Friday, December 16, 2011

Wendy McElroy interview from 1996

I'm posting this for anyone who needs a substantive introduction to the indispensable Wendy McElroy.  For all of her work I've read, I'd actually never seen her speak before;  once again, it's YouTube coming through and making it possible.

Here, in 1996, she's interviewed for a half-hour segment on the theme of her then-new book XXX: A Woman's Right to Pornography.  In all, it's magnificent.  I can now confirm that she speaks just like she writes.  Her precision, thoroughness, and impeccable measure come through loudly, and she gets (and takes, I'd wager) the opportunity to provide some extra bits of general context that really make this a great introduction for someone who doesn't yet know her.

Sure, there's a couple of moments I'd take exception to (that have nothing to do with her core subject here, and frankly I think they might have been unintentionally misleading based on the corpus of her work that I know), but little matter.  For me at least, she is one of the real titans of libertarian thought writing today, and (along with the magnificent Claire Wolfe) will be introduced to my daughters as a positive role model just as soon as they can make sense of her words.

Anyway, here she is.  If you haven't already bookmarked her website and started to check in for freedom news there, please, gift yourself the upgrade.  It's worth it.

Hat tip to--well--Wendy.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Spooner, modernized.

[T]he Constitution is what keeps the government from doing all of the terrible things that it does.
Butler Shaffer zings again.

File this under "wish I'd said that!"

Billy Beck:
In the case of energy, what's "backwards" is that producers await permission from commissars. This is not how the original energy revolution took place, and there will not be another one as long as that is the political state of affairs.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Gunwalker, Agitated.

Today, Radley Balko mentioned Gunwalker, and I didn't recall his having done so before.  I thought it might be useful to, well, agitate a bit about that.  (Balko would be a great asset to have for Gunwalker reportage, given his following with libertarian types and his current employ by, of all things, The Huffington Post.)  So, responding to an upstream comment, I did.
"Got another source for the BATFE documents? CBS News doesn’t have a great history with government documents."


It's true that CBS has a pretty crappy history with a lot of things--just like all their peers.  That's why when a Sharyl Attkisson actually begins reporting a story in the tradition of watchdog (vs. lapdog), it sticks out like a sore thumb.  I could hardly believe it when I saw her first F&F story myself, but she continues to act like a real reporter, despite intimidation attempts and plenty of empty ridicule.  She's far from perfect, but I'm actually impressed.

If anyone here wants to follow the F&F story, go to the people that Attkisson got it from:  the whole thing got its start when street agents at ATF (writing at the site actually approached bloggers Mike Vanderboegh and David Codrea as whistleblowers.  Now the irony in this origin is a rather complete story unto itself, as Vanderboegh and Codrea are, ah, not exactly what you'd call fans of ATF, nor particularly of Congress.  Nonetheless, they were deemed honest enough by the field agents to wind up the preferred conduits between their own feared management, mainstream media and what have now become Congressional investigators.

Mike and David have been churning out the "Gunwalker" (F&F) content pretty much full-time for almost a full year now, and there is a lot of it.  To my knowledge they have been supported in every claim they've yet made by both the whistleblowers and the paper evidence they have produced, and have started to weather just the sort of telltale retaliatory and harassment attacks and smears that you would expect when there's real fire to go with the smoke.

Mike and David are certainly quirky, and way too direct for mainstream sensibilities, but they are the real deal.  You want the full story on Gunwalker, you go to them.

(To Radley:  methinks this is a story worth picking up.  If you check it out for yourself, I don't think you'll be disappointed.)
Now Balko's a busy boy, and I'm not exactly expecting him to take my suggestion, but I do think it would be worth his time.  And it would sure help Mike and David in their efforts, which despite all that's happened, could easily get disappeared by the increasing number of professionals in that field who really do want this whole ugly mess to go away.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Got sack?

Was reminded of this Grigg classic upon hearing news that the Previous Occupant (hock, spit) is cancelling his visit to Geneva on fears that the Swiss may actually arrest him on torture charges.  (Presuming that threat is indeed credible:  thank you, Switzerland, for being willing to do one of those jobs that Americans won't.)

On the other hand:  that's a lot of sound and fury, but how big is the sack, really?  Would the Swiss apply the principle equally if the Current Occupant (hock, spit), who has already, in the words of Arthur Silber, "doubled down on every single policy" of his predecessor (including but by no means limited to torture, assassination, and secrecy) that he and so many of his supporters decried so loudly and for so long, were to set foot in the same place?  Not the ex-tyrant--the current one.  The one with the drone army (and isn't that just a multi-entendre term?), the Big Red Button, 24/7 command of the Legions, and the fanatical support of all those who love empire more than liberty.

Now THAT would be worthy of a William Tell award.

Please, go read the Grigg article, and share it with people who need to know.  It was magnificent then, and it still is today.

Friday, December 2, 2011


Oh, for fuck's sake:
Under fire for losing track of weapons that turned up at crime scenes along the Southwest border, the Justice Department has taken the extraordinary step of formally withdrawing an inaccurate letter about the episode that it sent to Congress earlier this year.
Wow, wouldn't it be nice to be one of the Untouchables, to be able to whine "do-over!" in the middle of an ongoing be able, when confronted with massive evidence of actual criminal wrongdoing (and literal proof of perjury), to simply "withdraw" your earlier testimony and offer up a different story?

Shit, the jokes just line themselves up, don't they?
  • Maxwell Smart:  "Would you believe..."
  • Groucho Marx:  "Those are my principles.  If you don't like them, I have others."
  • Mark Twain:  "The truth is the most valuable thing we have.  Let us by all means economize it."
  • The jailers of Yellowbeard, when at the end of the latter's prison sentence he asked if he would be set free:  "Well, yes...or, rather, no.  You see, when we sent you to jail twenty years ago, we really didn't expect you to live that long."
  • The Grim Reaper, when asked if the previous deal (best two out of three) would now have to be the best three out of five:  "Damn right!"
  • Garden-variety politicians:  "It depends on what the meaning of the word 'is' is."
(Please feel free to submit others if you like.  The pickins is rich.)

And yet this is inevitable, isn't it?  It comes right along with that "legitimate monopoly on force" deal with the devil.  These are, after all, the same people who have been manufacturing their own (murderous) reality to achieve their political goals;  it should not surprise us that they would also move to manufacture their own exoneration within a legal system that, hell, they wholly own anyway.

Still, jeez, the sheer chutzpah is absolutely astounding.  I hope every juror in America sees this play for what it is.  It can only erode faith in the system, and at least that's something.

Don't worry, guys.  We get your damn message.

Here's one in return:


* Hat tip to Vanderboegh.