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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 November, 2012

Claire Wolfe

This Land is Whose?

Friday, November 30th, 2012

I usually avoid writing about the Israeli-Arab quagmire. But since I stuck a verbal toe in via today’s earlier post, I might as well bring this stunning — and too true — Nina Paley video forward from where I dropped it in a recent comment section.

(H/T. blog)

For you young things, the song is the theme from Exodus, a Very Big Movie about the resettlement of Israel after WWII.

And here’s Paley’s “Who’s Killing Who” guide.

Claire Wolfe

Friday links — and more thank yous

Friday, November 30th, 2012
  • Why is the U.S. government building a secret underground facility in Israel? And why are U.S. taxpayers funding a project that includes religious symbols at every doorway? The mezzuzah is a charming tradition, but the fedgov funds enough superstitions without secretly forcing us to pay for another one.
  • Memo to robbers: If you want that girly-girl c-store clerk to take you seriously don’t charge in firing your guns into the air.
  • James Bond, Dirty Harry Callahan and what gun is “good enough.” Can’t say I agree with the recommendation, not even one little bit. But the thinking is interesting. (H/T JG)
  • That Senate bill that got the privacy stripped out of it and the warrantless searches put back in? The privacy’s been restored. This bill still has a long way to go before it becomes law, though.
  • Bradley Manning on his many months of torment. I knew a political prisoner who was put through similar hells, though for a blessedly shorter time. He vehemently insisted that the “suicide watch” they subjected him to was solely an excuse to punish and dehumanize him. And Manning offended even nastier people.
  • Annnnnd … one more career drug warrior gets busted for guess what?
  • An oldie but … well, I hate to call it a goodie. The anti-snitch book quoted a 1995 James Bovard Playboy article on entrapment. Here’s the whole piece, courtesy of Jim. Things have only gotten worse now, with feds targeting the most naive and vulnerable in both the War on Some Drugs and the War on Any-Terrorism-Not-Sponsored-by-the-State.

Another round of thanks to Living Freedom Santas:

Unfortunately mostly Secret Santas again.

  • For the delightfully demented Seth Casteel “Underwater Dogs” calendar, thank you SR, and a big pat to Caeli.
  • For UCO stormproof matches for bug-out bag, vehicles, and attic storm shelter, thank you Mr. or Ms. Anonymous.
  • And for one more bag of orgasmic sinful so fabulous there surely must be a law against them succulently delicious California dried apricots … one more thanks to a Secret Santa.
Claire Wolfe

Whoops! Did you forget to ask Santa for one of these?

Wednesday, November 28th, 2012

The End Times Gift Basket. Order now for delivery before the Mayan calendar runs out! Tell Santa you need it early — especially that bottle of Jack Daniels!

(I should add: NFI! I just think this is a hoot.)

Claire Wolfe

Another big round of thank yous :-)

Wednesday, November 28th, 2012

Another big round of thank yous for another big round of holiday cheer:

  • For two much-wanted books, thank you, PT.
  • For the GIANT Kong Wubba (one of the few toys all three of my dogs will play with), thank you, TH.
  • For ANOTHER Giant Kong Wubba and scrumptious, healthy cashew butter (an item I rarely get for myself), the pups and I thank ES.
  • And for Wild Harvest (a book for the Pacific Northwest that, charmingly, was shipped all the way from England), thank you, TW.
  • For more plants of the Northwest and the Atlas Shrugged DVD, smooch to GWF.
  • For the boxed set of Hunger Games books which I will very much enjoy, I owe my old sometimes-adversary, always-a-gentleman, SC.
  • And thank you, GS, for the USB stick that will enable me to store that library of 600+ survival texts!
  • And then there’s another Mystery Santa. I don’t know who you are and never will unless you fess up, but that flannel sheet set you sent will be keeping me very cozy while I read my books, watch those DVDs, and nosh on delectable treats.

And oh my goodness, there’s still more to come. You know, Santa was always pretty good to me when I was a kid. But I think I like you guys better. :-) And you have the additional advantage of being real.

I’ll be in touch with those of you I have contact info for to say one-on-one thanks. But to all of you, including the Secret Santas, I say WHOO HOO!

