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 you didn’t learn in Conceal Carry Training. And how this information could change your life.

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Image: Target shooting, Kelly McCarthy. Now’s the time to think about the consequences of pulling the trigger in a defensive situation

Pulling that trigger is something you need to have thought about BEFORE you ever have to do it. Could you shoot a kid? No? Could you shoot a kid with a gun aimed at your wife? Maybe? Could you shoot a pregnant woman? Never? Could you shoot a pregnant woman with a gun to your kid’s head. Would you shoot a gunman threatening a clerk in a convenience store if you’re safely hiding at the back and in no immediate danger? Could you shoot your wife? Are you going to risk your life for a stranger? Are you willing to endure the court case? The massive hit to your finances? To even, possibly, have to move town because people won’t believe that what you did was necessary. So many ifs, right?

Here are the steps that COULD follow a defensive shooting:

  • Shots Fired
  • 911 Call
  • First Responders
  • Local law enforcement supervisors
  • Detectives – In some places the ADA will be dispatched
  • Investigation/Questioning
  • Prosecutor Determination
  • Trial Phase
  • Sentencing
  • Appeal Process
  • Civil Trial

See what I mean. Being the hero can get you in a whole world of trouble? That’s why I am probably only going to draw and shoot if I’m saving someone with the same last name as me.

Reporting a defensive shooting

So you pulled the trigger. You need to prepare for how you would report a defensive shooting. Rule No. 1. Don’t incriminate yourself. The 911 operator is not your friend but is trained to keep asking questions which are being recorded. Keep it simple.

  • Dial 911
  • Report there’s been a shooting.
  • Give them your name and the address you’re at
  • Tell them who is in the house/building. (Maybe send the kids next door if they are present.)
  • Describe any injuries and whether you need EMS
  • Describe yourself, your clothes. Put your weapon on the floor or in clear sight. (Unless you are using it to subdue a criminal.)
  • If you are insured with an organization that provides an attorney, call them. If you have an attorney call them.
  • Tell the police the bare minimum. Be cooperative but spare the details. Say only:
    • Officer, I was in fear of my life/my family member was threatened and at risk of losing their life. (You would not pull the trigger to save property. The fallout is NOT worth it for something insured or inanimate.)
    • I will sign the complaint.
    • Be helpful and show them what the assailant used to attack you.
    • Introduce any witnesses.
    • Tell them you are invoking the Fifth Amendment until you have had time to talk to your attorney and calm yourself down. You should say you’ll be back within 24 hours to talk to them. Be prepared to be arrested. And be prepared to spend a long time being questioned.
    • Remember to say: “If he/she survives I want to press charges.” Remind everyone that you’re not the aggressor here. 

Supreme Court Botches Wayfair Ruling, Putting Small Online Businesses at Risk of New Taxes

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Small online businesses and consumers around the country will suffer the most from the Supreme Court’s ruling Thursday in South Dakota v. Wayfair Inc. It’s now up to Congress to protect internet retailers from taxes imposed by states other than their own.

The court essentially ruled that all 50 states and the tens of thousands of local tax jurisdictions are now permitted to reach outside their borders and require out-of-state internet retailers to collect and remit local sales taxes.

In its 5-4 decision, the court ruled against the Boston-based online home goods retailer Wayfair, which challenged a South Dakota law that now requires it to collect the state’s sales taxes on goods sold to customers in the state, even though Wayfair has no physical connection—or political recourse—in South Dakota.

Twenty-five years ago, in Quill Corp. v. North Dakota, the Supreme Court threw out exactly this sort of tax scheme, ruling that a state cannot require a business to collect sales taxes for it unless the business has a physical presence—such as a store, warehouse, or employees—in that state.

This fundamental principle of “physical presence” limits the reach of revenue-hungry tax collectors in all 50 states. It kept South Dakota or New York from forcing local businesses elsewhere to collect their taxes.

In a world without the protection of the physical presence standard, every small business that sells online can now be subject to the more than 10,000 different taxing jurisdictions—each with their own rates and rules about what is taxable.

Large retailers, such as Amazon, have already absorbed the cost of complying with, collecting, and remitting sales taxes in every district around the country. In fact, 17 of the largest 18 online retailers already collect sales taxes on all online sales.

The court’s expansion of sales tax collection only affects smaller businesses. These are the firms least likely to be able to deal with the burden of collecting the proper taxes as dictated by distant governments.

Small businesses can now be subject to mandates from states with which they have no physical connection, and whose policymakers face no accountability for the tax and compliance costs they impose.

The silver lining is that the Constitution gives Congress the authority to fix the problem created by the court. Under the power to regulate interstate commerce, Congress must codify the physical presence standard to protect small businesses and limit the reach of extraterritorial taxes.

The new status quo under Wayfair is untenable, creating a Wild West for state sales taxes. Some will point to seemingly easy solutions that have been promoted for decades. One example is the Remote Transactions Parity Act, sponsored by Rep. Kristi Noem, R-S.D.

Noem’s bill would maintain the new expanded power of state tax collectors, while imposing nominal limits and simplifications on states’ tax rules.

Such proposals that force sellers to track their sales to the consumer’s destination and comply with laws in other jurisdictions are fundamentally at odds with the principles of local government and American federalism.

If local officials want to treat all sales in their state equally, they are currently able to impose taxes on sales that originate from all businesses located within their borders.

Internet vendors can be taxed on an equal footing with brick-and-mortar retailers—at the “origin of sale” no matter the final destination.

An equally applied tax on all sales shipped from a state could be administered locally, would protect Americans from taxation without representation, and would treat similarly located businesses the same.

The Supreme Court got it right 25 years ago, and it was wrong to second-guess that decision.

There’s still no good reason to expand the reach of state taxes beyond their borders. While seeming to level the retail tax playing field, it will instead create new burdens, while undermining government accountability.

Commentary by Adam Michel. Originally published at The Daily Signal.

An Amusing Examination of Socialism

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I’m a big believer that some images do a great job of capturing an issue.

Speaking of socialism, let’s look at some more images that reveal the essence of that bankrupt ideology.

Here’s a cartoon from Libertarian Reddit that does a great job of showing the real difference between capitalism and socialism.

Perfectly stated. Reminds me of the insights offered by Thatcher and Churchill.

Sadly, if you provide the statists with real-world evidence, many of them still prefer the world in top-right frame rather than the bottom-right frame.

Heck, the IMF actually publishes studies supporting equal levels of poverty.

As you might suspect, there are plenty of socialists who enjoy the benefits of capitalism while urging statism for everyone else. Think, for instance, about all the leftists who use tax havens.

Or this hipster millennial.

Maybe he could have a ménage à trois with Pajama Boy and Julia? Though only if everyone is guaranteed equal levels of disappointment.

Next is a helpful reminder from Bernie Sanders about the very thin line between socialism and communism.

Though I’m not sure there’s a meaningful difference.

Last but not least, this gem from Libertarian Reddit appealed to my juvenile sense of humor.

Basically the same message you find in the last item in this collection of socialism humor.

P.S. Here’s my two-part series (here and here) on the bizarre allure of socialism.

P.P.S. For additional examples of socialism humor, click herehereherehere, and here.

This is a guest post by Dan Mitchell.

PLAGUE WATCH: Black Death Strikes in Idaho

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In what is only the fifth case of bubonic plague in humans in the state of Idaho, the diagnosis of a child with the disease is sparking concerns.  The unidentified child, who lives in Elmore County, is recovering from the bacterial infection.

According to WCVB 5, an ABC affiliate, Central District Health Department epidemiologists say it is not known whether the child was exposed to plague in Idaho or during a recent trip to the state of Oregon. Since 1940, only five human cases of plague have been reported in the Gem State (Idaho). The last two reported cases occurred in 1991 and 1992, with both patients fully recovering.

But the plague was common in Madagascar toward the end of last year. That outbreak was the worst in Madagascar in 50 years. Between August 1, 2017, and October 30, 2017, there were a total of 1801 probable and suspected cases of plague, including 127 deaths, as reported by the Ministry of Health of Madagascar to World Health Organization.

We have reported on other stories to do with the plague: http://www.selfreliancecentral.com/2017/11/01/madagascar-plague-spreading-relatives-digging-black-death-corpses-dancing-part-ancient-famadihana-ritual/ and http://www.selfreliancecentral.com/2017/11/16/drug-resistant-plague-now-killing-doctors/

 

The plague, also known as the “Black Death,” is infamous for killing millions of people in Europe during the Middle Ages. Of course, now,  modern medicine has given rise to antibiotics, which are effective in treating plague. However, without prompt treatment, the disease can cause serious illness or death.  The United States is also facing an anti-biotics resistance in those who have taken the drugs often in the past. 

Epidemiologists say this particular case serves as a reminder that the plague is still dangerous and infectious to both humans and their pets, but the disease should not discourage recreationists from enjoying Idaho’s outdoors. People can greatly reduce their risk of becoming infected with plague by taking simple precautions, including avoiding contact with wild rodents, their fleas, and rodent carcasses.  Do not feed rodents in picnic or campground areas and never handle sick or dead rodents.

So basically, don’t play with dead things. But you should also consider trying to keep your pets from roaming and hunting ground squirrels or other rodents in affected desert areas and talk to your veterinarian about using an appropriate flea control product on pets as not all products are safe for cats, dogs or children. Sick pets should be immediately examined promptly by a veterinarian, especially if they may have had contact with sick or dead rodents and live in close proximity to humans.

See your doctor if you have any unexplained illness involving a sudden and severe fever after being in a plague-endemic area. Clean up areas near your home where rodents can live, such as woodpiles, and put hay, wood, and compost piles as far away as possible and don’t leave any pet food or water where rodents or other wild animals can access them.

Signs and symptoms of the bacterial infection often creep up within just a few hours after infection and include a bloody cough, difficulty breathing, high fever, nausea, vomiting, headache, and weakness. If it is not treated quickly, pneumonic plague is almost always fatal.

This is a guest post by Mac Slavo of shtfplan.com.

VIDEO: Store owner opens fire on burglars

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A man opened fire on two would-be burglars after they broke into his Temple City auto repair shop Monday.

One of the burglars was hit while the other fled the scene. The shop owner then held the man at gunpoint until the police arrived.

After having his shop burglarized three times, the shop owner decided to take matters into his own hands. In recent weeks, he has slept in his shop each night, keeping a .380 pistol close to his chest.

The first accomplice used a crowbar to pry open the shop’s front door, then forced it open and stepped inside. The first burglar barely made it a few feet with his partner following close behind before he was met with the fearless shop owner.

The shop owner then charged at both criminals, shooting the surrounding windows, and apprehended the first man who broke in.

