Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year?

2008 was a doozie, and unless there is a drastic change in the world, 2009 should be even worse. Here are several things that are on my radar for the coming year:

1. Israel versus?. Israel is currently attacking Hamas in the Gaza Strip. This could be a simple retaliation measure, or it could be a move to secure Israel's flanks for a possible attack on Iran's Nuclear Facilities. If Israel does intend to attack Iran, the need to make sure that they are not going to experience attacks from Hamas back home. Doubt it? They attacked Syria in 2008, remember? ***Editors note, Israel is still moving against Gaza as of Jan. 18th, although there is a temporary cease fire in place.

2. India versus Pakistan. India and Pakistan have both moved troops closer to their borders. My concern is that if India can find a link between the Pakistani government or military and the Mumbai terrorists, they will use it as a reason to attack Pakistan. Have no doubts that in the event of a full on war, it will go Nuclear very quickly. With prevailing winds, that spells trouble for the West Coast of the US in the form of fallout. ***Editors note, India has indeed supplied Pakistan with what they consider proof of Paki involvement in the Mumbai attacks, expect a retaliation by India at some point.

3. Terrorist Attack in the US. With the pending change in administration, Al-Quaeda could be emboldened to mount another attack on the US. It is quite possible that they expect a less severe response than they got in 2001, and in fact, with the splintering of Al-Quaeda Command and Control, they could be harder to strike now than they were then.

4. Economic meltdown in the US. With the sliding dollar, rising unemployment and a lack of faith in our government, a Great Depression style meltdown may indeed be on the horizon. The Federal Government just raised the amount of money that FDIC will cover, is the government expecting more bank failures? Will there be a run on banks? ***Editors note, As of Jan. 18th 2009 the economy continues to worsen, unemployement is up, housing starts and company profits continue to fall and now the Federal Government cannot completely account for the 70 Billion is has given to banks as part of the bailout.

5. Social Upheaval in the US. With possible fuel and food shortages (driven by weather or economics), how will the US citizenry react? Well, for the vast majority who are expecting the government to provide for them, I think they will react badly. If this situation develops, I expect food riots and widespread looting as disenfranchised sheeple panic and lash out. In addition, if President Obama does not pull the country out of the slump it is in quickly, I expect a backlash from his current supporters. He has been painted as a messiah or "The Chosen One", and if he cannot live up to that reputation, I expect fickle America to turn on him quickly. If that happens, we can expect Draconian measures from the US Government to "restore order". Expect your rights to be trampled on.

I wish I had great hope for 2009, but all I can muster is concern. I continue my preps and working within my support network to make sure we are all ready. I fervently hope it is not needed, but I just can't be sure.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Pics from the annual MG Shoot

Suppressed Ruger 10/22s, Thompson SMG, M-79 Grenade Launcher, M-14E2 (Select Fire), M-16 with XM-148 Grenade Launcher, HK MP-5 and a Suppressed Walther P-22

Pics from the annual MG Shoot

HK MP-5 (suppressed), Russian PPSH-41 and M-60

How fun was your Christmas?


Mine was pretty good. It was capped off today with our annual New Years Machine Gun Shoot. I can't disclose the location, but I will post a few pics of some of the hardware. This pic shows my buddy "3" shooting an M-249 SAW (Squad Automatic Weapon), which is the US Military's 5.56mm fire support weapon. There are also 2 M-60's and an RPD in the picture. All legal, all fully automatic. Lot's of fun stuff to shoot including M-16s, AR-15s, AKs (47 and 74), lots of belt fed MGs, lots of suppressed stuff and even some grenade launchers. Good fun was had by all.




Monday, December 22, 2008

Just a random song lyric on a random day

I've always liked this song. No particular significance to it, or to posting it today. None at all.

Thirty-Nine And Holding
(J. Foster, B. Rice)

He's out there somewhere every night
The music's playin' loud
He's doing all-a those fifty's steps
He's in a 1980 crowd

Dim lights hide the mileage line
Clairol hides the gray
And he won't mention anything
To give his old age away

Oh Lord, he's thirty-nine an he's holdin'
He's holdin' everything that he can
From seventeen to twenty-five
He'll prove he's still a man

Hey boy, you're holding to a candle
And it's a-burning at both ends
Thirty-nine and holding
A-holdin' everything that I can

Well, now you can bet he'll never see
Thirty-nine, again
Son, you oughta given up a long time ago
But you just keep on hangin' in

He still thinks that he's the man
That he once used to be
Boy, you're just thirty-nine
And you're dreamin' Acting twenty-three

Oh-oh, he's thirty-nine, he's holdin'
Holdin' everything that he can
From seventeen to twenty-five
He'll prove he's still a man

He's a-holding to a candle
My God, it's burning at both ends!
He's thirty-nine and he's holdin'
Holdin' everything he can

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Trip to the Woods


Here is Kid01 and Kid02 roughing it in the woods. How many of you would trust your 16 year old to wear a sidearm? If so, count yourself a good parent. As far as that goes, how many of you have 16 year olds who would give up a day at the mall, hanging with friends, listening to MP3s or killing brain cells with MySpace to go to the woods. I am truly a lucky guy. The only drawback? Mrs. RipperBravo6 had previous commitments and could not go. We missed her, but she promised to make the next trek.

Trip to the Woods


We took a family trip to the woods weekend before last. This is Kid02 playing with fire. I am happy to report that he did not burn himself or anyone else, and did not wet the bed (another Old Wives Tale disproven). He enjoyed shooting, hiking, cooking on an open fire and generally running wild. That is Bertram Buck to his left, a legend in his own time and one of the best bros a survivalist could have.

Load Bearing Gear


Finally got my web gear close to finished and thought I would post a pic of it. It is the ProTech I-RACK (Improved Ranger Assault Carrying Kit). I lengthened the shoulder straps so it would not hit me in the chin (using the existing strap slides) and added a longer belt and side release buckle in the back (from Strapworks http://www.strapworks.com/ who has great stuff, costs little and ships so fast that it is scary). It needed a longer belt to fit over my body armor, and it gives another release option since the zip off side panel can be hard to operate under stress. The vest came from US Cavalry (http://www.uscav.com/) and was on clearance for $20. Hard to beat that. I added 2 EMT pouches in Coyote Brown from Cheaper Than Dirt. On the right (in the picture) is my electronics pouch, featuring a micro light on a lanyard, a set of Tasco mini binoculars, AA and CR123 batteries and hopefully after Christmas a Garmin GPS (which will ride in a 5.11 Tactical GPS pouch in the front of the EMT pouch). On the left, the EMT pouch is used for a blowout kit. On the front, it features a Supply Captain (http://www.supplycaptain.com/) MOLLE patch panel with one of their Medic Red Cross Velcro patches and a set of Velcro name tapes to let everyone with me know what it's for (might save my life). The blowout kit has Celox, Kerlix bandages, a compress, tape, forceps and a set of paramedic shears. Still need an Asheman Chest Seal and an Israeli bandage to complete it. In the center of the rig is my Gerber ASEK in it's MOLLE sheath, mounted upside down for quick access. To it's right (in the pic) is an Admin pouch with a flag, a name tape, and blood type and allergies Velcro patches (again, thanks Supply Captain). Inside the pouch are a red-lensed micro light and Silva Ranger Compass, both on lanyards, a Rite-in-the-Rain notebook, pens, pencil, several light sticks and a backup pocket knife. On the outside, the built in pouch features a Surefire G2 Nitrolon flashlight. Below the Admin Pouch is a Spec-Ops X-6 magazine pouch. It is designed for 6 30 round aluminum AR-15 mags, but only holds 5 of the Orlite mags I prefer (I also keep 1 in the rifle and 1 in a butstock pouch and an additional 6 mounted to the back of my rucksack for 13 total). The pouch came from LightHound (http://www.lighthound.com/) who ships fast and is a great source for flashlight parts and paracord as well. I finished the rig off with a carabiner to clip my gloves on when I take them off. I prefer the IRACK because it has no back, so you can carry a Hydration pouch, a 3 day BOB, or a full rucksack with no interference. It is fairly easy to get on and off, carries all my needed gear and is comfortable to wear. Check it out if you are in the market for a great MOLLE rig.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