Claire Wolfe

Against conscience

Wednesday, November 28th, 2012

One of the most personal reasons for contempt of government is that government forces people to act against their own consciences.

As you know, I’m not a believer, but I think what Obamacare is about to force on the people who own Hobby Lobby is beastly.

When Catholic institutions objected to provisions of Obamacare that went against their principles, the fedgov carved out a feeble and bureaucratic “religious exemption.” However, Hobby Lobby — being a business run on religious principles but not being a specifically religious institution — doesn’t fit into the loophole. So government inflicts pain to get “compliance.” (Hobby Lobby has appealed. This could get interesting — though most likely it’ll just result in either another wimpy loophole or an order to comply.)

And all this over employer-supplied insurance — a dumb idea that originated in the first place from federal mangling of the economy. It would simply not be an issue if individuals were free to make their own health care and health insurance choices.

Nothing’s new in this, of course. Not in forcing people to act against conscience. Not in punishing those who refuse. And especially not in bureaucratizing the process.

When the U.S. had the draft, for instance, if you objected to military service on religious grounds and you belonged to certain recognized religious denominations, you might be treated lightly while still being forced to serve the state. But if you objected on grounds of your own private morality, or if you individually refused cooperation with the entire system … then you could be hit with any sort of punishment, even to the point of absurdity.

And for a long time now, the fedgov has “allowed” bureaucratic religious exemptions to Social Security. But try being Joe Singleton and telling them you neither want to pay for nor receive SS benefits on the grounds of conscience. Different story.

And when Vivien Kellems refused to be a tax collector for the state, the IRS did everything it could to bankrupt her.

Speaking of that, on the entire subject of taxes, millions are forced every day, right now, to pay for things they don’t believe in. Or to pay for things they know can be done better without the coercion. Because there’s an impersonal layer of bureaucracy standing between us and what our labor finances, most people find ways to accept this. And naturally, if we hold 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status — that is, if we get bureaucratic approval to pursue things we believe in — the government will tolerate small acts of conscience on our part at reduced tax rates. Hooray for loopholes, eh?

Of course, the fedgov isn’t the only government that tries to force people to surrender their own beliefs to the state. Kentucky has recently made some interesting news for attempting to compel non-theists to worship Their Almighty for the sake of “homeland security.” (The claim that they’d put anybody in jail for a year is probably misleading, but the law is still crazy outrageous.)

How can you claim freedom when government routinely suppresses or punishes individual conscience?

Voltaire famously said, “Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities.”

Well, what’s absurd to me might make perfect sense to thee, and vice versa. But when government routinely forces us to act against our own beliefs — or else — it creates cognitive dissonance. And cognitive dissonance creates such internal discomfort that, faced with the conflict between belief and action, claim and reality, most people will take the path of least resistance to restore balance. “The government must be obeyed” is the path of least resistance. And from that philosophical atrocity arises all the other atrocities governments are so fond of committing.

Claire Wolfe

323 … 334 …

Tuesday, November 27th, 2012

wow. Yesterday I requested help pushing this month’s Amazon totals to 320 shipped items — a plateau I’ve barely even seen off in the distance in previous months. To make it, 53 more items would need to be shipped via my Amazon links before Friday.

wow. This morning — 92 new items ordered. This morning — 72 new items shipped or instantly delivered.

You did it. You can stop now.

Or not. :-)

wow. And you didn’t just do this with cheap trinkets and $.99 Kindle books, though that’s all it would have taken to get the needed numbers. You did it with the usual variety of purchases … and maybe more than usual. I can tell you, some people are gettin’ some pretty cool stuff for Christmas.

I must admit, though, that I was charmed that somebody actually did buy 10 boxes of the cheap pens I linked to (hope they work for you for years to come). And somebody, presumably not the buyer of the pens, though I will never know, got a Kindle book called “1000 Years of Annoying the French.”

Must put that on my reading list, for sure.

Claire Wolfe

The anti-snitch book is now LIVE!

Tuesday, November 27th, 2012

Rats! Book by Claire Wolfe with the Living Freedom Commentariat; cover art by Keith Perkins

Thanks to some last-minute assistance — with “last-minute” actually being several weeks ago — and thanks to the work of many volunteers, Rats!, the anti-snitch book, is now live.