The burglar’s accomplice peeled out of the auto shop parking lot in the car they arrived in, quickly losing control of the vehicle and crashing onto a curb only half a block away. Shortly after, police found him in the front yard of a home the burglar ran into.

The shop owner’s use of his firearm was justified, according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff.

Delivered by The Daily Sheeple

How Did America Become a Nation of Slobs?

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One evening in early April I was waiting for my ten-year-old twin granddaughters to finish their indoor soccer practice when a girl their age approached me and said, “Your coat looks really nice.”

It was a wet, chilly evening, and I was wearing a London Fog given me thirty years ago by an elderly widow whose deceased husband no longer had to fret about the rain or the cold.

Though I thanked the girl, her comment took me aback. Then I looked at the other adults milling around me, and thought, as I often think nowadays, that all of them were dressed like…well, like slobs. Several were wearing sweat pants and hoodies, others ragged trousers and rumpled sweaters. One woman, a thirty-something mom, wore designer jeans torn artfully at the knees.

Several people have from time to time complimented me on my attire. One man, age fifty or so, once told me I dressed like an adult, a remark that struck me then and strikes me now as ludicrous. I typically wear a pair of khaki pants, casual shoes, and a shirt with a button-down collar. To be complimented on such mundane clothing is not only silly, it also reveals how low our standards have fallen.

Go to any public arena—a sports event, a shopping mall, Wal-Mart, you name it—and you realize the standard of dress for men and women, adults and children, has reached a low point in American history. Blue jeans are de rigueur; t-shirts with slogans, some of them billboards of obscenity, assault the eyes; pajama bottoms are worn to the grocery store; restaurant patrons appear at lunch looking as if they had just rolled out of the sack; grown men wear baseball caps while eating steaks at Outback.

Let’s contrast our contemporary “style” with the recent past. Go online, Google “baseball games 1930s photos,” and look at the pictures of the fans. Most are males wearing ties and coats. The women are wearing dresses and hats. Take a look at television shows from the 1950s or at “Mad Men,” and note how stylish people dressed when in public.

MLB Game 1911

When I was a boy, I remember my mother once telling me she couldn’t go to the store until she took the curlers from her hair. “Why?” I asked.

“Good heavens,” she said, “no one in town goes shopping with their hair in curlers.”

Those days are long gone, Mom.

Of course, lots of folks still spiff up for work. The tellers in my bank always look professional, some attorneys I know hit the office in a coat and tie, and the male teachers in my grandson’s school wear ties in the classroom. Yesterday I saw a woman, mid-twenties, walking down the street in a lovely black dress. Though her looks were not remarkable, she was striking because of the dress. She is also the exception rather than the rule. A good number of people I see during the day, of all backgrounds, run the gamut in attire from hooker to beggar.

MLB Game 1940s

What does our own sloppy dress tell us about ourselves? Are we too pressed for time to dress a little up rather than way down? Are we rebelling against the idea of beauty and culture? Or are we just too lazy to pull on a pair of slacks instead of wearing the sweats we slept in?

I have no idea.

Recently I was watching Casablanca with two of my granddaughters. One of them suddenly turned to me and said, “Why was everyone so dressed up back then?”

“People used to dress that way. They did every day. We just don’t do it anymore.”

“You do,” my granddaughter said.

I burst out laughing. My granddaughter gave me a puzzled look, then returned to the movie.

Oscar Wilde once said, “You can never be overdressed or overeducated.” No one would ever consider me overdressed—or overeducated, for that matter—but if I am now regarded as well-dressed, a man representing haute couture, then I can draw only one conclusion.

We are a nation of slobs.

[Image Credit: The Telegraph] 

This post How Did America Become a Nation of Slobs? was originally published on Intellectual Takeout by Jeff Minick.

What is THAT?! Weird creature washes up on Texas beach

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An odd sea creature that washed up on a Texas beach is puzzling park rangers. The odd-looking fish that lives on the ocean floor shocked Texas park rangers when it washed up on Padre Island National Seashore in Corpus Christi last week.

Fox News detailed a photographer’s discovery of the odd-looking creature. Photographer Edie Bresler was looking on the beach for hidden treasures when he spotted the big-eyed bizarre fish. It had bumpy skin, a funny looking nose, and wide mouth. Bresler wasn’t exactly sure what he was looking at so he quickly took out his camera and started snapping photographs of the creature hoping he could find someone who knew what it was.

“I have been beachcombing all my life so to come across something strange like this was totally exciting,” Bresler explained in a Facebook post on Thursday. “It got even better when I took the photographs to the park rangers and they were equally baffled.”

Bresler sent his photos to officials at Padre Island National Seashore and after they carefully studied the creature and compared images of the fish to various science books, they determined it was a thick-tailed batfish, one of Earth’s strangest creatures.

“These fish come from 600-1200 feet (180-365 meters) deep, where ocean life gets WEIRD,” the park posted on Facebook, including two photographs taken by Bresler. “Batfish use their pectoral, or side-fins, as ‘legs’ to ‘crawl’ on the seafloor to feed on worms, and small crustaceans and fish. They live their lives in complete darkness, where large eyes probably come in handy to avoid lanternfish or other possible predators.”

The discovery of the strange-looking creature caused excitement in “the science nerd that lives happily inside me,” said Bresler, adding that the fish reminded him of a creature from “the black lagoon.” Unfortunately, he added, it was too late to rescue the fish. Padre Island National Seashore is a national park that protects “70 miles of coastline, dunes, prairies,” according to its website.

Delivered by The Daily Sheeple

VIDEO: Georgia Grandma CHOKES OUT Huge Bobcat

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Georgia grandmother DeDe Phillips had nothing but her strong will to live and her bare hands when she got into a life or death struggle with a 45 pound bobcat.

Watch and listen to her harrowing tale of survival as she fought to live and to protect her 5 year old granddaughter from a rabid beast.

 

Scam Alert: Work from Home Business

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Image: CC0 www.maxpixel.net

Would you be tempted by an online business training program that promises you could earn thousands of dollars a month working from home? I wouldn’t blame you if you were. But don’t believe the hype. Promises like these are signs of an online business scam.

The FTC recently took steps to stop a company that was promoting a bogus online business opportunity to retirees and veterans, among others. The company claimed that you could start your own business working from home and make a LOT of money by following its 21-step system. How much is a lot? One of their websites said you could “make $5,000, $10,000, $20,000 or more every single month.”

Despite the promises, most people who paid for the online business program made little or no money. But you know who did make a lot of money? The people running the bogus business opportunity. The FTC alleges they collected more than $125 million from the customers they ripped off.

Recognize the Signs of an Online Business Scam

Marketers of these fake business opportunities often make similar claims that are a sign of a scam. They:

  • Guarantee that you can make a lot of money.
  • Promise that you can make money quickly and easily.
  • Use high pressure sales tactics, like saying you’ll miss out if you don’t buy in now.

Report Scams

If you come across someone selling a business opportunity that you think could be a scam, report it to the FTC. Why bother? Because your report matters.

Learn More about Starting a Business

Learn more about your rights if you’re thinking about buying a business or business opportunity. You can also visit the Small Business Administration site for tips on starting a business.

June 11, 2018, by Alvaro Puig, Consumer Education Specialist

 

OUTBREAK ALERT: ‘Disease X’ Bird Flu Strain Kills Over 600 In China Outbreak

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Image: Chinese Flu Inspectors, NocturneNoir, CC BY-SA 3.0

A new strain of bird flu, H7N9, has sparked fears of a major outbreak among scientists. Dubbed “Disease X.” the new strain has already infected more than 1600 people and killed over 600 of those in China.

Experts believe at this time that this virus could become more contagious. According to Plant Based News, as of right now, the only way a human can become infected with “disease X” is to come in contact with infected birds but there’s a high degree of speculation that that will change in the near future. Experts suspect that as few as three mutations could result in a human-to-human contagion causing a potentially worldwide pandemic.

England’s Deputy Chief Medical Officer Professor Johnathan Van-Tam also expressed fears that H7N9 “could be the cause of the next pandemic,” because the new strain kills about kills 38 percent of those it infects.  “[H7N9] is an example of another virus which has proven its ability to transmit from birds to humans,” said Van-Tam.

According to Newsweek, The World Health Organization in March included “Disease X” in its most recent global strategy and preparedness plan known as the 2018 R&D Blueprint. The name, “represents the knowledge that a serious international epidemic could be caused by a pathogen currently unknown to cause human disease, and so the R&D Blueprint explicitly seeks to enable cross-cutting R&D preparedness that is also relevant for an unknown “Disease X” as far as possible.”

Symptoms of infection include fever, coughing, shortness of breath, pneumonia, acute respiratory distress syndrome, septic shock, and organ failure.

“Influenza viruses constantly change and it is possible that this virus could gain the ability to spread easily and sustainably among people, triggering a global outbreak of disease,” says the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It has the “greatest risk to severely impact public health if it were to achieve sustained human-to-human transmission.”

This is a guest post by Mac Slavo of shtfplan.com.

A scam story: Secret shopping and fake checks

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Scammers need a good story to get to your wallet. Once they find one that works, they use it again and again. One of their old favorites brings together fake checks and secret shopping, and we’ve been hearing a lot about it lately.

Here’s how it starts. You get a check in the mail with a job offer as a secret shopper. You deposit the check and see the funds in your account a few days later, and the bank even tells you the check has cleared.

Now you’re off to the store you’ve been asked to shopat and report back on, often a Walmart. Your first assignment is to test the in-store money transfer service, like Western Union or MoneyGram, by sending some of the money you deposited. Or you might be told to use the money to buy reloadable cards or gift cards, such as iTunes cards. You’re instructed to send pictures of the cards or to give the numbers on the cards.

Fast forward days or weeks to the unhappy ending. The bank finds out the check you deposited is a fake, which means you’re on the hook for all that money. How does that even happen? Well, banks must make funds from deposited checks available within days, but uncovering a fake checkcan take weeks. By the time you try to get the money back from the money transfer service, the scammers are long gone, and they’ve taken all the money off the gift cards, too. (By the way, money orders and cashier’s checks can be faked, too.)

The moral of the story? If anyone ever asks you to deposit a check and then wire or send money in any way, you can bet it’s a scam.No matter what they tell you.

Want to avoid the latest rip-offs? Sign up for free scam alerts from the FTC at FTC.gov/Scams.

Can we please be honest about the Senate? It is a majority in name only.

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By Printus LeBlanc

The White House needs to accept the political reality of the Senate. Despite having 51 Republicans in the Senate, they do not have a majority and are facing a hostile Senate. All the evidence is in the numbers, and President Donald Trump must act accordingly.