A lesson about America


Today is December 7th. A Sunday, just like December 7th, 1941. I wanted to tell you today a story about a ship. An American ship, a battleship to be exact. But this story is about more than just the ship, this story is about America, and how Americans, when faced with a terrible challenge can often rise to the occasion. It is a story about how you can never count us out. It is a story about how we handle adversity.
The USS West Virginia (BB-48) was launched on the 17th of November, 1921 from Newport News, Virginia. She was a Colorado-Class Super Dreadnought, built with all the lessons learned from the First World War. She was meant to show the world that America had truly come of age and had taken her rightful place among the Superpowers of this Earth. And for the 20 years following her launch, she did just that. She traveled the world over, showing what America was capable of, winning awards and accolades and the deep and abiding respect of any man who crewed her.
On December 7th, 1941, she, along with many of her sister ships, including 6 other Battleships, lay moored in her quay off Ford Island, Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. She was getting a well-deserved period of rest and refit following intense training exercises in November. It was in this spot, moored outboard of the USS Tennessee (BB-43), that she was attacked on that fateful Sunday morning. Being the outboard ship in the line, she took at least 7 hits from Japanese torpedoes, including possibly one fired from a Japanese Mini-Sub. She was hit by at least 2 bombs constructed from 16-inch armor piercing naval shells and spent 30 hours engulfed in an oil fire started when the USS Arizona was hit. The ship began to sink, but thanks to the quick thinking of her crew and officers, she was counter flooded to prevent capsizing and settled into the mud 40 feet down. Her crew stayed on board, fighting fires and firing the ships anti-aircraft guns at attacking Japanese aircraft until fire compelled them to abandon ship. They returned as soon as possible in an attempt to save their ship.
When the fires were extinguished the following day. damage was assessed, and the ship was deemed repairable. The USS West Virginia rose from the dead on May 17th, 1942, when, with patches on her hull, she was refloated and moved to dry dock for repairs. As Japan celebrated her victory, American workers labored long and hard to repair the great ship (and many other ships damaged in the attack). In July 1944, the USS West Virginia put to sea again, stronger and more modern than she had been in 1941. She steamed straight for the Empire of Japan as the flagship of Battleship Division 4 of the US Navy.
She spent the rest of 1944 fighting near the Philippines and in October 1944, she fought in the Battle of Leyte Gulf against Admiral Shima's Japanese Imperial Navy Task force, which included the Super Battle ships Yamato and Musashi. Joining the "Wee Vee" were the USS Maryland, USS Tennessee, USS California, the USS Pennsylvania and the USS Mississippi. With the exception of the USS Mississippi, all these ships were Pearl Harbor veterans.
At 3:52 AM on October the 25th, the West Virginia opened fire at 22,800 yards with her 16 inch guns, firing 16 salvos and sending the Japanese Battleship Yamashiro to a watery grave.
She continued her operations in the Philippines, fought off Iwo Jima, battled Kamikazes, fought off Okinawa and steamed into Tokyo Bay in August 1945 to take part in the surrender of the Empire of Japan. The satisfaction felt by her sailors, rising from the mud of Pearl Harbor, to finally see their enemies vanquished, must have been overwhelming.
It tell you this story, not just to share America's history with you, but as a parable. When our ship is in trouble, when hope is gone and things look bleak, we should remember the West Virginia, and we should learn from her example that with the hard work and dedication of willing Americans, any ship can be set to rights again.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Blog Bag of the Month




This is the Diplomat Molle Ammo Bag. I found this bag online at LA Police Gear.(http://www.lapolicegear.com/)

Here is the online description:


The Diplomat Molle Ammo Bag is a great multi-function bag. It was designed to be rugged and durable to withstand whatever you may need to put it through. Instead of normal cloth thread Diplomat used nylon thread to make it even tougher. The MOLLE Ammo Bag can be use for an ammo bag (as the name suggests), a first aid kit, a small travel bag, or an emergency kit. It can fit right under the front seat of a truck or Humvee so it can be close at hand whenever you may need it. The Diplomat MOLLE Ammo bag can be carried by it's carry handle, or you can use the shoulder strap that is included with the bag. The inside features various clips, pouches and Velcro to attach and organize all the gear you need. Dimensions: 13.5" x 11" x 6".


Looked like an interesting bag. Just about the right size for a "Get Home" kit or to carry a pistol and ammo to the range. Then I saw the price! This bag is listed at LA Police Gear for $9.99! Yep, $10 for a MOLLE bag! You can't get a good MOLLE pouch for $10 these days. I have ordered two of them and they are expected to arrive in the next few days. I will post a review when they get here, but at $9.99 they would have to be pretty crappy to disappoint. Not sure exactly what I will use them for (which is why I got 2). The color choices were Black, OD Green and Coyote Brown. All my other gear is in Coyote, so I got both bags in it. I can see mounting this to the outside of a large rucksack to carry food, snivel gear, extra ammo, or just about anything that you might want the option of removing and carrying seperatley. Diplomat also makes a laptop sized "Combat Briefcase" type bag and a nice looking MOLLE 3 day backpack. I put those on my Christmas list.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

The rest of the collection


Here are the longarms from the collection. From Left to Right: Mossberg Maverick 88 in 12 gauge, Bushmaster AR-15 with Eotech sight in .223, Remington 710 in .30-06, Springfield Armory M-1 Garand in .30-06, Chinese SKS Type 45 Carbine in 7.62x39mm, Norinco Model 97 in 12 gauge, Arisaka based custom hunting rifle in .300 Savage and Sears and Roebuck Model 110 in 20 gauge. I had them out to catalog them, made sure I had all the serial numbers on file and check to ensure each one was in working order.
In putting together my collection, some were chosen because of their usefulness, some were just plain cool, and some just happened to fall into my hands. The Mossberg and AR-15 are excellent survival weapons, I can't recommend them highly enough. The Remington 710 was chosen to have something capable of taking larger game at a distance. The Garand is a piece of history and a cool rifle to shoot. I can't imagine lugging it across Europe or the Pacific though, it must weigh 15 pounds. The SKS is a vet bring back, no import marks, all numbers matching. I try and not shoot it too often, but it is a lot of fun. The Norinco Model 97 was something I have always wanted, and a real Winchester Model 97 was out of my price range. You can slam fire it just like an original (hold the trigger down and work the slide and it will fire each time it chambers a round, just plain brutal!) The Arisaka is a work of art, probably put together in the late fifties or early sixties, and no doubt done by hand. It has a Johnson Automatics barrel, from either a Johnson rifle or a Johnson Light Machine Gun. The stock was hand carved and has black and white bakelite inserts. It has a micrometer peep site instead of a scope, and a funky space ship type muzzle break on it. It is chambered in .300 Savage, which was quite the deer getter back in the day. And last, but not least, the Sears and Roebuck break open 20 gauge single shot, which is my personal favorite. Why, you may ask, with all the cool hardware lined up against the wall, is a old beater 20 gauge one shot my favorite? Well, it belonged to my Grandfather, and it bagged many a squirrel in it's day. It hung on his wall and I looked at it with reverence every time we visited. When he died, it went to live in my Father's closet. When he passed away last year, it came to live with me. one day, hopefully, it will belong to my son. Sentimental value, a family history in firearms, and an investment in my rights.

Bring the Heat...Just kidding


Here is a pic I took for insurance purposes of the handguns I have. Just thought you all might like to see them. I spent part of last night making sure I had all the serial numbers listed and that everything was in working order. They are as follows: Top Row- Smith and Wesson Sigma 9mm, Heritage Rough Rider .22 and .22 Magnum. Second Row- Glock 30 .45 ACP, Colt Official Police .38 Special. Third Row- Glock 17 9mm, Ruger Blackhawk .357 Magnum. Bottom Row- FEG PA-63 9mm Makarov (9x18).
The Glock 30 is my daily carry. I can't recommend it for everyone, but if you can handle a subcompact in .45 ACP, well, no one ever said a .45 wasn't enough. My only complaints are the difficulty in stuffing 10 rounds in the magazine (you basically have to buy it dinner and a drink to convince it to get in there) and the fact that a lot of the powder in the rounds does not burn in the barrel, so you end up with dirty hands when you shoot. Recoil is manageable, but I would suggest getting a sandpaper decal grip, it gets a little slippery when your hands sweat.
Best shooter in the bunch? A surprise, it is the 1950's Colt Official Police. Dead on every time. You can make a smiley face on the targets at the range.
Meanest recoil? Not the .45 Glock, not even the .357 Blackhawk. That mean little FEG PA-63! It has an aluminum alloy frame and it is ultra light. It feels like getting hit in the web of your hand with a Hungarian hammer after about 3 shots. Nice and concealable though. I have some questions on the stopping power of the 9x18 95 grain round, but the whole point of a gun that small is to use it as a last resort and take your shots up close. I wish Cor-Bon made those solid copper rounds in 9mm Mak, though.
Most difficult to shoot? The S&W Sigma. It has a double action only trigger with a loooooong pull. It took some time to figure out where to aim when you started pulling the trigger if you wanted to hit center mass. I started aiming about 6 inches above the targets head at 25 feet, with practice and time, I can now aim at the center of the neck and hit center mass on the chest every time. If this was your daily carry it would be possible to be consistent and pretty deadly with it, but it takes practice. I purchased to have a low cost, easy to maintain 9mm to use at the range.
I am no where near where I want to be with the collection, but I think this is a good start.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Paris loves RipperBravo6?


Nope, just a little bit of the fun to be had at www.photofunia.com . Check it out, almost as good as making yourself a dancing elf at www.jibjab.com .
Well, the long holiday weekend looms. With the market in the crapper (or is it up? I have stopped looking.) and President-Elect Obama filling his cabinet with Clinton era gun-grabbers and the Russian Navy sucking face with the Venezuelans, what do we have to give thanks for? Well, our preps of course!
With a few days off work, I am dedicating myself to reviewing what I have in place so far and making a plan to get where I want to be. I think we have about a month and a half of food, if we conserve in the larder, but I know we are short of things for breakfast, snacks, deserts and meat. I will make a list of what we have and then a list of what else we will want to pick up before the first of the year.
I am worried about the liquidity of our local bank, so I am going to start diverting funds every payday to more mobile forms of wealth (ie. hard currency) which I will keep in the firesafe along with the trusty .38 Colt revolver. Armageddon is no time to have to stop and use the ATM.
I am hereby vowing to check every firearm we have this weekend to assure it is in working order and properly lubed. Magazines as well. And I will make an inventory sheet for ammo that I can update each time more is added. How much is enough? 500 rounds of .30-06 on M-1 Garand En-Bloc clips, 200 rounds of .30-06 loose including at least 50 rounds of M2 AP. 1200 rounds of .223 including 100 rounds of tracer, 250 rounds of 12 gauge 00 buck, 500 rounds of 9mm, 500 rounds of .45 ACP, 250 rounds of .38 Special, 250 rounds of .357 Magnum, 500 rounds of 7.62x39mm, 250 rounds of 9x18 and 2500 of .22LR. We are not there yet, but I am proud to say we are close.
I will also review Bug Out Bag contents with the family to make sure what we have now will be adequate through the winter.
Lots to do in 5 short days, but I am thankful for everyday that I have to prepare. In this crazy world, the best you can do is complete something prep related everyday. It gives you a nice feeling of accomplishment.
Have a happy and safe Thanksgiving. RipperBravo6, OUT!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Biggest Douchebag on the Planet award goes to...



This article is for anyone out there who is foolish enough to think that terrorists hate America because George Bush is our President. The truth of the matter is that terrorists hate America because we are different. They hate us because we drink beer on hot Saturday afternoons in July, because we allow our women to drive cars, because we don’t require public whippings for marital infidelity. They hate us because we listen to Rock and Roll, because we don’t all pray to Mecca 3 times a day, because we enjoy bacon and ham, and because we allow our citizens to have freedom of speech and religion. They hate us, in short, because we are Americans. They despise everything our country stands for. It does not matter who is President, they have always hated us and will continue to do so. For them , the only difference between George Bush and Barack Obama is that Bush brought the fight to them, and they believe Obama will not. Don’t fool yourself into thinking that Radical Islam is something other than Fascism. That is what it is. Fascism. Same as Hitler.



Al Qaeda No. 2 in Video Calls Obama Dishonorable
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
Associated Press
CAIRO, Egypt — Al Qaeda No. 2 Ayman al-Zawahiri insulted Barack Obama in the terror group's first reaction to his election, calling him a demeaning racial term implying that the president-elect is a black American who does the bidding of whites.
The message appeared chiefly aimed at persuading Muslims and Arabs that Obama does not represent a change in U.S. policies. Al-Zawahiri said in the message, which appeared on militant Web sites Wednesday, that Obama is "the direct opposite of honorable black Americans" like Malcolm X, the 1960s African-American rights leader.
Al-Zawahiri also called Obama — along with secretaries of state Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice — "house negroes."
Speaking in Arabic, al-Zawahiri uses the term "abeed al-beit," which literally translates as "house slaves." But Al Qaeda supplied English subtitles of his speech that included the translation as "house negroes."
The message also includes old footage of speeches by Malcolm X in which he explains the term, saying black slaves who worked in their white masters' house were more servile than those who worked in the fields. Malcolm X used the term to criticize black leaders he accused of not standing up to whites.
The 11-minute 23-second video features the audio message by al-Zawahiri, who appears only in a still image, along with other images, including one of Obama wearing a Jewish skullcap as he meets with Jewish leaders. In his speech, al-Zawahiri refers to a Nov. 5 U.S. airstrike attack in Afghanistan, meaning the video was made after that date.
Al-Zawahiri said Obama's election has not changed American policies he said are aimed at oppressing Muslims and others.
"America has put on a new face, but its heart full of hate, mind drowning in greed, and spirit which spreads evil, murder, repression and despotism continue to be the same as always," the deputy of Al Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden said.
He said Obama's plan to shift troops to Afghanistan is doomed to failure, because Afghans will resist.
"Be aware that the dogs of Afghanistan have found the flesh of your soldiers to be delicious, so send thousands after thousands to them," he said.
Al-Zawahiri did not threaten specific attacks, but warned Obama that he was "facing a Jihadi (holy war) awakening and renaissance which is shaking the pillars of the entire Islamic world; and this is the fact which you and your government and country refuse to recognize and pretend not to see."
He said Obama's victory showed Americans acknowledged that President George W. Bush's policies were a failure and that the result was an "admission of defeat in Iraq."
But Obama's professions of support for Israel during the election campaign "confirmed to the Ummah (Islamic world) that you have chosen a stance of hostility to Islam and Muslims," al-Zawahiri said.


These guys suck. No amount of backpedaling and groveling by the USA is going to change the fact that they hate us, and nothing we can do, short of mass suicide, is going to make them stop attacking us. So, the choice is ours, or rather our governments. I ask you, President- Elect Obama, are you going to take the fight to these assholes, or can we look forward to 4 years of Clinton/Carter appeasement that will embolden and strengthen our enemies? Never mind, I know the answer already.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Recent Survival Preps


