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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 the ‘Government’ Category

Claire Wolfe

Midweek links

Tuesday, January 27th, 2015
  • Surprise, surprise. Yet another fedgov agency is operating a vast, covert, random surveillance program. Hm. Do they still sell those anti-cam sprays and films for our license plates?
  • Gottlieb’s CCRKBA endorses Matt Shea’s bill to repeal I-594. And note the ringing anti-background check language! (She says, rolling her eyes.)
  • I’m not linking to this CNN op-ed because it’s brilliant. On the contrary, it’s an astonishingly logic-free defense of Obamacare. I’m linking to it because it may contain one of the single most bizarre justifications of tyranny oxymorons ever to occupy the mind of a human being. To wit: “The ACA does not allow government to interfere in our lives; it compels government to keep us as safe and healthy as possible.” Admit it, the ability to hold both those thoughts in the same brain is an admirable feat.
  • Speaking of admirable, scientists say they’ve figured out how to uncook an egg.
  • Data point: not all surrender monkeys are cheese eaters.
  • Sweet firearms training story: “Save a life or sneer at an idiot — your choice.” (Actually, though, I don’t know of too many people who would sneer at the woman in this tale. Lots would probably sneer at her firearm, though.)
  • “Dear random, shirtless partygoer.” You know those things you always think of saying only after the fact? The ‘Net lets you say them so well.

Deadlining the next couple of days. Entertain each other; you’re very good at that. :-)

Claire Wolfe

Sunday-Monday musings

Sunday, January 25th, 2015

My apologies, all you people there on the upper east coast. I hear that the ghastly weather you’re having is our fault. Something to do with this monstrous ridge of high pressure plunging down on us; creates a monster low for you.

Believe me, I was thinking of you this afternoon while I contemplated whether or not I should wear the tee-shirt with a turtleneck or skip the turtleneck for a dog walk. I felt soooooo guilty.

« Read the rest of this entry »

Claire Wolfe

Great weekend reads

Saturday, January 24th, 2015

To keep you busy and out of trouble this weekend.

Claire Wolfe

Such a blow to the government’s highwaymen! Can it be for real?

Monday, January 19th, 2015

Yeah, I didn’t believe it, either, when I read the news on Friday.

Eric Holder — that Eric Holder — delivering a major kneecapping to America’s government-approved highway robbers?

But Radley Balko believes it. So I believe it.

Well, more or less.

No question about it, federal “ownership” of local asset forfeiture cases has enabled forfeiture abuse like nothing else and has done more for police corruption since anything but … well, the drug war itself. (You’ve got to wonder; was there every anyone associated with this scam who truly believed it wouldn’t lead to corruption and injustice?)

Having the feds standing by with open arms to “adopt” local seizures (thus allowing local cop-ops to keep most of their stolen goods for whatever purpose they wished) made state asset forfeiture reforms virtually moot. States would try to divert seized funds to schools or some other purpose, and cops would just make their cases federal and say “&^%$# you!” to their state governments. Then they’d go on grabbing whatever cash or assets they could without ever charging anybody with a crime.

Nice racket if you can pull it off! And for years, cops have.

So if Holder really means it and if it sticks, Friday’s announcement is a very big deal. But sadly not the end of non-criminal asset forfeiture.

In addition to the concerns Balko raises, I can think of a bunch more.

If one AG, on his own say-so, can end such a colossally abusive policy, there’s nothing to stop a future ‘crat from instituting another just like it — or worse. (Ah, the joys of “democracy”!)

It’s possible that those freedom-loving (and property-rights respecting) R’s newly in control of Congress will — in a fit of support-your-local-policeism — re-institute the worst aspects of asset forfeiture, and make it law, not just bureaucratic policy.

Even if the way is now open for meaningful state-level reform, it’s a good bet that not a lot of states will institute real reform (like banning asset forfeiture outside of limited criminal cases). Too often, “reform” has just meant states want to put the stolen cash into state coffers, rather than cop coffers. And while that would take away a lot of the incentive for stealing it in the first place, it’s not enough.

So yeah. There’s a lot that could go wrong here. And where government’s involved, you can bet that what can go wrong will go wrong.

Still … what happened on Friday might be the only good thing Eric Holder has ever done for freedom. So for the moment let’s be of good cheer.

Claire Wolfe

Monday links

Monday, January 19th, 2015

*The article gets JPFO’s name slightly wrong and says I was an employee when I was always an independent contractor. Minor details, but I couldn’t find a way to contact the author to give him a non-public heads-up. Very good article nevertheless.

Claire Wolfe

Narco cops as narco crooks

Thursday, January 8th, 2015

For your reading “pleasure.” How a gang of borderland narco cops just loooooved their jobs so much they became major narcotics thieves. And of course used their cop power, cop equipment, and cop cover to do it all.

You kinda get the impression they’d happily do it all again, too.

Vice wars. They corrupt everybody they touch. Always have, always will. Long, but interesting article.