The first test for the “Republican” controlled Senate came after six years of campaign promises. The GOP controlled the House, Senate, and White House, and it was finally going to get rid of Obamacare. And then the Senate had to vote when it had a President that would sign the bill. Long story short, Obamacare is still the law of the land.

Another test will come later this week. In early June, the House passed a $14.7 billion rescission package. The package was nothing more than programs that did not exist, or there is no authorization, but Congress keeps funding anyways. The package now sits in the Senate and must be acted upon by Friday.

It seems like an easy lift. Defunct government programs should not get funded. However, it is not looking good. Many moderate Senators, including appropriators, do not want to rock the boat on the previously agreed to spending levels, even if said spending levels include phantom funding.

Nominations are another key indicator the Republicans do not control the Senate. There has been a staggering level of obstruction with President Trump’s nominees. There have been over 100 cloture votes, including half a dozen cloture votes on nominees that passed without a vote against. The obstruction has gotten so bad; there are 100 fewer confirmations than the next closest administration.

Knowing the Senate landscape, the President must now consider the Senate a hostile body. President Trump must play hardball with the Senate.

President Trump must assert his veto authority. Trump must let the Senate know he will veto any spending bill that does not prioritize his policies, the policies that won the election. The border wall must be funded, and the President must have the ability to drain the swamp, by getting the authority to fire the swamp through enacting the MERIT Act by U.S. Rep. Barry Loudermilk.

President Trump won the presidency because of his stance against illegal immigration. All the polls show a majority of Americans do not like illegal immigration, despite what the media spouts. The results were validated in the election because the Democrat Party and the Republican establishment were all running from the same open borders and amnesty playbook. They lost, and Donald Trump won, and he won on the promise of building a wall.

The swamp got the better of the President in the previous budget by hiding behind the Trump’s love for the military, but now the President must fight back. A veto threat for a budget that does not fund the border wall will force funding for the wall. The ten Democrats up for reelection in states Trump won cannot afford to be seen as shutting the government down because they don’t want to protect American citizens. Illegal immigration cost the U.S. taxpayers $116 billion per year; the wall will cost $25 billion to build plus maintenance. If the wall reduces illegal immigration by only 10 percent, the wall pays for itself in 2 ½ years.

The President also promised to drain the swamp, but that can be difficult when it is impossible to fire a government employee. A small step was taken when President Trump signed the Department of Veterans Affairs Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act last summer.  The legislation streamlined the process to fire, suspend, or demote VA employees for substandard performance or misconduct. Secondarily, the bill authorized the VA secretary to recover bonuses awarded to employees that acted improperly. The VA scandal began when employees lied about appointments to get bonuses.

The legislation is effective, as it enabled the VA to fire more than 1,500 poor performing employees within six months after the legislation was signed. While it may be easier to fire poor performing employees in the VA, that is not the case for the rest of the federal government. This power must be given to the rest of the federal agencies by passing the MERIT Act.

President Trump must demand all cabinet secretaries have the same power the VA secretary has to fire poorly performing employees, and this can be done by turning the VA Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act into a federal government-wide act. Who would be against firing poor performing employees?

Since his election, the President has been trying to play nice with the Senate. The time for fun and games has passed. The President must take the fight to the Senate and force tough votes. They are the opposition. Dare the Senate to shut down the federal government before an election because it doesn’t want to protect Americans or fire poor performing employees. This is a winning formula for November. After all, it worked once already.

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

Reprinted with permission. Original can be viewed here.

VIDEO: Think you’re tough? Watch this Brit get hit by bus, jump up and walk into pub!

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The last person Simon Smith thought he’d meet at a local bar was the driver of the Number 17 bus.

The two became acquainted when the out-of-control, 12-ton, double decker bus struck him as he crossed the street in Reading, England, the Telegraph reports.

The speeding bus hit Smith with such force his body shattered the windshield before landing 20 feet away. The bus only stopped after colliding with and smashing apart the building’s overhang. It was clearly out of control and traveling at considerable speed.

That’s when Smith simply got up, dusted himself off, walked into the Purple Turtle and “informed staff he had just been hit by a bus,” according to the South Central Ambulance Service.

Amazingly, being struck by a 12-ton bus left Simon with only bruises.

“We’ve known Simon for about 20 years,” said Purple Turtle manager Stuart McNaught, “He went to hospital, he’s ok he’s a bit frail today, he’s not feeling the best. He went to hospital the paramedics who called the ambulance took him. He’s bruised and shocked I think.”

“He shouldn’t be here,” his wife tells the Telegraph.

It is unknown if he got a drink.

Polishing a rusty knife was never so satisfying!

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This video is breaking the internet. And when you watch it you’ll see why! It’s so very satisfying. The cats are a nice touch, too!

Wow! Using tilapia skin for burns actually works

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This is amazing. In the US we use artificial skin, animal skin (pig, usually) and donated human skin to treat burn victims. Sterilized skin is applied over a burn instead of using gauze and bandages which require many painful changes for infection reasons. Donated skin binds to human skin and allows the healing to take place underneath. The human body finally sheds the donated skin, much as a scab falls off a wound.

In less prosperous Brazil, they don’t have enough donated skin, just 1% of the amount needed, so they turned to another, much more available source, tilapia skin.

Tilapia is a farmed fish and the skins are usually thrown away. That’s probably about to change. It turns out that the amount of collagen proteins, types 1 and 3, which are very important for scarring, exist in large quantities in tilapia skin, even more than in human and other skins. In addition, the amount of tension, of resistance in tilapia skin is much greater than in human skin, as is the amount of moisture.

The skins are trimmed and bathed in sterilizing agents, then sent for radiation to kill viruses, before being packaged and refrigerated. Once cleaned and treated, they can last for up to two years.

More: https://www.statnews.com/2017/03/02/brazil-tilapia-skin-burns/

and here: http://www.reuters.com/article/us-health-brazil-burns-idUSKBN18L1WH

Sports Tickets, Other Freebies for FBI Leakers Raise ‘Bribery’ Issues, Legal Experts Say

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The Justice Department’s internal watchdog is investigating FBI leakers, as legal experts say revelations about gifts in an inspector general’s report this week raise new legal and ethical issues.

“We will separately report on those investigations as they are concluded,” @JusticeOIG says.

The Justice Department’s Office of Inspector General noted that “dozens” of FBI agents had contact with the news media, and many were taking sports tickets, golf outings, and other gifts from reporters to whom they were leaking unauthorized information about a criminal investigation.

The FBI’s Office of Integrity and Compliance discourages the acceptance by agents of anything of value, said Ron Hosko, a former FBI assistant director.

“Accepting something from someone who clearly expects something back has the whiff of a quid pro quo,” Hosko told The Daily Signal.

“Any agreement for something of value in exchange for information—particularly, information related to an investigation—would constitute a corrupt relationship and warrants the strongest sanction,” he added.

The inspector general’s report about the FBI’s handling of Hillary Clinton’s private email server scandal, released on Thursday, said:

We have profound concerns about the volume and extent of unauthorized media contacts by FBI personnel that we have uncovered during our review.

In addition, we identified instances where FBI employees improperly received benefits from reporters, including tickets to sporting events, golfing outings, drinks and meals, and admittance to nonpublic social events.

We will separately report on those investigations as they are concluded, consistent with the Inspector General Act, other applicable federal statutes, and OIG policy.

The report goes on to recommend that “the FBI evaluate whether (a) it is sufficiently educating its employees about both its media contact policy and the Department’s ethics rules, and (b) its disciplinary penalties are sufficient to deter such improper conduct.”

The Office of Government Ethics describes specific restrictions on executive branch employees accepting gifts. A “prohibited source” of a gift is “seeking official action” or “has an interest.”

The question arises if and when that affects a news organization with an interest in information held by a government employee who is taking gifts, potentially using that job for personal gain.

“We are looking at two potential crimes. One is potential disclosure of classified information. The second is potential bribery,” Curt Levey, president of the Committee for Justice, a nonprofit conservative legal group, told The Daily Signal. “Under bribery statutes, the Supreme Court has determined you have to prove a quid pro quo.”

That would be a difficult case to prosecute, because bribery is often thought of in the context of giving a government official “cash or a Rolex,” said David Rivkin, a lawyer who served in the White House Counsel’s Office under President George H.W. Bush.

“If an FBI agent received meals and benefits in exchange for providing this information, it might fall under the bribery statute,” Rivkin told The Daily Signal. “You might convince a grand jury, but can you convince a jury?”

Rivkin said another potential offense would be FBI agents misusinggovernment property or the authority of their office to advance a purely personal agenda.

While Justice Department Inspector General Michael E. Horowitz determined political bias didn’t affect the outcome of the investigation into Clinton’s email scandal, Rivkin thinks the FBI employees demonstrated an agenda.

FBI officials Peter Strzok and Lisa Page were the only named individuals, while others were identified only as FBI employees or agents.

“I found the totality of the messages, not just Strzok and Page, but ‘Agents 3 and 4,’ absolutely appalling,” Rivkin said. “I have never seen anything like this in my years at the Department of Justice.”

On Oct. 28, the day then-FBI Director James Comey notified Congress he had reopened the Clinton probe, “FBI Employee 1” wrote, “I mean, I never really liked the Republic anyway.”

“FBI Employee 3” responded, “As I have initiated the destruction of the republic … Would you be so kind as to have a coffee with me this afternoon?”

“FBI Employee 4” chimed in, “I’m clinging to small pockets of happiness in the dark time of the Republic’s destruction.”

Fewer jokes were exchanged the day after the election, Nov. 9, 2016. “FBI Attorney 2” wrote, “I am numb.”

“FBI Employee” (no number assigned) replied, “I can’t stop crying.” “FBI Employee” later said, “You promised me this wouldn’t happen. YOU PROMISED.”

“FBI Attorney 2” wrote, “I am so stressed about what I could have done differently,” adding, “I don’t know. We broke the momentum.”

As a reassurance, “FBI Employee” wrote, “All the people who were initially voting for her would not, and were not, swayed by any decision the FBI put out. Trump’s supporters are all poor to middle class, uneducated, lazy POS that think he will magically grant them jobs for doing nothing.” (“POS” is an acronym for a barnyard epithet.)

“They probably didn’t watch the debates, aren’t fully educated on his policies, and are stupidly wrapped up in his unmerited enthusiasm,” the message continued.

What upset Rivkin the most about the messages was that no FBI employees seemed to object.

“If you looked at all the people involved in those chains of messages with disdain and anger, you don’t see any Boy Scouts,” Rivkin said. “That’s very depressing to me.”

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Fred Lucas is the White House correspondent for The Daily Signal and co-host of “The Right Side of History” podcast. reproduced with permission. Original can be viewed here.

WARNING Extremely Graphic Content. Dead woman cut out of python’s belly.

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A 7-meter-long (23-foot-long) python swallowed a woman in central Indonesia this weekend. (I suspect this video will be taken down so I have included some still photographs at the bottom of this article. They are graphic. Don’t scroll down and then whine about it if you find it shocking. This poor woman just went out into her yard. They found her machete nearby. ~Kelly)

A 7-meter-long (23-foot-long) python swallowed a woman in central Indonesia. The victim, 54-year-old Wa Tiba, went missing while checking her vegetable garden near her village on Muna island in Southeast Sulawesi province on Thursday evening, according to the village chief, Faris.

On Friday, her family went to look for her at the garden but found only her belongings, including sandals, a machete and a flashlight, said Faris, who uses a single name. The family and villagers launched a search for the woman, and found the snake with a bloated belly about 50 meters (yards) from where her belongings were found. The villagers killed the snake and carried it to the village.

“When they cut open the snake’s belly they found Tiba’s body still intact with all her clothes,” Faris said. “She was swallowed first from her head.”

Videos posted on some websites showed villagers slicing open the python’s carcass to reveal the woman’s body. Faris said the victim’s garden, about 1 kilometer (half a mile) from her house, is located in a rocky area with caves and cliffs believed to contain many snakes. Reticulated pythons, which are widespread in Indonesia and other parts of Southeast Asia, grab onto their prey with dozens of sharp curved teeth and then squeeze it to death before swallowing it whole.

Reports of humans being killed by pythons are extremely rare. In the wild they are known to eat monkeys, pigs and other mammals. It was the second python attack on a human in Indonesia since March last year, when a 25-year-old man was swallowed whole by a python in West Sulawesi province.

Giant Hogweed – spot the plant that burns and blinds

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hogweed

Lauren Fuller is 10-years old. She was building a den by a Scottish riverbank when she picked up the invasive plant, Giant Hogweed (Heracleum mantegazzianum), which grows wild across the countryside.

Within 24 hours she had bright red burns on her hands and cheeks – but when her parents took her to hospital, they were told it was just sunburn.

As you can see from the photo below, this was no sunburn.

Sadly, the effects and dangers of Giant hogweed are not limited to Scottish riverbanks. Nowadays, the toxic plant grows in New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Maryland, Oregon, Washington, Michigan, Virginia, Vermont, New Hampshire, Indiana and Maine.

In fact, thirty giant hogweed plants were found on June 12 in Virginia’s Clarke County, northwest of Washington D.C., according to The Massey Herbarium at Virginia Tech.

Isle of Wight County Virginia posted on Facebook this week that additional plants had been reported in the area of Staunton near Charlottesville, and Middlesex County, east of Richmond.

Giant hogweed is native to the Caucasus Region and Central Asia. It was introduced to Britain as an ornamental plant in the 19th century, but has now spread to many other parts of Europe, the United States and Canada.

It looks like a giant version of cow parsley (Queen Anne’s Lace), which we are not instinctively scared of, even though it smells a bit rank. Giant hogweed can reach over 10ft in height.

It’s not only invasive – it grows like a rampant weed – but it’s tenacious. While other biennials die off after two years, giant hogweed can keep coming back year after year, out-growing and displacing all the friendlier (more desirable) plants around it.

Danger to humans
The sap of giant hogweed causes phytophotodermatitis in humans, resulting in blisters, long-lasting scars, and—if it comes in contact with eyes—blindness. These serious reactions are due to the furocoumarin derivatives in the leaves, roots, stems, flowers, and seeds of the plant.

Giant hogweed sap contains toxic chemicals known as photosensitizing furanocoumarins. When these chemicals come into contact with the human skin, it can cause a skin reaction that’s extremely sensitive to light.

Hogweed burns
Serious hogweed burns may require skin grafts

The light-sensitive skin reaction causes dark painful blisters that form within 48 hours, and result in scars that can last anywhere from a few months to six years. Touching giant hogweed can also cause long-term sunlight sensitivity, and blindness if sap gets into a person’s eye. Blistering can re-occur for many years.

The N.Y. Department of Health recommends that you wash it off with cold water immediately and get out of the sun. A toxic reaction can begin as soon as 15 minutes after contact. Apply sunscreen to the affected areas since this can prevent further reactions if you’re stuck outside. Compresses soaked in an aluminum acetate mixture – available at pharmacies – can provide relief for skin irritations.

Don’t expose the area you believe to have been affected to sunlight for at least 48 hours. Wash your eyes with water and wear sunglasses. They advise to seek a medical’s opinion to confirm there has been no infection.

If hogweed sap gets into the eye, rinse them with water immediately and put on sunglasses. Get to an eye doctor for irrigation and a check-up asap!

Don’t mow or weed-whack the plant, apparently they like it and it will just send up new growth and potentially expose you to toxic sap. Call a professional or local authorities who can properly destroy the plant and its seeds. Here is the USDA website link for reporting pests. 

And of course, call a doctor if you’re experiencing a severe reaction.

How To Control Giant Hogweed

The information on this page is available in a more extensive PDF format. View complete Giant hogweed Control Methods (PDF, 500 KB) document.

Giant hogweed can be controlled manually, mechanically, and with herbicides. In some cases, a giant hogweed infestation is best controlled using several different methods in combination or in succession – in other words, a two, three, or even four-pronged attack plan. The final part to any control method is to plant grasses or other vegetation to provide competition for giant hogweed and decrease soil erosion.

In order for your control effort to be successful, you will have to ensure that no additional seeds are being introduced to the area. With no influx of seed and a few years of persistent control efforts, giant hogweed plants can be eradicated.

Before beginning or performing giant hogweed control, be sure to carefully read and follow the Health Hazards & Safety Instructions (this page contains graphic photos)!

Overall Giant Hogweed Control

  1. Prevent introduction into new areas
  2. Do not move soil contaminated with seed. If removal of contaminated soil is necessary, seedling emergence can be prevented by burying the soil to a minimum depth of 20 inches (50 cm) and covering it with clean soil
  3. Sowing and planting giant hogweed is PROHIBITED
  4. Since the dispersal of giant hogweed is almost entirely by seeds, it is very important to prevent the plant from setting seed
  5. Control new, smaller infestations first before the seed bank has a chance to establish
Giant hogweed root cutting being performed by a field technician.
Field technician root-cutting hogweed plants.

Manual & Mechanical Control

Methods include root cutting, flower head/seed head removal, cutting and mowing, and cut and cover. Except for root cutting, manual control will not cause immediate death of the plant. All other methods will need two to three treatments per year for several years to deplete the root reserves and kill the plants. All methods will need to occur for multiple years until no new plants grow from the seed bank. Monitor the site for at least three more years to make sure no new seedlings appear.

a. Root cutting

  • This method is ideal for a single plant or small infestations. We have found 400 plants to be a manageable amount for two people to control manually.
  • Cut the taproot approximately six inches below ground level using a spade, shovel, or anything with a large sharp edge. In areas with erosion or on steep inclines (where additional soil may be covering the plant base), plants may need to be cut up to ten inches below the soil.
  • Photo of a shovel and the root of a giant hogweed plant.

    When cutting the root you need to separate the thick stem base bearing old leaf scars from the root below.

  • If possible (for your safety), cut the plants before the leaves are very large.
  • The cut part of the plants should be removed from the soil and left out to dry (safest for control person) or bagged and disposed of.
  • If the plants do not die, cut them again when they regrow.
  • When using the root-cutting method, another attack strategy is to apply herbicide to the cut root remaining in the soil to help ensure no part of the root grows back the following year.

b. Hogweed flower head/seed head removal & safe disposal

  • Cut off the flower heads after the seeds have formed but before they mature. This will prevent the plants from shedding the seeds and from forming new flowers on lower branches.
  • Field technician cutting seed heads off of giant hogweed plants.

    Use a pruner/lopper/knife to carefully cut off all flower heads and place them in a sturdy (or doubled/tripled) trash bags. We have found a “cut and hold” pruner to work best.

  • Clear trash bags are the best for solarization (a method of using the heat from the sun to destroy the seed viability) but dark bags are suitable as well.
  • Seal trash bags tightly.
  • If sap has gotten on the outside of the bag, put it inside another trash bag so the outside is safe to handle.
  • Place in a secure location where they will be exposed to direct sunlight to give flowers and seeds solarization for at least two weeks.
  • Dispose of trash bags in the garbage.

c. Cutting & mowing

  • Start when plants are small and continue mowing throughout season. DO NOT mow if the plants are larger than your mower and NEVER mow if there is a flower or seed head.
  • If you choose to use this method, the plants must be cut at least three times during a growing season for several years.
  • Repeated mowing is often used for large infested areas and if done consistently and on a regular basis can destroy most of the plants.
  • Be careful not to spread the seeds – all flower heads should be removed and carefully disposed of prior to mowing.
  • Mowing equipment should be cleaned before using in another area to avoid spreading hogweed seeds.

d. Cut & cover

  • Cut the plants down to ground level and cover the soil with black plastic or landscape fabric with mulch on top.
  • Check the following year to make sure seedlings do not poke through.
  • After a few years, remove the plastic and re-vegetate the area.

Herbicide Control

Giant hogweed is susceptible to systemic herbicides, such as glyphosate and triclopyr. The application of these herbicides is considered effective and cost efficient and can be used for the control of a single plant or large stands of giant hogweed. These systemic herbicides will be absorbed by the leaves and will move into the root to prevent regrowth the following year. Triclopyr is a selective herbicide that acts only on broadleaf plants and will not harm grasses in the area. Glyphosate is non persistent in the soil but is also a non-selective herbicide and will kill any surrounding vegetation it comes in contact with. Some triclopyr and glyphosate products (example: Rodeo) are labeled for use in riparian areas and near water. Areas sprayed with triclopyr can recolonize with grasses and other herbaceous species within the same growing season which helps to suppress giant hogweed seedling growth and decrease soil erosion. Recolonization at sites using glyphosate will probably be slower than sites using triclopyr unless re-seeded.

Field technician spraying giant hogweed plants with a glyphosate based herbicide.

Spray giant hogweed leaves with an herbicide containing triclopyr or glyphosate as the active ingredient. Use the recommended manufacturer’s dose and follow label instructions – there is no advantage to using a higher dose. Apply the herbicide between March and early June when hogweed leaves are green and actively growing. A follow-up treatment, in July or August, may be needed for the plants that did not die from the first herbicide application. During this follow-up treatment it is strongly recommended to remove any flower heads present to decrease next year’s seed source. It is easiest to spray before the plants grow overly tall. Giant hogweed plants can be sprayed later in the season as long as they are still green and not dying back. Another option is to carefully cut the plants above waist height and spray below. To be successful in eradicating giant hogweed, herbicide treatments (or another control method) will have to be repeated for a few years, in order to kill the plants missed the prior year as well as the plants emerging from the seed bank.

Spray during dry and calm weather. Cover leaf surfaces thoroughly with spray droplets, but do not spray to the point that liquid is dripping off the leaves. Do not apply herbicide to non-target organisms as you want the other plants to live and revegetate the area. It may take plants treated up to one week or more depending on moisture levels before symptoms appear. Do not cut or dig the plant until the top growth has died back. If the leaves remain green several weeks or a month after the initial treatment, spray them with herbicide again.

For Licensed Pesticide Applicators

There are five herbicides that are legal for specific use on giant hogweed due to FIFRA 2(ee) Recommendations:

  • Accord XRT II, EPA Reg. No. 62719-556
  • Garlon 4 Ultra, EPA Reg. No. 62719-527
  • Rodeo, EPA Reg. No. 62719-324
  • Roundup ProMax Herbicide, EPA Reg. No. 524-579
  • Roundup Pro Concentrate Herbicide, EPA Reg. No. 524-529

Some of these herbicides are classified as restricted and can only be applied by, or under the supervision of, a certified commercial pesticide applicator. A copy of the FIFRA 2(ee) Recommendation letter as well as a copy of the herbicide label needs to be carried by the applicator when applying herbicides. The 2(ee) recommendations can be downloaded at the NYS Pesticide Product, Ingredient and Manufacturer System (PIMS) database web site (leaves DEC website).

Monitor

Giant Hogweed seedlings

It may be possible for hogweed seeds to remain viable in the soil for 15 years. For this reason, long-term monitoring is very important. Check the site and surrounding areas for the next several years for the emergence of any hogweed seedlings or regrowth from previous year’s plants.

Revegetation

This step is crucial! After removing giant hogweed plants, you may be left with an area of bare soil vulnerable to soil erosion, giant hogweed seedlings, and introduction of other invasive weeds. Re-establishment of native or non-invasive vegetation (e.g. through sowing grass mixtures) at treated sites may be necessary to help achieve your desired control outcome. This will help to reduce soil erosion and provide competition for giant hogweed seedlings.

For more information about control of giant hogweed, please see The Best Management Practice Manual (PDF, 2.5 MB). This manual was developed by numerous experts in Europe to control this invasive plant.

WTH: With Knife Crimes on Rise, British Judge Recommends Duller Kitchen Knives

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Image: PxHere, CC0

A veteran British judge says Britons should round off the tips of their large kitchen knives as a way to cut down on the rising number of knife attacks in England, which has strict gun controls.

Judge Nicholas Madge made his proposal at his recent retirement ceremony after 77 knife-related incidents, including three deaths, occurred in Bedfordshire, England, over the prior two months, The Telegraph newspaper reported.

“Why do we need 8-inch or 10-inch kitchen knives with points?” Madge said at the May 25 event. “Butchers and fishmongers do, but how often, if at all, does a domestic chef use the point of an 8-inch or 10-inch knife? Rarely, if at all.”

Amy Swearer, legal policy analyst at The Heritage Foundation’s Meese Center for Legal and Judicial Studies, ridiculed the idea as knife control.

Rounding off the tips of kitchen knives, Swearer told The Daily Signal, is “the liberals’ version of gun control in England, 40 years ahead of the United States.”

“Blunt tips for knives seems practically absurd. You can make a shank out of plastic in prison,” Swearer said. “Will they regulate plastic next? Where will the line be drawn?”

The Heritage policy analyst attributes Madge’s “extreme” proposal to England’s gun control policy, in place since the mid-to-late 1990s.

England slowly achieved the dream of American gun control advocates, but it didn’t help curb crime, Swearer said.

“To keep people safe, allow law-abiding citizens to defend themselves,” she said.

Today, England suffers from an epidemic of so-called “hot burglaries.” Hot burglaries occur when an individual enters a house despite knowing that the resident is home.

Swearer said that in the U.S., 14 percent of all burglaries are “hot,” while England’s “hot” rate is 60 percent.

“There was a study that asked burglars why they did or did not commit hot burglaries,” she said. “American burglars said residents were more likely to have a gun, while English burglars knew that the resident didn’t have a gun, and that they could get [the victim] to open [his or her] safe.”

Swearer attributed that to the Second Amendment right to bear arms, a right Britons don’t enjoy:

England didn’t have a gun problem, and did everything [American pro-gun control advocates] wanted. Now, they are in a worse, violent situation than they were already in, even compared to the U.S. By cracking down on the most basic things, liberals are laughing. … Basically, Britain has become a police-protectionism state, so now [the British] have the right to hope that the police arrive in time before they are killed.

Madge’s call for blunting knives stems from the fact that deadly mass attacks may be committed using anything that can serve as a weapon.

England has seen a 21 percent spike in knife and other non-gun related incidents from 2011 to 2017, with an incident occurring every 14 minutes with a sharp object, the Independent reported.

Swearer said that’s because knives in England have become the “new guns.” If British citizens were given their guns back, she said, England would be better off:

We have the Second Amendment, literally, for things like this, and we shouldn’t listen to people who try to diminish it. The Second Amendment protects firearms used by law-abiding citizens for lawful purposes. When we ignore these provisions, that basically removes a very serious protection that prevents us from going down the path that the Founding Fathers did not want, and become just like England.

The Importance of Dads in an Increasingly Fatherless America

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One in three American children now grow up without their biological father in the home.

There is a growing split taking place among American fathers today.

Image: pxhere, CC0

On the one hand, more and more children are growing up without a dad in their lives. But on the other hand, fathers who are involved in their kids’ lives have actually become even more active.

The Pew Research Center reports that fathers who live in the same home as their children have become increasingly engaged in the lives of their kids over the past half-century. In 2015, fathers reported spending an average of 7 hours a week interacting with their children, compared with 2.5 hours in 1965.

Today, 57 percent of dads say they see parenting as a central part of their identity.

This encouraging shift in fatherhood involvement could be owing, at least in part, to the greater amounts of research showing the importance of a father’s role in the life of his child. Nonprofits like Focus on the Family have championed the role of fathers and have promoted well-researched materials to back up their claims.

Yet, while it’s true more fathers are taking the time to come home from work and throw the football around with their kid, an increasing number of children find themselves without an active paternal presence in their lives.

Pew reports that only 11 percent of American children lived apart from their dads in 1960. Today, that number has grown to 27 percent. One in every three American children are now growing up in a home without their biological father.

There is a “father absence crisis in America,” according to National Fatherhood Initiative, and the results are sobering.

Studies have found that children raised without a father are:

  • At a higher risk of having behavioral problems.
  • Four times more likely to live in poverty.
  • More likely to be incarcerated in their lifetime.
  • Twice as likely to never graduate high school.
  • At a seven times higher risk of teen pregnancy.
  • More vulnerable to abuse and neglect.
  • More likely to abuse drugs and alcohol.
  • Twice as likely to be obese.

From education to personal health to career success, children who lack a father find themselves at a disadvantage to their peers raised in a two-parent household.

A 2017 Heritage Foundation article reported that “routine family bonding activities like reading bedtime stories and eating meals together have a profound effect on children’s educational development and psychological well-being.”

Simply put: Dads, we need you.

As I reflect back upon my own childhood and the role my dad played, and is still playing in my life, I find myself overwhelmed with gratitude. My father is far from perfect, but he was present.

School was challenging for me as a kid, so my dad often took time to help me with my homework after he got home from work. I remember sitting on our living room couch struggling to understand my math homework with my dad’s instruction.

To be honest, I’m not sure he was much of a help—but he was there. I have always known that my dad was there for me, not just because he told me he was, but because he showed me. The greatest gift my father has ever given me was his time.

So to the fathers who have sacrificed for their children, who have worked to be involved in each day of their child’s life, thank you. Your children will always remember your involvement in their lives.

And to the fathers who would like to do more, remember the importance of your role. It is not about being perfect, but being present.


Comey And Mueller Should Be Jailed – Not Emulated

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Yesterday the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)’s Inspector General (IG) released his nearly-600 page report – analyzing the ridiculously unprofessional and Democrat-partisan behavior of the Barack Obama-James Comey-led Bureau during the run-up to the 2016 presidential election.

Despite the Deep State’s best efforts, we had managed to learn some of what was put together in said report.  But there was revealed therein a whole lot more ridiculous unprofessionalism and Democrat-partisanship.

In short, the Comey FBI was a hack arm of the Democrat National Committee.  It had nothing to do with actual, impartial law enforcement – you know, its actual gig.

Seton Motley | Red State | RedState.com

The FBI’s lead agent – on both the Hillary Clinton illegal private email server and the Donald Trump-Russia investigations – was a clownish man by the name Peter Strozk.

Who was sleeping with married FBI lawyer Lisa Page.  And when Strozk and Page weren’t sleeping together – they were incessantly texting each other about their mutual loathing of Trump.

One new wrinkle revealed yesterday – was a text previously withheld from the Congressional oversight folks.  We had seen Page’s preceding text – just not Strozk’s response:

Page: “[Trump’s] not ever going to become president, right? Right?!” 

Strozk: “No. No he won’t. We’ll stop it.”

Who’s “we?”  The entirety of FBI leadership – up to and including Comey.

And Attorney General Loretta Lynch – and almost certainly her henchmen and women.

Lynch Used Email Alias ‘Elizabeth Carlisle’ to Write about Clinton Tarmac Meeting

Lynch asked for Clinton Investigation to Be Called a ‘Matter’

And lest we forget – President Obama his own self:

FBI Lovers’ Latest Text Messages: Obama ‘Wants to Know Everything’

Many, many members of Comey’s staff – were running amok in a heinously partisan fashion….

Inspector General Blasts Comey and Also Says Others at FBI Showed ‘Willingness to Take Official Action’ to Hurt Trump

Meanwhile, as Comey’s staff ran amuck in a heinously partisan fashion,….

FBI Agreed to Destroy Laptops of Clinton Aides with Immunity Deal

Why, that doesn’t sound like an agency interested in seeking the truth…wherever it leads.  It sounds like a gaggle of anti-Trump partisan hacks.

Meanwhile….

Comey Drafted Clinton Exoneration Months Before Finishing Investigation

Why, that doesn’t sound like a man interested in seeking the truth…wherever it leads.  It sounds like an anti-Trump partisan hack.

Speaking of anti-Trump….

Baier to Comey: If Dossier Was ‘Salacious,’ Why Did You Use It To Get FISA Warrant?

A warrant – to spy on the Trump campaign.  What is this Dossier of which they speak?

Clinton Campaign, (Democrat National Committee) DNC Paid for Research that Led to Russia Dossier

Ahh.  Clinton campaign dirty tricks – used to secure a warrant to spy on the Trump campaign.  In fact….

