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.
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.
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.
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 orgasmicsinfulso fabulous there surely must be a law against them succulently delicious California dried apricots … one more thanks to a Secret Santa.
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!
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.
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.
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.)
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.
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.”
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 http://rats-nosnitch.com/. 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.
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: