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31 January, 2013

REAL Assault Rifles vs Gun Grabber Myths

The following video lays out the truth in the most convincing way I've seen yet:

And, as a bonus, here's Senator Ted Cruz of Texas owning the debate:

I would challenge any and everyone who supports the joke of "assault weapons" ban legislation to watch this 10 minute video. You're being lied to and treated like children, and, if you can watch this and still be okay with it, then that's obviously how you prefer to be treated.

The Future Threat of Overpopulation: Eco-Fascism and Culling the Herd of Humanity

I must admit, I see overpopulation as a pressing future threat to us all.  I am aware that many will disagree.  Religious Fundamentalists, especially, seem to take special umbrage to the idea that we, as human beings, might not be doing ourselves any favors by behaving as though our species has a free pass to do as we please.

Photo courtesy of AlexBHill.org
Whenever I talk about the dangers of overpopulation and resource depletion, I am deluged with emails full of Bible quotes, arguing -- basically -- that God created the world for us to do with as we see fit and putting a lot of emphasis on the whole "go forth and multiply" directive.  In my opinion, however, we are meant to be the shepherds of this world, and denying the debilitating effects brought on as a result of overpopulation is, quite simply, willful ignorance. 

You don't need to be an Al Gore disciple to be able to see that the problem is real; Anthropomorphic (man-made) Climate Change is part of it, but -- even if you throw all that out the window -- there's still a strong case for why overpopulation is a big problem.  Overpopulation is why our freshwater aquifers are being depleted at alarming rates by increased agriculture as we struggle to feed a world grown heavy with too many people.  Overpopulation is having a direct effect on the increasing rate at which we are using-up the world's richest, easiest-to-produce oil; and the oil question is the most ironic one of all, because cheap energy inputs from oil is why the population explosion of the past century occurred in the first place (cheap energy = more food = higher overall fertility and infant survival rates and healthier, longer lives = a higher population).

Photo courtesy of Amerika.org
The danger is that, if this untenable situation goes on for too long, then you outstrip the carrying-capacity of the land.  In a nutshell, sustainable farming involves allowing some fields to lay fallow each season on a rotating basis.  When you have so many people that you must farm all of your arable land every season, then you eventually strip the land of all of it's nutrients, turning once-rich areas into little better than desert.  This is, basically, what caused the fall of the Mayan civilization, and similar concerns played a big part in the decline of the Greeks: deforestation, and over-grazing of livestock caused the viable soil to run off, rendering once-arable land to no longer be arable.  That's exactly where we're headed, if something doesn't change.

All of that said, the reverse is also true.  As oil becomes more difficult to produce, the price goes up, which, in turn, makes all goods (including food) more expensive.  More expensive food = fewer calories = less fertility, higher infant mortality, and a less robust physical constitution; which means more illness and shorter life-spans.  Period.

What I'm saying (and being purposefully dispassionate about) is that the problem of overpopulation is a self-correcting problem, given enough time and assuming we don't do too much damage before it corrects itself.  I know that may sound a bit heartless, but I'm just laying it out there as clearly as possible.

Photo courtesy of Salon.com
If you wanted to pack every human being on Earth into a mega-city with a population density comparable to that of New York City, you could do so -- it would be the size of the state of Texas.  This would leave the rest of the planet as a pristine wilderness, but, what people who argue for such insanity seem to be unable to grasp is, we would still be consuming resources at mostly the same levels.  You could curtail oil usage by outlawing cars (or just making them inconvenient to own due to parking, etc.) and have everybody use mass-transit, but we're still going to have to grow enough food for everyone, which means we'd still be depleting our freshwater aquifers.  Not to mention, could you imagine the smog and the crime rate in a city of 7 billion people, packed together like sardines?  It would be like living in Hell.

The more pressing problem I foresee has the potential to be a far more sinister one as well.  More and more, there is a growing consensus of people who seem to think we, as a species, ought to be taking a more active hand in limiting population growth.  And, terrifyingly, you don't have to try very hard to see that, under the surface, some of them even seem to favor a drastic lowering of the existing population.

Ted Turner, founder of CNN, was once very famously quoted as saying, "A total population of 250-300 million people, a 95% decline from present levels, would be ideal."  One might argue that he doesn't necessarily belong in this discussion, since he concentrates mostly on advocacy of a voluntary one-child policy, but that fact is that you do not achieve a 95% decline in so short a time by simply limiting births -- you only hit those kinds of numbers by killing people.  Some scientists are even being published in medical ethics journals, arguing in favor of murdering newborn babies (or, as they call it, "after-birth abortion").  Jokers like that ought to be run out of town on a rail, not actively being published in serious scientific journals, where their twisted work can now be cited by others.

And Ted Turner is far from alone in his kind of thinking.  Some seem to believe that we should be instituting strict policies, like those in China, where expectant mothers who lack government permits are hunted down by special police units and forced to undergo abortions against their will.  Even in India, which is typically not thought of as being a repressive government at all, instituted strict population control measures during the 1970s that were absolutely Fascist in nature: people were made to undergo sterilizations as a condition of receiving public aid and they even went as far as to simply have police round-up large groups of the poor and haul them off to be forcibly sterilized.

Is that the kind of world you want to live in?

In fact, I would even go so far as to say that advocates of population control are even (at least subconsciously) racists and classists.  Again and again, talk of population control points toward a "them," whose fertility must be managed.  Margaret Sanger, who founded Planned Parenthood and is an idol of Hillary Clinton, was a rampant racist who believed in eugenics (a pseudoscience that formed part of the twisted Nazi ideology).  In more recent times, Hillary Clinton herself has spoken to the idea that population control is a big part of U.S. foreign policy; and U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has been quoted as saying "Frankly I had thought that at the time Roe was decided, there was concern about population growth and particularly growth in populations that we don’t want to have too many of." (emphasis in bold mine)

The truth is that I am one of the very ones who believes that overpopulation is a big part of our problems; but I also believe that human beings were meant to live free and, if losing liberty is the cost of continuing to live, then I say that cost is too high.  It wasn't that long ago that James Lovelock, creator of the Gaia hypothesis, openly stated in an interview that “democracy must be put on hold” and “a few people with authority” be permitted to rule over the entire planet in order to win the battle against global warming.  Yeah.  Don't think for an instant that all Greenies are harmless hippies; some of them are outright Eco-Fascists who see nothing wrong with the idea of culling the herd of humanity and turning those of us who survive into serfs, if it helps to serve their radical and maniacal agenda.

