Why a Trauma Kit is essential and what it should contain

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Tiny SquirrelGun shows are great places to meet kindred spirits and at the last one I went to I met David Dietrich who is co-owner of GetReady! Emergency Planning Center, getemergencyready.com. He was selling a fantastic range of Trauma items (although I admit he got my attention with a small pack on his stall labeled “Vasectomy Kit.”) Anyway, I asked him to come up with something that would really be of use to you guys and he produced a doozy. Check this list out. Thanks David, this is really useful. 

Most people likely think about equipment for trained specialists in Emergency Medical Services (EMS) when they hear “Trauma Kit.”  Other terms used are “Blow-Out Kit,” and “Individual First Aid Kit” (IFAK).  However, they would be wrong.  Such kits are instead designed to be used by the first responder, whether he is a police officer, infantryman, or just a Good Samaritan.

A Trauma Kit is a far cry from a typical First Aid Kit.  While the latter is designed to support minor injuries and medical issues, the former is essential for saving someone’s life in the next ten minutes.  That means such kits are focused on major bleeding from gunshots, stabbings, and amputations.  In addition, they address breathing obstructions from anaphylaxis or massive tissue damage.

For the purposes of post-disaster preparedness, a Trauma Kit provides coverage where there will likely be no medical services for some time.  That means we will be on our own.  We ourselves may be not only the first responder, but also the last.  So, acquiring and learning to use the components of such a kit is a critical capability.  This is one reason why so many military combatants have survived serious wounds in our recent wars.

One axiom is indisputable – all bleeding stops.  The question becomes, how it will stop?  Do you want to let it stop on its own, after the casualty has bled out, or do you want to play an active role, stopping the bleeding yourself in sufficient time for the casualty to become an asset once again?  The Trauma Kit provides a means to that end, through various included devices.

jbc-corporation-medical-assault-kit
Image: Pictured are the JBC Corporation Medical Assault Kit, costing over $200, and the GetReady! Field Trauma Kit, listing at $99.95.

So, what does a Trauma Kit look like?  First of all, it is relatively small, easily carried on a belt, armor plate, or in a backpack.  Secondly, it does not usually contain the items we expect to see in First Aid Kits.  Rather, they include tourniquets, pressure bandages, blood clotting agent, occlusive dressing, tension pneumothorax needle, and nasopharyngeal airway. There may be a few other odds and ends as well, but those are the basics.

 

Let’s take a look at components of a trauma kit, to better understand why they are used:

 

tourniquets
Image: Pictured are rubber tubing, RATS, SWAT-T, and CAT-T.  Others to consider are are SOF-TT, and TK-4.  They range in price from approximately $6 to $32 each.

Tourniquet.  There are many designs and brand available, from simple rubber tubing to complex windlass or ratcheting designs.  But, they all have one purpose – to constrict or eliminate blood flow to the bleeding extremity.  While these used to be a tool of last resort, military experience has proven their worth in saving lives as the tool of first choice.  If properly applied and combined with other devices, they can be safely removed later.

 

compression-bandages
Pictured are the H&H Medical H-Bandage and the ubiquitous “Israeli Bandage.”  They range in price from approximately $6 to $15 each.

Compression (Pressure) Bandage.  There are several commercial brands out there, typically based on the original Israeli Bandage.  As the tried and true method for staunching blood flow is pressure and elevation, their purpose is to maintain pressure at the injury site, as well as provide a clotting medium.  This is accomplished through an integrated dressing and pressure device.  The hands are then left free to perform other functions. Here are some examples of commercially available Pressure Bandages:

 

Pictured are the Celox Hemostatic Granules,  QuikClot Combat Gauze, and QuikClot Clotting Sponge.  They range in price from approximately $13 to $42 each.
Pictured are the Celox Hemostatic Granules,  QuikClot Combat Gauze, and QuikClot Clotting Sponge.  They range in price from approximately $13 to $42 each.

Hemostatic (Clotting) Agent.  There are mainly two commercial brands out there, found in three forms.  These are QuikClot and Celox, using sponges, gauze wraps, or poured granules.  The key component is either a clay mineral (kaolin), used in QuikClot, or a crustacean derivative (chitosan), used in Celox.  Both types interact with blood plasma to rapidly form clots.  They work independently of blood platelets or thinning drugs.

 

 

Pictured are the H&H Medical Wound Seal Kit and Compact Wound Seal.  Other companies also produce simple and valved options.  They range in price from approximately $15 to $30 each.
Pictured are the H&H Medical Wound Seal Kit and Compact Wound Seal.  Other companies also produce simple and valved options.  They range in price from approximately $15 to $30 each.

Occlusive Dressing (aka Chest Seal).  Several brands are used by the military and other agencies.  They are designed to block inhalation through the thoracic cavity, rather than normally, into the lungs.  If such a condition, known as a “sucking chest wound,” is allowed to continue, the lung on that side will likely collapse, putting pressure on the aorta and heart, resulting in painful breathing and associated circulatory problems.

 

 

 

Pictured are the BD Angiocath and the H&H Medical Tension Pneumothorax Needle.  Enhanced versions are also available.  They range in price from approximately $15 to $43 each.
Pictured are the BD Angiocath and the H&H Medical Tension Pneumothorax Needle.  Enhanced versions are also available.  They range in price from approximately $15 to $43 each.

Tension Pneumothorax Needle (TPN).  Several brands are used by the military and other agencies.  They are designed to release air and/or fluid pressure in the external thoracic cavity that may lead to the same conditions described under Occlusive Dressing above.  So, this device is for closed, versus open chest wounds.  The TPN is probably the most difficult of all the Trauma Kit devices to apply, and should by studied and practiced.

 

Naso-Pharyngeal Airway (NPA)

Pictured is the Rusch Robertazzi Nasopharyngeal Airway.  Packaged with water-soluble lubricant, they range in price from approximately $5 to $15 each.
Pictured is the Rusch Robertazzi Nasopharyngeal Airway.  Packaged with water-soluble lubricant, they range in price from approximately $5 to $15 each.

Numerous brands are used by the military and other agencies. They are used to maintain breathing in the event of an airway blockage due to anaphylaxis or tissue damage.  They are basically comprised of a stiffened rubber tube, beveled on one end and enlarged into a bell shape on the other.  Assisted by accompanying water-based lubricant, they are fully inserted into a nostril up to the bell.

compressed-gauzeCompressed Gauze.  Numerous brands are used by the military and other agencies.  They are used primarily to absorb and aid in the clotting of blood.  Almost always comprised of cotton, they are the most versatile Trauma Kit component.  And it cannot be overstated that you can never have enough gauze.  Additional uses include absorbing other bodily fluids, covering burns and lacerations, wrapping dressings, and securing splints.

 

Trauma Shears

Pictured are 3.5” and 5.5” light duty Trauma Sheers from Rescue Essentials and Ronson.  Other, more robust sheers are available.  They range in price from approximately $3 to $50 each.
Pictured are 3.5” and 5.5” light duty Trauma Sheers from Rescue Essentials and Ronson.  Other, more robust sheers are available.  They range in price from approximately $3 to $50 each.

Numerous brands are used by the military and other agencies.  They are used primarily to cut away clothing and other accessories (eg bra underwire) to quickly access the point of injury.  Their unique design provides a safe and easy method to cut through almost anything, including coins!  The major take-away regarding arterial bleeding is that saving clothing comes in a distant second to saving a life.

 

 

 

 Pictured are rolls from eGear and H&H Medical.  Also found among survival gear, they range in price from approximately $1 to $4 each.

Pictured are rolls from eGear and H&H Medical.  Also found among survival gear, they range in price from approximately $1 to $4 each.

Medical (Duct) Tape.  This ubiquitous resource really comes into its own in a medical kit.  Not only can it be used to secure bandages and dressings, but it also has applications for foot care (eg prevention and treatment of blisters), wrapping splints, making snow goggles, and repairing medical gear and other items.  Mini rolls, primarily for storage purposes, are the best configuration.  Don’t leave home without them!

 

 

Pictured are rolls from eGear and H&H Medical.  Also found among survival gear, they range in price from approximately $1 to $4 each.
Pictured are rolls from eGear and H&H Medical.  Also found among survival gear, they range in price from approximately $1 to $4 each.

Medical Gloves.  These are included in Trauma Kits primarily to protect the responder, not the patient.  Bodily fluids can carry many dangerous diseases, and having additional barriers during treatment may keep the responder from becoming a casualty.  In addition, they may preclude the need for further cleansing following treatment.  Simple glove removal and disposal may be sufficient action under tactical conditions.

Marking Pen

Pictured are mini Sharpies.  Full-sized versions can also be used.  They range in price from approximately $1 to $3 each.
Pictured are mini Sharpies.  Full-sized versions can also be used.  They range in price from approximately $1 to $3 each.

This is important not only for recording information on a Casualty Card, but also for marking other information, such as the date and time of a tourniquet application.  Such marking can be on the device itself, or even on the forehead of the patient.  There are other uses for such pens, such as taking notes on environmental conditions, and descriptions of agents (eg animals, plants, suspects) involved.

 

Pictured are the H&H Medical standard and Marine Combat Casualty Care Cards.  They range in price from approximately $2 to $4 each.
Pictured are the H&H Medical standard and Marine Combat Casualty Care Cards.  They range in price from approximately $2 to $4 each.

Casualty Response Documentation Tool (CRDT).

This is an event recording card, containing information describing patient and injury, treatment (including drugs) administered, mental state, circulation, respiration, mechanisms of injury (MOIs), medical conditions, and overall patient medical status, from routine to critical.  It’s always good to keep track of what’s happening in such cases, for reference prior to future treatment.

 

 Pictured are medical pouches from Eagle Industries and Maxpedition.  Another common brand is Rothco.  They range in price from approximately $15 to $45 each.

Pictured are medical pouches from Eagle Industries and Maxpedition.  Another common brand is Rothco.  They range in price from approximately $15 to $45 each.

Pouch.  Typical military kit dimensions are 8 inches long by 6 inches wide by four inches deep when full.  It uses the Pouch Attachment Ladder System (PALS) to fasten to Modular Lightweight Load-Carrying Equipment (MOLLE) configured backpacks.  Made of rugged Cordura nylon, this Pouch can be used under adverse environmental and tactical conditions.  It should be readily accessible for immediate use.

 

Other Components.  A number of other items may be included in a Trauma Kit for various reasons.  For example, if the owner would like to access the kit for minor injuries, and not dip into important trauma components, then adhesive bandages may be included.  In addition, medications (eg aspirin) should be considered.  Sterile wipes and water for cleaning wounds, flashlight for nighttime, and CPR shield round out the list.

 Pictured are a CPR Shield, regular strength Aspirin, Moist Towelettes, Sterile Water, Penlight, Adhesive Bandages, and Gauze Pads.  They range in price from approximately $1 to $5 each.

Pictured are a CPR Shield, regular strength Aspirin, Moist Towelettes, Sterile Water, Penlight, Adhesive Bandages, and Gauze Pads.  They range in price from approximately $1 to $5 each.

_________________________________________________________________

 

David Dietrich is co-owner of GetReady! Emergency Planning Center, getemergencyready.com. He has been preparing for uncertainty since he was a youth, recognizing that backpacking is about smaller, lighter, and multi-capability.  His experiences in the Boy Scouts and military have given him an appreciation for the real meaning of the Scout Motto – “Be Prepared.”  Today, David runs a disaster preparedness business that is focused on the creed – helping you help yourself.  It is about delivering resources, training, education, and consulting in preparation for a failure of civility.  Prepared people are survivors.

 

 

 

 

What to do in a terrorist attack

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Attacks like the ones that took place in Paris last November where 129 people died, or Orlando where currently 50 people were murdered are fortunately extremely rare. But the fact that it’s happened, and that our terrorist enemies are promising more, should remind us that we must be vigilant, and be prepared to react if we find ourselves in a mass panic situation.

There is a lot of psychological research surrounding crowd behavior and panic reactions. It’s worth looking at them now, it will help you mentally prepare for a life-threatening terrorist or criminal event.

Be prepared
Many survivors of the Paris attacks mistook the gunfire for fireworks. This is typical, we try and justify events to fit the narrative in our heads. Gun shots don’t fit with a gig, so your mind seeks a rational explanation. Unless you are familiar with gunshots, you look for another cause. This delays your response time. The lesson from this is you must try to respond to the events around you, not what’s in your head.

Delay is your enemy. Processing what’s going on and working out how to deal with it all takes time. Plan ahead for eventualities. Always check where the emergency exits are located. Carry a small flashlight — everywhere. Train yourself to plan an exit route EVERYWHERE you go.

ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS check for an exit in every building you visit. Make it a habit. Whether it’s the supermarket, the ball game, church, the mall, the movies, or a show, you MUST have an escape route in mind that you have memorized so you could crawl there. Look for solid objects to duck behind. (Cars aren’t as bulletproof as concrete but they’ll do. Try and crouch behind the tires to protect your legs.)

The aim is to make yourself as small a target as possible, ideally out of sight. Ducking out of sight reduces your risk of being targeted deliberately, or being hit by someone  spraying the room with bullets.

Other people and the herd instinct

The vast majority of people will be too confused to do anything during an attack. John Leach, survival psychologist and military survival instructor. has looked at life-threatening situations around the world and has found that only 15% of people will respond in a way that helps them survive. Up to 75% will just be too bewildered by what is happening around them to react at all. The other 10% will react in ways that reduce their chances of survival and get in the way of other people, he says.

Acting decisively might make survival more likely. But it’s also human nature to wait for other people to act first. In a classic experiment, psychologists put people in a room and filled it with smoke to see how they would react. People who were on their own were more likely to take action than those who were with other people. BBC

The UK government’s advice, in its document on “dynamic lockdowns”, is to run if there is a safe route out. But if there is no safe way to do this it advises hiding.

In extreme situations like at the Bataclan club in Paries where there was no place to hide, many survivors made it by “playing dead.” This is tough. Mass murderers are looking for movement and eyes, breathing, moaning and twitching all register subliminally. Practice. And practice with your kids. Make it a game but let them learn the skill. Give them a word that makes them play dead. (I know it sounds like training a dog, and it is a little like that. But it could be useful one day.)

Fighting back
You have to be very sure or very desperate to do this. Military personnel might pull it off, like they did in France when four passengers subdued a lone gunman on a train, but regular citizens should run. However, ISIS are not interested in hostages. They want a body count. It’s wise to have a least some basic fighting knowledge if you’re cornered.

Paris
File: The Wreath Laid by Secretary Kerry and French Foreign Minister Fabius Is Pictured Outside the Hyper Cacher Kosher Market in Paris. Pubic Domain

Escaped?
Get as far away as possible, walk behind as much hard, high cover as possible and go to the nearest authority figures for help. It can be dangerous to join big groups nearby or to take public transport. Always assume that there’s going to be a secondary device or attack. Take advice from police officers or other officials, as they may have better knowledge of the situation.

Help each other and work together

The chances of being caught up in a major attack are still low. But if it does happen, co-operating with others can increase people’s chance of survival, says Chris Cocking, social psychologist and expert in crowd behaviour.
After the 7/7 London attacks, Cocking helped interview dozens of people involved and concluded that the quickest and most efficient way for a group to evacuate is for people to work together.
This is the only way to avoid situations such as a crowd getting jammed at a fire escape. Cocking says that most people are likely to try to help each other even in extreme situations. “There’s an assumption that it’s everybody for themselves but that just doesn’t happen,” he says.  BBC

Lily’s awesome bug-out camp

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This simple, stable, warm and dry bugout shelter was constructed with safety and seclusion in mind. Lily can sleep, hunt and hide-out in her super shelter. She can even lock in her dog!

FUN VIDEO: You’re going to want this 50 cal…HANDGUN

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Our old YouTube friend hickok45 has the world’s greatest job.

In this fun video he shows off the .500 S&W Magnum. Just see what a 50 caliber handgun does to concrete blocks!

Are ‘Antifascists’ Employing a Crude Form of Terrorism?

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Photo: CC0

Days before its April 29 parade, Organizers of the 82nd Avenue of Roses Parade in Portland received an anonymous message. Via the Oregonian:

“You have seen how much power we have downtown and that the police cannot stop us from shutting down roads so please consider your decision wisely,” the anonymous email said, telling organizers they could cancel the Republican group’s registration or else face action from protesters. “This is non-negotiable.”

The letter, the paper reports, was precipitated by the presence of the Multnomah County Republican Party in the parade, which “drew ire from some of the city’s left-leaning protest groups”—despite the fact that the group participated in previous years.

How did parade organizers respond? They canceled the event, lest a riot ensue.

These tactics are familiar to anyone who’s been paying attention to U.S. campuses. As NYU psychologist Jonathan Haidt explained in an April 26 article for The Chronicle of Higher Education, intimidation is the new normal on college campuses.

“Any campus speaker who arouses a protest is at risk of a beating,” said Haidt. “Can this really be the future of American colleges?”

The answer appears to be yes.

Haidt explains that these agitators–who sometimes call themselves “antifascists“– justify their actions by presenting themselves as victims:

“A common feature of recent campus shout-downs is the argument that the speaker ‘dehumanizes’ members of marginalized groups or ‘denies their right to exist.’ No quotations or citations are given for such strong assertions; these are rhetorical moves made to strengthen the case against the speaker.”

Thus far, universities have mostly indulged the escapades of these bad-behaving students. Why? Perhaps it’s because there is a deep-rooted tradition of protesting in America’s history. Perhaps it’s because college officials are sympathetic to the students’ ends (keeping dissenting voices off campus).

Whatever the case, by indulging the student agitators who employ threats, intimidation, and violence, college leaders are tacitly affirming their tactics. This is dangerous.

Haidt, for one, believes our university system may be at a crossroads.

“This year may become a turning point in the annals of higher education. It may be remembered as the year that political violence and police escorts became ordinary parts of campus life. Or it may be remembered as the year when professors, students, and administrators finally found the moral courage to stand up against intimidation, even when it is aimed at people whose ideas they dislike.”

It’s troubling that universities have not taken a stronger stance against these tactics. More troubling is that—as the cancelation of the parade in Portland demonstrates—we could soon see these methods proliferate beyond the campus since they have proven so effective.

That would be bad. What has largely been overlooked is that these tactics are a crude form of terrorism.

If you Google “terrorism” this is the definition you will find: Ter·ror·ism (noun) the unlawful use of violence and intimidation, especially against civilians, in the pursuit of political aims.

People have a right to peaceably assemble and protest. But when people use threats, intimidation, and violence against civilians to achieve political aims, they are employing tactics that go beyond civil disobedience.

Take the recent episode in Portland. A clear threat (disruption and potential violence) was issued designed to achieve a specific political result (ostracization of a political group). It worked.

​We tend to not recognize the actual nature of these acts because they are done so openly and brazenly. It’s a brilliant and age-old ruse. In G.K. Chesterton’s wonderful novel The Man Who Was Thursday, the president of the Central Anarchist Council shrewdly observed the safest place for a terrorist to hide.

“You want a safe disguise, do you? . . . A dress in which no one would ever look for a bomb? Why, then, dress up as an anarchist, you fool!”

This is not to imply that all protesters are terrorists or that the FBI should send agents to Berkeley. But we need to be honest about the brutish tactics being employed and recognize that they are designed to achieve political goals. It’s a dangerous path, as anyone familiar with Germany’s Spartacist Uprising knows.

The most frustrating part is that colleges have no problem flexing their muscles and cracking down on offending students… when it’s a couple of kids handing out copies of the U.S. Constitution. But when mobs of students wearing masks organize to infringe on the rights of others, college leaders inexplicably go into a shell.

It doesn’t have to be this way. College administrators could send a strong message by promptly expelling a few ringleaders caught engaging in intimidating or violent behavior. It doesn’t belong on campus and should not be tolerated.

They have the ability. Do they have the will?

This post Are “Antifascists’ employing a crude form of terrorism? was originally published on Intellectual Takeout by Jon Miltmore

Federal Land Grabs Have Gotten Out of Control. Why Trump’s Executive Order Is a Positive Sign.

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Image: Devil’s Tower, President Theodore Roosevelt established the first national monument, Devils Tower in Wyoming, on September 24, 1906 through The Antiquities Act of 1906 which allows presidents to designate national monuments without input from any local parties living near the landmark. Public Domain.

Draining the swamp doesn’t just mean shrinking the size of federal bureaucracies. It means reducing the role of government throughout our society—including its ability to seize land.

A good place to start is President Donald Trump’s executive order, which calls for a review of national monument designations—a tool long used by presidents to unilaterally restrict land use.

The tradition of presidents designating national monuments began in 1906 when President Theodore Roosevelt signed the Antiquities Act.

That law was intended to prevent the looting of archaeological and Native American structures and objects, and it gave the federal government an expeditious path to do so.

Unsurprisingly, its use has evolved into a federal power tool for making land grabs that cater to special interests, rather than welcoming input from local affected parties, such as the outdoor tourist industry, Native American tribes, or simply the people living in the community.

Such land grabs date way back before President Barack Obama. Before his last-minute monument designations, 16 presidents designated more than 140 monuments covering over 285 million acres of land and marine areas.

Like every other environmental decision ordered by a new administration, the left responded to Trump’s executive order by predicting that it will reduce America the Beautiful to a dumpster fire.

As one publication put it, the order is a “sop to right-wing radicals who are hostile to public lands—and really hate Obama.” (They forgot to mention the hatred for puppies and rainbows, too).

Contrary to the media spin, the issue at hand is not about environmental stewardship, but taking decisions away from states, private citizens, and local interests.

For more than a century, the president of the United States has had the power to unilaterally designate land as a national monument, without input from Congress or the affected states.

Such action from the president either prohibits or restricts economic opportunity in the area, and often does more environmental harm than good.

Reading The Washington Post article on Trump’s order, one could easily assume that there is no local opposition to the controversial 1.35 million acre monument designation at Bears Ears declared by Obama in the final days of his presidency—one of the presumed targets of Trump’s executive order.

The Post gives the false impression that only elected Republican members of Congress opposed Obama’s designation.

The article highlights that a coalition of tribes, environmentalists, archaeologists, and outdoor industry groups all lobbied Obama for the protection at Bears Ears. Yet the author conveniently fails to include opposition from, you know, the local tribes and people that actually live in San Juan County.

For instance, members of the Navajo of San Juan County tribe—the county where Bears Ears resides—rescinded their support for the monument designation. Chester Johnson, of the Aneth Navajo chapter said,

At that time when they switched to national monument they didn’t share it back with the community what their intent was. Aneth is the only one chapter that had the backbone to stand up and say, ‘Look central government, you don’t do that. You share it with us what the intent is for our region, the land that we use for centuries.’

Another Aneth chapter member, Susie Philemon, fought back tears as she urged opposition to the designation, underscoring the fact that they have strong incentives, both economic and spiritual, to protect and preserve the land.

She stressed that “[t]here are people that still graze there, they reside there, and they make that place their livelihood and you cannot just take that away.”

San Juan County leaders staunchly opposed Obama’s designation.

Native American Rebecca Benally, the first woman elected to the San Juan County Commission, voiced opposition to the centralized decision, saying, “My constituents do not want a national monument in San Juan County because it’s just another federal overreach with empty promises.”

>>> Read Utah Sen. Mike Lee’s commentary piece against the Bears Ears monument designation.

As loudly as the local community, the Navajo of San Juan County tribe, Utah Gov. Gary Herbert, and members of Congress and state officials voiced their concerns, they all fell on deaf ears.

The problem of unilateral land designation dates much further back than Obama and Bears Ears.

Although Obama designated the contentious Bears Ears monument in Utah as he walked out the White House door, the use of the Antiquities Act is a bipartisan problem. Presidents from both parties have abused the power to restrict land use.

A review of the use of the Antiquities Act designations is a welcome and necessary first step, but ultimately Congress needs to intervene.

Congress should recognize that states, local governments, and private citizens are the best arbiters of how to manage land and should repeal the Antiquities Act or limit the president’s power by requiring congressional, state, and local approval for any national monument designation.

Whether the issue is logging, recreation, conservation, or energy extraction, such decisions are most effectively made at the state and local levels. An antiquated law more than 110 years old shouldn’t ruin the lives of communities.


House seeks to prosecute CEO in charge of Hillary’s email server

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Image: Mike Mozart https://www.flickr.com/photos/jeepersmedia/ (CC BY 2.0)

The House pursue contempt of Congress charges against the head of the company that was responsible for handling Hillary Clinton’s controversial secret email server.

Rep. Lamar Smith, chairman of the Science, Space and Technology Committee, wants to prosecute the head of the company responsible for maintaining Hillary Clinton’s now famous secret email server. He said they had repeatedly pushed for Platte river Networks to produce documents detailing their handling of Mrs. Clinton’s server, but their CEO Treve Suazo had misled them.

Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) today (April 27th) sent a letter to Attorney General Jeff Sessions to refer Platte River Networks Chief Executive Officer Treve Suazo for prosecution pursuant to federal laws pertaining to failing to produce documents and information demanded in Aug. 23, 2016 and Sept. 16, 2016 subpoenas, making false statements regarding not having custody or control of responsive documents, and for obstructing the committee’s investigation.

Chairman Smith: “Failure to comply with duly issued subpoenas and obstruction of a congressional investigation will not be tolerated.  As a result, the Committee is referring Mr. Treve Suazo, CEO of Platte River Networks, to the Department of Justice for prosecution under federal laws pertaining to failing to produce subpoenaed documents, making false statements to Congress regarding possession of documents, and obstructing Congress. Platte River Networks, a company hired by former Secretary Hillary Clinton, has deliberately withheld requested materials from the Committee and refused to comply with lawfully issued subpoenas. With a new administration in place, I am hopeful that the Department of Justice will appropriately respond to the referral.  We cannot allow companies with valuable information to stonewall us in our oversight efforts.”

The referral letter can be found here.

Background

On Jan. 8, 2016, the Committee held a hearing titled “Cybersecurity: What the Federal Government Can Learn from the Private Sector.” At that hearing, industry experts raised concerns regarding the precautions taken to secure the Clinton private server and legality of such an email arrangement. The Science Committee has jurisdiction over the National Institute of Standards and Technology, which sets standards pursuant to the Federal Information Security Modernization Act of 2014 (FISMA). The materials subpoenaed by the Science Committee center exactly around the committee’s jurisdiction over cybersecurity standards in FISMA. Because former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton chose to forego using the Department of State’s official government computer systems, which are governed by strict FISMA compliant federal cybersecurity guidelines, the committee launched an investigation to determine whether the level of security of Secretary Clinton’s private server and email account was comparable to the cybersecurity standards prescribed by NIST and FISMA.

On Jan. 14, 2016, following this testimony, the Committee wrote Platte River Networks, Datto, and SECNAP, all companies that played a role in securing data stored on Secretary Clinton’s private server requesting their assistance in understanding the work each company performed to secure the server, and whether it was performed in accordance with the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s (NIST) Framework.

On July 12, 2016, Chairman Ron Johnson of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee and the Science Committee, together, wrote to Platte River Network’s CEO reiterating the Science Committee’s Jan. 14, 2016, request for documents, and additionally requested transcribed interviews of seven Platte River Network employees.

On Aug. 23, 2016, Smith issued a subpoena duces tecum to Mr. Suazo compelling the production of documents. Mr. Suazo and his counsel deliberately misinterpreted the language of the committee’s subpoena. Following the Aug. 23, 2016 subpoena the committee began receiving responsive materials from Datto, showing that Datto and Platte River Networks employees communicated regularly regarding the status of backups of the Clinton server. These communications show that Platte River Network purposefully withheld documents and materials responsive to the subpoena.

On Sept. 16, 2016, Smith issued a second subpoena duces tecum to Mr. Suazo.

On Sept. 28, 2016, the committee wrote Mr. Suazo’s counsel reiterating the committee’s demand for subpoenaed documents.

How Trump’s Tax Plan Would Affect High-Tax States Like California, New York

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Image: United States Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin, Public Domain

Time to move to a low-tax state?

High-income earners in high-tax states would see a federal tax rate cut, but may pay more in the end if they’re unable to deduct state and local taxes under President Donald Trump’s tax reform proposal announced Wednesday.

“We’ll be attacked from the left. We’ll be attacked from the right,” @GaryDCohn says.

The White House released the contours of his tax reform proposal that would lower tax rates and reduce the number of tax brackets. However, the plan would also reduce the number of tax deductions.

When a reporter asked if deducting taxes on state and local income taxes would also be eliminated, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin answered, “Yes.”

“We are going to eliminate on the personal side all tax deductions other than mortgage interests and charitable deductions,” Mnuchin said at a White House press conference Wednesday.

House Republicans were already reportedly considering eliminating the deduction on state and local taxes, which could disproportionately affect wealthy people in high-tax blue states such as New York and California.

This federal deduction basically encouraged states to hike taxes, said Jonathan Williams, the chief economist for the American Legislative Exchange Commission, a state-centric public policy organization.

“The current policy subsidizes high-tax states,” Williams told The Daily Signal in a phone interview. “Using that revenue to pay for cutting rates across the board is a step in the right direction.”

The Trump tax plan would reduce the number of tax brackets from seven to three brackets of 10 percent, 25 percent, and 35 percent. The plan would not tax the first $24,000 in income for a couple, which is double the current standard deduction.

The Trump plan would repeal the alternative minimum tax, phaseout the death tax, and repeal the 3.8 percent surtax on investment income used to fund Obamacare.

On the business side, the corporate tax rate will be cut to 15 percent, from 35 percent. Also, the government would only tax a business’s income from inside the United States, not income from abroad. This is common in other countries and is known as a “territorial tax system.”

Gary Cohn, director of the National Economic Council and Trump’s chief economic adviser, told reporters tax reform is a “once-in-a-generation opportunity to do something really big.”

The last sweeping reform came in 1986.

“This isn’t going to be easy. Doing big things never is. We’ll be attacked from the left. We’ll be attacked from the right,” Cohn said. “But one thing is certain. I would never, ever bet against this president.”

Cohn added:

In 2017, we are still stuck with a 1988 corporate tax system. That’s why we are one of the least competitive countries in the developed world when it comes to taxes. So tax reform is long overdue.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said the plan is the “same trickle-down economics that undermined the middle class,” and said the president should work on a fiscally responsible bipartisan plan with Democrats.

“Instead of focusing on hardworking families as he promised, President Trump’s tax outline is a wish list for billionaires,” Pelosi said in a public statement. “What few details are here overwhelmingly cut taxes for the richest and do little for middle-class Americans and those trying to get there. Besides which, nowhere does President Trump indicate how his deficit-exploding tax plan will actually be paid for.”

Adam Michel, a tax policy analyst with The Heritage Foundation, said he believes the proposal shows Trump is serious about reform:

For too long, America’s out-of-date and overbearing tax system has put a damper on economic growth while punishing savings and investment. The president’s plan is a great starting point. Now, the president and Congress must work together to finally update our broken tax system. True reform should apply the most efficient and least economically destructive forms of taxation, have low rates on a broad base, and be as transparent, predictable, and simple as possible.

Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform, praised Trump’s proposal.

“President Trump has re-energized the drive for fundamental tax reform that creates growth and jobs,” Norquist said in a public statement. “The plan cuts taxes for businesses and individuals and simplifies the code so Americans can file on a postcard. Reducing taxes on all businesses down to 15 percent will turbocharge the economy.”

Mnuchin called the current 35 percent corporate rate “perhaps the most complicated and uncompetitive business rate in the world.”

He said he anticipates the proposal would return the U.S. to greater than 3 percent growth without an adverse impact on the debt or revenue. Throughout most of the Obama administration, economic growth didn’t surpass 3 percent in a single year.

“This plan will lower the ratio of debt to [gross domestic product]. The economic plan under Trump would grow the economy, will create massive amounts of revenues,” Mnuchin said.

The plan is a net tax reduction, Williams said, and fundamental reform takes cronyism out of the tax code, which could help Trump keep another promise.

“Draining the tax code swamp is a good way to go about getting rid of all those special interest loopholes,” Williams said.

Reproduced with permission. Original is here.


Department and agency budgets should have automatic sunsets, and require Congress to act affirmatively to fund them

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By Peter Hong

I learned my first lesson about the federal spending process as a college intern on Capitol Hill.  I recommended that my congressman vote against an appropriations spending bill, noting that the bill funded several programs whose legal authorization had expired.   After the congressman voted for the bill, I asked why my recommendation had been rejected; after all, weren’t programs supposed to be authorized by Congress before tax dollars could be spent on them?

I never forgot the answer: “That’s the way it’s supposed to work.”

Decades later, we are still seeking a government that works the way it’s supposed to work.  Under Article I, Section 9 of the U.S. Constitution, “No Money shall be drawn from the Treasury, but in Consequence of Appropriations made by Law.” Dating back to the first Congress in 1789, Congress separated the process of making legislation of substantive law (authorization) and that of appropriations.  In its authorizing capacity, Congress is supposed to exercise its oversight duties, such as terminating programs that have grown obsolete or counterproductive; fixing programs that are necessary, but not properly functioning; and weeding out duplicative federal programs and agencies.  Once a program or agency is properly authorized by Congress, it can be funded by the appropriations process until it is due for another checkup, overhaul or termination.

At least, that’s the way it’s supposed to work – and with good reason.  Having to complete a two-stage process generally makes it harder for Congress to spend more money.  Left to their own devices, congressional appropriators would spend money faster than a government bureaucrat hits the exit on a Friday afternoon.  Without the accountability check of the authorization process, appropriators would aimlessly spend tax dollars without any legal constraints on the programs and agencies they fund.  Because Congress has neglected its oversight duties for so long, it has left behind a billion-dollar trail of appropriated, yet unauthorized, programs and agencies:  “zombie” appropriations.

The numbers spell it out.  According to the Congressional Budget Office, in 2016, Congress appropriated $310.4 billion for 256 of these unauthorized programs and activities.  Citizens Against Government Waste notes that just two decades ago, unauthorized appropriations, at $35 billion, represented 10% of overall discretionary spending; today, that figure is 30% — and growing.

You’d be surprised to learn which programs and agencies fall under this category of unauthorized “zombie” appropriations.  Surely, Congress would not fund major federal agencies or programs and let them run on virtual autopilot, right?

As noted by Danny Vinik at Politico, consider the U.S. State Department, which is funded at an annual level of $38 billion, but was last reauthorized in 2003.   Or consider the billions of dollars spent on federal law enforcement agencies, like the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Drug Enforcement Agency, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms – none of which have been reauthorized since 2009.  The Federal Election Commission has regulated our federal election financing system without congressional reauthorization since 1981 — the beginning of the Reagan Administration!

And you can place the blame squarely on Congress for failing to carry out its oversight responsibilities, thereby allowing the administrative state to operate on autopilot and expand its fiefdom without statutory constraints.  Through neglect and inaction, Congress has voluntarily diminished its constitutional authority to hold federal agencies accountable for results – and it shows.

What if Congress were to seriously reassert its oversight powers and impose a legal expiration date for every federal department and agency and every new federal law and regulation?  If this expiration date, or “sunset” clause, were to have the effect of law, every activity of the federal government would be forced to regularly justify its existence or die.  And if Congress were forced to scrutinize the entire scope of the federal government, perhaps that would temper the desire in Washington to pass more laws or waste more money.

Congress can take a constructive step in this direction if House Republican Conference Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers of Washington has her way.  She just introduced the “Unauthorized Spending Accountability (USA) Act of 2017,” which would establish a three-year schedule to automatically cut the budgets for all unauthorized programs.  Under the USA Act, if a program remains unauthorized after three years, it would be sunset.

“Congress needs to reclaim its power of the purse to provide oversight on the structure, outcomes, and purpose of taxpayer-funded programs. This is why I re-introduced the USA Act this year,” said McMorris Rodgers.

Americans for Limited Government and a host of other free-market organizations have lent their support for the USA Act as a “thoughtful approach to increasing accountability, which will result in reducing unnecessary federal spending.”  Its passage would effectively end the reckless practice of appropriating funds for the unauthorized federal “zombies,” which currently roam through the administrative state like something out of The Walking Dead.  More importantly, it would signal that Congress is finally ready to clean up the federal spending process by establishing rules of the road with some real teeth.

After all, the quality of the process determines the quality of the product; if you want better lawmaking, you’d better start first with fixing the process.  And that’s the way it’s supposed to work.

Peter Hong is a contributing reporter at Americans for Limited Government.

The Truth About Australia’s Gun Control ‘Success’ Story

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Photo: Randall Goya/Flickr (cc by-sa 2.0)

Australia’s gun control law is a great success, if you haven’t heard.

I learned this from a dozen memes that appeared in my Facebook news feed, a conversation with my neighbor, and a slew of media stories.

This NBC story, for example, was published as I started writing this story. It features a John Hopkins professor who points out that the U.S. gun homicide rate is 23 times that of Australia.

And then there is this Slate articleHow Many Shootings Will It Take for America to Control Its Guns?”—forwarded to me by my friendly neighbor.

The article, written by Will Oremus, tells us this:

Violent crime and gun-related deaths did not come to an end in Australia, of course. But as the Washington Post’s Wonkblog pointed out in August, homicides by firearm plunged 59 percent between 1995 and 2006, with no corresponding increase in non-firearm-related homicides. The drop in suicides by gun was even steeper: 65 percent. Studies found a close correlation between the sharp declines and the gun buybacks. Robberies involving a firearm also dropped significantly. Meanwhile, home invasions did not increase, contrary to fears that firearm ownership is needed to deter such crimes. But here’s the most stunning statistic. In the decade before the Port Arthur massacre, there had been 11 mass shootings in the country. There hasn’t been a single one in Australia since.

Pretty persuasive stuff, huh? But before you get too excited about what an Australia-style gun control law could do for America, it’s worth looking at a few facts not mentioned in these articles.  

First, Australia’s gun homicide rate was tiny even before their gun control law went into effect. In 1993, a total 64 people died from gun homicide in the entire country; that’s a rate of .36 percent (less than one person) per 100,000 people. (As a point of reference, the U.S. gun homicide rate in 1993 was more than 8 per 100,000 people, according to FBI statistics.)

(Editor’s note: All of the data on Australia gun homicides come from this site, managed by the University of Sydney.)

Why does it matter? Well, tiny figures can result in wild fluctuations.

One easy example: between 2005 and 2006 Australia’s homicide rate more than doubled. Or, if one were so inclined, he could choose an outlier year as a benchmark—like 1996, when a mass shooting in Australia accounted for more than one-third of all gun homicides in the country. (As it happens, a quick perusing of articles reveals that the media almost always uses 1996 as a benchmark.)

Second, let’s go back and look at those figures from 1993. The data reveal that Australia’s gun homicide rate was about 25 times lower than the U.S. before Australia passed gun control legislation.

How can this be the case if Australia’s gun homicide rate has fallen so precipitously? Well, those FBI stats reveal that the U.S. gun homicide rate from the early 1990s to today has also fallen by roughly 50 percent. (It’s worth pointing out that this dip continued even after the Federal Assault Weapons Ban was allowed to expire in 2004.) This means that Australia and the U.S. experienced rather similar declines in gun homicide rates even though one nation passed gun control legislation and one did not.

Finally, Australia’s law banned semi-automatic rifles. Rifles in the U.S. (semi-auto and action operated) account for about three percent of gun homicides in the U.S. So the idea that Australian-style gun control legislation would signficantly reduce gun homicides in the U.S. is not credible.

These are important facts, considering that even now lawmakers are staging a sit-in in an effort to pass major gun control legislation.

Considering all of the reporting on gun control the last few days, one wonders. Why have we not heard these figures?  

Are these facts not relevant to conversation on gun control? Or are they simply not convenient?

[Image Credit: Vitaly V. Kuzmin | CC BY 3.0]

This post Australia’s Gun Control ‘Success’ Story was originally published on Intellectual Takeout by Jon Miltimore.

Here’s How to Tell If a Riot Is About to Erupt in Your City

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Photo credit: Pixabay, parameciorecords, CC0 Public Domain, https://pixabay.com/en/police-bogota-riot-swat-275875/

It seems like civil unrest has become an increasingly common occurrence in America over the past few years. Since the election we’ve seen a lot of protests turn violent, and in the years preceding the election, just about any controversial police shooting could spark a riot. As these incidents become commonplace, more people are becoming aware of just how tumultuous our nation really is. They want to know how they can protect themselves from civil unrest or avoid riots in the first place, especially if they live in urban areas.

Coincidentally, I have firsthand experience on this subject. Though I have thankfully never been in a riot, I know exactly what it looks like on the streets in the hours before a riot kicks off. I was visiting Berkeley, California on December 6th, 2014, just before a massive protest for the deaths of Eric Garner and Michael Brown turned violent.

I left the city a couple of hours before things got crazy, though not because I knew what was coming. Though I had heard earlier in the day that there was going to be a protest, I didn’t think that anything serious was going to happen, because protests are a pretty common occurrence in Berkeley. This may sound crazy now, but at the time there was no reason to think that there was going to be a full-blown riot.

Always Be On the Lookout for Warning Signs

Though I was completely ignorant of what was about to go down, in hindsight there were plenty of red flags. I noticed them as I was walking through the city in the late afternoon, on my way to catch a BART train home.

For starters, there was a massive police presence everywhere I looked. There were more cops walking or driving around than I had ever seen in the city before before. That may sound like an obvious sign, but it was what the cops were doing and what kinds of equipment they had on hand that was significant. You could hear helicopters overhead, and there were several large nondescript buses parked near where the protest was about to begin. They were kind of like school buses, but painted white. In other words, the kind of buses that are often used to transport prisoners. They were clearly getting ready to detain a lot of people.

As for the behavior of the police, there was one thing I saw that stands out. I distinctly remember seeing two police officers tell a homeless man to leave the area. That’s common in some cities, but not Berkeley. There are homeless people everywhere and I’ve never seen the police do that. Unless the homeless are being unruly and someone calls the cops (which most people rarely do), the police seem to leave the homeless alone in Berkeley.

In hindsight it makes a lot of sense. After they close, the homeless often sleep in front of the shops where the riot was about to take place. And when the cops interacted with this guy, they weren’t being aggressive. The interaction looked pretty courteous. They weren’t removing someone who was causing a problem. They were removing him for his own safety.

And perhaps the most interesting warning sign I witnessed, has to do with what many of the businesses in the area did to prepare themselves for the protest. I saw dozens of shops close early. Their owners and employees had boarded up windows and doors, as if they were getting ready for a hurricane to rip through the city.

The reason why that’s so intriguing, is that before 2014 I don’t think Berkeley had seen a major riot in decades. I’m really not sure how these businesses knew that there was going to be unrest in the streets. Remember, Berkeley is practically the protest capital of the world. It seems like there is a protest going on in that city every week, and they rarely turn violent.  So how did they know that this time was going to be different? My only guess is that the police must have warned them ahead of time. Without that kind of advice, they would have been as much in dark as I was.

So keep these warning signs in mind the next time you visit a city. Don’t be like me. I just happened to leave as the city was gearing up for civil unrest. I had no idea of what was going on, and basically avoided the riot by dumb luck. When you see the police and the locals getting ready for a street battle, take note and get the hell out of there.

 

Joshua Krause was born and raised in the Bay Area. He is a writer and researcher focused on principles of self-sufficiency and liberty at Ready Nutrition. You can follow Joshua’s work at our Facebook page or on his personal Twitter.Joshua’s website is Strange Danger

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

After you get a concealed weapons permit 101

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Photo: Kelly McCarthy

It is encouraging to see so many Americans obtaining their concealed weapon permit. These new shooters are supporters of the Second Amendment and have taken steps to be responsible for their own safety and security. Yet, in many cases, there are people among them that are armed with a deadly weapon but unable to defend themselves well.

There are requirements in place, in most states, that demand a course in legal matters and another in safe gun handling. This is important, but there is only so much to be learned in an eight-hour course. Very often, a lively class with many questions resulted in my eight-hour classes running over to nine or ten hours, and there were a lot of groans. Consider the ramifications a poor decision could make on your life, and you really need a lot of personal study.

The safety part of the class was stressed, and since the National Rifle Association Handgun 101 is the base for this part of the class, it is a very good program. The marksmanship section is also very well done, and the NRA 101 course is excellent. This provides the student pays attention during the class. After successfully passing the course, the individual needs to expand his knowledge base.

I recommend beginners make a trip to the range once a month for a year or so, when beginning their practice with the handgun. Besides building proficiency, this regimen will reveal the deficiencies of an inaccurate, difficult to use, or unreliable handgun. Once the handgunner begins to achieve their initial goals, which is usually relatively speedy center hits at 7 yards, the practice regimen may be curtailed to five or six times a year. This is a realistic minimum for a moderately interested shooter. I realize many readers go to the range with a goal in mind on a weekly basis, and that is wonderful, but many shooters obtain the permit and that is the last time they see the range, which is both sad and potentially dangerous.

Read the full story at The Shooter’s Log

If There’s Going to Be a Government Shutdown, Do It for a Good Reason

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by Dan Mitchell

I’m normally a big fan of shutting down the government and I’ve tried to convince timid lawmakers that shutdown fights can be worthwhile.

The bottom line is that nothing really bad happens when there’s a shutdown (notwithstanding petty efforts by bureaucrats) for the simple reasons that only “non-essential” parts of the bureaucracy actually get closed. In other words, a government shutdown in all cases is simply a partial shutdown.

And since I don’t favor any funding of non-essential functions, I view a partial shutdown as a good start. Indeed, while the various interest groups in DC hyperventilate about supposed disaster, I experience a feeling of joy and serenity (as illustrated by this modified cartoon, which originally was altered to show my reaction to sequestration).

As far as I’m concerned, the key lesson from shutdown fights is that our nation will be better off if bureaucracies such as the Department of Housing and Urban Development or Department of Educationare permanently shuttered. And let’s add the Department of EnergyDepartment of Transportation, and Department of Agriculture just for the fun of it.

These entities shouldn’t get short-run funding or long-run funding.

That’s the point I made in the second half of this recent interview on Fox Business.

I’m not the only person who likes the idea of a partial shutdown.

Writing for the Resurgent, Erick Erickson explains how a shutdown fight would be valuable.

Americans need to be reminded that the world will not end if the government shuts down. They need to be reminded to take care of themselves instead of relying on Uncle Sam’s teet. A government shutdown with the GOP in charge would be a far different thing from a government shutdown run by Democrats. President Obama tried to inflict maximum pain on the American people to force the GOP to reopen government. President Trump, instead, could take a different approach and use the experience to show Americans how out of control government has really gotten.

And Larry Kudlow had a similar message in a column for National Review back in 2015.

…sometimes you have to make a point. Send a message. Show voters what you really believe. Take a stand. …Most of the Beltway media will blame Republicans. Democrats will blame Republicans. And GOP pundits will blame Republicans. Political death, they will say. Really? …during the Reagan-O’Neill era, most of the shutdowns were budget focused. Reagan wanted less spending; the Democrats wanted more. …The Reagan-O’Neill-era shutdowns were short, and in most of them Reagan prevailed. Meanwhile, the Reagan recovery flourished, the Republicans held the Senate (until 1986), and the Gipper was reelected in a landslide in 1984. Going back to the Obamacare-related shutdown of 2013, a bit more than a year later the Republicans swept the Senate and gained an even larger majority in the House. …shutdowns are a cumbersome way to make a point. …But perhaps Republican leadership in both Houses might think of this: There are too many deals and not enough principles, beliefs, and clear messaging.

Having now provided all this evidence in favor of government shutdowns, you would think I’m excited about the possibility that there will be a partial shutdown this Saturday when a temporary funding bill expires.

Unfortunately, that’s not the case. I view shutdown as a means to an end. I want those fights to occur in hopes that there will be reforms that shrink the overall burden of government spending.

In this case, though, the shutdown fight largely revolves around President Trump’s request for money to build part of a wall between Mexico and the United States. Some people think that’s a good idea and others think it’s a bad idea, but the one thing I can say with certainty is that it’s not a money-saving idea. Even if Trump wanted to finance the wall by reducing outlays in other parts of the budget, the net result would not be smaller government.

The bottom line is that even though I almost always cheer for a government shutdown, I’ll be sitting on the sidelines for this fight.

But if Trump and congressional Republicans at some point decide to fight for much-needed spending restraint (a naive hope, I realize), then I’ll be the first to cheer if that battle leads to a shutdown.

P.S. My favorite bit of shutdown humor is at the bottom of this post, and other examples of shutdown-related humor can be enjoyed by clicking herehereherehere, and here.

Trump’s first 100 days: A crash course in ‘creative destruction’

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Image: https://flickr.com/photos/22007612@N05/29273256122 Gage Skidmore, Peoria, AZ, USA

The 2016 Presidential election was about creative destruction, pitting one candidate, Hillary Clinton, who stood for continuing down the same path that our nation had been on since George H.W. Bush’s election in 1988, against Donald Trump, who promised to rethink everything.

“Creative destruction” is the term MIT economist Joseph Schumpeter used to describe the capitalist process where business constantly seeks product and process upgrades that result in the development of new and improved ways of doing things and new products that drive out the old and outdated ones.

Donald Trump’s first 100 days should be judged on whether he is successfully generating the creative destruction the voters demanded. By any standard, he is doing just that.

The Supreme Court nomination and confirmation of Neil Gorsuch has set the stage for a complete rebooting of the nation’s court system.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer’s quixotic insistence on denying the extremely well-qualified Gorsuch the votes to achieve cloture resulted in the complete elimination of the judicial filibuster.

This single change will allow Trump to not only appoint hundreds of lower level federal judges without input from the Senate minority, but possibly fill three additional Supreme Court seats, defining the judiciary for generations.  It is quite possible that if the President does nothing else but fill the judiciary with constitutional constructionists, he will be the most consequential president of the first half of the 21stcentury.

Donald Trump’s budget is equally transformational. In proposing the elimination of agencies like the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, National Endowment for the Arts and National Endowment for the Humanities, Trump is signaling that his administration will end government payments to organizations that could be better supported by the private sector.

While many conservatives would prefer that the debate be on the proper role of government, this president is simply saying that programs that force middle class taxpayers to fund upper class wants should end. This isn’t about Robert Mapplethorpe and the like. It’s just a practical business decision that New York and Hollywood elites can support these priorities without forcing the people of the flyover states (who they despise) to pay the freight.

On the economic front, Trump is deconstructing much of Obama’s pen and phone activism with a clear focus on regulations that harm growth. Utilizing the Congressional Review Act process, Congress has passed and the President has signed eleven bills rescinding midnight regulations promulgated in the waning days of the Obama administration.

As a result, domestic energy production will increase, small and mid-sized businesses won’t be strangled with additional paperwork, and federal government encroachment on state powers over wildlife management, education and drug testing for government assistance recipients is dramatically restricted.

Energy development, a key to robust economic growth, has been freed up due to the approvals of the Keystone XL pipeline and Dakota Access pipeline, providing less expensive ways to get oil from Canada and the Bakken Oil fields to refineries. The move to end the coal-industry-killing Clean Power Plant rules will stop the shutdown of coal fired utilities, while new competition between natural gas and coal will force efficiencies in both industries, ensuring reliable low-cost power for a generation.

And perhaps most consequentially, Trump has re-ordered how the United States is going to interact with the rest of the world.

By exiting the Trans-Pacific Partnership, Trump is resetting what it means to be a trade partner with the United States. His Labor Department, working with the Customs Bureau, can be expected to target goods made in places where slave and child labor are encouraged. If you want to end the use of slave labor, why not make it harder to sell those goods in the United States, rather than rewarding these nations with better tariff rates? That is transformational.

Trump has also already met with Chinese Premier Xi Jingping, and, along with Treasury Secretary Mnuchin, has softened the administration’s stance on China’s currency manipulation. At the same time, China is taking a much more assertive role in attempting to end the North Korean nuclear threat before they develop the capacity to destroy Seoul, Tokyo, Hawaii or the western continental United States.  Make no mistake, Trump’s anti-Chinese currency manipulation rhetoric set the table for China to ratchet up the pressure on North Korea, because it gave the United States government something valuable to trade for Chinese help.

Finally, since January 20th, Trump has begun to assert his America first foreign policy, changing relationships for the better through key meetings with the leaders of Japan, Great Britain, Germany,  and Canada, as well as having his Secretary of State meet with his Russian counterpart as well as Vladimir Putin in Moscow.

Creative destruction is not easy and there will be stumbling blocks along the way, particularly when it comes to draining the swamp in Washington, as government — unlike natural free markets — lives in symbiosis with businesses whose livelihoods are impacted by its decisions.

The groaning and complaining about the Trump Administration among establishment voices on both the left and the right can largely be attributed to the uncomfortable movement of these swamp creatures as they are being knocked off their moorings, uncertain about what will happen next — a key attribute of creative destruction at work.

What more could a Trump voter want?

Richard Manning is president of Americans for Limited Government. Follow Americans for Limited Government on Twitter@LimitGovt, find them on Facebook  and visit their website.

 

The Luxury Treehouse (it’s for rent!)

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This luxurious treehouse complete with its own slide and open air tree shower is world’s away from your wooden childhood den. Hidden in a forest in West Dorset, UK the modern treehouse was built by London designer Guy Mallinson for the ultimate retreat for holidaymakers wanting to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city. The Woodsman’s Treehouse is a combination of sustainable craftsmanship and 5 star interiors including a sauna and hot tub on the upper deck, a revolving wood burner and even has something for those who want to really be at one with nature – an open air tree-shower. The treehouse has only been open to guests since the beginning of August 2016 but is already fully booked for the next few months, encouraging the designer to think about building a second tree house.

This 1890 Australian Homework Book Puts Today’s Students to Shame

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Image Credit: U.S. National Archives, Public Domain

It’s not often that we get a glimpse of what schoolwork was like around the turn of the 20th century. But every once in a while, someone unearths a record which reveals just how rigorous education used to be.

Such was the case in Australia when Marcia Maybury discovered a homework book compiled by her step-grandmother in 1890. At that time Maybury’s step-grandmother, Vera King, was an 11-year-old schoolgirl working on the subjects that most 11 year olds work on: spelling, math, geography, and so on.

According to Maybury, one of the most striking things about the book is the immaculate handwriting Vera had. But even more interesting is level of scholarship it contains:

“Neat cursive writing weaves across the pages, covering topics ranging from the rivers of Australia to livestock and climatic conditions affecting the vineyards.‘It’s just an ordinary little exercise book, and the work in it is unbelievable; I challenge you to ask any 11-year-old to do the maths in that book, the spelling, anything in it,’ Ms Maybury said.‘It was just beautiful. She writes about the vineyards, the prices of things. She was a very clever little 11-year-old.’”

But while Maybury labels her grandmother as a “very clever” child, I wonder if she was just a typical kid doing typical schoolwork for that time in history. Indeed, when one looks at the curriculum manuals and assignments from the past, one can’t help but be impressed by the level of difficulty demanded of the students.

Consider, for example, the arithmetic in a 1916 curriculum manual for Michigan Public Schools. Children close to the age of Vera King were required to do three major things:

  1. Memorize – Although schoolbooks from a century ago instructed teachers to have students analyze certain math formulas, they also made it clear that memorization of those same formulas was expected, presumably for ready recall in future use.
  2. Drill – Students were expected to repeat exercises and mathematical problems over and over in order to become familiar with them. In addition, teachers were urged to give “a great deal of work in mental arithmetic.”
  3. Practice Everyday Math Skills – Alongside of fractions and percentages, students were also taught about mortgages, taxes, interest, and bank accounts.

We seem to have dismissed many of these methods today. Instead, we incorporate feelings or social justice issues into math, allow students to use calculators freely, shun memorization, and brush practical, everyday math skills aside, assuming that students will figure them out at some point in time.

If we reversed course on these policies, is it possible that we wouldn’t be so stunned by the “cleverness” of children from a century ago? Could our kids be raised to the same level of rigor simply by incorporating some of these forgotten education methods?

This post This 1890 Australian Homework Book Puts Today’s Students to Shame was originally published on Intellectual Takeout by Annie Holmquist.

Greater love hath no man than this that a man lay down his life for his friends

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This is why America is great and what keeps us great. Generations of patriotism, bravery and sacrifice.

Over 4,800 Americans have perished in Iraq. Dozens more would certainly have died there if not for the heroism of two Marines, who were awarded – posthumously – the Navy’s highest honor for valor. Here is the story of those marines extracted from a Speech given by General Kelly in 2010 (entire speech below.)

Two years ago when I was the Commander of all U.S. and Iraqi forces, in fact, the 22nd of April 2008, two Marine infantry battalions, 1/9 “The Walking Dead,” and 2/8 were switching out in Ramadi. One battalion in the closing days of their deployment going home very soon, the other just starting its seven-month combat tour.

Two Marines, Corporal Jonathan Yale and Lance Corporal Jordan Haerter, 22 and 20 years old respectively, one from each battalion, were assuming the watch together at the entrance gate of an outpost that contained a makeshift barracks housing 50 Marines.

The same broken down ramshackle building was also home to 100 Iraqi police, also my men and our allies in the fight against the terrorists in Ramadi, a city until recently the most dangerous city on earth and owned by Al Qaeda. Yale was a dirt poor mixed-race kid from Virginia with a wife and daughter, and a mother and sister who lived with him and he supported as well. He did this on a yearly salary of less than $23,000. Haerter, on the other hand, was a middle class white kid from Long Island.

They were from two completely different worlds. Had they not joined the Marines they would never have met each other, or understood that multiple America’s exist simultaneously depending on one’s race, education level, economic status, and where you might have been born. But they were Marines, combat Marines, forged in the same crucible of Marine training, and because of this bond they were brothers as close, or closer, than if they were born of the same woman.

The mission orders they received from the sergeant squad leader I am sure went something like: “Okay you two clowns, stand this post and let no unauthorized personnel or vehicles pass.” “You clear?” I am also sure Yale and Haerter then rolled their eyes and said in unison something like: “Yes Sergeant,” with just enough attitude that made the point without saying the words, “No kidding sweetheart, we know what we’re doing.” They then relieved two other Marines on watch and took up their post at the entry control point of Joint Security Station Nasser, in the Sophia section of Ramadi, al Anbar, Iraq.

A few minutes later a large blue truck turned down the alley way—perhaps 60-70 yards in length—and sped its way through the serpentine of concrete jersey walls. The truck stopped just short of where the two were posted and detonated, killing them both catastrophically. Twenty-four brick masonry houses were damaged or destroyed. A mosque 100 yards away collapsed. The truck’s engine came to rest two hundred yards away knocking most of a house down before it stopped.

Our explosive experts reckoned the blast was made of 2,000 pounds of explosives. Two died, and because these two young infantrymen didn’t have it in their DNA to run from danger, they saved 150 of their Iraqi and American brothers-in-arms.

When I read the situation report about the incident a few hours after it happened I called the regimental commander for details as something about this struck me as different. Marines dying or being seriously wounded is commonplace in combat. We expect Marines regardless of rank or MOS to stand their ground and do their duty, and even die in the process, if that is what the mission takes. But this just seemed different.

The regimental commander had just returned from the site and he agreed, but reported that there were no American witnesses to the event—just Iraqi police. I figured if there was any chance of finding out what actually happened and then to decorate the two Marines to acknowledge their bravery, I’d have to do it as a combat award that requires two eye-witnesses and we figured the bureaucrats back in Washington would never buy Iraqi statements. If it had any chance at all, it had to come under the signature of a general officer.

I traveled to Ramadi the next day and spoke individually to a half-dozen Iraqi police all of whom told the same story. The blue truck turned down into the alley and immediately sped up as it made its way through the serpentine. They all said, “We knew immediately what was going on as soon as the two Marines began firing.” The Iraqi police then related that some of them also fired, and then to a man, ran for safety just prior to the explosion.

All survived. Many were injured … some seriously. One of the Iraqis elaborated and with tears welling up said, “They’d run like any normal man would to save his life.”

What he didn’t know until then, he said, and what he learned that very instant, was that Marines are not normal. Choking past the emotion he said, “Sir, in the name of God no sane man would have stood there and done what they did.”

“No sane man.”

“They saved us all.”

What we didn’t know at the time, and only learned a couple of days later after I wrote a summary and submitted both Yale and Haerter for posthumous Navy Crosses, was that one of our security cameras, damaged initially in the blast, recorded some of the suicide attack. It happened exactly as the Iraqis had described it. It took exactly six seconds from when the truck entered the alley until it detonated.

You can watch the last six seconds of their young lives. Putting myself in their heads I supposed it took about a second for the two Marines to separately come to the same conclusion about what was going on once the truck came into their view at the far end of the alley. Exactly no time to talk it over, or call the sergeant to ask what they should do. Only enough time to take half an instant and think about what the sergeant told them to do only a few minutes before: “ … let no unauthorized personnel or vehicles pass.”

The two Marines had about five seconds left to live. It took maybe another two seconds for them to present their weapons, take aim, and open up. By this time the truck was half-way through the barriers and gaining speed the whole time. Here, the recording shows a number of Iraqi police, some of whom had fired their AKs, now scattering like the normal and rational men they were—some running right past the Marines. They had three seconds left to live.

For about two seconds more, the recording shows the Marines’ weapons firing non-stop…the truck’s windshield exploding into shards of glass as their rounds take it apart and tore in to the body of the son-of-a-bitch who is trying to get past them to kill their brothers—American and Iraqi—bedded down in the barracks totally unaware of the fact that their lives at that moment depended entirely on two Marines standing their ground. If they had been aware, they would have known they were safe … because two Marines stood between them and a crazed suicide bomber.

The recording shows the truck careening to a stop immediately in front of the two Marines. In all of the instantaneous violence Yale and Haerter never hesitated. By all reports and by the recording, they never stepped back. They never even started to step aside. They never even shifted their weight. With their feet spread shoulder width apart, they leaned into the danger, firing as fast as they could work their weapons. They had only one second left to live.

The truck explodes. The camera goes blank. Two young men go to their God.

Six seconds.

Not enough time to think about their families, their country, their flag, or about their lives or their deaths, but more than enough time for two very brave young men to do their duty … into eternity. That is the kind of people who are on watch all over the world tonight—for you.

 

The Whole Speech:

SEMPER FI SOCIETY OF ST LOUIS SPEECH BY LTGEN KELLY on 13 NOV 2010

Nine years ago two of the four commercial aircraft too off from Boston, Newark, and Washington. Too off fully loaded with men, women and children—all innocent, and all soon to die. These aircraft were targeted at the World Trade Towers in New York, the Pentagon, and likely the Capitol in Washington, D.C.. Three found their mark. No American alive old enough to remember will ever forget exactly where they were, exactly what they were doing, and exactly who they were with at the moment they watched the aircraft dive into the World Trade Towers on what was, until then, a beautiful morning in New York City. Within the hour 3,000 blameless human beings would be vaporized, incinerated, or crushed in the most agonizing ways imaginable. The most wretched among them—over 200—driven mad by heat, hopelessness, and utter desperation leapt to their deaths from 1,000 feet above Lower Manhattan. We soon learned hundreds more were murdered at the Pentagon, and in a Pennsylvania farmer’s field.

Once the buildings had collapsed and the immensity of the attack began to register most of us had no idea of what to do, or where to turn. As a nation, we were scared like we had not been scared for generations. Parents hugged their children to gain as much as to give comfort. Strangers embraced in the streets stunned and crying on one another’s shoulders seeking solace, as much as to give it. Instantaneously, American patriotism soared not “as the last refuge” as our national-cynical class would say, but in the darkest times Americans seek refuge in family, and in country, remembering that strong men and women have always stepped forward to protect the nation when the need was dire—and it was so God awful dire that day—and remains so today.

There was, however, a small segment of America that made very different choices that day…actions the rest of America stood in awe of on 9/11 and every day since. The first were our firefighters and police, their ranks decimated that day as they ran towards—not away from—danger and certain death. They were doing what they’d sworn to do—“protect and serve”—and went to their graves having fulfilled their sacred oath. Then there was you Armed Forces, and I know I am a little biased in my opinion here, but the best of them are Marines. Most wearing the Eagle, Globe and Anchor today joined the unbroken ranks of American heroes after that fateful day not for money, or promises of bonuses or travel to exotic liberty ports, but for one reason and one reason alone; because of the terrible assault on our way of life by men they knew must be killed and extremist ideology that must be destroyed. A plastic flag in their car window was not their response to the murderous assault on our country. No, their response was a commitment to protect the nation swearing an oath to their God to do so, to their deaths. When future generations ask why America is still free and the heyday of Al Qaeda and their terrorist allies was counted in days rather than in centuries as the extremists themselves predicted, our hometown heroes—soldiers, sailors, airmen, Coast Guardsmen, and Marines—can say, “because of me and people like me who risked all to protect millions who will never know my name.”

As we sit here right now, we should not lose sight of the fact that America is at risk in a way it has never been before. Our enemy fights for an ideology based on an irrational hatred of who we are. Make no mistake about that no matter what certain elements of the “chattering class” relentlessly churn out. We did not start this fight, and it will not end until the extremists understand that we as a people will never lose our faith or our courage. If they persist, these terrorists and extremists and the nations that provide them sanctuary, they must know they will continue to be tracked down and captured or killed. America’s civilian and military protectors both here at home and overseas have for nearly nine years fought this enemy to a standstill and have never for a second “wondered why.” They know, and are not afraid. Their struggle is your struggle. They hold in disdain those who claim to support them but not the cause that takes their innocence, their limbs, and even their lives. As a democracy—“We the People”—and that by definition is every one of us—sent them away from home and hearth to fight our enemies. We are all responsible. I know it doesn’t apply to those of us here tonight but if anyone thinks you can somehow thank them for their service, and not support the cause for which they fight—America’s survival—then they are lying to themselves and rationalizing away something in their lives, but, more importantly, they are slighting our warriors and mocking their commitment to the nation.

Since this generation’s “day of infamy” the American military has handed our ruthless enemy defeat-after-defeat but it will go on for years, if not decades, before this curse has been eradicated. We have done this by unceasing pursuit day and night into whatever miserable lair Al Qaeda, the Taliban, and their allies, might slither into to lay in wait for future opportunities to strike a blow at freedom. America’s warriors have never lost faith in their mission, or doubted the correctness of their cause. They face dangers everyday that their countrymen safe and comfortable this night cannot imagine. But this has always been the case in all the wars our military have been sent to fight. Not to build empires, or enslave peoples, but to free those held in the grip of tyrants while at the same time protecting our nation, its citizens, and our shared values. And, ladies and gentlemen, think about this, the only territory we as a people have ever asked for from any nation we have fought alongside, or against, since our founding, the entire extent of our overseas empire, as a few hundred acres of land for the 24 American cemeteries scattered around the globe. It is in these cemeteries where 220,000 of our sons and daughters rest in glory for eternity, or are memorialized forever because their earthly remains are lost forever in the deepest depths of the oceans, or never recovered from far flung and nameless battlefields. As a people, we can be proud because billions across the planet today live free, and billions yet unborn will also enjoy the same freedom and a chance at prosperity because America sent its sons and daughters out to fight and die for them, as much as for us.

Yes, we are at war, and are winning, but you wouldn’t know it because successes go unreported, and only when something does go sufficiently or is sufficiently controversial, it is highlighted by the media elite that then sets up the “know it all” chattering class to offer their endless criticism. These self-proclaimed experts always seem to know better—but have never themselves been in the arena. We are at war and like it or not, that is a fact. It is not Bush’s war, and it is not Obama’s war, it is our war and we can’t run away from it. Even if we wanted to surrender, there is no one to surrender to. Our enemy is savage, offers absolutely no quarter, and has a single focus and that is either kill every one of us here at home, or enslave us with a sick form of extremism that serves no God or purpose that decent men and women could ever grasp. St Louis is as much at risk as is New York and Washington, D.C.. Given the opportunity to do another 9/11, our merciless enemy would do it today, tomorrow, and every day thereafter. If, and most in the know predict that it is only a matter of time, he acquires nuclear, chemical, or biological weapons, these extremists will use these weapons of mass murder against us without a moment’s hesitation. These butchers we fight killed more than 3,000 innocents on 9/11. As horrible as that death toll was, consider for a moment that the monsters that organized those strikes against New York and Washington, D.C. killed only 3,000 not because that was enough to make their sick and demented point, but because he couldn’t figure out how to kill 30,000, or 300,000, or 30 million of us that terrible day. I don’t know why they hate us, and I don’t care. We have a saying in the Marine Corps and that is “no better friend, no worse enemy, than a U.S. Marine.” We always hope for the first, friendship, but are certainly more than ready for the second. If its death they want, its death they will get, and the Marines will continue showing them the way to hell if that’s what will make them happy.

Because our America hasn’t been successfully attacked since 9/11 many forget because we want to forget…to move on. As Americans we all dream and hope for peace, but we must be realistic and acknowledge that hope is never an option or course of action when the stakes are so high. Others are less realistic or less committed, or are working their own agendas, and look for way sot blame past presidents or in some other way to rationalize a way out of this war. The problem is our enemy is not willing to let us go. Regardless of how much we wish this nightmare would go away, our enemy will stay forever on the offensive until he hurts us so badly we surrender, or we kill him first. To him, this is not about our friendship with Israel, or about territory, resources, jobs, or economic opportunity in the Middle East. No, it is about us as a people. About our freedom to worship any God we please in any way we want. It is about the worth of every man, and the worth of every woman, and their equality in the eyes of God and the law; of how we live our lives with our families, inside the privacy of our own homes. It’s about the God-given rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness and “that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable right.” As Americans we hold these truths to be self-evident. He doesn’t. We love what we have; he despises who we are. Our positions can never be reconciled. He cannot be deterred…only defeated. Compromise is out of the question.

It is a fact that our country today is in a life and death struggle against an evil enemy, but America as a whole is certainly not at war. Not as a country. Not as a people. Today, only a tiny fraction—less than a percent—shoulder the burden of fear and sacrifice, and they shoulder it for the rest of us. Their sons and daughters who serve are men and women of character who continue to believe in this country enough to put life and limb on the line without qualification, and without thought of personal gain, and they serve so that the sons and daughters of the other 99% don’t have to. No big deal, though, as Marines have always been “the first to fight” paying in full the bill that comes with being free…for everyone else.

The comforting news for every American is that our men and women in uniform, and every Marine, is as good today as any in our history. As good as what their heroic, under-appreciated, and largely abandoned fathers and uncles were in Vietnam, and their grandfathers were in Korea and World War II. They have the same steel in their backs and have made their own mark etching forever places like Ramadi, Fallujah, and Baghdad, Iraq, and Helmand and Sagin, Afghanistan that are now part of the legend and stand just as proudly alongside Belleau Wood, Iwo Jima, Inchon, Hue City, Khe Sanh, and Ashau Velley, Vietnam. None of them have every asked what their country could do for them, but always and with their lives asked what they could do for America. While some might think we have produced yet another generation of materialistic, consumeristic and self-absorbed young people, those who serve today have broken the mold and stepped out as real men, and real women, who are already making their own way in life while protecting ours. They know the real strength of a platoon, a battalion, or a country that is not worshiping at the altar of diversity, but in a melting point that stitches and strengthens by a sense of shared history, values, customs, hopes and dreams all of which unifies a people making them stronger, as opposed to an unruly gaggle of “hyphenated” or “multi-cultural individuals.”

And what are they like in combat in this war? Like Marines have been throughout our history. In my three tours in combat as an infantry officer and commanding general, I never saw one of them hesitate, or do anything other than lean into the fire and with no apparent fear of death or injury take the fight to our enemies. As anyone who has ever experienced combat knows, when it starts, when the explosions and tracers are everywhere and the calls for the Corpsman are screamed from the throats of men who know they are dying—when seconds seem like hours and it all becomes slow motion and fast forward at the same time—and the only rational act is to stop, get down, save yourself—they don’t. When no one would call them coward for cowering behind a wall or in a hole, slave to the most basic of all human instincts— survival—none of them do. It doesn’t matter if it’s an IED, a suicide bomber, mortar attack, sniper, fighting in the upstairs room of a house, or all of it at once; they talk, swagger, and, most importantly, fight today in the same way America’s Marines have since the Tun Tavern. They also know whose shoulders they stand on, and they will never shame any Marine living or dead.

We can also take comfort in the fact that these young Americans are not born killers, but are good and decent young men and women who for going on ten years have performed remarkable acts of bravery and selflessness to a cause they have decided is bigger and more important than themselves. Only a few months ago they were delivering your paper, stocking shelves in the local grocery store, worshiping in church on Sunday, or playing hockey on local ice. Like my own two sons who are Marines and have fought in Iraq, and today in Sagin, Afghanistan, they are also the same kids that drove their cars too fast for your liking, and played the God-awful music of their generation too loud, but have no doubt they are the finest of their generation. Like those who went before them in uniform, we owe them everything. We owe them our safety. We owe them our prosperity. We owe them our freedom. We owe them our lives. Any one of them could have done something more self-serving with their lives as the vast majority of their age group elected to do after high school and college, but no, they chose to serve knowing full well a brutal war was in their future. They did not avoid the basic and cherished responsibility of a citizen—the defense of country—they welcomed it. They are the very best this country produces, and have put every one of us ahead of themselves. All are heroes for simply stepping forward, and we as a people owe a debt we can never fully pay. Their legacy will be of selfless valor, the country we live in, the way we live our lives, and the freedoms the rest of their countrymen take for granted.

Over 5,000 have died thus far in this war; 8,000 if you include the innocents murdered on 9/11. They are overwhelmingly working class kids, the children of cops and firefighters, city and factory workers, school teachers and small business owners. With some exceptions they are from families short on stock portfolios and futures, but long on love of country and service to the nation. Just yesterday, too many were lost and a knock on the door late last night brought their families to their knees in a grief that will never-ever go away. Thousands more have suffered wounds since it all started, but like anyone who loses life or limb while serving others—including our firefighters and law enforcement personnel who on 9/11 were the first casualties of this war—they are not victims as they knew what they were about, and were doing what they wanted to do. The chattering class and all those who doubt America’s intentions, and resolve, endeavor to make them and their families out to be victims, but they are wrong. We who have served and are serving refuse their sympathy. Those of us who have lived in the dirt, sweat and struggle of the arena are not victims and will have none of that. Those with less of a sense of service to the nation never understand it when men and women of character step forward to look danger and adversity straight in the eye, refusing to blink, or give ground, even to their own deaths. The protected can’t begin to understand the price paid so they and their families can sleep safe and free at night. No, they are not victims, but are warriors, your warriors, and warriors are never victims regardless of how and where they fall. Death, or fear of death, has no power over them. Their paths are paved by sacrifice, sacrifices they gladly make…for you. They prove themselves everyday on the field of battle…for you. They fight in every corner of the globe…for you. They live to fight…for you, and they never rest because there is always another battle to be won in the defense of America.

I will leave you with a story about the kind of people they are…about the quality of the steel in their backs…about the kind of dedication they bring to our country while they serve in uniform and forever after as veterans. Two years ago when I was the Commander of all U.S. and Iraqi forces, in fact, the 22nd of April 2008, two Marine infantry battalions, 1/9 “The Walking Dead,” and 2/8 were switching out in Ramadi. One battalion in the closing days of their deployment going home very soon, the other just starting its seven-month combat tour. Two Marines, Corporal Jonathan Yale and Lance Corporal Jordan Haerter, 22 and 20 years old respectively, one from each battalion, were assuming the watch together at the entrance gate of an outpost that contained a makeshift barracks housing 50 Marines. The same broken down ramshackle building was also home to 100 Iraqi police, also my men and our allies in the fight against the terrorists in Ramadi, a city until recently the most dangerous city on earth and owned by Al Qaeda. Yale was a dirt poor mixed-race kid from Virginia with a wife and daughter, and a mother and sister who lived with him and he supported as well. He did this on a yearly salary of less than $23,000. Haerter, on the other hand, was a middle class white kid from Long Islaned. They were from two completely different worlds. Had they not joined the Marines they would never have met each other, or understood that multiple America’s exist simultaneously depending on one’s race, education level, economic status, and where you might have been born. But they were Marines, combat Marines, forged in the same crucible of Marine training, and because of this bond they were brothers as close, or closer, than if they were born of the same woman.

The mission orders they received from the sergeant squad leader I am sure went something likfe: “Okay you two clowns, stand this post and let no unauthorized personnel or vehicles pass.” “You clear?” I am also sure Yale and Haerter then rolled their eyes and said in unison something like: “Yes Sergeant,” with just enough attitude that made the point without saying the words, “No kidding sweetheart, we know what we’re doing.” They then relieved two other Marines on watch and took up their post atthe entry control point of Joint Security Station Nasser, in the Sophia section of Ramadi, al Anbar, Iraq.

A few minutes later a large blue truck turned down the alley way—perhaps 60-70 yards in length—and sped its way through the serpentine of concrete jersey walls. The truck stopped just short of where the two were posted and detonated, killing them both catastrophically. Twenty-four brick masonry houses were damaged or destroyed. A mosque 100 yards away collapsed. The truck’s engine came to rest two hundred yards away knocking most of a house down before it stopped. Our explosive experts reckoned the blast was made of 2,000 pounds of explosives. Two died, and because these two young infantrymen didn’t have it in their DNA to run from danger, they saved 150 of their Iraqi and American brothers-in-arms.

When I read the situation report about the incident a few hours after it happened I called the regimental commander for details as something about this struck me as different. Marines dying or being seriously wounded is commonplace in combat. We expect Marines regardless of rank or MOS to stand their ground and do their duty, and even die in the process, if that is what the mission takes. But this just seemed different. The regimental commander had just returned from the site and he agreed, but reported that there were no American witnesses to the event—just Iraqi police. I figured if there was any chance of finding out what actually happened and then to decorate the two Marines to acknowledge their bravery, I’d have to do it as a combat award that requires two eye-witnesses and we figured the bureaucrats back in Washington would never buy Iraqi statements. If it had any chance at all, it had to come under the signature of a general officer.

I traveled to Ramadi the next day and spoke individually to a half-dozen Iraqi police all of whom told the same story. The blue truck turned down into the alley and immediately sped up as it made its way through the serpentine. They all said, “We knew immediately what was going on as soon as the two Marines began firing.” The Iraqi police then related that some of them also fired, and then to a man, ran for safety just prior to the explosion. All survived. Many were injured…some seriously. One of the Iraqis elaborated and with tears welling up said, “They’d run like any normal man would to save his life.” “What he didn’t know until then,” he said, “and what he learned that very instant, was that Marines are not normal.” Choking past the emotion he said, “Sir, in the name of God no sane man would have stood there and done what they did.” “No sane man.” “They saved us all.”

What we didn’t know at the time, and only learned a couple of days later after I wrote a summary and submitted both Yale and Haerter for posthumous Navy Crosses, was that one of our security cameras, damaged initially in the blast, recorded some of the suicide attack. It happened exactly as the Iraqis had described it. It took exactly six seconds from when the truck entered the alley until it detonated.

You can watch the last six seconds of their young lives. Putting myself in their heads I supposed it took about a second for the two Marines to separately come to the same conclusion about what was going on once the truck came into their view at the far end of the alley. Exactly no time to talk it over, or call the sergeant to ask what they should do. Only enough time to take half an instant and think about what the sergeant told them to do only a few minutes before: “…let no unauthorized personnel or vehicles pass.” The two Marines had about five seconds left to live.

It took maybe another two seconds for them to present their weapons, take aim, and open up. By this time the truck was half-way through the barriers and gaining speed the whole time. Here, the recording shows a number of Iraqi police, some of whom had fired their AKs, now scattering like the normal and rational men they were— some running right past the Marines. They had three seconds left to live.

For about two seconds more, the recording shows the Marines’ weapons firing non-stop…the truck’s windshield exploding into shards of glass as their rounds take it apart and tore in to the body of the son-of-a-bitch who is trying to get past them to kill their brothers—American and Iraqi—bedded down in the barracks totally unaware of the fact that their lives at that moment depended entirely on two Marines standing their ground. If they had been aware, they would have know they were safe…because to Marines stood between them and a crazed suicide bomber. The recording shows the truck careening to a stop immediately in front of the two Marines. In all of the instantaneous violence Yale and Haerter never hesitated. By all reports and by the recording, they never stepped back. They never even started to step aside. They never even shifted their weight. With their feet spread should width apart, they leaned into the danger, firing as fast as they could work their weapons. They had only one second left to live.

The truck explodes. The camera goes blank. Two young men go to their God. Six seconds. Not enough time to think about their families, their country, their flag, or about their lives or their deaths, but more than enough time for two very brave young men to do their duty…into eternity. That is the kind of people who are on watch all over the world tonight—for you.

We Marines believe that God gave America the greatest gift he could bestow to man while he lived on this earth—freedom. We also believe he gave us another gift nearly as precious—our soldiers, sailors, airmen, Coast Guardsmen, and Marines—to safeguard that gift and guarantee no force on this earth can every steal it away. It has been my distinct honor to have been with you here today. Rest assured our America, this experiment in democracy started over two centuries ago, will forever remain the “land of the free and home of the brave” so long as we never run out of tough young Americans who are willing to look beyond their own self-interest and comfortable lives, and go into the darkest and most dangerous places on earth to hunt down, and kill, those who would do us harm. God Bless America, and….SEMPER FIDELIS!

 

Trump lawyer may sue Fake Media outlet for phony Russia claims

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Photo: IowaPolitics.com/Flickr (cc by-sa 2.0)

Back in January, uber-liberal “news” site BuzzFeed published a dubious dossier written by former British spy Christopher Steele claiming that Michael Cohen, personal attorney to President Donald Trump, conspired with Russian agents to sabotage Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign. Now, Cohen is taking steps to sue BuzzFeed:

Mr. Steele was paid by a Hillary Clinton supporter, via the Democratic Party-linked firm Fusion GPS, to gather dirt on candidate Trump last summer and fall. GPS circulated the Steele memos to reporters and Democrats.

But it was not until BuzzFeed posted the dossier that some people named in it learned that they were accused of wrongdoing.

In Mr. Cohen’s case, Mr. Steele accused him of traveling to Prague in the last week of August to meet with Russian agents to devise a plan to cover up the supposed Trump-Russia hacking of Democratic Party email servers.

Mr. Cohen, the attorney for the Trump Organization for 10 years, immediately denied the accusation in January. He showed his passport to the president, his close aides and reporters to prove he had never been to Prague. He also shared his itinerary for a trip he took to Southern California at the time Mr. Steele said he was in the capital of the Czech Republic.

Cohen is the second person to seek legal action against BuzzFeed over the dossier. Aleksej Gubarev, CEO of network solutions firm XBT Holding, is suing the site for defamation. BuzzFeed has since struck Gubarev’s name from the dossier published on its website. Cohen’s name, however, remains unredacted.

Cohen called the dossier “completely fabricated”:

“I believe the entire dossier to be inaccurate, and worse, completely fabricated. I applaud Aleksej Gubarev in bringing legal action against both Christopher Steele and BuzzFeed for creating and disseminating this fake dossier/information without a scintilla of fact checking. I am currently in discussions with foreign and domestic counsel to file similar actions.”

BuzzFeed editor Ben Smith doubted the dossier was true at the time it was published, yet he chose to publish it anyway. If that’s not fake news, I don’t know what it.

Lyme Disease is one of the world’s oldest diseases. And it’s still debilitating people today.

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Ticks carrying Lyme disease are expected to be rampant on the Appalachian Trail and much of the East coast this summer.

SRC friend Lawton Clites, archer, hiker, potter (our very own Renaissance man!) says: Do yourself a favor and buy a good permethrin spray (available at my favorite local outdoors store River Rock Outfitters, and pretty much anywhere they sell hiking/camping stuff) and the day before you go hiking spray the boots, socks, and pants you’re going to wear. I was out for 6 hours yesterday hiking 9 miles in a tick mecca, on trail and off, and didn’t find a single tick on me, most likely because I sprayed my clothes before. It doesn’t stink like DEET (I’m sensitive to DEET, but fine with permethrin), and has a very low toxicity to humans (but is dangerous to cats, so if you have one, be careful with the spray), yet will not only repel ticks but kill them if you climb on your boots. A lot of dog flea collars are actually permethrin based. Permethrin is baby safe, too! $6 is a lot cheaper than a doctor’s appointment (or 20) if you get Lyme.

Blue Ridge Outdoors says:

Ticks carrying Lyme disease are expected to be rampant on the Appalachian Trail and much of the East coast this summer, says Richard Ostfeld, a disease ecologist at the Cary Institute of Ecosystems in Millbrook, New York, who has studied ticks and their relationship with Lyme disease for 30 years.

The summer of 2015 produced the perfect conditions for oak trees to produce acorns, the main source of food for white-footed-mice that live in Eastern forests. More food for these mice leads to an exploding mouse population. The white-footed mice are the most popular hosts for black-legged ticks, the main carrier of Lyme disease. With more mice, ticks can more easily find a warm body on which to live and later reproduce, passing down the Lyme disease to the nymphs. The nymphs have the highest rate of transmitting the disease because they are incredibly difficult to notice, being about the size of a poppy seed. The black-legged ticks have increased their range by 20 percent from 1998 and are now found in 50 percent of U.S. counties.

Ticks are often found in body crevices and hard-to-reach places such as armpits, groins, and behind the ears. It usually takes 36 to 48 hours to transfer the disease. Lyme disease symptoms include fever, chills, headache, fatigue, muscle and joint aches, and swollen lymph nodes, often confused with a cold or flu by the carrier. The most identifiable symptom of Lyme is a rash in the shape of a bulls-eye found near the bite. According to the CDC, 70-80 percent of people infected with Lyme disease find this mark.

So what is it??

CDC says:
Lyme disease is caused by the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi and is transmitted to humans through the bite of infected blacklegged ticks. Typical symptoms include fever, headache, fatigue, and a characteristic skin rash called erythema migrans. If left untreated, infection can spread to joints, the heart, and the nervous system. Lyme disease is diagnosed based on symptoms, physical findings (e.g., rash), and the possibility of exposure to infected ticks.  Laboratory testing is helpful if used correctly and performed with validated methods. Most cases of Lyme disease can be treated successfully with a few weeks of antibiotics. Steps to prevent Lyme disease include using insect repellent, removing ticks promptly, applying pesticides, and reducing tick habitat. The ticks that transmit Lyme disease can occasionally transmit other tickborne diseases as well.

How do you know if you have it? And can you be cured – turns out that’s not so easy.

One Egg or Two? By Robert Ringer

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Pixabay, CC0 Public Domain, https://pixabay.com/en/head-brain-radiology-medical-human-1058432/

I think it was Groucho Marx who used to tell the joke about a guy standing on a street corner and repeatedly hitting himself over the head with a hammer. A fellow comes along and asks him why he’s inflicting such pain on himself, to which he replies, “Because it feels so good when I stop.”

I often think about this bit of goofiness when I’m on the treadmill. When I start out, I set the machine at about two miles an hour and gradually move it up to three-and-a-half mph over the first five minutes.

Then, I keep it at three-and-a-half mph for another twenty-five minutes. After a total of thirty minutes, I take another couple of minutes to gradually slow the treadmill down to three mph … then two-and-a-half mph … and so on, until it’s at zero.

What I find interesting about this is that when I first move the speed up to two-and-a-half mph, I’m conscious of having to move my feet faster to keep pace with the treadmill. Then, after walking at a three-and-a-half mph pace for twenty-five minutes, it feels almost as though I’m standing still when I slow the machine down to two-and-a-half mph.

Of course, two-and-a-half mph is still two-and-a-half mph. That hasn’t changed. What has changed is my perception of it. Relative to standing still, two-and-a-half mph seems fast; relative to three-and-a-half mph, two-and-a-half mph seems slow. Relativity, then, has altered my perception of how fast I have to walk in order to keep pace with the treadmill.

All this got me thinking about how many of our perceptions are based on relativity. For example:

  • If you’re dead broke, $20 might seem like a million dollars to you. But if you have a million dollars in the bank, $20 is pocket change.
  • If a team is a twenty-point underdog in a game it loses by five points, its fans are likely to feel good about its performance. But if that same team is a twenty-point favorite, its fans would almost certainly be disappointed if it won by only five points.
  • Because I often eat at high-end restaurants, I’ve given the thumbs down to many gourmet meals that didn’t quite measure up to my expectations. Yet, I can vividly recall thinking that a Thanksgiving dinner I had when I was in the Army decades ago seemed, at the time, to be the best meal I had ever eaten. Relative to the slop we were served day in and day out in the mess hall, the Thanksgiving meal was a genuine feast.

There are many good reasons to take note of the relationship between relativity and perception, but two are especially important.

First, it’s healthy to always view your problems in a relative light. If, for example, you have a child with a serious learning disability, it’s a problem that looks a whole lot worse in a vacuum than it does when juxtaposed against the reality of a child with, say, muscular dystrophy.

Second, in your dealings with others, remember that people are going to base their perceptions on their belief systems. That being the case, when you offer a product, proposal, or idea to someone, you can help swing the odds in your favor by adding a pinch of relativity to help guide his perception of it.

One of the best examples of this time-tested phenomenon was given by the legendary Elmer Wheeler, thought by many to be the world’s greatest salesman back in the prehistoric days of the 1940s. Wheeler said that when someone orders a malted milk at a soda fountain, the clerk should not ask, “Would you like an egg in your malt today, sir?” Rather, he should matter-of-factly ask, “Would you like one egg or two today, sir?”

Wheeler’s point was that if the clerk simply asked the customer if he would like an egg in his malt, it would be easy for him to say no. But by eliminating the no-egg option and giving the customer the choice of one egg or two, it becomes relatively easy for him to make a knee-jerk decision in favor of that same single egg that he might have said no to. What becomes relatively difficult in this scenario is to say, “I don’t want any egg in my malted milk today.”

Using relativity to help shape another person’s perceptions is a powerful tool which, when consciously applied, will almost always give you better results in all areas of your life. While products and cultural references may be different today than they were in Elmer Wheeler’s day, philosophy, psychology, universal principles, and, above all, human nature have not changed one whit.

Robert Ringer+Robert Ringer is an American icon whose unique insights into life have helped millions of readers worldwide. He is also the author of two New York Times #1 bestselling books, both of which have been listed by The New York Times among the 15 best-selling motivational books of all time. Original article here. 

Cooking Timber rattlesnakes

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As we showed you earlier, some people kill snakes to eat. They are very easy to skin and gut. So here’s how you do it, right along with a couple of recipes and a “how-to” video.

Warning: They kill the snake on camera. Personally, I think that’s useful. But if you don’t want to watch, he gives you a heads-up so you can look away.

I’D LIKE TO ADD: He cuts the head off but doesn’t show you how to dispose of it. Know that the venom can still be excreted by the fangs even if the snake is dead.  Pick up with tongs. Burn. If you plan to bury it, make sure the hole is deeper than your pets can dig.

Trump to China: Deliver on North Korea and then trade, currency issues become easier

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“They’re not currency manipulators.”

That was President Donald Trump’s reversal in the Wall Street Journal on his campaign pledge to direct the Secretary of Treasury to label China a currency manipulator under 22 U.S.C. Section 5304(b), which provides that “If the Secretary considers that such manipulation is occurring with respect to countries that (1) have material global current account surpluses; and (2) have significant bilateral trade surpluses with the United States, the Secretary of the Treasury shall take action to initiate negotiations with such foreign countries on an expedited basis, in the International Monetary Fund or bilaterally, for the purpose of ensuring that such countries regularly and promptly adjust the rate of exchange between their currencies and the United States dollar to permit effective balance of payments adjustments and to eliminate the unfair advantage.”

The change in course came as Trump met with Chinese President Xi Jinping to discuss, among other things, the emerging nuclear threat from North Korea and the potential for expanded trade relations, maybe even a trade deal.

Like so many other things, the move comes with political risks and rewards. The risks are that China is not helpful on the North Korea question and that no trade deal emerges addressing currency exchange rates and their impact on U.S.-Chinese trade.

Also, if another recession were to hit, and China were to continue devaluing the yuan against its fixed exchange rate with the dollar — cheapening its exports to the U.S. while increasing the price of U.S. exports to China — it will renew pressure to label China as a currency manipulator.

Escalating tensions with North Korea and isolating them also carries risks of being provocative. Deterrence is preferable for obvious reasons, but the downside must be considered, too.

The rewards could be cooperation in neutralizing the danger posed by North Korea, and a new trade agreement with Beijing that could bring down some of China’s non-tariff barriers including currency exchange rates.

This point needs to be considered.

Just because Trump has not decided to invoke the clause of law that allows him to label China a currency manipulator, does not mean he does not still intend to reduce China’s non-tariff barriers to trade all the same. Otherwise, why talk up a trade deal?

In a tweet on April 11, Trump signaled, “I explained to the President of China that a trade deal with the U.S. will be far better for them if they solve the North Korean problem!”

In other words, stating that, for the moment, China is not a currency manipulator is a gesture of good faith that Trump will extend a further branch on trade relations if cooperation on the North Korea question can be obtained.

But just as swift as Trump’s reversal was on the trade question, could be a reversal in the opposite direction. Trump said that, for now, the currency manipulation tactic is being ruled out. But it remains on the table, obviously, because 22 U.S.C. Section 5304(b) has not been at all repealed.

The message is that China needs to deliver.

In the meantime, if the U.S. Trade Representative is directed to negotiate a trade deal with China, you can bet currency that will still come up. Rather than punishing China on currency, Trump is creating the possibility that both sides can agree on tariff and non-tariff barriers including currency. Punitive measures may not be necessary if agreement is possible.

After all, the same section of the law, in subsection (a), provides that “the President shall seek to confer and negotiate with other countries—(1) to achieve—(B) more appropriate and sustainable levels of trade and current account balances, and exchange rates of the dollar and other currencies consistent with such balances.”

In other words, why not try to talk to China first? Why start a trade war on day one?

This is being reported, somewhat unfairly, as a broken promise. It is not.

It’s more of a gamble, but one that could pay huge rewards in the longer run. Trump is making a gamble, but not an irreversible one. Right now, Trump is speaking softly, but he still carries a big stick on trade and currency.

Robert Romano is the senior editor of Americans for Limited Government.

If you’re not cooking with cast iron, you’ll start after reading this

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Photo credit: Pixabay, ponce_photography, CC0 Public Domain, https://pixabay.com/en/tomatoes-red-fresh-vegetable-food-1476093/

Years ago, I made an investment into cast iron skillets to use in an off-grid environment. We frequently went camping and I needed to find cookware that could be used indoors, as well as outdoors. Additionally, I had just started reading about all of the health risks related to non-stick cookware and the perfluorocarbons (PFCs), a chemical linked to liver damage, cancer, developmental problems. PFCs are released from nonstick pans in the form of fumes when pans are heated on high heat. They can be inhaled and even ingested when the surface of the pan gets scratched. After reading about this, I made the decision not to gamble with my family’s health. I was introduced to the Lodge brand cast iron ware and have never looked back.

At first, I started out with the very basic 3-quart combo cooker. It comes with a Dutch oven with a handle and a skillet that can be used as a lid. I have made everything from my famous (well, my family thinks it is) cornbread, to braising tough pieces of meat, to baking cakes – it really is that versatile. As my fellow cast iron cookers will probably understand, I fell in love with this type of cookware and quickly added onto to my meager collection and purchased a 5-piece set.

There are two types of cast iron cookware sets – the enamel coated and the traditional cast iron cookware. This article is based on cooking with the traditional set. There is nothing wrong with the enamel coated sets, but I have only used the traditional.

So, Why Are Cast Iron Pots So Great?

Cast iron pots are built to last! They are made from pouring molten iron into molds.

“The molten cast iron is poured down between two sand molds to create each piece of cast iron, then the formed cookware is shaken and tumbled to remove molding sand. The cookware is shot blasted with a fine steel shot to remove any residual molding sand, then it’s ground, polished, rinsed, and hung to dry with a steam dryer.”  Source

Once the pots are formed, the iron pot will have tiny pores that absorb flavors and grease, which, over time create that natural, non-stick “seasoned” surface we all love.

A quick note about Dutch ovens

Did you know that a Dutch oven was among the gear Lewis and Clark carried when they explored the great American Northwest in 1804–1806?  Perhaps they brought it because you can cook or bake virtually anything in them. As well, Dutch ovens are called ovens because they utilize convection heat transfer like an actual oven does. Dutch ovens are built with heavy walls and lids so the heat is trapped inside creating a circulating convection wave that evenly cooks the food.

Many suggest not to fill your Dutch oven over two-thirds full in order to create proper convection throughout the food. Over the years we’ve modified old family favorites for use in a Dutch oven as well as finding new ones.  Here are a few recipes that we have come to love, especially when cooked in our Dutch oven.

Cast Iron Cookware is Highly Recommended in the Prepper/Survival Community

Those preparing for long-term emergencies where power could be disrupted for days, weeks or longer should consider investing in cast iron pots. The reason being is this type of cookware was made to last! As well, they are a suitable alternative cooking source to use in preparing food in an off-grid environment. Because they can take a beating and be used with large amounts of heat, they can be used over hot coals, on a grill or oven an open flame. As well, they are easy to prepare food in. Many underestimate how stressful an off-grid emergency is and you will want convenient cooking methods at your disposal.

Read about the 10 Rules For Your Emergency Food Pantry

You will literally want a way that you can quickly add foods and not worry about them burning. The main drawback to cast iron is the sheer weight of this type of cookware. Therefore, I suggest you have them already at your bug out location or, if you decide to bug in, have them on hand.

Here are some other great reasons why cast iron would be a great investment for preppers.

10 Reasons Why Cast Iron Cookware Is So Awesome!

  1. Can last a lifetime. The folks over at Lodge Cast Iron Manufacturing boast that “Because you create, maintain, and even repair the “seasoning”, your cookware can last 100 years or more. Chemical non-stick coating cannot be repaired, limiting lifespan.”
  2. Off Grid capable
  3. Retains heat and evenly distributes it more efficiently
  4. Perfect texture in foods. crispy/moist
  5. Best bang for your buck! While nonstick skillets have to be replaced over time, cast iron products gets better over time.
  6. If seasoned properly, cast iron has a natural nonstick coating and will not need as much oil as other pots would need to cook food on.
  7. Efficient for all types of cooking. One aspect that I love about cast iron is I can start a meal on the stove and finish it in the oven. That means less dishes to clean.
  8. It’s chemical-free! So you do not have to worry about chemicals leaching into your food.
  9. Easy to clean
  10. It can double as a deadly weapon. Have you ever known anyone to get up after being hit with a cast iron skillet? I didn’t think so.

As well, there are health benefits attributed to using cast iron cooking sets. While cast iron do not leach chemicals, it can transfer some iron into your food. Since iron deficiency is fairly common worldwide, (especially among women), this is not a bad thing. In fact, 10% of American women are iron-deficient. Cooking food, especially something acidic like tomato sauce in a cast-iron skillet can increase iron content, by as much as 20 times. If you suffer from too much iron in your body system, consult a physician about whether or not to use cast iron cookware.

Caring for Cast Iron

To soap, or not to soap. There is some controversy in applying water and soap to cast iron. Some feel that soap will break up the tiny oil molecules that are embedded on the pan and make it not-so-nonstick and ruin all of your seasoning efforts. It’s also possible that the next thing you cook it will have a slightly soapy taste to it! According to Lodge Cast Iron Manufacturing, these are the proper steps to take when cleaning and seasoning your cast iron cookware:

For Minimal Cleaning:

  1. Hand wash. Dry immediately—even before first use.
  2. Rub with a light coat of vegetable oil after every wash.
  3. How much oil? Enough to restore the sheen, without being “sticky”.
  4. Why? To keep the iron “seasoned” and protected from moisture.

 

Tips of Cleaning:

As well, avoid using abrasive cleaners, steel wool and putting your cast iron cookware in the dishwasher as this can strip the sacred seasoning off. These are cast iron cooking no-no’s. If there is bits of food stuck to the pan, use coarse salt and gently scrub until the food comes off. As well, many recommend that you clean the skillet immediately after use, while it is still hot or warm. This isn’t the type of cookware that you can fill with soapy water and set it on the counter overnight. Doing so could cause the cast iron to rust.

Tips For Seasoning:

That lovely sheen on cast-iron cookware is the sign of a well-seasoned pan, which renders it virtually nonstick.

To season your cast-iron skillet: 

  1. Rub it with a relatively thin coat of neutral cooking oil, such as vegetable oil or even leftover bacon grease.
  2. Place the lightly-oiled cast iron pan, upside down, in the oven, with a sheet of aluminum foil on the bottom to catch any drips. Heat the pan for 30 minutes in a 450 to 500 degree F. oven. Once done, turn off the oven, and let the pan cool to room temperature in the oven. Repeating this process several times is recommended as it will help create a stronger “seasoning” bond. I usually do this process 3 to 4 times. NOTE: Seasoning cast iron pans does generate smoke similar to cooking in a dirty oven.
    Note: The oil fills the cavities and becomes entrenched in them, as well as rounding off the peaks. By seasoning a new pan, the cooking surface develops a nonstick quality because the formerly jagged and pitted surface becomes smooth. Also, because the pores are permeated with oil, water cannot seep in and create rust that would give food an off-flavor. Your ironware will be slightly discolored at this stage, but a couple of frying jobs will help complete the cure, and turn the iron into the rich, black color that is the sign of a well-seasoned, well-used skillet or pot.
  3. Never put cold liquids into a very hot cast iron pan or oven. They will crack on the spot!
  4. Be careful when cooking with your cast iron pans on an electric range, because the burners create hot spots that can warp cast iron or even cause it to crack. Be sure to preheat the iron very slowly when using an electric range and keep the settings to medium or even medium-low.

Source

Also,  if the pan does get rusty or lose its seasoning at any point, you can always re-season it and get a fresh start. Learn how to refurbish and re-season rusty cast iron.

To conclude, cast iron pots and Dutch ovens may seem old-fashioned to some, but for those who are looking at making long-term living investments for sustainable living, this is the cookware of your dreams. They are dependable and are cooking work horses suitable for indoor cooking or in off-grid environments and are easy to care for.

Tess Pennington is the author of The Prepper’s Blueprint, a comprehensive guide that uses real-life scenarios to help you prepare for any disaster. Because a crisis rarely stops with a triggering event the aftermath can spiral, having the capacity to cripple our normal ways of life. The well-rounded, multi-layered approach outlined in the Blueprint helps you make sense of a wide array of preparedness concepts through easily digestible action items and supply lists.

Tess is also the author of the highly rated Prepper’s Cookbook, which helps you to create a plan for stocking, organizing and maintaining a proper emergency food supply and includes over 300 recipes for nutritious, delicious, life-saving meals. 

Visit her web site at ReadyNutrition.com for an extensive compilation of free information on preparedness, homesteading, and healthy living.

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

Could this idea save your daughter’s life?

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Here’s an idea that’s trying to get off the ground. The Angel Shot. If you run a bar or frequent one regularly, I suggest you put up a sign in the Ladies’ restroom, or ask the owner to do so. This is a potential life saver if it can spread far and wide. And to the people who say doesn’t it also tell a predator, if they know about it – they’re going to skip out fast so either way the problem was averted.

GRAPHIC: Archer shoots Western Diamondback rattlesnake in head

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The Western diamondback rattlesnake or Texas diamond-back (Crotalus atrox) is a venomous rattlesnake species found in the southwestern United States and Mexico. It is likely responsible for the majority of snakebite fatalities in northern Mexico and the greatest number of snakebites in the U.S. According to the Arizona Sonora website there are two dark diagonal lines on each side of its face running from the eyes to its jaws. It has dark diamond-shaped patterns along is back. The tail has black and white bands just above the rattles. This species ranges throughout the southwestern United States (Arizona, California, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas)and northern half of Mexico.

Western diamondbacks are pit vipers. This means that they have a heat sensing pit (loreal pit) located behind each nostril that can detect differences in temperature, sometimes differences that are only a fraction of a degree apart. The heat given off by an animal is detected by the snake helping it to determine predator from prey. This snake is considered a generalist, which means that it isn’t too picky about its habitat. It can be found living in deserts, grassy plains, forests, rocky hillsides and areas along the coast. It lives in elevations from below sea level up to 6500 feet (2000m). They eat Mice, rats, rabbits, gophers, ground dwelling birds, lizards and other small animals.

Fun facts

  • These snakes can live approximately 15-20 years in captivity.
  • The rattle of the rattlesnake is made up of a protein called keratin (the same protein that your hair and fingernails are made of). A new segment is added each time a rattlesnake sheds, but they can shed at different rates. Because of this, and the fact that segments can break off, you really can’t tell a snakes age by counting the segments.
  • A rattlesnake can move its rattle back and forth 60 or more times per second.

Watch this one get shot in the head by an arrow in a ranch clean-up operation. VIDEO CONTAINS MILD VIOLENCE!!! This Western Diamondback Rattlesnake is shot through the eye in one clean shot. Yes, the bowman ate the snake.

1 in 5 Brits can’t change a lightbulb or boil an egg – how do you think the US would fare?

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A British insurance company, Aviva, just released their annual Home Report which detailed, among numerous findings about how people do work around the house, relatively common tasks that people encounter. The company surveyed 2004 people across the UK in February and March 2017 about their habits and roles at home.

Lightbulbs
One in five people UK adults
did not know how to change
a lightbulb Image: Pexels, CC0

As part of this latest Home report, Aviva discovered a staggering skills gap in some quarters, with one in five UK adults saying they do not know how to boil an egg (19%), and a similar number saying they would not know how to change a light bulb (21%).

Almost a third (31%) of people would not be comfortable cooking a complete meal without a recipe, and more than four in 10 (43%) say they would not be confident changing a baby’s nappy.

The skills base falls even further when it comes to changing a flat tyre – 63% wouldn’t know how to do this – while 69% wouldn’t feel confident changing a washer on a tap.

And if someone were to spill a portion of their meal on their clothes or on the floor, only 59 percent would know how to get rid of the resulting stain.

The findings were even surprising to the folks behind the study.

How well do you think America would do in a similar survey?

 

 

 

Aviva_HOME_DIY_04-17_pr04

Aaron Hernandez’s Wrong Turn

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Image: Jeffrey Beall (Own work) [CC BY 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
Not since O.J. Simpson has an NFL star player created such a media stir as the now deceased Aaron Hernandez. Of course, there are major differences between both their personalities and their crimes.

We know without question that O.J. violently hacked and stabbed to death his ex-wife and Ron Goldman with a knife, notwithstanding the jury’s shameful nullification of the evidence against him, while Aaron Hernandez was probablyguilty of shooting and killing at least one person and possibly two others. Ironically, he was just recently acquitted of the latter two murders, though there were witnesses who said he fit the description of the murderer.

O.J. got off scot free and lived a luxurious lifestyle (though his arrogance and stupidity did eventually put him behind bars for the past eight-plus years), while Hernandez was convicted of murdering his friend Odin Lloyd and sentenced to life in prison. He was paranoid about people betraying his trust, and he supposedly was angry at Lloyd for talking to some people with whom he had a beef.

The motivation for O.J.’s heinous crime was not hard to figure out. He was a narcissistic, psychopathic person who for decades had successfully fooled most people into believing he was a lovable, caring individual, though behind the scenes those closest to him knew he had been physically abusing both his first and second wives for years.

In the end, it was Nicole Brown’s shutting him out of her life and thus ending his ability to continue controlling her that caused him to crack and bring to the surface his well-concealed violent nature. His split personality has been dissected by every psychiatrist on the planet, and pretty much everyone now understands who the real O.J. Simpson is.

By contrast, little was known about Aaron Hernandez, except that he had a very troubled life that involved gangs, drugs, and violence. Yet, it’s much easier to understand (not excuse) his sociopathic actions.

By all accounts, Hernandez was extremely close with his father, who himself had been a star football player in high school. In fact, Hernandez was quoted as saying that he spent more time with his father than with any of his friends. Thus, there is little doubt that what caused his turn toward the dark side was his father’s unexpected death from an infection he contracted during a routine hernia operation.

It’s likely no coincidence that Hernandez started getting into trouble after his father passed away, because his mother said he became very angry and estranged from her for several years. Meanwhile, his mother remarried a despicable ex-con who routinely abused her and ultimately attacked her with a kitchen knife. He was subsequently sent to prison, adding to his prior convictions that included violence against small children.

In the meantime, after a spectacular high school career, Aaron Hernandez got a football scholarship to the University of Florida, which one would have thought would lift his spirits and straighten him out. But even though he did consider his Florida teammates to be his new family, he continued to flirt with trouble.

Ironically, Heisman Trophy winner Tim Tebow, the archetypal all-American boy, was a teammate of Hernandez at Florida. In a video posted on NFL.com, Tom Brady and Tebow are seen talking about Hernandez prior to a game between the Patriots and the Denver Broncos. “I’m trying to watch over Aaron and Brandon (Brandon Spikes, another of Tebow’s Florida teammates then playing for the Patriots),” Brady told Tebow.

To which Tebow responded, “I appreciate that, too, man. They’re good guys.” Said Brady: “(Yeah) they’re a lot to handle.” Brady’s comment made it clear that Hernandez was still on the wrong path after joining the Patriots.

All this brings me back to an article I wrote about a year ago titled “A Turn in the Road,” the main message of which was that things can happen in people’s lives that cause them to take a wrong turn. Thus it was with Hernandez, who was on top of the world, a genuine NFL star on the greatest football dynasty the NFL had ever known.

He had recently signed a $40 million, five-year contract, the highest in league history for a tight end, when events brought on by himself, coupled with heavy drug usage, caught up with him and caused him to take that dreaded wrong turn in the road.

Strange when you think about it: When Tim Tebow got his chance to start in the NFL, he became the most popular player in the league, leading the Denver Broncos to the playoffs, then a win over the big, bad Pittsburgh Steelers in the first-round with an 80-yard touchdown pass in overtime. It looked like he was a cinch to become an NFL legend.

But it was not to be. As Forrest Gump so eloquently put it, “Shit happens.” In this case, the shit was John Elway, former quarterback legend and now executive vice president of football operations for the Broncos, who rewarded Tebow’s spectacular season by shipping him off to the hapless New York Jets. There, brain-dead coach Rex Ryan essentially ended Tebow’s career by sitting him on the bench all season.

Tebow never got another chance to play in the NFL, but is still widely respected and admired everywhere he goes and is almost certain to end up as a major league baseball star, congressman, sports announcer, or in some other high-profile position. He never flinched at his own experience with the unfairness of life and clearly made a conscious decision to take the right path.

But Aaron Hernandez, who enjoyed fame and fortune in the NFL that most football players could only dream of, took a different turn in the road — one that led to crime, imprisonment, and, ultimately, his death. Unlike Tebow, his brain was not wired in a manner that motivated him to turn things around. Which is ironic, because tattooed on one of his arms was one of his father’s favorite sayings, “If it is to be, it’s up to me.”

As I said in my earlier article, I believe in free will, in man’s capacity to rise above adversity, and in accountability. But I also believe that people sometimes take a wrong turn in the road — for any one of an infinite number of reasons — only to discover that they are not able to find their way back.

Aaron Hernandez made that wrong turn and simply didn’t have the mental tools needed to reorient himself. I feel sorry for Odin Lloyd. I feel sorry for Odin Lloyd’s family. I feel sorry for Aaron Hernandez’s family, including his fiancé and four-year-old daughter. And, yes, I feel sorry for Aaron Hernandez, a tragic waste of talent who didn’t have the mental skills to rise above the loss of his father.

Robert Ringer+Robert Ringer is an American icon whose unique insights into life have helped millions of readers worldwide. He is also the author of two New York Times #1 bestselling books, both of which have been listed by The New York Times among the 15 best-selling motivational books of all time.

18 spectacularly wrong predictions made around the time of first Earth Day in 1970, expect more this year

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In the May 2000 issue of Reason Magazine, award-winning science correspondent Ronald Bailey wrote an excellent article titled “Earth Day, Then and Now” to provide some historical perspective on the 30th anniversary of Earth Day. In that article, Bailey noted that around the time of the first Earth Day in the 1970, and in the years following, there was a “torrent of apocalyptic predictions” and many of those predictions were featured in his Reason article. Well, it’s now the 47th anniversary of  Earth Day, and a good time to ask the question again that Bailey asked 17 years ago: How accurate were the predictions made around the time of the first Earth Day in 1970? The answer: “The prophets of doom were not simply wrong, but spectacularlywrong,” according to Bailey. Here are 18 examples of the spectacularly wrong predictions made around 1970 when the “green holy day” (aka Earth Day) started:

1. Harvard biologist George Wald estimated that “civilization will end within 15 or 30 years unless immediate action is taken against problems facing mankind.”

2. “We are in an environmental crisis which threatens the survival of this nation, and of the world as a suitable place of human habitation,” wrote Washington University biologist Barry Commoner in the Earth Day issue of the scholarly journal Environment.

3. The day after the first Earth Day, the New York Times editorial page warned, “Man must stop pollution and conserve his resources, not merely to enhance existence but to save the race from intolerable deterioration and possible extinction.”

4. “Population will inevitably and completely outstrip whatever small increases in food supplies we make,” Paul Ehrlich confidently declared in the April 1970 issue of Mademoiselle. “The death rate will increase until at least 100-200 million people per year will be starving to death during the next ten years.”

5. “Most of the people who are going to die in the greatest cataclysm in the history of man have already been born,” wrote Paul Ehrlich in a 1969 essay titled “Eco-Catastrophe! “By…[1975] some experts feel that food shortages will have escalated the present level of world hunger and starvation into famines of unbelievable proportions. Other experts, more optimistic, think the ultimate food-population collision will not occur until the decade of the 1980s.”

6. Ehrlich sketched out his most alarmist scenario for the 1970 Earth Day issue of The Progressive, assuring readers that between 1980 and 1989, some 4 billion people, including 65 million Americans, would perish in the “Great Die-Off.”

7. “It is already too late to avoid mass starvation,” declared Denis Hayes, the chief organizer for Earth Day, in the Spring 1970 issue of The Living Wilderness.

8. Peter Gunter, a North Texas State University professor, wrote in 1970, “Demographers agree almost unanimously on the following grim timetable: by 1975 widespread famines will begin in India; these will spread by 1990 to include all of India, Pakistan, China and the Near East, Africa. By the year 2000, or conceivably sooner, South and Central America will exist under famine conditions….By the year 2000, thirty years from now, the entire world, with the exception of Western Europe, North America, and Australia, will be in famine.”

9. In January 1970, Life reported, “Scientists have solid experimental and theoretical evidence to support…the following predictions: In a decade, urban dwellers will have to wear gas masks to survive air pollution…by 1985 air pollution will have reduced the amount of sunlight reaching earth by one half….”

10. Ecologist Kenneth Watt told Time that, “At the present rate of nitrogen buildup, it’s only a matter of time before light will be filtered out of the atmosphere and none of our land will be usable.”

11. Barry Commoner predicted that decaying organic pollutants would use up all of the oxygen in America’s rivers, causing freshwater fish to suffocate.

12. Paul Ehrlich chimed in, predicting in 1970 that “air pollution…is certainly going to take hundreds of thousands of lives in the next few years alone.” Ehrlich sketched a scenario in which 200,000 Americans would die in 1973 during “smog disasters” in New York and Los Angeles.

13. Paul Ehrlich warned in the May 1970 issue of Audubon that DDT and other chlorinated hydrocarbons “may have substantially reduced the life expectancy of people born since 1945.” Ehrlich warned that Americans born since 1946…now had a life expectancy of only 49 years, and he predicted that if current patterns continued this expectancy would reach 42 years by 1980, when it might level out. (Note: According to the most recent CDC report, life expectancy in the US is 78.8 years).

14. Ecologist Kenneth Watt declared, “By the year 2000, if present trends continue, we will be using up crude oil at such a rate…that there won’t be any more crude oil. You’ll drive up to the pump and say, `Fill ‘er up, buddy,’ and he’ll say, `I am very sorry, there isn’t any.’”

15. Harrison Brown, a scientist at the National Academy of Sciences, published a chart in Scientific American that looked at metal reserves and estimated the humanity would totally run out of copper shortly after 2000. Lead, zinc, tin, gold, and silver would be gone before 1990.

16. Sen. Gaylord Nelson wrote in Look that, “Dr. S. Dillon Ripley, secretary of the Smithsonian Institute, believes that in 25 years, somewhere between 75 and 80 percent of all the species of living animals will be extinct.”

17. In 1975, Paul Ehrlich predicted that “since more than nine-tenths of the original tropical rainforests will be removed in most areas within the next 30 years or so, it is expected that half of the organisms in these areas will vanish with it.”

18. Kenneth Watt warned about a pending Ice Age in a speech. “The world has been chilling sharply for about twenty years,” he declared. “If present trends continue, the world will be about four degrees colder for the global mean temperature in 1990, but eleven degrees colder in the year 2000. This is about twice what it would take to put us into an ice age.”

MP: Let’s keep those spectacularly wrong predictions from the first Earth Day 1970 in mind when we’re bombarded in the next few days with media hype, and claims like this from the 2017 Earth Day website:

Global sea levels are rising at an alarmingly fast rate — 6.7 inches in the last century alone and going higher. Surface temperatures are setting new heat records about each year. The ice sheets continue to decline, glaciers are in retreat globally, and our oceans are more acidic than ever. We could go on…which is a whole other problem.

The majority of scientists are in agreement that human contributions to the greenhouse effect are the root cause. Essentially, gases in the atmosphere – such as methane and CO2 – trap heat and block it from escaping our planet.

So what happens next? More droughts and heat waves, which can have devastating effects on the poorest countries and communities. Hurricanes will intensify and occur more frequently. Sea levels could rise up to four feet by 2100 – and that’s a conservative estimate among experts.

Reality Check/Inconvenient Facts:

1. From the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Annual Report for 2016, we’re actually in the longest major hurricane drought in US history of 11 years (and counting):

The last major hurricane (Category 3 or stronger) to make landfall in the US was Wilma on November 24, 2005. This major hurricane drought [of 11 years] surpassed the previous record of eight years from 1861-1868 when no major hurricane struck the coast of the United States. On average, a major hurricane makes landfall in the U.S. about once every three years.

2. The frequency of hurricanes in the US has been declining, see top chart above that shows the hurricane count (all Categories 1 to 5) in the first seven years of each decade back to the 1850s, based on NOAA data here. In the seven years between 2010 and 2016, there were only eight hurricanes (all Category 1 and 2), which is the lowest number of hurricanes during the first seven years of any decade in the history of NOAA’s data back to 1850. It’s also far lower than the previous low of 14 hurricanes during the period from 1900 to 1906.

3. What you probably won’t hear about from the Earth Day supporters is the amazing “decarbonization” of the United States over the last decade or so, as the falling CO2 emissions in the bottom chart above illustrate, even as CO2 emissions from energy consumption have been rising throughout most of the rest of the world. Energy-related carbon emissions in the US have been falling since the 2007 peak, and were at their lowest level last year in nearly a quarter century, going back to 1992. And the environmentalists and the “Earth Day” movement really had very little to do with this amazing “greening” of America. Rather, it’s mostly because of hydraulic fracturing and the increasing substitution of natural gas for coal as a fuel source for electric power, see related CD post here.

Finally, think about this question, posed by Ronald Bailey in 2000: What will Earth look like when Earth Day 60 rolls around in 2030? Bailey predicts a much cleaner, and much richer future world, with less hunger and malnutrition, less poverty, and longer life expectancy, and with lower mineral and metal prices. But he makes one final prediction about Earth Day 2030: “There will be a disproportionately influential group of doomsters predicting that the future–and the present–never looked so bleak.” In other words, the hype, hysteria and spectacularly wrong apocalyptic predictions will continue, promoted by the “environmental grievance hustlers.”

Original article: http://www.aei.org/publication/18-spectacularly-wrong-predictions-made-around-the-time-of-first-earth-day-in-1970-expect-more-this-year/

Earth Day Countdown: Environmentalism’s Ten Biggest Scams, Hoaxes, Myths and Frauds

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Photo: Pixabay (CC0)

#10 – Agenda 21

Agenda 21 was written by foreign nations where people are property, for foreign nations where people are property.  It does not recognize, and if fact detests, your right to own a home, drive a car or have private property.  It achieves the phony goal of “sustainable development” by declaring much of the United States off-limits to human use.

It is radical environmentalism in its purest form, a guttural hatred of humanity expressed in international policy jargon.  Sustainable development is the new label they slapped over the old, faded word ‘socialism’ when it became too ugly to use.

This isn’t some dark conspiracy where UN lawyers drop into small town America and rewrite laws.  This is typical liberalism, where American liberals look to socialist-leaning international bodies that share their hate of the American ideals of private property and individual prosperity and adopt their teachings.  Incorporating U.N guidelines into their local planning authority is just their way of sneering down their noses at neighbors they consider inferior.  It’s typical abusive liberal arrogance, and it’s targeting your right to own property, a home and a car.

Agenda 21 is a land use planning mechanism developed by the United Nations to guide national and local policymakers in creating so-called “sustainable development.”

It does not recognize private property rights, restrictions on government abuse of eminent domain or other restrictions on government power Americans enjoy under the United States Constitution.

Despite that, American policymakers at the national, state and local levels are inserting portions of the abusive plan into local land use planning frameworks.  In 2012 the Republican National Committee adopted a resolution formally condemning the UN scheme.

The text of the resolution follows:

RNC Resolution Exposing United Nations Agenda 21

WHEREAS, the United Nations Agenda 21 is a comprehensive plan of extreme environmentalism, social engineering, and global political control that was initiated at the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in 1992; and,

WHEREAS, the United Nations Agenda 21 is being covertly pushed into local communities throughout the United States of America through the International Council of Local Environmental Initiatives (ICLEI) through local “sustainable development” policies such as Smart Growth, Wildlands Project, Resilient Cities, Regional Visioning Projects, and other “Green” or “Alternative” projects; and

WHEREAS, this United Nations Agenda 21 plan of radical so-called “sustainable development” views the American way of life of private property ownership, single family homes, private car ownership and individual travel choices, and privately owned farms; all as destructive to the environment; and,

WHEREAS, according to the United Nations Agenda 21 policy, social justice is described as the right and opportunity of all people to benefit equally from the resources afforded us by society and the environment which would be accomplished by socialist/communist redistribution of wealth; and,

WHEREAS, according to the United Nations Agenda 21 policy National sovereignty is deemed a social injustice; now therefore be

RESOLVED, the Republican National Committee recognizes the destructive and insidious nature of United Nations Agenda 21 and hereby exposes to the public and public policy makers the dangerous intent of the plan; and therefore be it further

RESOLVED, that the U.S. government and no state or local government is legally bound by the United Nations Agenda 21 treaty in that it has never been endorsed by the (U.S.) Senate, and therefore be it further

RESOLVED, that the federal and state and local governments across the country be well informed of the underlying harmful implications of implementation of United Nations Agenda 21 destructive strategies for “sustainable development” and we hereby endorse rejection of its radical policies and rejection of any grant monies attached to it, and therefore be it further

RESOLVED, that upon the approval of this resolution the Republican National Committee shall deliver a copy of this resolution to each of the Republican members of Congress, all Republican candidates for Congress, all Republican candidates for President who qualify for RNC sanctioned debates, and to each Republican state and territorial party office.

#9 – The Antiquities Act land grab spree

The Antiquities Act of 1906 was signed into law over 100 years ago to protect tiny, individual Indian archaeological sites from looters.  In one of Gang Green’s most brazen displays of abuse of power, the Act is now being used to snatch up millions of acres of land at a time and declare it a “national monument” – without congressional approval.

Under “national monument” designation, natural resource development and most recreational activities are outlawed, a move that eliminates badly-needed jobs and robs citizens of property rights.

The Clinton administration notably used the Act in 1996 to shut down clean coal development in 2,600 square miles of southern Utah.

The Obama administration also undertook multiple abusive land grabs under the Act.

The intended product of Antiquities Act land grabs?  Shut down resource development and eliminate jobs created by employers Gang Green considers their enemies.

#8  – Environmentalism’s campaign of terror against safe, clean hydraulic fracturing

“Giving society cheap, abundant energy would be the equivalent of giving an idiot child a machine gun.” – Environmentalist “founding father” Dr. Paul Erlich

“[W]e have to offer up scary scenarios, make simplified, dramatic statements, and make little mention of any doubts we may have. Each of us has to decide what the right balance is between being effective and being honest.” – Professor of Environmental Biology and Global Change at Stanford University and Obama adviser Stephen Schneider

Don’t believe Gang Green when they openly admit they must destroy any form of clean, affordable energy, and lying is a perfectly acceptable means to environmentalist ends?

Always ready to destroy any form of clean, affordable energy by any means necessary, Gang Green is waging a nasty multi-million war of lies, smear tactics and outright terror in an effort to stop the safe, clean practice of hydraulic fracturing, in which high-pressure water is used to break shale and capture the natural gas inside.

The practice not only creates thousands of jobs and provides millions of Americans with affordable energy, the practice is 100% safe and clean.

But Gang Green’s war on working families includes paid agitators who travel to communities to terrorize families with debunked urban legends and even a fake documentary whose multi-million dollar publicity campaign bought it an Oscar nomination, despite the fact it was utterly falsified.

Because as with virtually every effort of Gang Green to limit energy and prosperity, it’s all based on admitted lies.

Gang Green openly admits they are lying about hydraulic fracturing.  For example, there is this exchange between “Energy & the Environment TV” and the Environmental Defense Fund’s Scott Anderson:

E&E TV: “Do you believe that [hydraulic fracturing] can be used safely?” (5:23)

EDF’s Scott Anderson: “Yes I do. I think in the vast majority of cases, if wells are constructed right and operated right, that hydraulic fracturing will not cause a problem.” (5:19) [ATP notes: Wells ARE constructed and operated correctly, with no proven cases of contamination whatsoever.]

E&E TV: “How difficult is it for states to regulate this practice? And should it be done on a state-by-state bases, a region-by-region bases or nationally?” (2:11)

EDF’s Scott Anderson: “The states actually have a lot of knowledge and experience in regulating well construction and operation. We think that states have every reason to be able to tackle this issue and do it well. We also think that if states fail in that and the federal government has to takeover, the states will have no one but themselves to blame.” (2:00)

E&E TV: “Without this practice of hydraulic fracturing, what would our natural gas supplies look like?” (1:38)

EDF’s Scott Anderson: “Our natural gas supplies would plummet precipitously without hydraulic fracturing. About 90 percent of gas wells in the United States are hydraulically fractured, and the shale gas that everyone talks about as being a large part of the future of natural gas production is absolutely dependent on fracturing in each case.” (1:33)

E&E TV: “So you would say that this is a necessary part of our energy future?” (1:09)

EDF’s Scott Anderson: “Yes. At the Environmental Defense Fund we don’t pick fuels, we are realist, we recognize that fossil fuels will be around for a while, a long while most likely. We recognize that natural gas has some environmental advantages compared to other fossil fuels, so we do believe that natural gas will be around, and has a significant role to play….” (1:05)

Tennessee State Rep. David Hawk also notes hydraulic fracturing is absolutely safe and clean.

“Hydraulic fracturing is routinely and safely performed nationwide. Production is carefully regulated and closely monitored by federal, state and local regulators. The Environmental Protection Agency, the Ground Water Protection Council and the Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission have examined the process and found it to be safe.” Rep. Hawk writes in the Nashville Tennessean.

“Over the past 60 years, more than 1 million wells in the U.S. have successfully used hydraulic fracturing. This proven process has unlocked access to more natural gas in the U.S. than Saudi Arabia has oil, and has allowed for the success of an industry that supports more than 2.8 million jobs and contributed $385 billion to our nation’s economy in 2008,” writes Rep. Hawk.

#7 – “Clean air” green fuel additive poisons millions

Pushed by the EPA as the magic cure to pollutants in gasoline, methyl-t-butyl ether has instead proven to be a toxic nightmare.

MTBE is supposed to reduce carbon monoxide and high ozone levels caused by auto emissions and has replaced lead as an octane enhancer since 1979.  Beginning in 1992, MTBE use in gasoline was increased to fulfill the 1990 Clean Air Act Amendments’ oxygenate requirements.

One problem.  Those environmentalist mandates are now pumping massive amounts of the toxic chemical into the air and drinking water.

When research animals inhaled high concentrations of MTBE some developed cancers or experienced other non-cancerous health effects.  Research also shows when ingested in water MTBE is a potential human carcinogen at high doses.

That’s important because this environmentalist-required chemical is probably in your family’s drinking water.

MTBE is found throughout aquifers in North America, detected in tens of thousands of contaminated sites in water wells distributed across the country.  MTBE’s high solubility and persistence cause it to travel faster and farther than many other components of gasoline when released into an aquifer. Because it is water soluble, it easily moves through soil, polluting both surface and groundwater.  MTBE gets into water through leaking underground storage tanks and pipelines, spills, emissions from marine engines into lakes and reservoirs, and to some extent, from its release into the air.

The San Francisco Bay Area Regional Water Quality Control Board reports MTBE is one of the widespread pollutants in local groundwater.  In 1996, the city of Santa Monica found two of its drinking water wellfields were contaminated as high as 610 ppb and 86 ppb.  The toxic contamination, mandated by environmentalists, forced the two wellfields, representing 50 percent of the city’s drinking water supply, to be shut down.  The city began purchasing replacement water.

Removing MTBE from groundwater and soil is estimated to cost from $1 billion to $30 billion.  Recent state laws have been passed to ban MTBE in certain areas. California and New York, which together accounted for 40 percent of U.S. MTBE consumption, banned the chemical starting January 1, 2004.

As of September 2005, twenty-five states had signed legislation banning MTBE.  In 2000, the EPA drafted plans to phase out the use of MTBE nationwide over four years. As of fall 2006, hundreds of lawsuits are still pending regarding MTBE contamination of public and private drinking water supplies.

Have MTBE contamination in your community?  Thank an environmentalist.

#6 – The “Endangered Species Act” has nothing to do with animals

Sold as legislation that would protect vulnerable species, the Endangered Species Act and other wildlife preservation laws are instead routinely abused by environmentalists as weapons against employers.

A favorite tactic is to use junk science and strong-arm tactics to get species that are not threatened or endangered listed as “threatened” or “endangered” to shut down agriculture, homebuilding, energy and timber development and other job-creating activities in targeted areas.

Among the earliest attempts to pull such scams occurred in 1973 when radical environmentalists successfully delayed construction of the Tellico Dam when a University of Tennessee biology professor claimed a rare fish called the “snail darter.”  Greens filed a lawsuit under the National Environmental Policy Act claiming construction of the dam would alter the Little Tennessee River and destroy the “snail darter,” which would be placed on the Endangered Species List in 1975.

They did not succeed in their goal of stopping construction of the dam, but they did succeed in inflicting lengthy and expensive delays in its construction.

Not only did the species not go extinct, it was plentiful enough to be taken off the Endangered Species List less only a year after completion of the dam environmentalists claimed would wipe it out.

In the most famous case of fraudulent use of the ESA, environmentalists petitioned the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in 1986 to list the spotted owl as an “endangered species” in order to shut down timber harvesting across vast areas of the northwest United States.  Waging a ferocious public pressure campaign, environmentalists claimed the bird could only nest in “old growth” forests, and logging would lead to the bird’s extinction.

The scare tactics paid off in 1990 when the government declared the owl threatened, forcing loggers to leave at least 40% of the old-growth forests intact within a 1.3 mile radius of any spotted owl nest or activity site.

The result?  Timber harvesting was virtually shut down in the American northwest and thousands of loggers lost their jobs.  To add insult to injury, not only is the spotted owl not threatened, it is more than capable of nesting in secondary and newer forests.

Environmentalists were not at all ashamed of their fraudulent use of the Endangered Species Act.  League of Conservation Voters founder and former Sierra Club Executive Director David Brower proudly crowed, “Loggers losing their jobs because of Spotted Owl legislation is, in my eyes, no different than people being out of work after the furnaces of Dachau shut down.”

#5 – Ethanol and biofuels are killing the environment

To environmentalists ethanol and biofuels, which they also coincidentally happen to be heavily invested in financially, are magic potions that will cure an Earth they claim is dying from automobile use.

To the environment, however, they are poison.

* To grow the massive amounts of corn and other crops needed to create ethanol and other biofuels, farmers must use millions of gallons of pesticides and water, burn millions of gallons of fuel to operate farming equipment and convert vast amounts of prairie, forests and other natural environments into farmland.

* Environmentalists, many of whom are invested financially in biofuels, are pushing farmers in environmentally sensitive areas like the Amazon to slash-and-burn vast swaths of ecosystems to plant biofuel crops.

* Biofuels cannot be pipelined, requiring thousands of trucks to burn millions of gallons of fuel to transport it.

* Producing biofuels takes millions of acres of farmland out of food production, reducing the supply of crops like corn, which is not only food itself but is feed for farm animals.  As ethanol and biofuel production rise, the costs of creating food skyrocket.  Starvation spiked in Mexico, for example, when environmentalist efforts to boost ethanol production created a corn shortage and sent the price of food through the roof.

* Biofuels are less efficient than more effective petro fuels, greatly reducing gas mileage.  The E85 blend of ethanol drops gas mileage between 30% and 40%, depending on whether you use the EPA’s fuel mileage standards (fueleconomy.gov) or those of the Dept. of Energy, according to BusinessWeek

* Biofuels also have a nasty habit of destroying vehicle fuel pumps, according to BusinessWeek.  In areas where environmentalist mandates force ethanol on drivers, auto repair shops report a spike in damaged fuel pumps, virtually all of which are traced back to ethanol in fuel.  The average repair bill is between $900 and $1000.  Biofuels are also destroying boat engines and other small engines by drawing water into the fuel system.

* Many biofuels generate as much as, and sometimes more than, the amount of greenhouse gases than petro fuels.

Rather than reduce pollution, producing biolfuels is pollution on steroids.  The EPA’s own attorneys even admitted in court biofuels and ethanol are more polluting than petro fuels (API v. EPA, 1995, Third Circuit Court of Appeals.)

Sadly, use of biofuels and ethanol are only increased as radical environmentalists with large amounts of money invested in the failed, more-polluting technology press government to bail them out by increasing use mandates

#4 – Environmentalists’ DDT ban kills 102 million people, and counting

For Africans struggling to survive against malaria and starvation, DDT was a lifesaver.  The pesticide not only killed the disease-carrying mosquitos that killed millions, it also killed the ravenous pests that ate their crops.

“In 1970, the U.S. National Academy of Sciences estimated that DDT saved more than 500 million lives during the time it was widely used,” writes economist Dr. Walter Williams.

But riding a wave of public sentiment fueled by Rachel Carson’s book “Silent Spring,” which falsely claimed DDT would cause many species of birds to go extinct, radical environmentalists pushed for a ban on the life-saving chemical.

The facts didn’t matter.  “A scientific review board of the EPA showed that DDT is not harmful to the environment and showed it to be a beneficial substance that ‘should not be banned.’ According to the World Health Organization, worldwide malaria infects 300 million people. About 1 million die of malaria each year. Most of the victims are in Africa, and most are children,” writes Williams.

EPA Administrative Law Judge Edmund Sweeney stated that “DDT is not a carcinogenic hazard to man. … The uses of DDT under the regulations involved here do not have a deleterious effect on freshwater fish, estuarine organisms, wild birds, or other wildlife. … The evidence in this proceeding supports the conclusion that there is a present need for the essential uses of DDT.”

But armed with falsified environmental “studies,” they succeeded in winning an EPA ban on the chemical 1972, and bans in other countries.  EPA Administration William Ruckelshaus, who was also a fundraiser for the Environmental Defense Fund, overturned Sweeney’s ruling despite never having attended a single hearing on DDT and banned the chemical entirely.

The result?

“In Sri Lanka, in 1948, there were 2.8 million malaria cases and 7,300 malaria deaths. With widespread DDT use, malaria cases fell to 17 and no deaths in 1963. After DDT use was discontinued, Sri Lankan malaria cases rose to 2.5 million in the years 1968 and 1969, and the disease remains a killer in Sri Lanka today. More than 100,000 people died during malaria epidemics in Swaziland and Madagascar in the mid-1980s, following the suspension of DDT house spraying. After South Africa stopped using DDT in 1996, the number of malaria cases in KwaZulu-Natal province skyrocketed from 8,000 to 42,000. By 2000, there had been an approximate 400 percent increase in malaria deaths. Now that DDT is being used again, the number of deaths from malaria in the region has dropped from 340 in 2000 to none at the last reporting in February 2003,” writes Williams.

