Thursday, May 18, 2006

Brits to be Forced to Hand Over Encryption Keys

GodDAMN. The police state encroacheth more heavily and deeply by the day. Link in post title.

Sunni, thank you for keeping it real by quoting this lovely, passionate passage from Bruce Schneier:
We do nothing wrong when we make love or go to the bathroom. We are not deliberately hiding anything when we seek out private places for reflection or conversation. We keep private journals, sing in the privacy of the shower, and write letters to secret lovers and then burn them. Privacy is a basic human need. ....

For if we are observed in all matters, we are constantly under threat of correction, judgment, criticism, even plagiarism of our own uniqueness. We become children, fettered under watchful eyes, constantly fearful that -- either now or in the uncertain future -- patterns we leave behind will be brought back to implicate us, by whatever authority has now become focused upon our once-private and innocent acts. We lose our individuality, because everything we do is observable and recordable.
We canNOT allow the f*cking statists to have their way and their kind of world.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Google/Blogspot blocking proxy access

For the past week or so, maybe longer, I get a "503 - Connect failed" message every time I try to connect to a Blogspot.com blog through my SSH proxy.

I'd had this issue in the past, and then it seemed to go away. But now it's back, and I can't read Lewlew's or Morrigan's or Jefftoo's blogs - or any others hosted on Blogspot.com. (Including my own.)

Well, after going to the source (Doh!), I realized that this is an across-the-board issue between Blogspot and my proxy provider. Here's what I found (link in post title).

The good folks at Cotse.com and Cotse.net, in mulling over this dilemma, don't seem to be considering that perhaps Google (owner of Blogspot, and with whom they're having other issues) ain't interested in receiving connections from computers they can't catalog and trace back. ph34r

Looks like I might need to create some alternatives for my blog activities. Odd, that today I'm able to sign in here at Blogger.com through my proxy. I guess it's only the blog readers they're tracking - for the moment.

If you use Blogspot, whether to blog or to read, Cotse asks you to contact the blogspot people to request that they remedy the situation. If you do blog here, you might be missing out on readership because of this issue.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Nothing's certain but death and...

Taxes again. I keep coming back to this subject lately. But no longer will I consider paying taxes one of the two unavoidable events in life. When I blogged the other day about my unexpected zero income tax bill this year, I neglected to mention something important.

Namely, that this was just the beginning. Of my own quiet tax revolt, that is.

For years - since my last year of college, when I got sick of working two jobs just to keep myself in school - I've been wanting to kiss the rat race, and income taxes, goodbye. Live frugally? Cool. Enjoy more free time? You bet. Find creative challenges in both of these opportunities? Sure thing. And most importantly, deny the Beast its pound of flesh each day.

But I've been hampered by the need to earn enough FRNs to pay off the debts I racked up before my epiphany. Which means having taxable income every year.

Now that I've inadvertently taken a business loss, and didn't owe the IRS for last year, the schedule's speeding up faster than I planned. And I've got some time on my hands this summer.

So I'm thinking to accelerate the repayments even faster by finding a temporary job. And when they give me the W-4 withholding form, I could write "EXEMPT." Because if I recall correctly, that's okay to do if "I owed no federal income tax last year, and I do not expect to owe any this year either."

I admire greatly the principled, outspoken, IRS-challenging tax rebels like Irwin Schiff. But their way of Outlawry is not mine. Rather, I am the type to do as David Gross and Rose Wilder Lane and many other Ghostly Outlaws have done - to choose and to embrace a life of simple things and hard work and self-sufficiency. And I honor them and all Outlaws like them, who consciously withdraw from the Beast's clutches.

Because being an Outlaw doesn't have to mean breaking the law. It can mean putting yourself out of the law's reach.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Thoreau on slavery and taxes

Tax protester extraordinaire David Gross has established a page on his website devoted to Henry David Thoreau's Slavery in Massachusetts, written in 1854. It's a passionate piece and a great read.

Oh, and in a wonderful serendipity, when I clicked on it, the webpage happened to be headed by a Thoreau quote (Mr. Gross says that these quotes pop up at random on his site): "It is for no particular item in the tax bill that I refuse to pay it. I simply wish to refuse allegiance to the State."

Grin.

Truth follows fiction?

As a longtime fan of Ayn Rand's novel Atlas Shrugged, I've blogged before about how current events lately seem to be modeling themselves on the events in that book.

But a couple of paragraphs in today's Daily Resource (found weekdays on Kitco.com) by analyst Doug Hornig really gave me the willies:
Most of [Monday's oil] price climb is due to “Iran jitters with the U.S. still pushing toward U.N. sanctions,” said James Williams, an economist at WTRG Economics. “When you add that on top of the loss of a fifth of Nigerian production, Bolivia's move toward the Venezuelan model of total control over oil produced by foreign companies and the summer driving season staring us in the face, it is easier for prices to go up than down,” he said.

Williams referred to a story, reported by BBC News on Monday, that Bolivian President Evo Morales has ordered foreign energy firms to hand over all natural-gas and oil sales to a state-owned company. The companies have six months to renegotiate their contracts or leave the country, Morales said, according to the report.

Bolivia appears to be taking its cues from Venezuela. A recent report from the Wall Street Journal said Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez was planning more moves to curb the activities of foreign oil companies in his country.
Ah, those wise and benevolent People's States. They'd never nationalize foreign assets within their borders.

Link to full article in post title. And if you haven't read the book yet, do yourself a favor and check it out.