Find it at Four different formats for reading. One bundle of HTML files for mirroring on your own site. All free.

Copy and distribute at will. Spread it around far and wide. Post to your blogs about it. Tweet it. Announce it on your Facebook page, mirror the entire site … whatever. The more this gets into the hands of potential victims of snitchery, the better.


I apologize. I spent the last several weeks dithering over one question concerning the website and the big question about getting it on Amazon and what to do with proceeds from any Amazon sales.

I finally decided Amazon can wait a while and the website question was too petty to dither over. So I made a couple small changes … and here we go. May it reach a million people who need it.

Claire Wolfe

Monday links, a weird PSA, and a small favor

Monday, November 26th, 2012

Small favor

Thanks to you using those Amazon links, I’m on the way to my best-ever Amazon month! And boy, is it welcome! Now, if you’re willing, you can help accomplish one small but gratifying goal.

If Amazon fulfills orders for 320 items from my links before the end of the month, that’ll push me into the next tier of commissions. I’ve never been remotely close before. This month, you have put us within spittin’ distance. Another 53 items and — voila!.

Tiny items: $.99 Kindle books. $1.99 instant videos — anything. Baubles, bangles, doo-dads, mathoms. It’s not about the cost; just the number of things that get instantly delivered or shipped before month’s end. Ten boxes of cheap pens for your office. Three Stooges (or Elvis) Million Dollar novelty bills with free shipping to delight (or offend) everybody on your Christmas card list. Or you can do what I did one year and give genuine Zimbabwe $100 trillion bills to people who “get it” (but look out for the shipping charges on some of those!). Possibilities are endless — as long as the items get reported as shipped this week and as long as they are for somebody other than me; my wish list items don’t count.

Making it to 320 isn’t a big money deal. Maybe an extra $30. But you’ll give me a big wow. So buy whatever you were going to buy, anyhow, using any Amazon links on the blog. But if you can see your way to adding a few trinkets or instant-delivery items … kewl.

Finally, here’s a bizarrely entertaining PSA for your Monday morning work avoidance:

Claire Wolfe

Preparedness Priorities, Part VII

Sunday, November 25th, 2012

Water storage, continued
Previous post on water storage here. Read that first.

Returning to our series on preparedness basics. These posts are aimed at newbie preppers (please share with your family and friends), though they might also help us fill gaps in our existing preps. As always, comment away if you have helpful experience and/or other options to suggest.

How much water should you store per person/per pet?

For a long time, most experts on preparedness recommended keeping one gallon of water per person on hand for the duration of whatever emergency we’re anticipating.

That’s bare bones. It’ll be sufficient for drinking water and for cooking (depending on whether you’re re-hydrating a lot of dried foods or not).

But for drinking, cooking, re-hydrating, sanitation, and washing (self and dishes), three gallons per day is better. (Note: it doesn’t all have to be potable.)

A quart a day per pet is probably sufficient, unless you have a really unusual pet.

Farm animals? That depends on the animal and on your local conditions. You’re in a better position to evaluate that that any “expert.”

At home, you should have enough to get you through at least a week before emergency help arrives. Two weeks is better. In a vehicle or bug-out bag, three days might have to do because water is heavy and bulky.

How to keep it safe

Purchased (and unopened) bottled water is inherently safe as long as the bottles are intact and haven’t been submerged in something nasty. Just be sure to rotate supplies at least once a year.

Bottling your own takes a little — but not much — more care.

Realistically, when bottling their own water, most people are just going to wash out new or used containers with detergent and water, then fill them with tap water and call it done.

You can do that and usually be just fine.

But why take chances when one more simple step could make the difference between good water and green scuzz? After washing with detergent and water, fill the container with warm tap water, add a teaspoon of unscented bleach, and let it sit an hour or two.

Then come back, rinse out all the bleach water, fill with tap water, cap, and store.

Write the date on the containers. Toss the old home-bottled water and refill at least once a year, better yet, six months. Yes, it’s probably overkill, but it gives you a chance to check for damage, too. And if you somehow get the Dreaded Green Scuzz, that’s the time to find out about it.