I think if any survivalist could have their wish, they would like to be able to purchase all their survival supplies at once and never have to worry about getting anything else. Maybe Howard Hughes could do that, but in the real world, we survivalists have jobs, mortgages, car payments and kids that need shoes. So, getting things together takes a while. I suppose the longer Armageddon holds off, the better off I will be. I would like to take this opportunity to share some of my recent survival preps as well as a few things I have on my "To Do" list.
1. Building A Support Network
I recently had lunch with a very good friend. He owns several hundred acres off the beaten path and it has always been an unspoken arrangement that we could fall back there if needed. His place is less than 45 minutes from our house, but driving another 1000 yards back into his property, it could be 1850 again! However, I wanted to sit down with him and discuss something more formal. This was accomplished over excellent Vietnamese food last Friday. We discussed building a "pad site" at a location on his property, consisting of 2 to 3 10'x20' wooden platforms with wood or metal frames that could support large tarps. If we need to Bug Out to a secluded location, we can use these platforms to keep our tents off the ground and to have a covered area for shade and storage. If we never need to Bug Out, we will have a nice area to camp in the fall and winter. He agreed this was a good use of our combined resources and we are going to get started as soon as budget allows. Having someone you can count on is a big part of any prep. No one goes it alone, for very long anyway. I look forward to working with him and providing some safety and security for both our families.
2. Food Preps
I spent a good portion of Saturday afternoon vacuum sealing some of the stored food I have put back. Vacuum sealing decreases bulk and allows you to eliminate unneeded packaging. It also keeps your food fresh and rodent free. I vacuum sealed beans, rice, pasta and sugar. I will continue this week with instant potatoes, dog food and spices. I have discovered that the local Specs Liquor will give you free cardboard boxes. This makes storing and transporting the sealed food much easier. I will also look into some hard plastic containers for the canned goods. My goal is to have 3 months worth of food sealed and ready for use or transport. I also include the original instructions in the bag and write the date purchased or sealed on the outside to make prep easier. I look for dishes that can be made with either water only, or milk, which I have powdered. I also plan to order some #10 cans of freeze dried ground beef and chicken to add to the sealed staples. Pinto beans become chili with some meat, tomato sauce and the correct spices. Pasta becomes Chicken Ala King with canned veggies, Alfredo sauce and chicken. No need to die of food boredom as well as starving to death!
3. Hoarding gas and water
Although gas prices are reasonable (maybe reasonable is not the right word). I have continued with my plan to have 30 gallons of gas ready to go. I filled up 5 gas cans in a nearby town where 2 stores having a gas war have driven the price down to $1.65 a gallon. 2 of the cans were new and 3 were ones I had previously filled and later emptied into the truck during my bi-weekly rotation. I have 6 cans full and ready to go in the garage and will now build a storage rack to recapture some of my floor space. I have 3 six gallon water cans so far and plan to add 6 more for 54 gallons of portable water. 2 Fifty-Five gallon drums will complete my home water preps. I also plan to add some metal hooks under the eves of the house to hang 10'x10' tarps when it rains so that I can use to gather rain water and replenish the barrels as needed.
4. Guns and Ammo
I still have 2 guns on layaway at the Pawn Shop, but I intend to have both out by the January 20th. Why Jan. 20th? No reason at all, in case this ever comes up in court. Seriously, I know the incoming regimes feelings on gun ownership, so I want everything done before they get into power. Do I think they will defy the Supreme Court and walk all over the Bill of Rights? You bet. Everyone else has. I gave up my 4th Amendment Rights to the Bush Administration, but I will be darned if I will give up the Second Amendment ones to anyone else. Ammo in bulk is practically nonexistant since Election Day, and anything in military calibers is scarce as hens teeth, so anything I find, I will buy. I think that ammo prices will go down a little (temporarily) after NoBama is inagurated, so I will try and load up then, but I am committed to purchasing anything I come across, regardless of cost. After the guns are paid off, all the monthly gun budget will go directly to ammo until I have what I consider to be a safe amount.
5. Bug Out Bags
I will spend the next few months intensely working on family BOBs. I want us ready to go in case of any emergency, regardless if it means a night in a local motel, or a cross country trip to freedom. Everyone gets Nalgene bottles, firestarting kits, first aid kits and some survival food. You cannot be too prepared. I also will put back $200 so everyone can have $50 in small bills and an additional $300 for the family bugout kit. Cash is king. It is also time to buy some additional summer clothes to store in the bags while it is on sale. Considering summer here lasts for about 320 days, it is a good investment.
6. Expand my Universe
I have recently been in contact via the Internet with other local, like minded folks. My (pre)New Years resolution is to establish direct contact with as many of the as possible and discuss potential bartering and/or group buys. It will also help to establish local contacts in the event the balloon goes up. You never know what we might be able to help each other with.
That concludes my main preps, but I am also preparing myself mentally for the difficulties to come. That is an exercise that I do every day and I see no end in sight to that particular prep!
And the answer is yes, that is Tony Bennet that I am hanging out with in the picture (sort of).

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Will history repeat itself?