No FISA Warrant Would Have Been Sought from the Court without the Dossier

Get that?  Comey couldn’t have secured a warrant – without the Dossier.

But how did a political campaign document – secure a court warrant?

Because Comey was a big fan of withholding inordinately pertinent facts….

Five Things the FBI Never Told the FISA Court about the Trump Dossier

Comey was, in fact, a serial fan of withholding inordinately pertinent facts….

Comey Didn’t Tell Trump the Infamous Dossier Was Financed By Hillary Clinton

So let’s summarize.

Comey wrote Clinton’s get-out-of-everything-free pass – months before his just-for-show “investigation” was concluded.

Meanwhile, Comey used the completely-unproven Clinton campaign dirty tricks Dossier – as the only way he could get a FISA warrant to spy on the Trump campaign.

Which means…there was zero actual evidence of any Trump-Russia collusion.  Just garbage concocted by Trump’s political opponent.

But since Comey is also a Trump political opponent….

Comey Admits to Leaking a Trump Memo to Help Get Special Prosecutor Appointed

Enter Robert Mueller.  You know, Comey’s old boss – Mueller preceded Comey as head of the FBI.

The Deep State – has a very deep bench.

And how’d Mueller handle the FBI gig when he had it?

Robert Mueller’s FBI Repeatedly Abused Prosecutorial Discretion

Outstanding.  And Abusive Mueller – has remained true to form….

Hmmm: Special Counsel Mueller’s Team Sure is Stacked With Democrat Donors, Including a Hillary Supporter

Mueller was handed an investigation – predicated upon zero actual evidence.  More than a year later – he still has zero actual evidence.

He’s brow-beaten Mike Flynn into bankruptcy – and then a plea to a process-perjury-charge so as to end his cash hemorrhaging.  Perjury?

Comey: FBI Agents (Including Peter Strzok) Didn’t Think Flynn Lied

Even Mueller’s fellow Deep Staters said Flynn was innocent.

Oh – and….

Did Mueller Withhold Evidence From Michael Flynn?

Short answer: Yes.

Mueller filed totally-unrelated-to-his-Russia-charge charges against Paul Manafort.  And executed a completely obnoxious and unnecessary early morning raid on Manafort’s house.

Mueller than filed a bunch of indictments against thirteen Russia troll farms.  Except….

Mueller Indicted A Russian Company That Didn’t Even Exist

Oops.  Mueller charged foreign companies – because he thought they’d never respond…and thus he’d never have to actually make a case.  Except…..

Russian Company Charged in Mueller Probe Seeks Grand Jury Materials

Oops – one of Mueller’s victims is demanding their speedy trial.

Keep in mind – a prosecutor isn’t supposed to file an indictment…unless and until he is ready to argue in court the case behind the indictment.

Except Mueller doesn’t have an actual case against this company, so….

Mueller Team Seeks Delay in Russia Indictments Case

Except….

Judge Rejects Mueller’s Request for Delay in Russian Troll Farm Case

Oops.  Mueller – having withheld evidence exonerating Flynn – returned yet again to that corrupt well….

Mueller Is Trying to Keep Evidence from Defendants in Russian Trolls Case

And since Mueller is a man so callous about committing mass illegalities in the persecution of his enemies….

Does FBI Raid On Trump Lawyer Michael Cohen Mean Attorney-Client Privilege Is ‘Dead’?

Short answer: Attorney-client privilege…has been healthier than it is currently.

Mueller Team Made a Grab for Paul Manafort’s ‘Privileged’ Docs Before Michael Cohen Raid

Someone give attorney-client privilege CPR.  It’s dying….

So let’s summarize:

Comey and Mueller aren’t people who should be investigating crimes – they should be charged with them.

If you are a prosecutor – anywhere on the planet – these are not people you should be emulating.

But when it comes to persecuting – oops, I mean prosecuting – political opponents…Comey and Mueller are, most unfortunately, the fathers of thousands of emulators.

Behold a corrupt prosecutorial mess in Arizona….

Key Prosecution Witness in Corruption Case says She Cut a Deal to Avoid Prison:

“Kelly Norton, a key witness for the government in a bribery trial involving the Arizona Corporation Commission, testified on Wednesday that she agreed to cooperate with the FBI’s investigation of the case in order to stay out of prison.

“Her testimony came on day four of the bribery trial of former Arizona Corporation Commission (ACC) Chairman Gary Pierce. In addition to Pierce, there are three other defendants in the case. They are George Johnson, the owner of Johnson Utilities in Pinal County; Sherry Pierce, the wife of Gary Pierce; and Jim Norton, a lobbyist and former husband of Kelly Norton….”

Get that last defendant?  The key witness’…ex-husband.  That could be…a little problematic:

“(D)efense attorneys argued that she had another motive in testifying against her ex-husband: that she invented the story about her ex-husband’s alleged misdeeds as revenge for their divorce just before Christmas 2015….

“(D)efense attorneys argued in their opening statements that Sherry Pierce was, in fact, an actual employee of Kelley Norton’s firm and that the salary she was paid was not a bribe to sway her husband, former Arizona Corporation Commission Chairman Gary Pierce….

“(D)efense attorneys sought to punch other holes in the case brought by prosecutors, arguing that the timeline of the alleged pay-to-play scheme that prosecutors presented did not coincide with any vote Gary Pierce cast….”

All of that sounds…troubling from the prosecutor’s perspective.  But wait…:

“(D)efense attorneys on Tuesday showed the jury several email exchanges that Norton had failed to turn over to prosecutors. The emails not only showed Kelly Norton’s involvement in the business, but also indicated that Sherry Pierce was an active employee of her consulting firm.

“That contention is a key part of the defense’s case, given the prosecution’s claim that Sherry Pierce effectively had a no-show job as part of the pay-to-play scheme prosecutors allege took place.

“In one such email, Kelly Norton appeared to give Sherry Pierce a to-do list, saying, ‘I need your help’ getting lists of donors. Yet another email contained a list of Democratic clubs that Pierce compiled and sent to Kelly Norton.”

Oh look – a prosecutor withholding exculpatory evidence.  How very Comey-Mueller of them.

This Arizona nonsense is but one of the very many problems that arise when rogue, law-breaking law-enforcement-officials – get away with being rogue, law-breaking law-enforcement-officials.

They think they can keep doing it.  And do more of it.

And law enforcement agents everywhere – think they can do it too.

The Deep State – has green-lit this lawlessness for decades.

And – of course – the lawlessness has spread.

Seton Motley is the founder and president of Less Government.  Please feel free to follow him on Twitter (@SetonMotley) and Facebook.  It’s his kind of stalking.

Forget the city. These millennials are ‘rethinking rural’

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Rethinking Rural’s mission is to provide a network for leaders to cultivate and exchange ideas about rural communities, which they believe are integral to the development of the economic, social, and environmental health of the planet.

When Madeline Moore was 22 and wanted to open her own Pink Poppy Bakery, she didn’t head to a city, she moved to Chinook, Washington, a 1-square mile spot in Pacific County near her hometown. Chinook’s population is small — only about 450 people live there — but it’s also the only place Moore thought she could be successful.

“I knew I had a following that would support me,” Moore said. “It was 100 percent because of the community. They came out in droves to support me. A friend let me use kitchen space at a hotel, and another friend let me use a storefront for a year. I would not have been able to do what I did in a large city. It wouldn’t have been financially viable.”

That was six years ago. Now, at the age of 29, the millennial entrepreneur has since realized the benefits and challenges of working and living in a rural community. Though small towns can offer small business owners like Moore a support system of prospective customers and resources, they can also have issues such as poverty, a lack of employment opportunities, and limited access to health care.

Instead of facing these issues alone, Moore is working to create a network of leaders, especially other millennials like herself, in rural communities. The nationwide effort, Rethinking Rural, was created in 2017 to encourage rural leaders to promote growth and investment while remaining true to what makes rural communities special, unique, important, and resilient.

They believe small rural communities are integral to the development of the economic, social, and environmental health of our planet. They want to encourage a network of rural leaders, with a particular focus on millennials, that will push forth an agenda of growth and investment while remaining true to what makes rural communities special, unique, important and resilient.

“I think we as rural communities work within our silos,” Moore said. “If we could work together, we would be unique in solving problems.”

Getting started

About a year and a half ago, Moore met with Malloree Weinheimer, 30, and Denise Pranger, who live and work in Port Townsend, Washington, a city with about 9,500 residents about four hours northeast of Chinook.

Find out what happened next here.

Brain-eating amoeba found in Louisiana drinking water AGAIN!

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A potentially deadly brain-eating amoeba has been detected in a Louisiana neighborhood’s drinking water — the third time the terrifying discovery has been madein the same parish since 2015, reports said.

Naegleria fowleri, which causes fatal brain swelling and tissue destruction, was found over the weekend in Terrebonne Parish, deep in the Louisiana bayou about an hour south of New Orleans, WWL-TV reported.

We have reported on this before here “How to stop brain-eating amoeba from killing you” and here “Brain-eating amoeba is back”

Home Made Full Auto Crossbow!

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“When you make non gunpowder weapons at home, you are usually restricted to single shot contraptions or manual repeaters at best. But of course the ultimate goal is to build a full auto machine gun style weapon!”

I flinched when he turned that thing to the camera. I hope he hunts with it and no psycho decides this is a good weekend hobby!

Help Workers and our Economy with Lower Employment Taxes

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by Dan Mitchell

One of the core principles of economics is that prices are determined by supply and demand. That includes the price of labor – i.e., the wages received by workers.

Not sure what this means? Check out this video. In this lesson, we investigate how prices are reached and how the market works like an invisible hand coordinating economic activity.

Another core principle is that taxes create distortions by reducing demand and supply. Which is why it’s not a good idea to impose high tax rates on behaviors that contribute to prosperity, such as work, saving, investment, and entrepreneurship.

That’s the theory. Now let’s consider some real-world implications of taxes on work.

Here are some excerpts from new research by the European Central Bank.

Several reforms can be enacted to reduce the unemployment rate in the euro area. Among them is a permanent reduction in the labour tax. Typically, a decrease in labour taxes reduces labour costs to employers and increases the net take-home pay of employees, positively impacting both labour demand and labour supply. Reducing taxes on labour can contribute to increase employment and activity rates in the EA, by increasing incentives to hire, to look for, and take up, work. …In this paper we contribute to the debate on those issues by evaluating the macroeconomic effects of a fiscal reform in the EA countries.

The study look at what happens with employment-related taxes are lowered at either the employer level or the employee level.

Permanently reducing labour tax rates paid by Home firms would have stimulating effects on economic activity and employment, and would permanently reduce the unemployment rate. The same is true when tax rates paid by Home households are reduced.

