether you agree with her politics or not, this woman handles an encounter with the FBI brilliantly … and gives wise advice on how the rest of us can, too.
Of course, the feddies didn’t arrive at her doorstep at 5:00 a.m. in ninja suits and with itchy trigger fingers. But still … brilliantly done, lady.
This also makes me realize (once again) that I really need to invest in a video camera. I don’t even have one on my cellphone. Anybody got a used one to sell? Or advice on what I should look for in a video camera on eBay?
Morpheus: Let me tell you why you’re here. You’re here because you know something. What you know you can’t explain, but you feel it. You’ve felt it your entire life, that there’s something wrong with the world. You don’t know what it is, but it’s there, like a splinter in your mind, driving you mad. … Do you know what I’m talking about?
Morpheus: This is your last chance. After this, there is no turning back. You take the blue pill — the story ends, you wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill — you stay in Wonderland and I show you how deep the rabbit-hole goes.
A few years back, Mike Wasdin wailed on Strike-the-Root that he’d had it. He was going to take the blue pill, enjoy his GMO factory-farmed steak, and forget this whole freedom business.
As I recall, that didn’t last too long, and Wasdin is still around. But I’ve never forgotten his cry of futility.
I like to think that if you take the blue pill you still have some future chance to take the red. But once you’ve swallowed the red one, that’s it. Done. Your reality is forever … well, real. You can’t go back.
Cypher: I know what you’re thinking, ’cause right now I’m thinking the same thing. Actually, I’ve been thinking it ever since I got here: Why oh why didn’t I take the BLUE pill?
Wasdin was frustrated because he perceived other people weren’t receptive to freedom.
That doesn’t bother me much any more. Once in a while. Not often. Anyhow, I think that’s turning around, big time.
I still feel the blue pill’s pull. Not because of other people but because of me.
Because of the angry shock of being smacked with the details of some injustice I already knew about and thought I was inured to. (I wrote an article for S.W.A.T. last year about the very sting whose grossness that link covers, but their version of the story roused me to disgust, sorrow, and embarrassment for “my” country all over again.)
I wonder what it would be like not to know. Or to know but think, “Well, that sounds terrible. But I don’t have to worry about it because the people in charge surely know what they’re doing. They’ll take care of it.”
Morpheus: The Matrix is everywhere. It is all around us. Even now, in this very room. You can see it when you look out your window or when you turn on your television. You can feel it when you go to work… when you go to church… when you pay your taxes. It is the world that has been pulled over your eyes to blind you from the truth.
You can’t unswallow the red pill. You can’t ever take the blue one now. So you adapt. And amidst the chaos and grief you find places of exhilaration, satisfaction, pride, friendship, and joy.
We’ve talked about it before; we’ll talk about it again. It’s so much a part of what living freedom is about.
And still, through everything — wouldn’t you rather look into the abyss and know you were looking at reality than look at a world full of baby dolls, teddy bears, and benevolent rulers and suspect, down deep, that you were deliberately embracing an illusion?
An illusion that’s about as honest and as useful as makeup applied to a rotting corpse?
Neo: I know you’re out there. I can feel you now. I know that you’re afraid… you’re afraid of us. You’re afraid of change. I don’t know the future. I didn’t come here to tell you how this is going to end. I came here to tell you how it’s going to begin. I’m going to hang up this phone, and then I’m going to show these people what you don’t want them to see. I’m going to show them a world without you. A world without rules and controls, without borders or boundaries. A world where anything is possible. Where we go from there is a choice I leave to you.
Sign of the times: that the FBI can create a new secret police to spy on the Internet and the big reaction is a nationwide yawn.
Is it information overload? Outrage fatigue? Or just acknowledging the reality that “our” government is so out of control, so committed to secrecy, and so determined to rule us no matter what we do that our activist energies are better directed elsewhere?
Is the building anger against government so big that it blows right past new secret police agencies?
Why would this be okay — really, seriously, why would this be judged entirely differently had a cop done it? I don’t get it. Not at all. It’s a distinction without a difference.