30 January, 2013

A Rash of Unexpected Military Exercises in U.S. Cities Leaves Residents Terrified -- What Is Coming?

Numerous times in just a few days, we have seen large-scale urban warfare exercises being conducted in American cities, first in Miami and then in Houston.  And, when I say large-scale, I mean complete with full-auto machine guns (firing blanks) and swooping attack helicopters. 

These have been joint-exercises with the military and police forces, and the ordeals have been terrifying for residents who claim they were not warned ahead of time in any way.  It was described as feeling like a "warzone," as these poor people didn't even have any way of knowing that the rounds being fired weren't real.  The Houston incident even resulted in a school being locked-down briefly, until they could verify if the threat was real or not, and an ambulance being dispatched (the police were aware of the exercises, but nobody bothered to clue-in the Fire/Rescue services).  And now, I'm hearing rumors of a similar event that's set to occur in Chicago and another in Pennsylvania (a rumor reported by the Harrisburg, Pennsylvania ABC affiliate).

What the Hell is going on?

The stated reason for these exercises was as training for overseas deployments.  But, aren't we pairing-down in Iraq and Afghanistan?  And don't we have tons of isolated training areas?  And, if it's about overseas deployments, then why are the police involved?

I tend to try to steer clear of the tinfoil hat stuff on this blog, unless I think it's -- at least -- plausible, but one has to wonder.  The Internet is absolutely alive with reports of the DHS buying-up UnGodly amounts of ammo and thousands of so-called "assault rifles" for "personal defense" (while, at the same time, trying to ban their ownership by civilians).  This, of course, is both curious as well as a bit terrifying, seeing as how DHS does not operate on foreign soil -- only here... so who do they plan to be shooting at?

Well. considering that the 2nd Amendment is under attack, and Preppers, "Liberty Lovers," and gun enthusiasts are being demonized as potential domestic terrorists; you do the math.

It isn't a conspiracy theory, at this point, to believe something big is coming.  They're preparing; you had better be as well.

Vacuum Sealers as Food Storage Tools for Preppers

Only a few days ago, I provided a pretty frightening description of the so-called "Just In Time" system under which modern grocery stores are stocked, but the truth is that it can be even more of a concern than I stated previously.  This is because some stores have a practice of only ordering enough to "front" their display shelves.  What this means is that the popular concept people have of a stockroom in the back, loaded with pallets of goods, is not always the case.  Some keep enough stock for about three days, but others only order maybe a case or two of each item; and, then there are those for whom the shelves you see *ARE* the stockroom and there is nothing else.  Unfortunately, as a shopper, it isn't for you to be aware of what the stock situation is in a given store.  As a result, placing yourself in a situation where the well-being of yourself and your loved ones is wholly dependent on such a fragile system is the very definition of folly.

One tool that can gold great value for Preppers when it comes to putting-away a deep larder of storage food is a vacuum sealer.  Right up-front, I'll admit that -- for a lot of us -- this is not exactly an ideal system.  Most of them do require power to use, so -- without an alternative power system -- they would become just one more useless appliance in any long-term grid-down scenario.  In the meantime, however,they can help you to stock a lot of well-preserved foodstuffs to be used in harsher times.

There are many different brands available, ranging from the more expensive models to ones that are far more affordable for most of us.  Some even fit accessories that allow you to vacuum-seal jars.  In everyday (grid-up) use, these handy appliances can increase the life-span of meat in your freezer before burn sets in; and I find them to be very useful as a Preppers when it comes to storing homemade jerky, dried fruit, and other dry goods.

Photo courtesy of Utah Preppers
Most of us are familiar with the Mylar bag + bucket + oxygen absorbers method of storing dry goods, but why not vacuum seal several smaller bags of your grains, etc., and then place those inside the Mylar bag before adding the oxygen absorbers and sealing it?  It might be overkill, but, when you open your bucket years from now, instead of big bag of grain, you'd then have several smaller serving-appropriate packets.  Sounds like a win to me.

Here are a handful of videos on the subject:

29 January, 2013

MOVIE REVIEW: "The Core" (2003)

The subject our most recent Doomer Fiction / disaster film review is "The Core" (2003).  Oddly enough, this is one I'd never seen before, which is unusual, since I'm a big movie buff.

Before I get too deeply into the meat of the review itself, let's just say that this flick reminded me of "Armageddon" [Blu-ray] (DVD version), but dealing with inner-space rather than outer-space.

The story begins with a strange cross-section of 30 or so people all inexplicably dropping dead within a radius of only a few city blocks from one another.

The government calls in leading scientists to advise, fearing that the deaths may have been the result of some new EMP weapon -- it turns out that all of the deceased individuals had pacemakers that suddenly stopped working.  Upon hearing from the experts that a weapon is unlikely to have been the cause, however, they lose interest in delving further into the mystery.  One of these scientists (played by Aaron Eckhart) is unhappy about leaving one side of the equal sign blank, though.  Soon after, a flock of pigeons goes nuts in London, randomly flying into stationary objects as well as people and causing a fair bit of damage and injuries (only the latest in a string of unusual bird activity), and this same scientist begins to realize that the strange events occurring are tied somehow to the Earth's magnetic field.  And he fervently hopes that the theory formulating in his mind is wrong.

Meanwhile, astronauts returning to Earth on a reentry vector are thrown way off-course, due to some sort of atmospheric interference and only narrowly avoiding a fiery crash into downtown Los Angeles.  This, coupled with auroras appearing over Washington, D.C. serve to bring the severity of the problem into stark contrast. 