Here are some of the specific estimates of the positive impact of lower labor taxes at the firm level.

The tax rate is reduced by almost 2 p.p. (trough level). The reduction of labour taxes paid by firms reduces the gross wage bill of firms and hence increases the value of having a worker. Workers are able to obtain part of the increase in firms’ surplus in the bargaining process, which results in a real wage increase. Nevertheless, the wage increase is not sufficient to undo the increase in the value of having a worker for firms, which leads to an increase in labour demand through vacancy posting. The number of matches increases as well and, consistently, the probability of finding a job and that of filling a vacancy increases and decreases, respectively. Employment increases (and unemployment rate decreases) by roughly 0.3 p.p. after two years and 0.4 p.p. in the medium and in the long run, respectively. …Home GDP increases by 0.5% after two years. Both consumption and investment increase. Consumption increases because of households’ larger permanent income, associated with the increase in employment, hours and production. Investment increases because firms augment physical capital to accompany the rising employment.

I’ve combined some of the key results from Figures 3 and 4, all of which show the benefits over time of lower tax rates on work (the horizontal axis is quarters, so 20 quarters equals five years).

And here are the specific estimates of the good outcomes when labor tax are reduced at the household level.

Qualitatively, results are similarly expansionary as those obtained when reducing labour taxes paid by firms. Hours worked, employment, matches, and the probability of finding a job increase, while the probability of filling a vacancy decreases. …hours worked now increase by 0.4% (0.3% in the previous simulation), employment by almost 0.5% (0.35% in the previous simulation), while the unemployment rate falls by almost 0.5 p.p. (0.4 p.p. in the previous simulation). …Home GDP increases by around 0.7% after two years.

Once again, let’s look at some charts showing the benefits over time of lower tax rates on workers.

Interestingly, it appears that there are slightly better outcomes if labor taxes are reduced for workers rather than employers, but the wage numbers are better if the tax cuts take place at the business level.

I’ll take either approach, for what it’s worth.

Let’s close with one additional excerpt. The study incorporated the impact of government employment, which can have a very distorting effect on private employment given the excessive size of the bureaucracy and above-market compensation for bureaucrats.

…we allow for public sector employment and for the possibility of directed search between the private and public sector labour market… In fact, a proper assessment of the impact of the labour market reforms on private-sector employment should take into account that a common characteristic of the EA labour market is the important share of the public employment in total employment, which is, according to OECD (2015), around 20% in France, 15% in Spain, Italy and Portugal, and 13% in Germany. Thus, this component is important to understand the labour market dynamics in the EA, given also that, during a crisis period, public and private labour markets tend to be more inter-related (when the unemployment rate is high, the number of applicants to the public sector is larger).

P.S. I’m periodically asked whether I’m exaggerating when I assert that something (such as taxes distorting the supply and demand for labor) is a “core principle” in economics. But I don’t think left-leaning economists (and there are plenty) would disagree about taxes impacting supply and demand. But they presumably would quibble about the “elasticity” of supply and demand curves (in other words, how sensitive are people to changes in tax rates). Moreover, they surely would claim in some instances that any “deadweight loss” would be offset by supposed economic benefits of government spending (and pro-market people acknowledge that’s possible, at least when government is small). And, when push comes to shove, some folks on the left would openly argue that it’s okay to have less prosperity if there’s more equality.

Happy Birthday U.S. Army!

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^^This is what the Army does between Powerpoints!^^

Happy 243nd Birthday to the greatest fighting force & defenders of peace in the world, The United States Army!

“At home and abroad, military men and women are showing purpose and dedication in defending American ideas. They are performing in our country’s best traditions under circumstances both difficult and complex. Thanks t

Image: History US Army

o their determined spirit of patriotism and professionalism, our country has a powerful and unified defense team, employing its forces in the constant quest for peace and freedom.” ~ The Honorable Melvin Laird

Thursday marked the Army’s 243rd birthday.

On this day, soldiers past and present will be encouraged to pause and reflect on the years of service the Army has given the nation.

The Army takes enormous pride in its history and heritage. The Second Continental Congress created the Army on June 14, 1775, when it authorizedthe formation of 10 companies of expert riflemen. These brave soldiers marched to Boston to support the local militia.

The next day, George Washington received his appointment as commander in chief and shortly moved to take command at Boston.

Army Maj. Gen. Malcolm Frost recently announced a renewed focus on Army history in basic training with the goal of teaching recruits “what it means to be a United States soldier” and to connect them with the service’s heritage.

Why should new soldiers understand the Army’s history? After all, the average American citizen knows very little about our history: According to a CBS News poll, in 1994 only 27 percent of Americans knew what the term “D-Day” refers to. A 2014 National Assessment of Educational Progress report revealed that only 18 percent of eighth-graders were proficient in U.S. history.

So why should the Army expect its soldiers to learn its history? What’s the point of teaching soldiers about the miserable conditions at the encampment at Valley Forge, Pennsylvania, or the D-Day assault on Omaha Beach, or the sacrifices by Gary Gordon and Randy Shughart in Somalia in 1993?

Why not listen to those who say to “live in the moment” and just carry out orders? What do modern soldiers have to learn from the battles and soldiers of the past?

It turns out, a lot. By understanding the actions of fellow soldiers and how they reacted and persevered under the most challenging of circumstances, today’s soldiers can be guided by their experiences.

Sgt. Alvin York’s single-handed attack on German machine gun nests in WWI provides a classic example of bravery in the face of danger. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant, after having been nearly defeated on the first day of the Battle of Shiloh in the Civil War, told his subordinate William Sherman that night that they would “lick ‘em tomorrow,” demonstrating great perseverance.

And Shughart and Gordon repeatedly insisted on being inserted in the midst of a raging firefight in downtown Mogadishu to help a downed aircraft crew. Their choice, which resulted in their deaths, provides a vivid example of how soldiers never leave fallen comrades.

Lessons like these are hard to learn in peacetime. But through understanding Army history, soldiers better prepare themselves for the unforgiving crucible of combat.

Throughout its 243 years of history, the Army has never failed to answer the nation’s call. The Army flag has 190 campaign streamers attached to it, each attesting to tough campaigns and battles.

Some struggles have ended in defeat, like the 1776 Long Island campaign in the Revolutionary War. Others, success, like the 1991 liberation and defense of Kuwait. Steadfast through it all have been the determination, devotion, and the readiness of the American soldier, captured by the Army’s motto, “This we’ll defend.”

Happy Birthday to the Army.

Portrait of Thomas Spoehr

Thomas W. Spoehr, a retired Army lieutenant general, is director of the Center for National Defense at The Heritage Foundation.

A Zero-Tariff G7 Area? Yes, Please!

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In yet another stunning turn of events at the current G7 meeting in Canada, Donald Trump has argued for a tariff-free G7 area. This would mean zero tariffs and no subsidies. Regardless of whether Trump’s suggestion is to be taken seriously, the reactions speak for themselves.

This Is Not the First Time Trump Has Suggested This

Larry Kudlow, national economic adviser to the President, had indicated to the press that he had a “lengthy discussion” about the idea of creating a tariff-free G7.

Reduce those barriers. In fact go to zero, zero tariffs, zero no-tariff barriers, zero subsidies, and along the way we are going to have to clean up the international trading system about which there was virtual consensus of agreement.

“Ultimately that’s what you want, you want tariff free, no barriers, and you want no subsidies because you have some countries subsidizing industries and that’s not fair,” Trump said. “So you go tariff free, you go barrier free, you go subsidy free, that’s the way you learned at the Wharton School of Finance.”

After Trump’s introduction of new tariffs on both steel and aluminum, the idea that the President would suddenly favor dropping tariffs altogether seems odd. However, it appears that the tariffs aren’t really a means of getting the American steel and aluminum industry back on its feet, as mercantilists would lead you to believe, but a means of retaliation. For Trump, America’s trading partners have been treating it unfairly, which is why he is obligated to respond to the trade-threat. He is, quite frankly, not entirely wrong about that.

Back in March, when plans for steel tariffs were heavily criticized in Europe, Trump tweeted this:

Once again, Trump appears to favor mutually scrapping all tariff and non-tariff trade barriers. This would end the insufferable regime of unnecessary protectionist policies which give consumers fewer choices and increased prices.

The (Absence of) Reactions

Sir Simon Fraser, former permanent secretary at Britain’s Foreign Office, called Trump’s trade suggestion “false” and “bizarre”: “It amounts to a total G7 free trade bloc for goods,” he said. “This would create massive distortions of world trade. I doubt US officials or US industry and agriculture lobbies support it.”

The self-proclaimed voices for free trade have suddenly become mute after someone suggested genuine free trade.

Sir Simon Fraser is certainly right that some agricultural lobbies would not support it, but Donald Trump was also arguably elected to oppose the swamp of lobbyists and special interests that continue to swarm Washington, D.C.

As for the G7 leaders present, most seemed to have been taken aback by the suggestion, and even after a handful of hours, the responses were still timid. The self-proclaimed voices for free trade have suddenly become mute after someone suggested genuine free trade. Could it be that they are afraid of their own agricultural lobbies at home?

Free Trade Is More than Ideology

The European Union and other G7 partners need to improve their capacity for making a consistent case for free trade. The argument for free trade is all too often made in an ideological fashion, requiring us to stand for “openness” to the world. Instead, we should focus on the economically self-evident benefits of global trade.

For example, in trade between rich and poor countries, both sides benefit, because they pay less for products, capital goods (machines, computers, etc.), and highly specialized labor. While it is true that job losses can occur when competition increases, it is important to account for increases in exports through free trade. The German car producer Mercedes might not like the competition of Italian cars on the German market, but since many Italians purchase his product, it’s manifestly more profitable to freely trade.

Tariffs aren’t anything but a useful tool for the reactionary right- and left-wing extremes of the political spectrums.

 

Protectionism is purely ideological because it is based on sentimental beliefs. If we were to take nationalism out of the picture, it would be difficult to argue that international free trade would be disadvantageous while domestic free trade (say, between cantons or provinces) is advantageous. This is particularly true in large trading blocs such as the European Union or, for that matter, the United States.

Tariffs aren’t anything but a useful tool for the reactionary right- and left-wing extremes of the political spectrums. They reduce the choices of consumers and increase prices for the poorest of the poor. The G7 members should take President up on his suggestion for intercontinental tariff-free trade on goods and services.

If Trump were to actually get this right, he’d prove some of his most vociferous pro-free-trade critics wrong.

Bill Wirtz


Bill Wirtz

Bill Wirtz is a Young Voices Advocate. His work has been featured in several outlets, including Newsweek, Rare, RealClear, CityAM, Le Monde and Le Figaro. He also works as a Policy Analyst for the Consumer Choice Center.