I’ve personally got a paradoxical attitude toward ensuring good, clean water storage. While I scrub and bleach the heck out of everything, I also sometimes use scrounged or garage-saled containers of unknown origin (I once scrambled into a desert gully to retrieve a five-gallon jug so dubious that, even after I had scrubbed and bleached it several times and left it soaking in the sun for a week with various cleaning and disinfecting solutions in it, my fellow hermit Joel refused to drink from it — and believe me, his standards of cleanliness are generally lower than mine.)

But water containers can be expensive. Unless you can recycle containers of your own (e.g. 2-liter pop bottles or similar juice bottles), bargain containers are to be prized — with some careful inspection, sniffing, and lots of cleaning.

Plastics and stored water

Most of us are going to be storing water in some sort of plastic. There are three main concerns here:

1. Is it really food grade? Water should only be stored in food-grade containers. There’s a huge amount of contradictory infomation out there about what that means. I’ll put links here so you can either sort it out or totally confuse yourself. But basically, if you look for the marking “PET” or “HDPE” and are sure that the container has never been used for anything but food or water, you’re probably good. The markings “1” and “2” correspond with the above. Markings “4” and”5″ are probably okay, but you’re not going to find them as often in suitable water containers.

Also, any new containers marketed as being for water storage are probably good. But don’t believe that guy on Craigslist that says the old barrel in his backyard is “food grade.”

Links for further confusification:

What is food-grade plastic?

Is that drum really food-grade?

2. Is it durable for long-term storage (in your storage conditions)? Most PET (1) containers are. Some HDPE (2) containers (e.g. milk cartons) may not be unless you take special precautions. See earlier post and, when possible, store water in a cool, dark place.

3. Is plastic, in general, healthy? I know a lot of readers of this blog are very health conscious and concerned about chemicals in plastic (of which BPA has gotten the most press). Frankly, since most of us are going to use stored water only for a week or at most, two, I wouldn’t make this a big worry.

Freezing and thawing (water in vehicles)

A bigger worry — and a topic that came up big time in the comments on the earlier water storage post — is freezing and thawing, particularly with water that’s carried in vehicles.

I’ve been doing some experimenting (and I know at least one member of the Commentariat has, too), and here’s a simple take on the subject:

Freezing: If you carry water in your vehicle in an area that gets well below freezing, there aren’t many simple, practical things you can do to prevent it. You can keep it in insulated containers, wrap it in blankets, keep it inside an electric cooler/warmer, etc. But without trucker-level precautions your water is going to go solid. So:

  • Fill containers no more than 90 percent full to allow for expansion. Water expands about 9 percent when it freezes.
  • Use containers that are both flexible and durable — e.g. those 2-liter pop containers, similar juice bottles, or one-gallon jugs of drinking water with a little of the water drained off.
  • Do NOT use hard-sided plastic jugs or milk containers. Don’t use glass, either. Glass will survive a lot of freezing and thawing if you keep the water level safely low, but it’s too dangerous to keep glass containers banging around in a vehicle.
  • Inspect and possibly replace containers every spring and fall.

Generally, the contents of bigger containers are going to freeze slower, smaller ones, faster.

Thawing: IMHO, thawing is a bigger concern than freezing, since freezing is inevitable in some conditions, while it takes work to thaw frozen water in those same conditions.

And when it comes to thawing, a small container is better than a big one. Oh, sure, you can set that five-gallon ice cube in the sun or next to a fire and start pulling trickles of water off it. But small containers you can carry around in a pocket or inside your clothing (but not next to your body — think layers). You can rub them with your mittened hands or apply those chemical hand- or toe-warmers to their sides. And of course the same sun-or-fire trick that works with the five-gallon ice cube works here — only faster. Plus, if you’re stranded and have to walk out, you can carry small bottles a lot easier than big ones.

One good pre-packaged product for carrying in a vehicle is Aqua Blox. These little “water boxes” aren’t terribly expensive. They have a five-year shelf life. They can handle expansion and contraction (so well that some people use them as cold packs after they’ve reached their recommended shelf life). And you can tuck them into various spots if you don’t have one good storage spot for water. Since the water in them is sterile, it can even be used to treat wounds.