Claire Wolfe

A pair of good reads

Wednesday, December 31st, 2014

… for the long, idle post-celebration hours ahead.

In The Atlantic James Fallows writes about “The Tragedy of the American Military”. How we can reflexively say, “Thank you for your service” and claim that all soldiers are heroes — precisely because most of us are so removed from the realities of their lives, their missions, and the management of military matters.

The German ‘zine Spiegel Online goes inside the NSA for an educated guess about what types of encryption the NSA has broken, which it’s working on, and which are so far safe from its prying eyes.

Both articles are longish but very worth a read.

Claire Wolfe

Weekend links

Saturday, December 27th, 2014

Mostly not nooz. :-)

  • Think your way to stronger muscles. (No doubt has a lot of applications beyond muscles, too.)
  • (Formerly) dying man says adopted stray dog — that he didn’t even want — helped cure his cancer.
  • It’s not really news that religious people are happier than us non-religious. Question is, are they happier because of something about their religion or are they happier because they’re the sort of people who don’t poke and prod at every extraordinary claim, the sort who just accept the word of their chosen authority and get on with life?
  • Yes, Christmas Eve was quite a time for that embarrassing data dump, wasn’t it, NSA? Kevin D. Williamson has some sharp words about that — before winding toward some very naive and foolish words. (Williamson is frustrating. He’s one of those guys who almost, alllllmost, gets it, then turns away.)
  • Shocked. Simply shocked. Guess which political party is “the party of the rich.” (Yeah, you knew, didn’t you? The real question is why will millions of supposedly informed people be genuinely shocked — and in denial — about this?)

I still owe some thanks to some Santas! Right now, I gotta go walk the dogs in the rain, but I will get to that. I think I’ve already thanked the Santas themselves, in person or in email, but I had to guess on matching some of the packages up with their mystery givers. And here I really wasn’t expecting anything for Christmas this year.

Hope Santa was great to you, as well.

Am also reaching the end of my two-months hermitude and need to write a wrapup on that. A wrapup would be easier if I actually knew what I’d accomplished during these months, but surely even a failure to find what I didn’t know I was looking for is … something.

Claire Wolfe

Grumbles and rambles

Sunday, October 26th, 2014

PayPal the Terrible

I won’t go into detail about how my PayPal account became overdrawn.* It was a mistake (not mine). The mistake-maker assured me the problem was resolved days ago. PayPal being PayPal, though, what’s “resolved” on one end may not be on the other. So there’s a $50 negative balance and nobody will fix it. That means I can’t use my account.

No problem. Hey, I’ll just add money. There’s a handy-dandy button for that. But suddenly, for me, the button yields only a variety of bizarre messages (“talk to the person responsible for setting permissions on your account”) that leave PayPal customer service reps as baffled as I am.

This became a four-hour customer service nightmare this lovely Sunday morning. I won’t go into detail about that, either.** Except to say that PayPal’s customer service makes the famously bad Comcast service look like a concierge operation at a fawncy hotel by comparison. And except to say that one rep told me (humiliatingly) that I’d have to deal with their collections department. Then he cheerfully transferred me to collections — without mentioning that they’re closed today.

And of course, PayPal being PayPal, they can’t be bothered with an automated “we’re closed today” message. So there went yet another half hour of my life, listening to endlessly repeated mini-lectures from a voice that sounded increasingly smug by the moment, until — for the second time today — I hung up without managing to speak to the human in some other department who was supposed to help.

Not only that, but the fifth PayPal rep I talked to — who I’d already told that story to — also tried to transfer me to collections.

—–

I know Peter Thiel hasn’t run PayPal in more than a decade. But its service was hair-tearingly deplorable a decade ago, too. Hard to believe that a man the media lauds as a great libertarian created something that operates so much like the freakin’ DMV. Or the IRS.

If you ever need a reminder of how little you really matter to institutions, corporate or governor, just call up PayPal and ask them something really, really simple.

—–

Oh, and the problem never did get resolved. You didn’t really think it would, didja? I get to call collections tomorrow and present myself as a deadbeat making amends.

—–

Zelman Partisans the Good

On the brighter side of things, it’s wow time over at The Zelman Partisans.

Not only is it a place of some lively blogitude and comment. Not only have we had 4,000-some visitors in the 10 days since the Lovely Nicki put up a counter. Not only has social-media maven Nicki gotten us somewhere in the vicinity of 1,100 Twitter followers in a matter of days. But we’ve gotten our first interview request (which Sheila will handle), a couple of requests to join, our very first donation (a monthly commitment, yet!), and demands for logoed tee-shirts, fridge magnets, etc.

Whew! Workin’ on it, workin’ on it!

For a bunch of volunteers who are putting this thing together in their scarce spare time, this is awesome.

But then, so are the volunteers. And so are the hardcore rights advocates who won’t settle for compromise.

—–

* In case you’re wondering, all those wonderful donations got moved out of PayPal almost as soon as they came in, thanks to PayPal’s other notorious habit of arbitrarily freezing accounts just when they have nice sums of money in them. PayPal: can’t live with ‘em, can’t live without ‘em. Someday — soon — they’ll lose their de facto monopoly, and on that day they’ll rue the fact that they treated their customers like crap all these years.