The joys of getting old. It’s too bad our society so devalues oldness. Because getting old is one of the best things that can happen — and not just because it so famously “beats the alternative.”
Oh, not the gray hair and wrinkles part. That’s sort of a pit. But the great, vast, glorious, underrated ability not to give a damn any more.
For a lot of women I know, the biggest, bestest “don’t give a damn” is about relationships. We spend our youth thinking “love” is the Holy Grail. We spend our young adulthood focusing on the welfare of spouse, partner, kids, whatever. Then comes freedom.
Late last year one of my girlfriends, long divorced with grown kids, thought she might be falling in love again. I tried to be happy for her, but it worried me. She’s one of these people who’s too nice for her own good and can be easily taken advantage of.
The first few months, she talked about how much she enjoyed the guy’s company and all the things they did together. More recently she got very quiet about him. A week ago she whispered to me in passing as we worked on a project with some other people, “He broke up with me yesterday and I’m so glad!” She’d been trying to figure out the best way to do it.
Turns out that, aside from having a surly side, he expected to spend every evening with her. He’d get upset if she committed to activities without him. But she’s got a busy life, lots of friends, and a huge volunteer workload.
When you’re young and dumb, you think, “Oh, how wonderful that he wants to be with me so much.” And before you understand what’s really going on, you end up in a baaaaad relationship. Old and smart, you realize, “Wait a minute. I have a life and I enjoy it. Why doesn’t he have one? I don’t need this.”
Today she told me, “I’m glad it happened because I thought I wanted a relationship. This taught me what I really want — my life just the way it is.”
This is not a female vs male thing (though I do know more men than women who remain hopeful about relationships despite their own bad experiences). This is about age and experience and what we gain from it.
Wrinkles are a very small price to pay.
My life just the way it is. We sometimes fail to notice just how good that is.
Except for the monkey brain. I’ve been talking with a freelance-writer friend about meditation. He practices — or tries to practice — transcendental meditation to help him stay calm, focused, and healthy. I practice — or try to practice — a simplified version of Vipassana meditation for the same purpose.
He’s probably better at it than I. I always end up in the middle of meditation sessions suddenly obsessed with the need to look up St. Teresa of Avila or Audrey Hepburn on Wikipedia.
What do you do to stay focused and keep your life in balance?
Imagine, if you will, a fantastic near future in which the United States is facing an unmitigated economic implosion. Not just a mere market crash, or a stint of high unemployment, but a full spectrum collapse driven by unsustainable debt spending and hyperinflationary printing. The American people witness multiple credit downgrades of U.S. Treasury mechanisms, the dollar loses its reserve status, devaluation of the currency runs rampant, and the prices of commodities and imported goods immediately skyrocket.
In the background of this disaster, a group of financial elite with dreams of a new centralized economic and political system use the chaos to encourage a removal of long held civil liberties; displacing Constitutional protections they deem “outdated” and no longer “practical” in the midst of our modern day troubles. This group then institutes draconian policies through the executive orders of a puppet president, including indefinite detention, assassination, and even martial law against citizens. For now, let’s just refer to them as “The Swedes”….
The Swedes have an extraordinary array of technological tools at their disposal. The kind of equipment dictators like Stalin and Hitler would have killed for…literally. This technology is so pervasive and so unprecedented in the history of tyrannical governments that average people shiver at the very thought of resistance. The Swedes seem to be invincible. …
With modern computer driven weaponry at their fingertips, any resistance appears futile. Some Americans, though, do their homework, and discover that most successful revolutions against better equipped opponents utilize low tech methods in highly intelligent ways. They study the inherent weaknesses of the enemy weapons platforms using readily available online manuals and scientific journals. They realize that these pieces of equipment costing millions of dollars each can be defeated using methods that cost little more than pocket change. A war of economic attrition ensues, whereby the Swedes find themselves completely dependent on systems that cannot be maintained without substantial financial sacrifice. With each new piece of hardware, comes an even more frustrating strategy of defiance. Here are just a few examples…
Been stressed and grouchy dealing with a maddening foster dog who came in at a maddening time and stayed under maddening circumstances. Thank heaven he leaves this morning for doggie reformatory a wonderful program to help pit bulls and pit mixes. And thank heaven wonderful volunteers have stepped up to transport him so I don’t have to.