It is, quite simply, the end of all life on Earth as a result of the core of the planet no longer spinning, the end result of which will be the loss of our EM field that protect us from solar radiation.

What follows is a very entertaining story involving an audacious plan (involving scientists, astronauts, and a hilarious computer hacker) to use experimental technology to burrow into the Earth's core and restart it spinning with a large nuclear detonation.

Some elements are more science-fiction than science and the computer hacking scenes are ludicrous, but the Geology/Earth Science stuff is spot-on.  In fact, one of the reviewers on Amazon is a teacher who mentioned showing it in their Earth Science classroom every term.  Most importantly, though, it passes the biggest test for a film: it makes for a really fun couple of hours.

Guest Post: Rural Living -- Home Security Starts at the Property Line

Gone are the days when people in rural areas were not even interested in locking the front door.  Today, things have changed, as break-ins have now become a frequent occurrence.  Although it's true that property crimes are generally less serious as compared to violent crimes, it's also a fact that the magnitude and frequency of these property crimes in rural areas can outstrip the seriousness of violent crimes. 

Photo courtesy of http://www.tcnj.edu/~...
The same is the case for those who often spend time in recreational camps, retreats, and other bug-out locations in rural areas.  These private holdings often become a victim of theft, vandalism, and outright meanness.  It's not easy to protect your bug-out locations from fence jumpers, prying eyes, and road riders, but you can definitely take some steps. 

It's mainly due to the mobility of American society and the availability of sophisticated tools that burglaries are no longer considered an urban problem only.  Of course, it's hard for you to deal with such technical and social changes, you can certainly exercise some control over one common element of rural crime - opportunity.  Just by taking certain security measures, you'll keep criminals from getting that opportunity to break into your property.

Security of the Property Lines

A bug-out location in long trees and thick bushes may look beautiful, but it also provides cover to a burglar.  You should prune the lower limbs of trees to enhance visibility.  At the same time, you should ensure that bushes and hedges are away from windows.  Also, pay attention to the security of the property lines - install high wooden fences and secure your gate with a sturdy lock.  Make sure you don't let a burglar use the cover of darkness, so keep your property well lit at night and be ready to invest in perimeter lighting.  Another effective measure is to install motion sensors or security alarms close to the property lines that will inform you when someone trespasses.

Giving the Appearance of Occupancy

If you don't go to your bug-out location or private holding frequently, you may want to take certain steps to keep intruders at bay.  The best thing is to maintain the appearance of occupancy, even when you're not there.  For this, take advantage of automatic timers to turn your lights on from time to time, and you may also want to put your TV or radio on a timer.  It's better to stop any deliveries such as mail and newspaper service.  Also, keep in mind that it pays to inform your local police that you won't be spending a great deal of time in residence at your bug-out property, so they will keep an eye open.  You may also want to install an alarm at the property with a receiver located directly in the sheriff's office, so that they can investigate whenever the alarm rings.

Other Important Security Measures

Along with paying attention to the security of your property lines, it makes sense to take other security measures as well.  Install deadbolts on all windows -- it's better to install double-hung windows.  Use headless bolts for exterior doors, secure their hinges, and strengthen the strike plate.  Above all, check with the Farm Bureau or Country Sheriff to know how to keep your bug-out location safe and secure all the time.

Lynn Darsow is a home security expert with extensive experience in the insurance industry. Her articles mainly appear on homeowner blogs. Visit www.SelectHomeSecurity.com to learn more.

28 January, 2013

BOOK REVIEW: "Patriot Dawn: The Resistance Rises" by Max Velocity

This week, I will be reviewing the novel "Patriot Dawn: The Resistance Rises" by Max Velocity (Kindle edition).  As some of you may recall, I previously reviewed one of his non-fiction books "Contact!: A Tactical Manual for Post Collapse Survival" by Max Velocity (Kindle version), so, when I was offered the opportunity to give the same treatment to a Patriot Fiction novel by the same author, I jumped at it.

With regard to the overall tone of this novel, think "Patriots" and its contemporaneous sequels, but with a lot more actions; a lot less overbearing religious preachiness; and it is, at least, just as well written if not better so.  I found myself identifying with and caring for the major protagonist and those around him to a much greater extent than I did those appearing in Rawles' more well-known works, and that is very important as a reader.

In fact, I would go so far as to say that this is the novel that Rawles' final installment in that series should have been.  In my review of that book, I made the point that some subplots dealing with the Resistance movement could have been much better, including one that could have been a novel unto itself, if handled correctly.  Well, if you agreed with my assessment, then "Patriot Dawn: The Resistance Rises" by Max Velocity may well scratch the itch that Rawles only tickled.

I was particularly happy to find a novel in this genre where the heroes weren't typical westerners, based in the American Redoubt.  Rather, they are in the east; the bulk of the novel follows a Patriot insurgency, fighting a tyrannical Washington Regime in Virginia's Shenandoah Valley region from hidden bases in the George Washington National Forest.  I can't tell you how refreshing it was to read a Patriot novel where major fighting takes place less than four hours from my front-door, rather than off in northern Idaho somewhere.

My only real complaint about this novel was that the major villain was a bit stereotypical -- a radical socialist Muslim who hates America and wants to destroy and remold it into a nation that better fits his worldview.  First, some Progressives will find him to be an insult, limiting the novel's potential audience; and, more importantly, we never get to know him well enough.  The best villains are always multifaceted and complicated characters.  One-sided, cookie-cutter bad guys just aren't interesting enough for me.

That said, "Patriot Dawn: The Resistance Rises" (Kindle edition) is an entertaining read, and one that I deem to be a worthy addition to the genreGive it a read -- you won't be sorry.  A bit of forewarning, however, the ending is clearly meant to act as the finale of the first in a series (a trilogy, I imagine), so be prepared for a satisfying conclusion to certain character arcs, but to be left with the feeling that this novel is meant to be the beginning of a larger tale.