**Yeah, you’ve had experiences exactly like this, right? You don’t need to be told anything.

Claire Wolfe

Thursday-Friday links

Thursday, October 16th, 2014
  • Just in case you ever wanted to become a crooked psychic/fortune-teller/medium … or in case you’d like to explain to a gullible relative how not to be so easily conned, here’s how cold reading is done.
  • Wow. Sometimes using stupid passwords could be a good thing. Might have saved this young woman’s life. (But ohboy, OnStar, what a fail!)
  • The Centers for Anything But Disease Control. Michelle Malkin lists just a few of the “diseases” the CDC has spent its billions on.
  • I don’t intend to make this the all-Ebola all-the-time blog because I do think the fear is overblown (for everyone except medical personal). But here’s some plain common sense for avoiding exposure to infectious disease. And for those who really feel the need for hardcore protection (and have the money and time to go for it), here’s that, too.
  • And hey, if you’re really going to buy moonsuits and the kind of respirators (scroll down that page) needed for real Ebola protection, please don’t forget to use my Amazon links. Those could generate some very nice commissions — unfortunately for anyone who really needs such gear.
  • Not confirmed yet. But if true this could be a sweet lesson for those meddling “Moms” who believe in trying to get every open carrier SWATted. Will keep an eye on this. I’ve searched a couple of times today and found no further information.
Claire Wolfe

If the nurses’ statement is correct …

Wednesday, October 15th, 2014

… it sounds as if Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital wasn’t prepared for any severely infectious disease, let alone Ebola.

As a health-care outsider, but one who cares about preps, I wouldn’t necessarily expect a hospital in the midlands to be ready specifically for Ebola. But with all the talk these many years of potential biowar attacks and pandemics, I’d certainly expect more and better preps at any hospital than the slapdash, make-it-up-as-you-go, and dangerously half*ssed measures the anonymous nurses describe.

Of course, they are anonymous, and on the face of it, it’s hard to know whether their statement represents a grudge-holding exaggeration or genuine outrage and terror from people whose lives have been put at risk. And people who watched others’ lives be endangered.

But now that a second Dallas nurse has been diagnosed, the bland assurances of hospital management and the accusation from federal officials that the first nurse’s infection must have been all her own fault ring even more false.

We also know that this second nurse, while self-monitoring for the disease, flew twice on commercial airlines — including one flight the day before she reported to the hospital with a fever. We can hope that the latest assurances — that she was asymptomatic at the time, that the disease can’t be spread by someone showing no symptoms, and that the planes have now been cleaned according to (I roll eyes as I say this) CDC guidelines — are all more reliable than past assurances have been.

Everything is still officially fine, of course. All that’s needed are a few billion more dollars of tax funding and the CDC, and National Institutes of Health will — really, truly this time — have Ebola well in hand. And really, truly, they won’t blow any of those billions focusing on obesity, guns, or any other politically driven (non) “epidemic.”

I still think it’s way too early to panic — and of course panic won’t be productive even if/when it is time. I would never expect Ebola to get as out-of-control here as it has in West Africa, even with a fair degree of stupid involved. Not even remotely.

But if what we’ve seen represents the general level of preparedness and precaution that health-crats and hospitals practice, then it may indeed be time to worry, and to examine our own preps with infectious disease in mind.

More later on that.

Another potential vector I’d include in my worries involves those thousands of soldiers (slowly) being sent into the “hot zone.” We’re assured that they’ll never, ever, ever have any contact with Ebola sufferers. But they’re also mostly young men and women. Many are likely inclined to be risk takers. And do you believe for one moment that those who are sending them have made any better preps than the officials at the CDC or that Dallas hospital?

These people will return to the U.S. and disburse — possibly to a military base or a neighborhood near you.

No, I am not saying it’s time to duct tape ourselves inside those airless “safe” rooms the fedgov was so (potentially fatally) advocating a few years back.

Just stating the obvious: that the people who are supposed to be in charge of infectious-disease containment appear to be as clueless as the people in charge of … well, everything else that’s run or regulated by government. And — also obvious — that concern for the welfare of individuals or so-far Ebola-free communities is simply not on the radar of “officials.” So it had better be on our own radar.

Claire Wolfe

Ebola, government, and you

Monday, October 6th, 2014

Furrydoc asked in comments the other day, “Where’s the CDC?” (in fighting Ebola in the U.S.) Rhetorical question, of course. She knows quite well where the CDC is: giving bland assurances to the media about being just right up there on top of Ebola while primarily occupying itself with profitable and political mission creep. These days it’s focused on “epidemics” such as obesity and “gun violence.”

—–

Ron Fournier, at the National Journal says the scariest thing about Ebola isn’t the disease but our growing lack of trust in government and other institutions.

« Read the rest of this entry »

 
 


 
 

 
 
 
 
 
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