Oh frabjous day, callooh, callay!
This has been a great (bad) time for considering things that hack me off. Yeah, yeah, I know that’s not the most noble use of what small brainpower I have. But a little venting is good for the blood pressure now and then. It definitely beats a little bloodletting, which at times during the last 10 days has seemed like a tempting alternative.
So herewith, in no particular order and perhaps of no particular relevance, are Four Things That Hack Me Off.
Feel free to do some venting of your own in the comments.
1. Products that don’t work. I’m not talking about a defective item that you can return to the store for one exactly like it that actually works. I’m talking about products that, right out of the box, are not even seriously intended to function as advertised and there’s no point getting a replacement because they’re all going to be just as bad.
2. People who think that, because you live in the country, you have three eyes and marry your sister. I’ve lived in the country or in small towns for ages and off the top of my head I can think of dozens of highly accomplished, fascinating people who also live in these places (not to mention hundreds of perfectly sharp, nice everyday friends and neighbors). A developer of solar power systems. A couple of novelists. A Harvard Ph.D. Three people who’ve worked in Antarctica. A rock concert promoter. Half dozen awesome artists and jewelry designers. A woman who sailed around the world & then came home and hand-built her own house. A couple who build multi-million dollar custom sailboats. A magazine publisher.
I could name more. But because we live in the middle of nowhere, it’s fashionable to assume we’re all snaggle-toothed Billy-Bobs.
3. People who talk about “teamwork” and “unity” when all they really mean is they want everybody to do things their way and won’t tolerate any dissent. “Loyalty,” too. Those who preach it most loudly demand it for themselves but never hesitate to sacrifice others.
4. Organizations whose leaders crap all over you in thoughtless, perfectly avoidable ways, making your life harder — then tell you how important you are and how they really, truly value what you do.
Ummmmm … no you don’t.
Alright. That’s my vent for the day. And you know, it makes me feel a whole lot better. I’m going to feel better yet after a friend comes over for lunch and we kill a bottle of Gewurtztraminer. After that, she has to return to work. But I’m not gonna. Pffffft! So there!
Linda took the photo this morning shortly before taking Sweetie in for the first of her big heartworm treatments — made possible by you.
Sweetie had the first of her three immiticide shots today and remains at the vet under close observation. If all goes well, she’ll spend her next month of crate rest in one of Linda’s foster homes, where two “dads” have already fallen in love with her.
The foster dads have seen her nippy behavior and seem unflapped by it. (Really helps to have heeler-knowledgeable people on the case. Though Sweetie’s nipping definitely isn’t a positive thing, it’s also not the danger indicator it would be in some other breed. A nippy great Pyrenees would be a Big, Serious Problem. A nippy cattle dog is just a dog whose natural traits haven’t been well-channeled.)
One more for The Snitch Project — probably the last for a while. After this, two writers and our volunteer Kindle-master (with much help already given and more promised from friends of this blog) will get down to serious work on a booklet.
Today, a harder aspect of The Snitch Problem: What do you do if you think (or know) you’ve uncovered a snitch?
A lot of earlier commentors opine that we just aren’t very likely to recognize snitches in our midst until it’s too late — and possibly not even then.
Granted. A really smooth operator might play us like a player piano without us realizing it. Even a clumsy operator can fool us if we’re naive, cocky, or just plain having a bad moment. Also, plenty of snitches merely observe, report, and don’t do anything that might cue us to their perfidy.
That said, sometimes, somehow, we realize or strongly suspect that someone in our activist group or circle of friends is a double-dealer. We earlier talked about ways to recognize such a person.
But then what?
Do you confront the person directly?
Out them to others?
Just get yourself away from them and hope you haven’t already damned yourself by your activities or statements to them?
Do you send them on wild goose chases or feed them misleading information (a dangerous thing to do since the feds have discovered they can put people in prison for lies or simple mis-statements even if they have no evidence of real crimes)?