NANNY STATE ALERT: Proposed Oregon Law Would Classify Cigarettes as a Prescription-Only Drug

Just a quick note to highlight another example of the Nanny State nonsense being perpetrated against the American people.  A new law being proposed in Oregon would make "cigarettes a Schedule III controlled substance, meaning it would be illegal to possess or distribute cigarettes without a doctor's prescription.

Under the proposal, offenders would face maximum punishments of one year in prison, a $6,250 fine or both.

Other drugs and substances that are considered Schedule III controlled substances are ketamine, lysergic acid and anabolic steroids."

Aside from the obvious infringement of people rights, there's also the question of under just what circumstances could you actually get a Doctor to prescribe them?  The point, of course, is that most Doctors simply would never write an Rx for them in 99.99% of cases.  The goal here is to outlaw the personal choice to smoke without really outlawing it.  This is the same thinking behind why some want to mandate that gun owners have to buy $1 million in liability insurance to keep their guns: 99.99% wouldn't be able to afford the premiums, ergo no guns in 99.99% of homes without them ever having to actually admit they're infringing on your Constitutional rights.

These control freaks want to rule your lives, and yet half of this country keeps voting for them.  They won't trust law-abiding people with 11 bullets, or even respect your right to drink a large soda.  

When is enough going to be *ENOUGH*!!!

27 January, 2013

February 2013 Non-Fiction Writing Contest Prizes Set

The prizes have officially been set for the grand experiment that is next month's Non-Fiction Writing Contest here on Backwoods Survival Blog.

They are:

First Prize: A Katadyn VARIO Microfilter, courtesy of Ready Made Resources

Second Prize: A WaterBOB Emergency Drinking Water Storage kit, courtesy of Camping Survival

Please see my previous post for the rules.

All entries should be emailed to: backwoodssurvivalblog@gmail.com.  You may send them whenever they are completed; I will be responsible for posting them throughout the month of February.  If everyone who indicated that they would write something via the survey question actually follows through, then there should be at least 14 entries in a 28-day month -- not too shabby!  It's up to you guys to actually follow-up, though.

In your email, please specify "Non-Fiction Writing Contest" in the subject line to help me avoid confusion.  Also, let me know what name you want the authorship listed under i.e. your full name, a nickname, etc..  If you fail to make a specification, I will do my best to protect your privacy by using only your first-name and last initial.

Thanks so much!

Guest Post: 5 Reasons to Make Your Emergency Supplies Mobile

Having a 72 hour kit is a good idea, and having long-term food storage and other basic necessities is even better.  But what happens if you need to leave your house (and most of your emergency supplies) behind?  They won’t do you any good if you’re separated from them.

You should seriously consider making many of your survival kits easily accessible and transportable at a moment’s notice.  Here are five good reasons for doing this:

1. Natural Disasters

Evacuations often occur as a result of extreme weather conditions, such as hurricanes and wildfires.  While there is often some time to prepare, it’s best not to risk a sudden natural disaster, like an earthquake or flood, striking and potentially preventing you from getting to your basement storage area.

2. Unsafe Conditions at Home

If a fire breaks out in your home or a gas pipe breaks or some other problem renders your house uninhabitable for a time, you need to be able to get out of it quick.  There’s no time to gather supplies in these situations.

3. Stranded Family Member or Friend

If you have a loved one who is caught in a serious situation and emergency crews are overwhelmed by other people requesting immediate help, you don’t want to delay getting help to them.  You certainly wouldn’t want to struggle to round up supplies for several minutes and risk forgetting an essential item.  Just grab your packed items and go!

4. Gathering Place

Churches and city centers are often used as shelters during times of crisis, and people are encouraged to gather to these locations for protection.  It’s a good idea to pack up as much as you can carry and head there for your own personal safety.

5. Peace of Mind

Long before an emergency situation arises, you’ll have peace of mind and confidence that you can make it through it if you have your supplies, not only on hand, but easily accessible.

Store a few backpacks full of emergency supplies in a coat closet, pantry, car, garage, or some other place that you will most likely be able to reach on your way out the door.  By doing this, you can take full advantage of your preparation and not let it sit idle or go to waste when the moment of need comes.

Guest Post: Pragmatic Hand-to-Hand Combat

Lets face is it - we live in an unpredictable world where crazy things happen too often for comfort, and I don't mean that in a good way.  Mass murderers, shootings, terrorism, rape and muggings are all out there and there is literally no guarantee these things won't happen to you, regardless of social position or gender.  One thing you must know in this life is how to defend yourself well and efficiently.

Photo courtesy of Telegraph UK
Although training is no substitute for experience when it comes to fighting, knowing simple, time-tested, and effective techniques is vital to your survival in an extreme situation.  There are many schools of martial arts out there and, if you are keen on joining one of them, that is wonderful – do so, and persevere until you are skilled at what you do.  Sometimes, however, a lot of us aren't afforded such opportunities, either because we live far away from any prospective teachers or because we don't have the time to devote to a regimented training schedule.  The aim of this article is to educate you on the most effective way to defend yourself without martial arts training in an extreme situation.  We begin with the following:

1. Avoid the fight

Yes, you read that one right.  Although your personal temperament might get in the way, this is often the best decision, since being in a fight is no picnic – you will get hurt, unless you're very good at what you do and, even then, there is still no guarantee.  As Chuck Norris once said: “I don't initiate violence, I retaliate.”  Think about this for a bit, and the next time you're facing someone who actively wants a fight, simply don't give it to them -- even when provoked.  It may seem like cowardice, but think about this – there is always a choice and a way to avoid violence – people love to boast, intimidate, and appear threatening, but, in the end, they are still afraid of pain and death.

2. Situational awareness

This is a vital skill – you must always mind your environment and keep a watchful eye for escape routes, possible weapons, and anything else you can use to your advantage.  Always try to fight in a place where the environment works to your advantage if that is possible.

