Sunday, December 6, 2015

Planet Of The Slaves

Mendax News Service

I must be one of the very few people who has never seen any of the Planet of the Apes movies, but around the same time of the first one there was a commercial failure made called Planet of the Slaves.

If I remember correctly it was produced by Milton Mayer, with a screenplay by Lysander Spooner and starred a B-grade actor named Robert Nozick who plays the protagonist W. L “Bill” Garrison.

Garrison and his band land on a planet that is governed by a kakistocracy of omnicompetent – or so they think – men. The people seem happy and brag to the visitors about their freedom and how they have all kinds of rights that are protected and enumerated by their foundational charter. The visitors discover that the people of the planet are known as the Snacirema and that they are hospitable to strangers, but easily herded into a sort of unanimity of thought. There are a few independent thinkers, but they are derided as “Nockites” or “Remnantists.”

After a few days of intermingling, Garrison becomes convinced that all the supposed rights and freedoms the Snacirema brag about are illusory, in fact he becomes convinced that they are slaves.

His first inkling is when Ollie Holmes, one of the people he has befriended mentions that he has to send the government part of his wages or he will be jailed or have his property seized. Garrison is incredulous, but Holmes explains that it's only one percent and that it is the price of civilization. Garrison tries to explain that it isn't the amount that makes him a slave, it's the fact that the government has a superior claim to the fruits of his labor. Holmes is unconvinced.

A few days later, Garrison discovers that the people are compelled to send their children to school and that the government operates a huge network of schools that teach many things that the parents find repugnant. There are some people who teach their children at home and there are a few private schools, but they aren't free like the government schools.

The Snacirema maintain an enormous military with land, sea and air forces in which boys are required to register for service in if called. The chances of actually being called are very small since the whole apparatus is for defense, not aggression, and they haven't been attacked in over seventy years. Still, Garrison doesn't see how compulsory service is compatible with the freedom he keeps hearing about.

One day, as Holmes is taking Garrison to see the Thomas W. Wilson Memorial, they are stopped by a Compliance Officer – sort of like police – for not paying alimony and not having insurance. Garrison asks the officer how he knew that Holmes hadn't paid alimony and the officer explains that there are tag reading cameras everywhere that alert the officer if someone is “out of compliance.” After they are on their way again Garrison tells Holmes that he doesn't see how mass surveillance is compatible with freedom. Holmes explains that it's no big deal if you have nothing to hide and that he'll get matter resolved.

The next day Garrison finds that there is a meeting of Nockites at the Horatio Bunce Auditorium that night. He decides to go and see what their opinions are, but he can't persuade Holmes to accompany him since they are viewed as kooks, so he has to go alone.

When he gets there he sees that it's a very small group and they all seem to know each other and suspect he's some kind of spy or agent provocateur. He explains that he is from another planet and is only studying their beliefs and customs. A man named Fishel Chodorovic introduces himself as one of the group's founders and launches into a litany of objections to the way the planet is run and explains that the people are slaves without chains.

Garrison doesn't contradict Chodorovic, but asks him why he thinks as he does since most of the people seem to be perfectly happy or at least accepting of the situation.

Chodorovic responds that the people are bound with mental chains almost from birth and that they are firmly fastened by the compulsory school system which those in charge style “education.”

Garrison: Why don't the people just refuse to send their children to be indoctrinated?

Chodorovic: Most of the people not only don't object, they think it's a good idea to have compulsory schooling and if the parents don't send the children the children will be taken away and become wards of the state. The people are inured to control by everything they see and hear. Is something harmful? Outlaw it, or license it. There is a license for everything. Do you want to get married? You need a license. Do you want to braid hair? You need a license. Do you want to grow tobacco or peanuts? You need a license. You need a license to do everything: sell real estate, carry a gun, practice medicine, operate a motor vehicle, fly a plane, operate a business, practice law, sell used cars, cash checks, put up a sign, hold a garage sale, hunt or fish, dance in a strip club, sell alcohol, operate a boiler, sell firearms, sell insurance, ad infinitum. Then there are permits which are licenses by another name, building permits, electrical permits, plumbing permits, tree-cutting permits, etc. There are also requirements that you do as you're told: wear your seat belt, buy insurance on your car, buy medical insurance, keep your grass cut below a designated height, tag your car and your dog. The people have accepted control over everything.

The control is so complete that politicians seeking office promise to cut income taxes or “reform” the code, but never to eliminate and forbid income taxation. It is taken for granted that government has first claim on all income and can raise or lower its share at will.

There are prohibitions against having certain plants because somebody thinks you might do something harmful with them. Imagine that, outlawing plants! There are also certain drugs and treatments you aren't allowed to use because they are “unapproved.” The great god government has decreed that you can't use them, so needless to say they aren't covered under your mandatory insurance.

Garrison: That does sound like government is more intrusive than I had heard, but how does it keep track of who's doing what?