I have been thinking a lot about our country since Election Day and, being an amateur historian, I would like to share a small piece of American History with you that might pertain to the current course of our nation.
Were you aware that the final spark that ignited the American Revolution (primed already by the Boston Tea Party...see previous article) was the attempted seizure of arms and ammunition from the Colonials?
You might be aware of the fact that our Revolution started with an exchange of gunfire between Colonial Militia and British Regulars on Lexington's town square (or greens as they were referred to in that day). On April 19th, 1775 at sunrise, 700 British Regulars entered the town of Lexington, Massachusetts Bay Colony and were confronted by 30 men from the Lexington Militia's "Training Band" who had been forewarned of their approach by Paul Revere and his forgotten, but no less heroic, counterpart William Dawes. Led by John Parker, A French and Indian War veteran, the Colonial Militia did not engage the British troops, but in the confusion, someone fired a musket. The British returned fire, killing 8 militiamen outright. You can read more about this incident on Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Lexington_and_Concord
But what were the British doing there anyway? Why turn up in such large numbers, concealed by darkness, in a small town such as Lexington?
The British were there to seize the Colonists weapons. Weapons guaranteed to the Colonists by the Militia system, guaranteed to them for their own personal safety. The British government, the Colonists own ruling government had decided that ownership of weapons by citizens of the Colonies was no longer good policy and had made a move to confiscate these weapons. Sound familiar? This very scenario threatens to rear it's ugly head again, right here in the very land those brave militiamen fought to create and preserve.
If you combine the oppressive taxes that are potentially coming, a government out of touch with the values of it's citizens and the outlawing and possible seizure of legally owned personal weapons, the irony is both bitter and tangible.
What our government seems to forget when trampling on the Bill of Rights, is that the Second Amendment is the one that assures we get to keep all the other ones.
I leave you with a quote from one of Founding Fathers that sums it up very well...
"And what country can preserve its liberties, if it's rulers are not warned from time to time, that this people preserve the spirit of resistance? Let them take arms. The remedy is to set them right as to the facts, pardon and pacify them. What signify a few lives lost in a century or two? The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time, with the blood of patriots and tyrants. It is its natural manure." - Thomas Jefferson
Well said TJ. Read up America. The time may be coming when we need to water that tree.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Here is some history we can all relate to...


How many of you know about the Boston Tea Party? Not that it happened, hopefully anyone with a junior high education is aware of the incident. But how many of you know the real reason, the true cause of this bold and seditious act against His Majesties Government?


Well, it was the same thing that has been on the lips of everyone from Presidential candidates to Joe The Plumber for months and painful months.