3. Fight dirty

Lets face it, you're trying to survive here - you won't be able to stop and ask your assailant to back off nicely, because you think you've had enough.  Once the adrenaline gets going, people easily escalate beyond control, so the best way to win a fight is to end it as quickly as possible.  Forget fair unless you're fighting your friends – use everything and anything to your advantage to discourage and take down your opponent while limiting yourself to non-lethal strikes, unless the situation warrants worse.  If you are absolutely 100% certain that fighting is inevitable, then don't hesitate to strike first as quickly and accurately as possible.

4. Defense

Always protect your head from blows – several blows there can easily disorient you and, from then on, you can become easy prey.  Your sides and stomach are another obvious soft and vulnerable spot.  Keep your distance from your opponent, and do your best to be quick on your feet and just within striking distance.  The best defense is not getting hit, so if you need to retreat don't hesitate – use the chance to put something between you and your opponent/assailant to slow them down.  Hit and run tactics are best.

5. Attack

If you see there is no other way and you must attack, then aim at the multitude of vulnerable points in the human body.  Soft spots can be exploited and easily hurt – a quick, unexpected punch to the stomach can drive the air out of their lungs.  Attack the throat with a punch or an open hand – squeeze and rake your fingers in with enough strength to get them to choke, and then follow-up with strikes on vulnerable points, such as the solar plexus, kidneys, the eyes, or the nose.  If possible, use open-handed strikes for attacks against the face and chin.  If you're hitting areas which won't be lethal, don't hold back your strength.  Your goal should be to incapacitate your opponent/assailant as quickly as possible to prevent any chance of retaliation.  An attack to the groin is a classic – punches, kicks, or even grapples and worse can be used.  Kick their shins, calves, and kneecaps if within range.  If the situation warrants it, breaking someone's knee can end the fight in seconds, however you should avoid inflicting such a serious injury unless your life is in danger.

For legal reasons, you may need to be able to justify the amount of force you chose to utilize against your opponent/assailant at a later date.

Gordon is a passionate writer. Read more of his ideas about surviving, home storage solutions, and eco-friendly living.

26 January, 2013

We Are Quickly Devolving Into an "Orwellian" Surveillance/Police State & Yet Few Seem to Notice or Care

The fact is that our Fourth Amendment Right to Privacy has been under attack for quite some time, beginning in earnest with the passage of the Patriot Act in October 2001, which was signed into law under President Bush.  Since then, and some might argue increasingly so under President Obama, things have steadily gotten worse.  We are quickly devolving into an "Orwellian" surveillance/police state right before our own eyes -- and, yet, few seem to notice or care.

Google recently released their latest transparency report, highlighting a troubling 34% increase in government spying from 2011 to 2012; most of the information requests being without a warrant.  The warrant process, you see, is built around protecting your rights -- a judge has to be convinced of the merits of why they need the information before they're allowed to infringe upon your right to privacy; therefore, they've figured-out a way around that little inconvenience using administrative subpoenas instead, which lack the oversight of warrants.

Folks sometimes have a lot of bad things to say about Google, but they remain the only one of these companies to willingly disclose this kind of snooping by Big Brother, having done so for 3 years running now.  And, now they're flat-out saying that they won't be releasing any more of their user's info without a probable-causes warrant, despite the fact that the Electronic Communications Privacy Act of 1986 says they have to comply.  So, yeah; they've thumbing their nose at Big Brother for us -- the least we can do is give them some props for it.

It's a truly sad day when a company like Google cares more about our Fourth Amendment Right to Privacy than do those we elected to represent us in Washington.  Meanwhile, Microsoft has thus far been unwilling to disclose whether or not their Skype video and voice messaging program used by 250 million people monthly is regularly surveilled by government snoopers, so boo for those jokers.  Be careful what you say on there -- your private conversation may not be so private, after all.

One might have hoped that privacy rights were set for a revival of sorts after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in last January’s landmark decision in United States v. Jones, where the Court ruled unanimously "that federal agents must get a warrant to attach a GPS device to a car to track a suspect for long periods of time."  Instead, now they just intend to keep their surveillance methods more secret, though what has leaked-out seems even worse than what they were doing before.  No longer can they stick a GPS on a suspect's car without a warrant, but they can track where he/she has been by dumping all of the data from area cell-phone towers to triangulate his/her locations at given times.  The problem being that, not only does this skirt around the spirit of the Supreme Court's ruling, but it means they get everybody else's data as well.  Other methods include license plate readers and surveillance drones.

And, now the rumor is that the next iPhone model may come equipped with a finger-print scanner to replace the usual password system.  Of course, it's being argued that this will increase the device's security (and it will), but, if this rumor proves true, how long will it be before Apple is compelled to turn their entire database over to the FedGov?

We're quickly approaching the point where the only way to protect one's privacy is going to be to go live in a cave by a river somewhere.  My advice to all of you is to behave accordingly.

25 January, 2013

Say Goodbye to Our Civil Liberties

First, to understand the sheer breadth and width of the issue at hand, you need to watch the video below that showcases Judge Andrew Napolitano explaining H.R. 347 in stark detail and highlighting just what it means for us as Americans and our Right to Free Speech.  Ignore the name of the video as it makes it seem as though Obama alone is responsible when, in reality, *BOTH MAJOR POLITICAL PARTIES* are to blame.  I do hold President Obama ultimately accountable, however; he didn't have to sign these laws.  A true man of principle would have vetoed them, or, at very least, left them to rot in a desk drawer in limbo.

The actual substance of the video is accurate, despite the slanted title, and this power was used against the American people a few days ago to hinder Free Speech at President Obama's 2nd Presidential Inauguration.  What is it going to take before you people wake-up and abandon both of these cliques of absolute elitist cretins in Washington?

Then, consider for a moment the National Defense Authorization Act. Again, ignore the sensationalistic video title(s) below.  Do not, however, fail to recognize the significance that one of them features Rachel Maddow of MSNBC, which is usually part of the Democratic Party's own propaganda machine; even they were appalled:

I have been accused of being paranoid by my Progressive friends.  My answer to this being that sometimes the truth can be made to look like lies, especially in a system where nearly all major media is owned by a small cabal of interrelated individuals.  I don't think anyone is coming tomorrow to haul me off to a FEMA camp, but, an America where the things posted above are happening is not the country I grew up in.  In another 20 years, it's going to be like living in a Phillip K. Dick story, and that ought to frighten every one of you as much as it does me.

