Archive for July, 2008

Boo Hoo

Posted in The Big "L" on July 30, 2008 by Darkman

Washington Wire – WSJ.com : Bob Barr’s Campaign to Supporters: Send Cash—Quick!:

Part of Barr’s problem may be that his message of a “campaign to advance the causes of liberty, freedom and less government” has already been co-opted by Texas Republican Rep. Ron Paul, who failed to secure his party’s nomination but became an Internet star with his grassroots appeal and fund-raising organization. Paul is hosting a three day “Rally for the Republic” event in Minneapolis that will coincide briefly with the Republican nominating convention in St. Paul in early September.

So Barr is finally (maybe) realizing that we just aren’t buying it.

Note to whoever wrote this article: Ron Paul did not co-op Barr’s message. Barr co-opted Paul’s message. And not very effectively, at that.

via War On Guns

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Circles and Lines

Posted in Police State, The Most Fundamental Right on July 27, 2008 by Darkman

Ninth Stage writes a short but excellent post about drawing your “line in the sand.” I’ll not quote it, just read it.

I think that the upheaval that founded this country could not have happened too much later than it did. It required a people who knew that life was a hardship; people who did not live easily and expect things to be given to them. The vast majority now have been beaten into submission by comfort and state welfare. Too many think they have a “right” for other people to pay for their livelihood. Almost every person will grumble about paying taxes, but openly declare that taxation is theft to any of them, and see how fast they turn against you.

There will never be another such revolution. It has been too long, and now it’s too late. There may be scores of Ruby Ridges, dozens of Wacos, perhaps even hundreds of no-knock warrants served at what turned out to be the “wrong” address resulting in the unfortunate death of that resident. But there will be no revolution, no clear delineation, no Lexington and no Concord.

My car gets 40 rods to the hogshead, and that’s the way I likes it!

Posted in Police State on July 26, 2008 by Darkman

By 2010, measuring land by the acre will be illegal in the European Union. Maybe it makes more sense to use hectares; maybe not. But in 2010, registering land by the acre will be a crime.

A punishable crime.

Think about that.

via Samizdata

Pushing the scare envelope

Posted in The Most Fundamental Right on July 24, 2008 by Darkman

Armed and Safe comments on the recent letter to the editor from Mike Vanderboegh. He has a good rundown of links for examples of some “Second Amendment” bloggers who are apparently afraid of even touching the scare envelope.

As far as I’m concerned, Vanderboegh is the closest person we have to a modern-day Patrick Henry.

And you know what he said.

I wholeheartedly agree

Posted in The Most Fundamental Right on July 20, 2008 by Darkman

Armed and Safe discusses scaring the [metaphorical] white people.

1) How will we ever be proponents of freedom (a.k.a. The Most Fundamental Right) if we are too timid to show ourselves?

2) Since the metaphorical “white people” are scared so easily these days, if we continue to prohibit ourselves from “scaring them,” we will be influencing ourselves to think and behave as they do, and we will be constantly finding outselves with a lower and lower “scare envelope.” I mean, if people can be scared by a t-shirt, are we really going to make sure we wear only plain white?

A rude awakening

Posted in The Most Fundamental Right on July 18, 2008 by Darkman

Campgrounds Near Yellowstone National Park Closed After Bear Bites Camper:

A bear attacked a person sleeping inside a tent early Thursday, leading authorities to close two campgrounds near Yellowstone National Park.

[…]

The camper apparently had stored his food properly, Daley said. She didn’t know if he was camping alone.

Stored his food properly. Asleep. Not in any way provocative. Yet he was still attacked.

It’s very simple: Grizzlies are the largest predators in North America. Humans are small and essentially defenseless. Easy prey. No amount of Disney movies are going to change this.

Especially defenseless in national parks, where our inherent inventiveness has been denied us.

Our inherent inventiveness, and our most fundamental right.

P.S. AP can bite me.

Capitalism, Chinese style

Posted in Police State on July 16, 2008 by Darkman

China’s All-Seeing Eye at Rolling Stone:

American commentators like CNN’s Jack Cafferty dismiss the Chinese as “the same bunch of goons and thugs they’ve been for the last 50 years.” But nobody told the people of Shenzhen, who are busily putting on a 24-hour-a-day show called “America” — a pirated version of the original, only with flashier design, higher profits and less complaining. This has not happened by accident. China today, epitomized by Shenzhen’s transition from mud to megacity in 30 years, represents a new way to organize society. Sometimes called “market Stalinism,” it is a potent hybrid of the most powerful political tools of authoritarian communism — central planning, merciless repression, constant surveillance — harnessed to advance the goals of global capitalism.

This is an article that everyone should read. We live in a country where almost everything we buy (or can buy) comes from China. But where does China get most of its surveillance technology? Companies from the United States: IBM, General Electric, Honeywell, etc.

This is how this Golden Shield will work: Chinese citizens will be watched around the clock through networked CCTV cameras and remote monitoring of computers. They will be listened to on their phone calls, monitored by digital voice-recognition technologies. Their Internet access will be aggressively limited through the country’s notorious system of online controls known as the “Great Firewall.” Their movements will be tracked through national ID cards with scannable computer chips and photos that are instantly uploaded to police databases and linked to their holder’s personal data. This is the most important element of all: linking all these tools together in a massive, searchable database of names, photos, residency information, work history and biometric data. When Golden Shield is finished, there will be a photo in those databases for every person in China: 1.3 billion faces.

[…]

You have probably never heard of L-1, but there is every chance that it has heard of you. Few companies have collected as much sensitive information about U.S. citizens and visitors to America as L-1: It boasts a database of 60 million records, and it “captures” more than a million new fingerprints every year. Here is a small sample of what the company does: produces passports and passport cards for American citizens; takes finger scans of visitors to the U.S. under the Department of Homeland Security’s massive U.S.-Visit program; equips U.S. soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan with “mobile iris and multimodal devices” so they can collect biometric data in the field; maintains the State Department’s “largest facial-recognition database system”; and produces driver’s licenses in Illinois, Montana and North Carolina. In addition, L-1 has an even more secretive intelligence unit called SpecTal. Asked by a Wall Street analyst to discuss, in “extremely general” terms, what the division was doing with contracts worth roughly $100 million, the company’s CEO would only say, “Stay tuned.”

It is L-1’s deep integration with multiple U.S. government agencies that makes its dealings in China so interesting: It isn’t just L-1 that is potentially helping the Chinese police to nab political dissidents, it’s U.S. taxpayers. The technology that Yao purchased for just a few thousand dollars is the result of Defense Department research grants and contracts going as far back as 1994, when a young academic named Joseph Atick (the research director Fordyce consulted on L-1’s China dealings) taught a computer at Rockefeller University to recognize his face.

That’s right, folks, it’s you and me. Helping to develop and build the technology that Orwell could only imagine.