On the other hand, what happens if you suspect somebody of being a snitch — and they’re really not? Bulucanagria gave one funny and mostly harmless example of that. But mostly it ain’t funny. False accusations of snitching ruin lives.
So what do you do?
I realize a lot depends on circumstances; discovering that your best friend has been pressured into snitching is different than suspecting you’ve got a real FBI agent in the room. But what are some options?
No wild fantasies, please. No Hollywood accounts of what you might do to a snitch if you were Robert De Niro or Ray Liotta. Clever, fine. Diabolical, fine. As long as it’s in the realm of reality.
The more real-life experience reflected in the answers, the better. Lawyers, ex-cops, victims, even reformed snitches, speak up. Former friends of snitches, tell your stories & give your advice. Old activists (like Steve, another commentor who recognized that, in some cases if the room wasn’t filled with informants it might have been empty) … what would you do?
I’ll be back to politics, tyranny, freedom, snitchery, and Other Serious Stuff tomorrow.
But today a couple members of the local rescue group were here. One is an excellent photographer who took photos of the foster boy I wrote about yesterday (who happens to be stuck with the unfortunate, but all-too-apt, name Marley). She also took the best pix ever of my pack. So here are some Sunday smiles.
Here’s foster boy Marley being loved on by a stranger:
And the Wolfe Pack:
Here’s handsome Robbie-Bob, who’s just turning 11. That’s Her Royal Highness Princess Ava Prettypaws in an unaccustomed spot — in the background. In reality, Ava is in the background about as often as a Kardashian is in the background:
Finally there’s Nadja, who always manages to look intelligent, sincere, and noble despite being a total psycho (and oh no, Ava’s in the background again; she’d be horrified if she realized she wasn’t center stage at all times):
The photographer also brought tags she made for the dogs that say, “If you can read this I will lick you.” So true of Robbie. Also of Ava. Nadja, on the other hand will simply gaze into your eyes as if all the secrets of the universe are passing between you.
I have a foster dog right now. A young, sunny, ball-crazy Lab-pit mix. He loves people and looks highly trainable except for being so hyper he can’t pay attention for half a second.
He’s the usual story in young rescue Labs; his owner never trained or socialized him and now he’s completely out of control.
This would be do-able except for one thing. He’s so insanely dog aggressive that the moment he gets near another canine, he attacks. No butt sniffing. No toothy warnings. Just — wham!
We can’t adopt out such an unpredictable dog. I can’t keep him much longer for the obvious reasons. And no other foster home will touch him. So our volunteers have been trying to get a shelter or another rescue group to take him — one that has a training program for hard cases. No luck.
It was starting to look really bad for his chances of leading a long, healthy life.
Then this morning we got a lead. A drug-dog trainer wants to meet him.
Turns out the ideal narco-sniffer is a super-high-energy, ball-crazy dog like this one. Since drug dogs live and work independently from other animals, they don’t care if he wants to eat his fellow canines for breakfast.
So it might come down to this: death or joining the drug war.
I can’t blame him if he becomes a snitch to save his life. But …
ADDED: Many commentors have spoken up to say this boy might also be good in search & rescue or some other work. That’s great! But saying in theory that he might be able to do some job and actually finding a specific group that wants this dog at this moment is another thing. If you know of some group (preferably in the northwest but we’ll consider anything) that is looking for a boy like this and has both the resources and the willingness to take him in right now and work him through his problems, please post their contact information. We’ll follow up. Furrydoc (who is now this boy’s doc) has said she’ll board him at her kennel while we arrange transport. Our volunteers have already made many contacts and gotten turned away from (almost) every door. This is not as easy as a lot of people seem to think.
UPDATE 5/22/12: Happy turning to this boy’s story. He’s been accepted into a shelter that has a behaviorist on staff and an excellent program for rehabilitating pit bulls. Though he’s more Lab than bully-boy, dog aggression is something these folks are accustomed to working with. He’ll be transported there later this week. The shelter is not no-kill, but it’s very low kill, and after strenuous searching, calling, and emailing, by several volunteers, this is the best chance they found for him.