We used to be able to protest.  Now a Secret Service agent shuttles us to a tiny, pre-approved protest area out of the sight of TV cameras.  Old vs. New.

In Britain, detention without trial = a maximum of 28 days and they nearly roasted former PM Tony Blair alive for trying to extend it to 3 months.  Here?  *FOREVER*

In the old America, we had many flaws as a nation.  But, when compared to indefinite detention; state-sponsored assassinations; an unbelievably overwhelming Orwellian surveillance-state; and "free speech zones," I want my old pre-2001 America back.  

This new, supposedly safer imposter-country that calls itself America is on a fast-track to Fascism

And, the worst part?  Neither of the two major political Parties are going to save us, because they're all serving the same ends:

Alex Jones is a bit of a whackjob, but even a broken clock is right twice a day.

Obama to Top Brass: Will you fire on American Citizens?

Watch this video, and then make you're own call on whether or not it is to be believed.  Interestingly enough, this was broadcast on a local Boston TV station and the guy he's interviewing was previously considered for a Nobel Peace prize.

Guest Post: Your Personal Information is on the Internet, Up for Grabs

Every time you go online, you leave a trail of personal information.  Even worse, the government is putting all their public records, including what they have on you, online for all to see.  It’s no surprise that individuals are becoming increasingly concerned about how to remove personal information from public forums.  Here are some steps you can take immediately.

Set Up a Google Alert

Anyone with a Google account can set up a search with an email alert.  Create a search using your name or other criterion, and set it up to send you an email whenever it finds a new mention.  It’s relatively easy to set up and doesn’t cost a penny.  The only drawback is that it’s limited to what Google can find.  Since it’s currently the most popular search engine, some people won’t find this to be much of a drawback.

Use a Service to Control Your Privacy

There are products available, such as MyPrivacy, that offer both free and premium services for monitoring and managing online privacy.  Free services typically offer only monitoring, which for some people may be enough.  Knowing where you’re mentioned gives you enough knowledge to either request the information be removed, or take steps to remove it yourself.  Higher levels of paid service usually generate automatic requests for removal or provide detailed removal instructions to their members.

Get Your Personal Information Redacted

Most states allow certain information to be changed as well as redacted from online versions.  Visit the county clerk to verify your public records.  Usually telephone numbers and Social Security numbers can be redacted.  Addresses can usually be changed to a post office box, so consider renting one.

Make sure to verify your information in the Uniform Commercial Codes database at the same time.   This database contains property and lien information.  More importantly, the data within the records may contain your Social Security number.  Federal privacy laws require that it be removed upon request of the individual.

Opt Out of Information Broker Services

These companies gather your information over the internet and through government records, and then sell it to interested parties.  Usually they will comply with your request to remove information, but only that which does not come from government documents.  However, they will update any information coming from those documents, if requested.  So make sure they update their information with the government records you recently had changed.

If they refuse your request, you can always complain to the Federal Trade Commission.  Though they won’t do anything on your behalf, enough complaints will cause them to investigate the business.

Bury Your Online Personal Information

In some cases, it’s impossible to get online content removed, even with a court order.  In these cases, the only alternative is to bury the information.  The premise is that most people don’t look past the first page or two of search results.  If information that you don’t want appears in these top spots, then you can place additional pages of information on the web that will rank well for these searches, thereby pushing the other stuff further down the list.  It’s definitely not easy to do.  That’s why most people engage the services of a professional company to get this done.

Stephen Jeske is a former partner in a 49-year-old family business and writes about issues affecting business owners and individuals including how to manage their online reputation.

24 January, 2013

Daily Kos Article Exposing The True Progressive Agenda

Because Progressives would never *REALLY* try to institute an all-out ban on the private ownership of guns and the 2nd Amendment hasn't *REALLY* been their true enemy all along, right?

If you can read the article at the link below, printed in a very popular Left-wing rag, and still delude yourself into believing the lie that they respect you as a free human being, then there's little hope left for you.  You have obviously abandoned all rational thought in favor of the tasty Kool-aid and the Cult of Personality that surrounds this very anti-gun Presidential Administration...

Daily Kos: How to Ban Guns: A step by step, long term process

Doomsday Preppers

Recently, M.D. Creekmore over at TheSurvivalistBlog.net ran a poll question as to whether his readers considered the show "Doomsday Preppers" to be good publicity for our little subculture -- the answer being a pretty resounding negative.

My issue with the show is that a lot of those jokers they feature seem a bit on the crazy side, and I worry that it gives us something of a bad reputation (or, I should say, a worse reputation).  I have to admit that I do like the show though.  I just wish they would showcase more folks like me.  Only the fringe personalities make for good TV, I suppose.

True story.  I'm moderately sure that they contacted me before they made the first season.  They wouldn't give me any details without having me sign a non-disclosure agreement, but the lady I talked to was an associate producer for what she described as "a major cable TV network."  I talked to her twice, but ultimately declined to participate.  I could tell by the questions she asked that they were just looking for crazies to make fun of.  Not sure if it was "Doomsday Preppers" for sure (there have been a few other shows that it could have been), but the timing for the production of this show's first season is right.

Assuming I'm right and it was this show, I sometimes wish that I had done it.  They wanted me to be a participant and for me to get them in touch with some other Preppers as well, but, as I said, I got a bad vibe from her.  I wonder if maybe it would be a more flattering show to those of us in the subculture, if I had agreed to be involved.  Then again, I'm probably better off; they probably would have just made me seem crazy as Hell too, and then I'd regret it and be under a contractual gag-order not to speak-out.

What do you think?

The Death Throes of the United States

This video was sent to me yesterday in response to my post "The Economy Is Tanking & Nobody Even Seems To Notice -- If You Aren't Prepping, Then I Don't Know What The Heck You *ARE* Doing!" by reader TurtleBurt in the form of a comment on that post.  I thought it did a pretty good job of explaining what we're facing, so I wanted to highlight it a bit more prominently.