An estimated 102 million people have needlessly died from malaria since DDT was banned.

Why would environmentalists push for a worldwide ban on a chemical that saved the lives of millions of people living in Third World countries?  Ask the environmentalists themselves:

“People are the cause of all the problems. We have too many of them. We need to get rid

of some of them, and this (referring to malaria deaths) is as good a way as any.” – Dr. Charles Foster, one of the architects of the ban on DDT

“My own doubts came when DDT was introduced. In Guyana, within two years, it had almost eliminated malaria. So my chief quarrel with DDT, in hindsight, is that it has greatly added to the population problem.” – Alexander King, founder of the Malthusian Club of Rome

And those aren’t isolated cases.  Viewing humans as the parasite to be exterminated is a mainstream view in the environmentalist community:

“I suspect that eradicating small pox was wrong. It played an important part in balancing ecosystems.” — John Davis, editor of Earth First! Journal

“Human beings, as a species, have no more value than slugs.” — John Davis, editor of Earth First! Journal

“The extinction of the human species may not only be inevitable but a good thing….This is not to say that the rise of human civilization is insignificant, but there is no way of showing that it will be much help to the world in the long run.” — Economist editorial

“We advocate biodiversity for biodiversity’s sake. It may take our extinction to set things straight/” — David Foreman, Earth First!

“Phasing out the human race will solve every problem on earth, social and environmental.” — Dave Forman, Founder of Earth First!

“If radical environmentalists were to invent a disease to bring human populations back to sanity, it would probably be something like AIDS.” — Earth First! Newsletter

“Human happiness, and certainly human fecundity, is not as important as a wild and healthy planets…Some of us can only hope for the right virus to come along.” — David Graber, biologist, National Park Service

“The collective needs of non-human species must take precedence over the needs and desires of humans.” — Dr. Reed F. Noss, The Wildlands Project

“If I were reincarnated, I would wish to be returned to Earth as a killer virus to lower human population levels.” — Prince Phillip, World Wildlife Fund

Cannibalism is a “radical but realistic solution to the problem of overpopulation.” — Lyall Watson, The Financial Times, 15 July 1995

#3 – “The Population Bomb”

Before there was “man-made global warming,” there was the “population bomb.”

Radical environmentalist Paul Ehrlich caused a global stir in 1968 with the release of “The Population Bomb.”  Written at the request of Sierra Club Executive Director David Brower, an advocate of human extinction, the book claimed human population would soon grow so large the planet could not sustain, and mass death would follow.

“The battle to feed all of humanity is over. In the 1970s and 1980s hundreds of millions of people will starve to death in spite of any crash programs embarked upon now. At this late date nothing can prevent a substantial increase in the world death rate,” Ehrlich wrote.

Specifically, Ehrlich pointed to India, then-population of 400 million.  “India couldn’t possibly feed two hundred million more people by 1980″I have yet to meet anyone familiar with the situation who thinks that India will be self-sufficient in food by 1971.”.

The book sold more than two million copies and formed the foundation of much of the environmentalist movement’s legislative agenda.  Radical environmentalists used the “population bomb” threat to demand greater central control and planning of economies, agriculture and family planning programs.

Brower, who inspired the book, founded the League of Conservation Voters, led the Sierra Club and whose teachings still shape environmentalist policy, demanded “childbearing [should be] a punishable crime against society, unless the parents hold a government license… All potential parents [should be] required to use contraceptive chemicals, the government issuing antidotes to citizens chosen for childbearing.”

But much like the “man-made global warming” conspiracy theory, “the population bomb” throws out an alarmist claim whose implications are so serious they compel environmentalists to demand total compliance from legislators just in case it may be true.

And since you’re not reading this on top of a pile of graves, you know Erhlich’s “population bomb” was completely falsified.  Not only has the world’s population grown drastically since 1968, our ability to produce food has grown even faster thanks to technologies opposed by radical environmentalists.

And India, which Ehrlich claimed couldn’t grow much beyond 400 million people without mass deaths?  They are now at 1.2 billion people and rapidly increasing both their population and standard of living.

In fact, Ehrlich made sure that any copies of his book printed after 1971 had the sentence “I have yet to meet anyone familiar with the situation who thinks that India will be self-sufficient in food by 1971” removed from the texts, much like how today’s “man-made global warming” conspiracy theorists frequently doctor and omit wildly incorrect predictions and contrary data.

But proving environmentalism is as shameless as it is scientifically baseless, the exposure of “the population bomb” as a hoax did not deter environmentalists from demanding nations convert to socialist, centrally-planned economies where industry, agriculture and family planning are controlled by government.  They simply created a new hoax, the “climate bomb,” if you will.

#2 – “Man-made global cooling”

There are ominous signs that the Earth’s weather patterns have begun to change dramatically and that these changes may portend a drastic decline in food production – with serious political implications for just about every nation on Earth. The drop in food output could begin quite soon, perhaps only 10 years from now. The regions destined to feel its impact are the great wheat-producing lands of Canada and the U.S.S.R. in the North, along with a number of marginally self-sufficient tropical areas – parts of India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Indochina and Indonesia – where the growing season is dependent upon the rains brought by the monsoon.

The evidence in support of these predictions has now begun to accumulate so massively that meteorologists are hard-pressed to keep up with it…

…Climatologists are pessimistic that political leaders will take any positive action to compensate for the climatic change, or even to allay its effects. They concede that some of the more spectacular solutions proposed, such as melting the Arctic ice cap by covering it with black soot or diverting arctic rivers, might create problems far greater than those they solve. But the scientists see few signs that government leaders anywhere are even prepared to take the simple measures of stockpiling food or of introducing the variables of climatic uncertainty into economic projections of future food supplies. The longer the planners delay, the more difficult will they find it to cope with climatic change once the results become grim reality.

That was Newsweek, April 28, 1975, predicting mass deaths and global catastrophe – from man-made global cooling.

As the United States experienced cooler-than-usual winters in the 1960s and 1970s, the popular scientific theory at the time was that automobile and industry were filling the atmosphere with pollutants that were causing the globe to hurtle toward a new Ice Age.

The prescription was dramatic.  Environmentalists demanded world leaders place strict curbs on industry and impose massive new taxes to redistribute income and stave off the soon-to-happen “Snowball Earth.”

One problem.  Most of their alarmist demands weren’t met, and the Ice Age didn’t happen.

That didn’t stop radical environmentalists, however.  They simply changed their story and now declared the same policies that would stop the Earth from cooling would now somehow magically stop the Earth from warming.

It’s all bunk however.  When considering sheer power of global climate dynamics it is scientifically laughable to claim human emissions can cause climate change on a global scale.  Perhaps that’s why more than 31,000 climatologists and other scientists publicly refute the politically-motivated claim of “man-made climate change” that only higher taxes and a more centrally-planned state can reverse.

#1 – “Man-made global warming”

So after decades of junk science, scare tactics, alarmist wailing and calls for the death of capitalism, what is the single biggest hoax in environmentalist history?

“What we’ve got to do in energy conservation is try to ride the global warming issue. Even if the theory of global warming is wrong, to have approached global warming as if it is real means energy conservation, so we will be doing the right thing anyway in terms of economic policy and environmental policy.” — Timothy Wirth, former U.S. Senator (D-Colorado)

And you are wrong, Tim.

When the “population bomb” fizzled in the 1970s and “global cooling” was proven to be another lie in the 1980s, environmentalists needed a new vehicle to drive their calls for centrally planned economies and controls on human population.

The solution?  Scratch out the word “cooling” on all their alarmist materials and write in the word “warming.”  They didn’t even bother changing much else.

The Obama administration has jumped in with both feet, declaring the carbon dioxide you exhale a “pollutant” and calling for a “cap and tax” system that places a price on carbon dioxide and forces Americans to pay a tax for the CO2 they emit.

So is the earth warming and is it caused by humans producing carbon dioxide?

No.  That’s silly.

“It is now known that both Atlantic and Pacific temperatures can get ‘stuck,’ for a decade or longer, in relatively warm or cool patterns. The North Atlantic is now forecast to be in a cold stage for a decade, which will help put the damper on global warming. Another Pacific temperature pattern is forecast not to push warming, either…we have simply overestimated the amount of warming that results from increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide.” writes internationally distinguished climatologist Pat Michaels of the independent Cato Institute.

This isn’t the first time environmentalists have made wildly inaccurate claims human activity is causing global climate change, and the end of capitalism is the only answer.

“The battle to feed humanity is over. In the 1970s, the world will undergo famines. Hundreds of millions of people are going to starve to death in spite of any crash programs embarked upon now. Population control is the only answer.” — Paul Ehrlich – The Population Bomb (1968)

 “The continued rapid cooling of the earth since WWII is in accord with the increase in global air pollution associated with industrialization, mechanization, urbanization and exploding population.” — Reid Bryson, “Global Ecology; Readings towards a rational strategy for Man”, (1971)

“This cooling has already killed hundreds of thousands of people. If it continues and no strong action is taken, it will cause world famine, world chaos and world war, and this could all come about before the year 2000.” — Lowell Ponte “The Cooling”, 1976

“If present trends continue, the world will be about four degrees colder for the global mean temperature in 1990, but eleven degrees colder by the year 2000…This is about twice what it would take to put us in an ice age.” — Kenneth E.F. Watt on air pollution and global cooling, Earth Day (1970)

“This [cooling] trend will reduce agricultural productivity for the rest of the century.” — Peter Gwynne, Newsweek 1976

Video: Diamond and Silk lay the smackdown on Maxine Waters

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Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) is the latest liberal lawmaker to refuse to work with President Donald Trump, calling him “dangerous.”

Well, Diamond and Silk have a few words for Waters. “When you come for Donald J. Trump, we are going to come for you boo.” Watch below.

Over 200 million Americans could be dead in one year after an EMP

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Image: NASA, Massive X-Class Solar Flare.jpg

Recent tensions with North Korea have put the U.S. power grid on the front page. Former Chief of the Central Intelligence Agency, James Woolsey stated, “I think this is the principal, the most important and dangerous, threat to the United States.” He further said, “If you look at the electric grid and what it’s susceptible to, we would be moving into a world with no food delivery, no water purification, no banking, no telecommunications, no medicine. All of these things depend on electricity in one way or another.”

The United States of America is a society completely dependent on electricity. Food production, transportation, and communications all depend on one thing, electricity. The Department of Homeland Security classifies sixteen different critical infrastructure sectors. No sector is more important than the energy sector. No other critical infrastructure sector, from health services to the chemical sector can operate without electricity. It is the critical piece of our critical infrastructure. If the President and Congress decide to spend any money on infrastructure, the U.S. power grid should be alone, at the top of the list.

The U.S. power grid is comprised of three smaller grids. One grid powers the East Coast to the Rocky Mountains while another serves people from the Rockies to the Pacific. The last grid is the state of Texas.  Each of these individual grids is comprised of a network of power producing facilities, tens of thousands of miles of transmission lines, and hundreds of substations, bringing power to your home and business.

A key piece of the energy chain is the high-voltage transformer (HVT).  HVTs “step-up“ and “step-down” voltage of newly generated electricity for transmission and distribution reasons.  The voltage is increased or stepped-up to transmit over long distances and then is decreased or stepped-down to be distributed to homes.  Without these HVTs, it would be nearly impossible to supply the US with electricity.  These HVTs are peculiarly vulnerable to attacks from man and nature.  These transformers weigh between one and four hundred tons and cost up to eight million dollars. The Department of Energy estimated it could take up to 20 months for the larger HVTs to be built. What would the US look like without power for 2 months, let alone 1 year?

There four principle modes of attack that could destroy HVTs. These are an Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP), a Coronal Mass Ejection (CME), a cyber-attack, and a physical attack.

A nuclear bomb detonated in the upper atmosphere might not even be noticed by people on the ground. Most Americans would look up and see a sky that resembles the Aurora Borealis. However, they would notice the effects immediately. Their world could come to a complete stop.  Cars could lose power and drift to a stop. Planes in the air could lose power and begin a rapid powerless decent towards the earth. Trains could lose power and coast to a stop. Anything with a microchip could be dead. This includes HVTs. A large device detonated 400-500km above Kansas would affect all within the continental U.S.

200 million people could die in a year without water and electricity.

A CME would have the same effect as an EMP, but on a global scale. A CME is an ejection of particles from the sun, also known as a solar flare. These happen quite often. The last major CME event to hit the Earth was in 1859. When it hit, there were reports of sparks shooting off telegraph wires in telegraph stations. A CME event today could shut down electronic devices worldwide.

On April 16, 2013, an attack occurred in Metcalf, California substation. An unknown number of assailants shot hundreds of rounds at the HVTs in the substation. The damage caused the substations to shut down. The energy companies were able to reroute power and avoid a shutdown. To this day, nobody has been charged in the attack. Many within and outside the government have labeled this a dry run.

Another lesser known attack occurred in Utah on September 25, 2016. An assailant fired several shots into the transformer’s radiator system. The shots caused the transformer to overheat and fail. The damage was estimated at $1 million and between 6 and 12 months to repair. Once again, power companies were able to divert power and prevent a cascading failure.

In response to the attack, Brian Harrell, a director in Navigant’s energy practice and former director of the cyberthreat-sharing portal at the North American Electric Reliability Corp, said, “we must assume that at some point in the future a North American utility will suffer from a planned and coordinated attack against electrical infrastructure.”

A coordinated attack on several substations at the same time has the ability to create a rolling blackout that power companies cannot keep up with fast enough, and overload the system.  From there, the system crashes.

Small computers control every piece of the electric grid.  These are Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) systems. SCADAs tell a substation how much voltage is coming in and going out. SCADAs tell HVTs when to shut down. By hacking these devices and infecting them with viruses, a hacker can force the SCADA systems to break the machines being monitored. The U.S. and Israel recently launched such an attack against the Iranian nuclear program. The virus was called Stuxnet.  It was successful in destroying thousands of centrifuges. The cyber genie has been let out of the bottle, and the entire U.S. power grid is in danger.

It is time to take the security of the electrical grid serious. The principal reason for the existence of government is security. People come together to form groups for security. The U.S. government must not ignore the EMP threat anymore. The President and Congress have stated their desire to pass an infrastructure bill. The most important aspect of the infrastructure bill must be the electric grid.

Printus LeBlanc is a contributing reporter at Americans for Limited Government.

Gorgeous – National Park Super Bloom

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Remember how California was all dry last year? El Niño has fixed that and it’s spectacular. Check out the lesser-known Carrizo Plain National Monument, an out-of-the-way grassland and dry lake bed in a remote area east of San Luis Obispo, which has erupted with wildflowers and transformed the landscape from brown to gold.

Shoot Like a Sniper: Simple Tips to Hone Your Marksmanship

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Photo credit: Pixabay, tpsdave, CC0 Public Domain, https://pixabay.com/en/man-weapon-rifle-sniper-97820/

Most of us had air rifles as kids.  But few of us stop to think they’re still a great way to keep “in shape” when it comes to the fundamentals of marksmanship.  Whether you’re shooting a .22 or a Barrett 50, your body still goes through the same motions.  Sometimes weather or home chores keep us from getting out to shoot, so why not pick up an air rifle and train in your own basement?  ReadyNutrition’s Jeremiah Johnson, a retired Green Beret, explains. — SRC

This article is presented in the hopes of giving you a method for being able to practice your marksmanship both on the cheap and (logistically) under “friendly” surroundings.  There are a host of different air rifles to choose from.  I must state there has been a marked deterioration in the quality of air-powered (or pneumatic, if you prefer) firearms over the past thirty to forty years.  No matter: you can still accomplish what you need with what is on the market today.

Fundamentals of Markmanship

Air rifles can be either powered by Carbon Dioxide (CO 2) cartridges, or with an internal pneumatic pump, either with multiple pumps for increasing power or a single pump (as with “break-barrel” models of rifles).  For the most part your standard air guns come in either .177 or .22 caliber models.  Beeman offers one that has interchangeable barrels in both calibers, with the velocity decreasing slightly as the caliber is larger.

There are many things you can do with an air rifle from a hunting and survival perspective.  You can hunt small game quietly without the need for a suppressor if you’re doing it on the q-t, and ammo for it is both affordable and (when the SHTF) able to be reproduced simply (refer to the recent article I wrote on how to build your own forge).

The air rifle or air pistol fires pellets and/or BB’s (little ball bearings) that can be reused repeatedly.  There are several “trap” targets like this one available with replaceable buffer materials on the inside.  These targets enable you to collect your air rifle ammo and use it again.  It is a simple thing to set up a range within your own basement or out in your backyard with an air rifle or air pistol.  Although the motion of the weapon in terms of recoil is reduced from that of a rifle, the fundamentals of marksmanship are the same.  Here they are:


Breathing: Before you pull that trigger, you need to control your breathing, and optimally should pull immediately after you have exhaled

Aim: Self-explanatory, but it involves you zeroing on your target to line up your sights with your eyes and enable you to hit that bullseye.

Trigger squeeze: Should be accomplished with the very tip/end of your index finger, and should be a smooth, non-jerky action akin to squeezing a lemon


This article is not intended to cover rifle marksmanship in general; however, you get the picture.  Hand-eye coordination and the employment of these three fundamentals can be accomplished effectively with the air rifle.  There are several European and Korean firms that manufacture air rifles in “big bore” calibers that can take down large game, if you wish to pursue air rifle marksmanship further.  For starters, you can take your pick from Daisy, Crossman, Beeman, Benjamin, even Ruger, among others in the two mentioned calibers.

Just remember to lay out your range in a professional and safe manner.  Treat your air rifle as a firearm at all times, as it is a type of firearm that can hurt someone severely, or worse if misused or used in an unsafe manner.  As a field-expedient trap, you can even make one out of telephone books/directories mounted in the front of a carboard box.  These work better for BB’s, as the pellets are usually made of lead and the strike tends to deform them.  Safety glasses or goggles are also recommended, as a ricochet can come straight back in your direction.

The air rifle or air pistol are great tools to introduce your kids to principles of firearms safety and train them in marksmanship.  It is quality time spent with them, in which they will learn how to do things the right way before they are old enough to fire that .22 rifle or that Winnie ’94 for the first time.  Affordable and effective, the air rifle is an excellent training tool that you never really outgrow, and can enable you to have your own indoor range during the winter months that is both safe and cost-effective.  Be safe, take care of one another, and happy shooting!

Jeremiah Johnson is the Nom de plume of a retired Green Beret of the United States Army Special Forces (Airborne). Mr. Johnson was a Special Forces Medic, EMT and ACLS-certified, with comprehensive training in wilderness survival, rescue, and patient-extraction. He is a Certified Master Herbalist and a graduate of the Global College of Natural Medicine of Santa Ana, CA. A graduate of the U.S. Army’s survival course of SERE school (Survival Evasion Resistance Escape), Mr. Johnson also successfully completed the Montana Master Food Preserver Course for home-canning, smoking, and dehydrating foods.

Mr. Johnson dries and tinctures a wide variety of medicinal herbs taken by wild crafting and cultivation, in addition to preserving and canning his own food. An expert in land navigation, survival, mountaineering, and parachuting as trained by the United States Army, Mr. Johnson is an ardent advocate for preparedness, self-sufficiency, and long-term disaster sustainability for families. He and his wife survived Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath. Cross-trained as a Special Forces Engineer, he is an expert in supply, logistics, transport, and long-term storage of perishable materials, having incorporated many of these techniques plus some unique innovations in his own homestead.

Mr. Johnson brings practical, tested experience firmly rooted in formal education to his writings and to our team. He and his wife live in a cabin in the mountains of Western Montana with their three cats.

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

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