Not very liberal

“When I am weaker than you, I ask you for freedom because that is according to your principles; when I am stronger than you, I take away your freedom because that is according to my principles.”

This is quoted by Ben Domenech in The End of Tolerance And Enforced Morality. He got it from Frank Herbert’s Children of Dune where it is attributed to Louis Veuillot. My French isn’t good enough to be sure, but it sounds like Veuillot didn’t actually say “Quand je suis le plus faible, je vous demande la liberté parce que tel est votre principe ; mais quand je suis le plus fort, je vous l’ôte, parce que tel est le mien.” Anyway, it’s certainly a timely remark, and it explains some political affinities that seem contrary to stated principles.

For the left, things like free speech are vehicles. Tolerance is a bus; when it has taken the liberal where he wanted to go, he gets off. It’s not very liberal, but that the left are “liberals” is simply a lie like so many others. They were, and they remain, totalitarians.

Foreign policy

with a prediction

What is the administration’s goal in the Middle East? No idea. Possibly just to make it through the next week, or the next election. There’s no point in listening to what any politician says about it. The only thing to do is look at what happens. What happens is, Muslims kill each other in enormous numbers, and kill any non-Muslims within their reach.

It’s become clear that the US is not going to stop Iran getting nuclear weapons. If they’re to be stopped, someone else will have to do it. If they are not stopped, and maybe at this point even if they are, the Saudis will start a weapons program. Will we stop them? Maybe; they are an ally; sort of.

Israel sees Iranian nukes as a threat, and has a right to. Everyone says “never again,” but the Israelis really mean it. And of course they have nuclear weapons already. But while acknowledging Israel’s concern, I think the first use of a nuclear weapon by Muslims will be against other Muslims. Whether it’s cynical or feckless, the administration’s actions have made this more likely.

There’s foil in my wallet

But I’m not crazy. The foil is only there to block the scanners. The bank sent out the new credit card a while ago, and it has a chip in it. After reading about the potential risks, it seemed like some shielding wouldn’t hurt anything. But how to know if the shielding worked?

At one work site, I get access to the facility by putting my id card against a scanner. This works even if I just hold my wallet up to the scanner. This seems like a reasonable basis for testing. The first thing I put in my wallet was a piece of what seemed to be metalized paper from a coffee package. Holding up my wallet still activated the door, so a coffee bag probably will not block the scanners the men in black would carry if there were men in black following me.

Next time I went out to that site, I folded up four layers of regular aluminum foil and put that in my wallet. The scanner didn’t work. A week or so later I tried it again, and this time scanner did read my card through the foil. Thinking it might be because the foil had compressed, I opened up the foil and interleaved a piece of paper. My knowledge of electricity and magnetism is close to the cargo-cult level, you see. Anyway, this seemed to work, but I’ll test it again from time to time.

If I come across some sheet copper I’ll try that too. A couple of business-card size pieces of copper with the Lord’s Prayer engraved on it would probably excite less interest than a packet of aluminum foil.