My Personal Political Philosophy

I don't fully identify with any one political philosophy, but, if I had to choose the one to which I'm most closely aligned, it would be Libertarianism.  Their particular school of thought is concerned, most vehemently, with protecting and enhancing individual freedoms.  Their focus is on reality, rather than pipe-dreams; they deal with the world as it is, rather than how they'd like it to be, which appeals greatly to my personal philosophy of realism and telling hard truths, no matter how unpleasant. 

Photo courtesy of Freedom's Phoenix
While I do not agree with some of the more "I got mine, so screw you!"-type tenets expressed in their official Party platform, Libertarians are, by and large, centrists who aren't afraid to toss an idea once it's proven to be unworthy of further consideration and energy/effort.  This is why they speak-out against such things as aggressive interventionist foreign policies, far-left collectivist social ideologies, too much religion in government, and the so-called "War On Drugs" -- all of which have been proven to be disastrously misguided.  There's just something about that worldview that truly speaks to me, on both a philosophical and an intellectual level.

Sadly, few Libertarians get elected, because big money wins elections and they don't have any.  So, in the meantime, I'm registered as a Republican -- not because I hate gays and poor people -- but rather because I believe in smaller government.  This country was based on the ideal of freedom; freedom stands opposed to constraint -- the bigger the government, the greater the constraint.  It is simple logic.  True, I dislike parts of the Republican platform, but those types of things can only be changed from within.  Maybe it will get better; maybe not.  I have serious fears that my Party has been co-opted to the point where it may no longer be possible to salvage it; I am, essentially, stuck in a bit of a holding pattern.

Photo courtesy of the Libertarian Party of Kansas
In an ideal Libertarian system, the government handles such issues as the national defense, foreign diplomacy, resolving disputes through the courts, and enforcing the very basic framework of laws that provide for the common safety through the police at a local level.  That's pretty much it.  A true Libertarian is just this side of being a classic Anarchist.  Big government is akin to a sneaky and slightly less robust version of slavery to them; they prefer a world based around the basic framework of easy to understand laws that I mentioned above, but, if faced with a choice between Big Government and none at all, the true Libertarian would choose none at all.  All remaining details are decided through the free-market.  The only exceptions to these rules revolve around the need for a social safety net of varying degrees and a need for some very basic and mostly unobtrusive governmental oversight on issues pertaining to the dumping of toxic wastes, etc. (depending on who you're talking to about it).  Generally, though, the recurrent theme of Libertarianism is a huge priority being placed on individual responsibility.

I am not a textbook Libertarian, which is why I'm not a card-carrying member of that Party.  I believe in the free market, but I also believe that there are some things that only governments can do effectively.  We need roads and bridges and tunnels and the Internet; governments build those things.  Private industry could build them as they are needed to conduct business, but that would leave a lot of areas without access.  Likewise, we cannot simply allow large corporations to pollute at will, which they have already proven they will do, if left completely unchecked.  Personally, I also believe in social safety nets for the poor, but these should represent a "leg-up" to a better life, rather than a free long-term monthly income for the lazy.

Photo courtesy of "Cry of the Patriot"
What we do not need are thousands upon thousands of laws and regulations that threaten to smother all semblance of freedom and creativity and seek to order every aspect of our lives, even down to what we we are allowed to grow in our own gardens and what we are allowed to consume in the privacy of our own homes.  We do not need to steal gobs of money out of the pockets of normal everyday Americans through a system of taxation that is only required so that we can go on feeding the bureaucratic beast created by those same obtrusive, liberty-suppressing laws I described above.

I say starve the beast, and let is shrink.  We'll all be better off for having done so.

23 January, 2013

The Economy Is Tanking & Nobody Even Seems To Notice -- If You Aren't Prepping, Then I Don't Know What The Heck You *ARE* Doing!

Photo courtesy of Crossroads Times
Going back years, one of the most pressing concerns for Preppers (even back before we were called Preppers) has been the state of the economy.

People think about the economy as though it is this distant thing they read about in the paper or listen to people drone on about on the news; something that only matters to investors, or rich people, or even just folks out looking for jobs.  But, the truth is that our economy is the life's blood of our society (of any modern society) and those reports on the news and in the papers that Joe and Sally Sixpack actively ignore and/or never bother to learn enough to understand are it's heart-beat.

The reason those of us who identify with the Prepper subculture worry over the sorry state of the economy is because: A.) The economy crashing catastrophically is a realistic potential future threat (it nearly happened in 2008) versus other more statistically-improbable disasters like nuclear wars or asteroid strikes; and, B.) Unlike Joe and Sally Sixpack, we have done enough research -- both historical as well as theoretical -- to make us understand that, if we do ever experience a catastrophic economic crash, the entire system of society will come crashing down around our ears with the quickness.

This isn't the 1930s anymore, when a huge percentage of the population were only one generation (or less) removed from living on and working farms and ranches, and most people still had family members still actively living that life just a few hours drive away.  Most of us no longer even possess the requisite knowledge to keep a productive vegetable garden and can our own produce, and there are a lot more of us to feed these days.  Also, in the 1930s, we weren't under siege by 1.4 million gang members spread over 33,000 separate violent street gangs (an almost unbelievably explosive increase of 40% between 2009 and early 2012, according to the FBI).

And, on top of all of that, we have engineered our system into such a convoluted cluster-f#%k that virtually every morsel of food we eat and every ounce of fuel we pump into our vehicles only gets to us as the end result of a hugely interdependent feedback loop.  Modern grocery stores only keep a supply that lasts a few days on-site.  Every time you buy an item and it gets electronically-scanned by the cashier, a computer keeps track of it.  When a certain percentage of the total in-store stock of an item is sold, the computer electronically signals the computers at the depot serving your area to ready a new shipment of that item to replenish the store's stocks.  This continues ad nauseam up the line from the local depot to the regional depots and, ultimately, all the way to the manufacturer or producer of the goods.  This is why, whenever there's a big storm and people rush to the stores to buy supplies all at once, the shelves end-up bare (or nearly so).  What has happened is that the sudden rush of people all buying items at the same time and in large quantities has stressed the system and depleted the supplies before they could be restocked.