Chodorovic: Everybody is required to send in a tax return with their address and an identifying number unless they didn't have any “taxable income.” To claim dependents, each one also has to have a number.
To open a bank account you need a number and the banks have to report any “suspicious activity.”
It's considered suspicious if you structure you banking transactions to avoid being reported.
There are tag readers that record your location and time. All of your mail is photographed front and back. All of your electronic communications are intercepted and stored. It's not known if it's being done, but you could be tracked and recorded continuously by having a phone on you.

Garrison: Do you think it's possible to reverse this?

Chodorovic: It's an uphill battle, but if I could do one thing with the wave of a magic wand it would be to forbid government involvement of any kind in schooling. No compulsion, no certification, no textbook advice, no grants of money or property, no teacher licensing, no tax credits, no nothing. And if I had a second wave of the wand I would utterly forbid any taxation of income from whatever source derived. Without funding there can be no tyranny.

Garrison: Well, I've got to be leaving for home tomorrow, but if I ever get back to Earth I'm going to see how you're progressing – or regressing – with your program of deconstruction.

Chodorovic: It's at least a fifty-year project.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Building A Bug Out Bag

Bug Out bags used to be an item unfamiliar to most people, nowadays there are any number of sites selling ready-made bug out bags, and lots of others advising what to put in one.

Some of the advice as to what to include seems premised on the idea that the person bugging out is going to have motorized transport or a covered wagon with a yoke of oxen to pull it. There is so much stuff that a person couldn't possibly carry it any distance.

The most likely scenario that I see myself bugging out from is some sort of disaster (natural, financial, social) where the government is going to take charge and help everybody by corralling them in the Super Dome or its equivalent. This is to be avoided at all costs.

In such a situation it would be advisable to head for the woods unless you have a mountain cabin or beach house or something similar, in which case you wouldn't need much of a bug out bag. With this in mind I present my idea as to what I think is necessary, or at least very useful.
A few items in the bag. Note double-sheave pulley blocks, salt and small file.

 My number one priority is fire starting and I have lots of redundancy in that department. My bag has waterproof matches, magnifying glass, magnesium fire starter, Bic multi-purpose lighter, vaseline coated cotton balls and a can of Sterno. The Sterno can be used for starting stubborn material or for cooking on. Sterno is also available in a plastic bottle, but it seems more likely to be punctured in that form and lacks the cooking option.

For a cutting implement I have an Estwing carpenter's hatchet. The reason for this is that it is all steel and is almost indestructible. The carpenter's hatchet has a hammer head on the backside and a nail puller in the blade. The hammer head works much better than using the back side of a conventional hatchet. A machete would also be useful, but I haven't found one that I think is worth buying.
Popeil's Pocket Fisherman

Back in the '70s, Ron Popeil proclaimed it "The fishing invention of the century!" which probably overstated things a bit, but the Pocket Fisherman is almost tailor made for an emergency fishing expedient. Shakespeare makes a telescoping rod called "Travel Mate" which
might be as good or better, but takes up more space. A gill net is also very useful.

I have three leg-hold traps which will provide you with more game than a days worth of hunting. These are suitable for catching possum, raccoon, coyotes, bobcats and other small game. It is very socially unacceptable to have leg-hold traps so they will almost certainly have to be purchased online.

Traps never sleep and they don't make any noise like a gunshot, which could be very important. I think it makes sense to have as many of these as you can reasonably carry.

Everybody has paracord and so do I, but I have included two small double-sheave pulley blocks. These vastly increase a person's pulling power and weigh almost nothing.

Salt, Stanley cooker and cups.
Stanley makes a handy little stainless steel cooker with two plastic nesting cups. The cooker has a top and a folding handle. I don't like plastic, but it won't break which is an advantage over glass and it doesn't conduct heat when you're trying to drink out of it which metal cups do.

An 8 X 10' heavy duty tarp is useful for many things. Larger might be better, but larger means heavier. The standard tarps are pretty well worthless since they tear easily. The HD is twice as heavy, but it's better than twice as good.

A Melitta filter cone with filters found its way into the bag for at least two reasons. The obvious one is that it can be used to make coffee with, but it can also be used to filter (not purify) water to remove sediment, bugs and whatever else won't pass through it.

US Army Survival Manual FM 21-76 should probably be in anybody's bag unless he's Jim Bridger or an Indian Chief.

Almost everybody advises carrying enough water to cross the Sahara desert, but since I'm in Georgia, water is not a problem at all. All I need is a way to purify it. It seems that people forget that water is very heavy and if you carry enough to drink in one or two days, you can't carry anything else. At 8.34 pounds per gallon, it doesn't take many gallons to add up. As far as edibles, I have a few cans of sardines and some MREs, but food is really another thing. This bag is devoted to tools.

A multi-tool is super handy (even if you aren't bugging out) and I have an old Gerber 300, I think it is. It's very good, but I've had it about 15 years and most of Gerber's products have declined drastically in quality, although I don't know that the multi-tools have. Leatherman makes a 'Super Tool 300" that looks good, but I haven't used one. A general rule in almost anything is, don't buy cheap junk. I can never remember an occasion when I was using a tool and wished I'd bought the cheaper one.