This article was originally published on FEE.org. Read the original article.

If for nothing else the NoKo Summit was worth it for this

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“The DPRK and the United States commit to recovering POW/MIA remains, including the immediate repatriation of those already identified.”

We have little reason to trust the North Koreans, but if we can act swiftly, we can take a step closer to closure for the families of our missing Korean War service members.

There are still 5,300 American service members missing – whose remains are believed to be in North Korea – 65 years after the end of the Korean War. Over 7,800 U.S. military personnel who fought in the Korean War are “unaccounted for,” a term used to describe those who remained captive or missing at the conclusion of hostilities, or those killed in action whose remains have not been located, recovered, and identified.

“The United States and the DPRK commit to recovering POW/MIA remains, including the immediate repatriation of those already identified,” is point No. 4 in the joint statement signed by Trump and Kim.

Veterans of Foreign Wars lobbied Trump ahead of the summit to address the POW/MIA issue with Kim during their meeting.

The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency – based at the Pentagon – has records of the serving members who have yet to be returned. You can see it, broken down by state, here.

Korean War POW/MIA List

Accounted-For: This report includes the U.S. personnel who have been accounted for (including POW returnees and POW escapees) and all personnel whose remains have been recovered and identified since the end of the war.

Unaccounted-For: This report includes the U.S. personnel who are still unaccounted for.

 

A (Manageable) Summer Reading List for the Beach

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Every summer, we are treated to a spate of “Summer Reading” lists that we are supposed to read “at the beach.” The trouble is, the lists are either so overstuffed with long books or just so long that any attempt to read them at the beach will result in sunstroke. How about a summer reading list you can really get through? Maybe one weighted with a few great books you always wanted to read and a few newer ones worth your attention?

 

Here are two quick ways of getting some profitable reading done at the beach (or on the back patio or maybe on the shady porch). The first is to read just one long book. Just one. And if you have time afterwards, take in a few of the books on the longer list of short books.

Here’s the first list. This is the list of long books that you can drink deeply from along with your iced tea. Books that will introduce you to a world in which you can live for a while. Pick one:

1. Anna Karenina, by Leo Tolstoy

The best novel by the best novelist who ever lived. The story of Anna, on her slow way to Hell, and Levin, on his slow way to heaven. And War and Peace is almost as good. They’re both long, but you won’t want either of them to end.

2.The Count of Monte Cristo, by Alexandre Dumas

A rip-roaring yarn about a man in Napoleonic France who spends his entire life preparing himself to take vengeance on those who cheated him of everything, including his wife, and almost his life. But then … It’s a book hard to put down.

3. Dombey and Son, by Charles Dickens

The story of a man so caught up in being a successful businessman that he neglects the things closest to him that really matter. His daughter Florence Dombey, his ill-fated wife Edith Granger, and the inimitable Captain Cuttle–characters you will never forget.

4. The Years of Lyndon Johnson Set: The Path to Power, Means of Ascent, Master of the Senate, The Passage of Power, by Robert Caro

I know. Sounds boring. The life of Lyndon Johnson. Ugh. Well, prepare for a mind-blowing experience. This riveting four-part biography, possibly the best political biography ever written, is about a brilliant political mind that sacrifices everything–including integrity–for political power. I. had. No. Idea. And characters sketches of larger than life Texans that will have you quoting this book to your friends: Pappy O’Daniel (yes, that character in Oh Brother, Where Art Thou, was real!), Coke Robertson (who Johnson cheats out of a U. S. Senate seat), and Texas Ranger Frank Hamer (who brought down Bonnie and Clyde).

You won’t be sorry you read any one of these, except for the fact that your friends won’t see you all summer because you won’t want them to disturb you while you are reading.

Here’s the second list. Most of these will take you no longer than ten hours total to read. Some will have you weeping (Fidelity), some will cause abject terror (Rebecca), and some will have you open-mouthed in wonder at their ingeniousness (Dorian Gray). Pick three or four:

1. Fidelity: Five Stories, by Wendell Berry

The best short stories by America’s greatest living writer.

2. Wayfaring Stranger, by James Lee Burke

Another of America’s best novelists on his game.

3. Rebecca, by Daphne Du Maurier

Prepare to be terrorized by the head maid.

4. Farenheit 451, by Ray Bradbury

A future society in which books are burned. Or is it the present?

5. Island of the Lost: Shipwrecked at the Edge of the World, by Joan Druett

If you’re going to get marooned on an island, make sure it isn’t this one.

6. A Rising Man, by Abir Mukherjee

British detective in Calcutta, India, 1919. Won several book awards, deservedly.

7. Eugenie Grandet, by Honore de Balzac

Find out why there are statues of Balzac all over France.

8. Barbarian Days: A Surfing Life, by William Finnegan.

New Yorker writer’s memoir of his youth spent searching the world for the perfect wave–and finding it. Plus you can read about waves while watching them.

9. West With the Night, by Beryl Markham

Autobiography of growing up in Africa. So good, Hemingway wrote, “I am ashamed of myself as a writer.”

10. The Picture of Dorian Gray, by Oscar Wilde

 Your hand will get tired dog-earing the pages of quotable expressions. Sheer brilliance.

Don’t forget the sun screen.

[Image Credit: Flickr-Anne Adrian | CC BY 2.0]

This post A (Manageable) Summer Reading List for the Beach was originally published on Intellectual Takeout by Martin Cothran.

Suicide: I’ve Heard its Siren Call

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When hope is but a pinhole of light in a wall of darkness, only Faith, Love, and Duty get me through a life of chronic pain.
Devin Foley

Image: U.S. Air Force photo/Steven White

 

For ten years now, I have suffered from chronic pain after ripping apart my abdominal wall, causing permanent nerve damage. I generally keep it private, but in the face of the mounting despair and hopelessness in our society, I feel I ought to pull back the veil.

One day I was fine, wrenching a toilet off its seal. The next, I was in terrible pain accompanied by frequent dry-heaving. While I have gotten control of the dry-heaving, I have not yet mastered the pain.

This is my life: Imagine a dagger thrust into your solar plexus. Now imagine that dagger with you at every step of life, whether it be the mundane or the joyous. Grinding, stabbing, endless pain. Now imagine what it does to your emotions and mental psyche when each day you wake knowing the pain that lies before you.

Believe me, you will long for death with such an affliction. While I never considered myself suicidal (and still don’t), that doesn’t mean that in the darkest of times, when I could fight the pain no longer, I didn’t seriously ponder ending it all. When you feel that death is your only relief, you have entered into a perilous mental and spiritual space.

Some of us hide it better than others; some of us pull the trigger, some of us do not and will not.

Last week saw the suicides of Anthony Bourdain, Kate Spade, and countless other Americans known only to family and friends. As if to reinforce the growing despair, the CDC released a new report showing suicides are up 25 percent over the last few decades and that suicide is now the tenth most common cause of death among Americans.

What has happened to us as a people? How is it that in this time of social, technological, and political progress Americans seem to be so miserable and without hope? Why is it that so many people who seem to have it all choose death over life?

We have been told we are living at the pinnacle moment of human development. We have been liberated from tradition, family, community, natural law, God’s law, Christianity, marriage, and all of the other relics of the past. We are free to make ourselves into anything we desire, to live nearly any way we choose. Look at our technology! Look at our wealth! Look at our power!

And, yet, so many of us are filled with despair. Why?

Might it be that we are materially wealthy, but poor in spirit? Might it be that the very things we’re told are holding us back from personal fulfillment are actually the very things we need in order to live a good life, to live a life at peace?

As I reflect on those most difficult times, when hope was but a pinhole of light in a wall of darkness, I find that only Faith, Love, and Duty got me through.

I am a Catholic, indeed I converted about five years into my affliction. I know the many arguments against Catholicism as I used to be quite good at attacking it, nonetheless it is the thing that most helps me make sense of our mysterious world.

One of the great gifts of the Catholic faith is how it helps one wrestle with unchosen suffering. We post-modern men are quite good at suffering when we choose it. We will suffer to lose weight, to prep for a marathon, and so on. But we have very little tolerance for unchosen suffering, the kind that causes one to feel trapped in his own body, to feel imprisoned in a personal hell.

Through Faith, I find meaning in the suffering. I understand that I am caught up in the great drama of life and that we were never promised bliss in this life. If I were to choose a life without my pain or one with it, I do believe that I would choose the pain, despite the suffering. Through unchosen suffering and Faith, the old, prideful me has been ground to dust. Like clay in the Potter’s hands, I am molded anew daily. It isn’t for me to know why I am afflicted, it is for me to offer it up and allow it to make me a better person.

Yet, even with Faith, I have found myself in the darkness, crying out for relief and none came. How easy it would have been to end it all. Enter Love and Duty.

I have a beautiful wife and six incredible children. I love them with all my being. They are second only to my love of the Creator. My father died when I was a child. As such, I know how difficult it is for a single mom and fatherless children. I have a duty to live for God and for my family. When it comes to those darkest of times, it is as simple as that. My affliction, my pain, does not excuse me from my roles as husband and father. My family’s love helps sustain me, and I hope that my love and sacrifice will help sustain them.

Perhaps you find yourself in the darkness or you know someone in the grips of despair. Drugs and alcohol will only drown the problem for so long and ultimately exacerbate the affliction. Same, too, for escaping into video games, music, Netflix, good food, or even work. You can never run far enough from your demons. At some point, you must confront them.

Unfortunately, our post-modern society has not given you the tools to do so. Our times have no answers for you, which is why so many are giving up and taking their lives. To survive and thrive, you need what the world tells you to abandon. You need spiritual nourishment.

And for that, you will need to turn back to the wisdom of the past, to embrace those very things we are told to discard. Life is hard, but it is worth living when you have a sense of your place and purpose, when you have hope. Meaning is actually best found in those times of despair when everything seems meaningless — if you have the right tools and the willingness to see it.

This post Suicide: I’ve Heard its Siren Call was originally published on Intellectual Takeout by Devin Foley.

Radiation Tablets w/ Mama Bolt

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Did you ever hear Bunker Buddies with Andie and Travis  (Click to go to their website, it’s awesome.) They contacted me a while back and I’ve been meaning to share them with you. They do awesome prepper shows covering problems for when the SHTF. In this episode Terry Bolt discusses radiation tablets that she bought from a very *legit website.
Want to know more? Contact TravisandAndie@gmail.com, on twitter @AndieBolt

*Not.

Also: Iodine is used to for radiation emergencies, to protect the thyroid gland against radioactive iodides. Potassium iodide tablets for use in a radiation emergency are also available as FDA-approved products (ThyroShield, Iosat) and on the Internet as food supplements.

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