It is normally a very efficient system, but, like any efficient modern system, throw one cog in the works and it all grinds to a halt.  When the Teamsters threaten to strike, their employers can make use of non-union drivers to keep the system running.  Non-union drivers like money, for which they are willing to trade their labor for a set number of dollars.  But, if you remove those dollars from the equation by making them lose their worth (through hyperinflation), then you have a very big problem.  You have no drivers, which doesn't really matter, because you also have no staff at the depots to load the products onto the loading docks.  Within a few days, the grocery stores are empty and the gas stations are dry for want of their properly-timed deliveries.  Eventually, even the electricity goes out as rampant absenteeism puts the kibosh on anything getting fixed as it breaks and the power-plants use up their emergency supplies of coal and oil with no new deliveries to replenish them.  Police and National Guard units are soon unable to maintain order as a large percentage of their personnel stay home to keep their own families safe.

Say goodbye to society, all because of an economic crash that strips the dollar of its buying power.

But that's okay, because it'll never happen, right?

The fact is, if you look past the spin and propaganda that is being spewed by our leaders and their co-opted mouth-pieces in the mainstream media, you'll see that we are currently mired in an economic funk that is a lot closer to a possible collapse than you might think.

Germany is signaling a loss of confidence in our financial system (or, at the very least, a lack of faith in the honesty of the Fed) with a recent announcement that they are calling home large quantities of gold, previously stored in Paris and New York.  And they aren't the only ones.  Lots of well-to-do-folks are hoarding gold and sales of silver coins are way, way up.

Meanwhile, China is getting grabby with a lot of commodities, including gold and, even more worryingly, huge quantities of staples such as rice, powdered milk, and iron ore.  Either they're getting ready for World War III over there, or they know something we don't.  I can say with certainty, however, that a really great time to be overflowing in all the great stuff dollars can buy would be on the day after those dollars (which the Chinese are heavily invested in) become worthless.  The Chinese are playing chess while the rest of us are playing checkers, folks.

And back stateside?  How about all the rich folks who have inexplicably decided that now was a great time to invest in large chunks of land in Montana?

If you don't think something weird is going on, then you're aren't paying close enough attention, folks.  Now would be a real good time to take the actions of the Chinese as an example.  Get yourself out of paper and into real things like non-perishable foodstuffs, water filters, firearms and ammunition, precious metals, and sturdy tools / gear before it's too late.

A Major Flaw Of An Oft-Repeated Anti-2nd Amendment Argument

I ran across the following graphic on Facebook (posted by a Kool-aid drinking friend of mine) the other day and felt the need to share it.  Scroll past the graphic for my response.

The flaw in this argument (and it's a glaring flaw) is that nobody in their right mind expects to stand toe-to-toe with a technologically-advanced army.  What is possible, however, is a guerrilla-type resistance... you know, like the one being carried-out by the Iraqi and Afghan Insurgency at this very moment and that we're still fighting nearly a decade after Saddam's army fell.  The fact is, if you're willing to toss your cell phone in a lake, stay off the Internet, and practice a little thermal and light discipline, then even a vastly more technologically-advanced force loses all advantage gained through that technology.  History is proving that to be true even now

Ostensibly weaker forces have been outlasting much stronger foes for as long as mankind has been waging war.  It's all just a matter of changing the ways in which you operate to negate the advantages enjoyed by the stronger force.

God forbid anything like this ever comes to pass, but, if it does, give me a week's notice and the use of a couple of backhoes and I could dig an encampment in the sides of these West Virginia mountains that could house 1000 men and be completely invisible to the thermal-imaging rigs on Predator Drones and Apache attack helicopters.  The truth is, however, that I don't think most of our military would follow orders to attack a popular uprising against tyranny.  If it ever came to that point, a good part of the military would support the Resistance.  They swore to uphold the Constitution, not President Obama and Senator Feinstein's warped, half-psychotic worldview.

22 January, 2013

MOVIE REVIEW: "Outbreak" (1995)

This week's Doomer Fiction / disaster film review will focus on "Outbreak" (1995) [Blu-ray] - (DVD version), starring a stellar cast of Dustin Hoffman, Rene Russo, Morgan Freeman, Kevin Spacey, Donald Sutherland, and a young Cuba Gooding, Jr. and directed by Wolfgang Peterson.  A much younger Patrick Dempsey also makes an appearance.

This is yet another of the crop of disaster flicks that popped-up in the mid- to late-1990s; this one revolving around an outbreak of a deadly virus and the efforts of teams of Doctors from USAMRIID (the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases) and the CDC trying to stop its harrowing advance.

The disease in question is a particularly nasty viral hemorrhagic fever.  Basically, we're talking about the Ebola virus on steroids.  It starts off presenting with flu-like symptoms, then quickly progresses to the point where any poor soul unfortunate enough to become infected soon dies with their internal organs liquifying inside them.  Needless to say, it's ugly.

The film did well at the box office, which isn't a surprise -- it's a good one, and I recommend it to any who might not have seen it back in the day or on one of the pay channels in the years since.  For that matter, it's worth picking-up now, even if you have seen it, as the price has dropped considerably as newer films have pushed these older ones out of the top slots in consumer demand.

The center-piece of the film centers on the quarantine of a small fictional town in northern California called Cedar Creek, where the authorities are desperately trying to contain the virus; while, concurrently, some with a more sinister agenda skulk around the periphery.  Meanwhile, the poor residents of the town are trapped, living under threat in what has suddenly become a police state under Martial Law.

Of greatest interest to me, while screening the film again to freshen my perceptions before writing this review, I couldn't help but for my thoughts to wander to what plans might be in place in the event that a deadly outbreak like the one in this film were to truly occur. 

To what lengths would our government go to contain such a blight... and, even if the answer to that question is terrifying, could we truly blame them?