Most of the other stuff in the bag is pretty conventional. A military signal mirror, P38 can opener, bottle of Excedrine, hydrogen peroxide, 2 wash rags, a bar of Fels-Naptha soap, which is a laundry soap, but is useful for washing off poison ivy and also seems to help somewhat on bug bites, iodine, honey, dental floss, needles, small file, Repel insect repellant (DEET free), box of salt, 150 feet of MIG wire, 1 sheet of emery cloth, small flashlight, compass, plastic bottle with graduations, small bottle of bleach, slingshot, bottle of DMSO, cheap gloves with plastic coated palms and fingers, comb, tweezers, disposable razor, colloidal silver, 2 carabiners and a small flip open mirror with a standard mirror and a magnifying mirror for getting stuff out of the eye.

There should also be a high quality knife for skinning and dressing fish and game. Lots of modern knives look like something out of a Boris Vallejo painting rather than a useful tool. Avoid "fantasy" junk. The salt is useful for seasoning, preserving game and as a wound disinfectant. Honey can also be used on cuts and wounds as well as sweetening the coffee that you make with your filter cone.

Although I don't have any guns in the bag, it's good to keep in mind that a common caliber is the practical thing to have. Any .22 LR and a .308 Winchester or 30/06 would serve well. Since I'm in Georgia, dangerous game isn't a problem and most game can be killed with a .22 LR, but for deer, hogs and black bear the .30s would be useful.  Lots and lots of people have some firearm that fires .223 Remington, but it's way more than you need for squirrels, coons, possum, rabbit, etc. and not very good for hogs, deer or bear.  You might have a .264 Win. Mag. or a .257 Roberts that you shoot really well, but forget about finding ammo in an ordinary store selling ammo. Also keep in mind that the centerfires attract a whole lot more attention than the rimfires. A shotgun would be nice, but the ammo is bulky and heavy. If you have a bug out partner it might be reasonable for one of you to have a shotgun.

Coleman makes a skillet with a folding handle, but it has a non-stick surface which I don't want and it has very mixed reviews, so I'm leaning toward the much heavier (3 lbs.) 8" cast iron skillet. Coleman also makes an emergency blanket and poncho, both about the size of a cigarette package, but much thinner. Emergency is the key word here. You wouldn't want this to be your primary gear.

If you have pre-selected a place or places to go, it would be a good idea to have a topographical map of the area. It would also be a good idea to go there (assuming it's legal) and camp to familiarize yourself with the area, game and vegetation. The compass and map will come in handy if the battery dies in your Magellan.

This is a project that will never be completely "tuned." If you have any ideas (and why they're good) I'd like to hear them.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Anti-War Songs

This will be a continuing work, I think

Londonderry Air or Danny Boy - Judith Durham

Willie McBride or The Green Fields of France

Johnny I Hardly Knew You - The Irish Rovers

The Band Played Waltzing Matilda - The Irish Tenors - Liam Clancy

Universal Soldier - Buffy Sainte-Marie - Donovan - Glen Campbell - Scruggs & Flatt

Fortunate Son - Creedence Clearwater Revival

The Forgotten Soldier Boy - The Monroe Brothers

War - Edwin Star

I Didn't Raise My Boy To Be A Soldier - The Peerless Quartet

I Ain't Marching Anymore - Phil Ochs

The Americanization of Emily - "War is not moral" clip
Simple Song of Freedom - Bobby Darin

Gordon Lightfoot - The Patriot's Dream(Original Studio Recording).wmv

Country Joe McDonald - I-Feel-Like-I'm-Fixin'-To-Die Rag

Southampton Dock - Pink Floyd

Black Sabbath - War Pigs

One Tin Soldier - The Original Caste [Original]

30 Days Back - The White Buffalo

Joey White - The White Buffalo

The Stanfields - Ship to Shore

Michael Franti & Spearhead - Time To Go Home

Old Crow Medicine Show - Big Time In The Jungle

Travelin' Soldier - Dixie Chicks

With God on Our Side - Bob Dylan

Lyndon Johnson Told The Nation - Tom Paxton

Billy Don't Be A Hero - Paper Lace

The Town I loved So Well - Luke Kelly

Cops of the world - Phil Ochs

In The Army Now - Status Quo

Twilight Zone, "No Time Like The Past", aired on 07 March 1963.- Clip

Bring 'em Home - Pete Seeger

Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young Ohio 1970 Kent State University

The Bankers and the Diplomats Are Going in the Army - Michael Cooney

Hero of War Lyrics - Rise Against

Belleau Wood [Garth Brooks]

 "Blessed Are The Landmines" Brave Saint Saturn - Five Iron Frenzy Side Project

Kenny Rogers - Ruby Don't Take Your Love To Town + Lyrics