It’s been a long time since I lived in a really brutal climate, so some of you who do might want to chime in on this. Again, though, we’re looking for simple solutions that even newbie preppers can use; leave those diagrams of the fiendishly clever Rube Goldberg machine you rigged up to enable your vehicle exhaust to power a water warmer for another day.

Filtering and purifying

As long as your stored water holds out, you’re golden. But in an emergency, if you have to drink water that is dubious, here’s what you need to know.

First line of defense: Filter cloudy water with a coffee filter, then boil it for at least one minute. Other tips.

If you aren’t in some cozy spot where you can heat up a pan of water, then you have two alternatives — as long as you have the right portable equipment with you. The right equipment falls into two categories:

Purifiers/disinfectants: These do nothing to filter crud out of the water (and in fact, with some of them, you may need to filter cloudy water before using them), but they kill bugs — including viruses.

These range from cheap, but not-tasty iodine tablets to really cool, but more expensive (and mostly battery-operated) SteriPens. One decent, cheap solution that still gives okay-tasting water is Potable Aqua Plus, which contains chlorine tablets to kill tiny water varmints, then ascorbic acid (vitamin C) to neutralize the taste of the chlorine.

Filters: These filter out dirt particles in the water and also filter out common disease organisms like giardia and cryptosporidium. A few of them are also fine enough to filter viruses.

Again, there’s a vast range of filters available, from Emergency “straw” types to a variety of filter bottles to pricier and more sophisticated (but still portable) systems.

It’s a good idea to have two methods/devices (on the theory that “two is one and one is none” in an emergency, but also because purifiers and filters are good at different things). On an extreme budget, you can accomplish that with less than $20 with purification tablets and a water straw.

If you really want Cadillac water treatment (a flippant way of saying the best, most reliable results) and you don’t want to have to check out a multitude of confusing options for yourself, consider the combination of the Katadyn Pocket Water Microfilter with a SteriPen purifier (get the hand-cranked SteriPEN Sidewinder if you’re concerned about dead batteries and you have the muscular oomph to operate it).

Longer-term storage (without major hassle)

55-gallon food-grade barrel

Or for greater storage

And follow all other water-storage guidelines.

(I’ve given an Amazon link for the 55-gallon barrel. However, I don’t recommend paying that kind of price unless you’re either rolling in money or absolutely have to have a new, pristine barrel. You can often get similar barrels from soft-drink bottling companies for less than one-fourth that price — if you don’t mind either a heavy-duty cleaning job and/or a slight flavor to your drinking water.)

Bonus stuff

How to find hidden sources of water that’s already in your home. (Good ideas, but keep in mind that much of this water may be polluted and will need to be boiled! And swimming pools and waterbeds — do people still have those? — are absolute last resorts.) This is good advice for finding extra water for flushing toilets and such.

Claire Wolfe

Friday links

Friday, November 23rd, 2012
Claire Wolfe

Arrfy Thanksgiving (redux)

Thursday, November 22nd, 2012

Lest anyone think that last year’s Thanksgiving picture of dogs faithfully (if not patiently) awaiting their share of the people food was a fluke, here they are again today:

Of course, any impression that I have amazingly well-behaved dogs is a misapprehension. They just happen to be really good at a couple of things.

“Good dogs! Now … okay!”

“Green beans?” says Nadja. “Green beans??? Ewwwww!

But they ate everything (ham first) and licked their plates clean.

Claire Wolfe

Happy Thanksgiving!

Thursday, November 22nd, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving! I hope you’re all having just the kind of day you’d most like to have.

I’m thankful for everyone who visits here regularly, especially you who bring experience, wit, wisdom, and a touch of class to the joint. (You know who you are.)

Now, for your holiday pleasure, the concluding scenes from WKRP in Cincinnati’s infamous “Turkeys Away” episode:

(H/T Radley Balko for the reminder)

And, since I couldn’t find any good videos of dogs eating their Thanksgiving dinners, here are some cats. Some really serious cats. Enjoying eating turkey. (Sorry this one has a short commercial with it.):

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