Taxes. Overtaxation, Unrestricted Taxation supported by a distant and hostile government, Taxation without representation.
This was the spark that ignited the powder keg that was the American Colonies in the late 1770's. And there is a good chance that it will be the same spark that ignites the 3rd American Revolution sometime in our not to distant future.
The chart at the top of this post was lifted (with all credit due) from a website called The Conservative Ledger (http://www.davidprocsal.net/ A great site, check it out). It shows that the tax burden in this country is carried, quite unfairly, by the top wage earners. Keep in mind this is % of a total, not dollars paid. A flat tax, the only truly fair kind of tax, would have the top wage earners paying larger dollar amounts, but not carrying more than their fair share of the tax burden.
How did taxation lead a group of America's best and brightest (the group responsible, the Sons Of Liberty included Paul Revere, Thomas Young, Joseph Warren, Alexander McDougall, Patrick Henry, John Hancock, Isaac Sears, John Lamb, James Otis, Marinus Willett, John Adams, and Samuel Adams) to conduct an act of vandalism against the Crown? To take action against a government they had all been raised with and accepted since birth? To risk life and limb and take a stand against the most powerful force on earth?
Well, like most stories, this one is best told by Wikipedia:
The Boston Tea Party was an act of direct action protest by the American colonists against the British Government in which they destroyed many crates of tea belonging to the British East India Company on ships in Boston Harbor. The incident, which took place on Thursday, December 16, 1773, has been seen as helping to spark the American Revolution and remains to this day one of the most iconic events in American history. The Stamp Act of 1765 and the Townshend Acts of 1767 angered colonists regarding British decisions on taxing the colonies despite a lack of representation in the Westminster Parliament. One of the protesters was John Hancock, a wealthy Bostonian. In 1768, Hancock's ship Liberty was seized by customs officials, and he was charged with smuggling. He was defended by John Adams, and the charges were eventually dropped. However, Hancock later faced several hundred more indictments.
Hancock organized a
boycott of tea from China sold by the British East India Company, whose sales in the colonies then fell from 320,000 pounds (145,000 kg) to 520 pounds (240 kg). By 1773, the company had large debts, huge stocks of tea in its warehouses and no prospect of selling it because smugglers, such as Hancock, were importing tea from the Netherlands without paying import taxes. In response to this the British government passed the Tea Act, which allowed the East India Company to sell tea to the colonies directly and without "payment of any customs or duties whatsoever" in Britain, instead paying the much lower American duty. This tax break allowed the East India Company to sell tea for half the old price and cheaper than the price of tea in England, enabling them to undercut the prices offered by the colonial merchants and smugglers.
Many American colonists, particularly the wealthy smugglers, resented this favored treatment of a major company, which employed lobbyists and wielded great influence in Parliament. Protests resulted in both Philadelphia and New York, but it was those in Boston that made their mark in history. Still reeling from the
Hutchinson letters, Bostonians suspected the removal of the Tea Tax was simply another attempt by the British parliament to squash American freedom. Samuel Adams, wealthy smugglers, and others who had profited from the smuggled tea called for agents and consignees of the East India Company tea to abandon their positions; consignees who hesitated were terrorized through attacks on their warehouses and even their homes. The first of many ships which arrived at the Boston harbor carrying the East India Company tea was Dartmouth arriving in late November 1773. A standoff ensued between the port authorities and the Sons of Liberty. Samuel Adams whipped up the growing crowd by demanding a series of protest meetings. Coming from both the city and outlying areas, thousands attended these meetings; every meeting larger than the one before. The crowds shouted defiance not only at the British Parliament, the East India Company, and Dartmouth but at Governor Thomas Hutchinson as well, who was still struggling to have the tea landed. On the night of December 16, the protest meeting, held at Boston's Old South Meeting House, was the largest yet seen. An estimated 8,000 people were said to have attended.
The owner of the Dartmouth and its captain agreed that the tea would be returned to England and similar promises were obtained from the owners of two more vessels en route, the Eleanor and the Beaver. However, Governor Hutchinson ordered the harbor to be blocked and he would not allow any tea-bearing vessels to leave until they had been unloaded. On Thursday, December 16, 1773, the evening before the tea was due to be landed, Captain Roach appealed to Governor Hutchinson to allow his ship to leave without unloading its tea. When Roach returned and reported Hutchinson's refusal to a massive protest meeting, Samuel Adams said to the assembly "This meeting can do nothing more to save the country". As though on cue, the Sons of Liberty thinly disguised as either Mohawk or Narragansett Indians and armed with small hatchets and clubs, headed toward Griffin's Wharf (in Boston Harbor), where lay Dartmouth and the newly-arrived Beaver and Eleanour. Swiftly and efficiently, casks of tea were brought up from the hold to the deck, reasonable proof that some of the "Indians" were, in fact, longshoremen. The casks were opened and the tea dumped overboard; the work, lasting well into the night, was quick, thorough, and efficient. By dawn, over 342 casks or 90,000 lbs (45 tons) of tea worth an estimated £10,000 (£953,000, or $1.87 million USD in 2007 currency) had been consigned to waters of Boston harbor. Nothing else had been damaged or stolen, except a single padlock accidentally broken and anonymously replaced not long thereafter.
This event became a catalyst, emboldening the revolutionaries and leading to further acts of rebellion. Although I do not personally foment revolt against an unpopular government (though I reserve my right as an American to do so), I can fully understand the situation that our forefathers found themselves in. And although I hope it never comes to this, I can certainly sympathize with Sam Adams when on that cold December night in 1773, he said, "This meeting can do nothing more to save the country", and took action.




Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Election Day



On January 21, 1981, in his first Inaugural Address, President Ronald Reagan said what I believe to be a prolific and powerful statement. He said, "Government is not the solution to our problems; government is the problem."

Unfortunately, this is also one of the most overlooked viewpoints in politics. Most politicians (before and since) see government as a tool for curing our countries woes and steering it in their own chosen direction.

Keep this in mind as you hit the polls today. Maybe Ron was right. Instead of being a solution, maybe government is the biggest impedance to America truly being free. I am not advocating that we have no government, it is necessary to our survival in the world. However, we should remember that it is OUR government, not the politicians. It belongs to the people. And whomever we elect today, we as Americans should remind them of this fact. ***Editors note, Good job America, you have really screwed us now. Although I think both candidates sucked, you have chosen the one who assures bigger government, a larger tax burden, a weaker stance against our enemies and a continuation of our entitlement society. Indeed, we will truly reap what we have sown.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Cool Tool For Gear Fools


Have you ever had this dilemma? You are getting ready to purchase a Molle vest, but you are not sure how much crap you can hang on it. Happens to me all the time. Well, my friends at the best gear store on the web ( www.opsgear.com) have solved that problem. They have an online tool that will let you choose a vest and then add virtual pouches to see what config works best. Here is what the Vestbuilder website says:
From OPSGEAR®, The Source Trusted by the Elite™, comes the Modular Vest Builder. This unique-in-the-world web application allows you to configure your vest layout, colors and accessories, quickly and easily. Choose from the highest quality MOLLE compatible packs and pouches on a variety of PALS webbing configured vests and harnesses. Remove the mystery by seeing your vest before you buy. Adding your configuration to your WWW.OPSGEAR.COM secure shopping cart is as easy as a click of a button.
How cool is that? I was concerned at first that the vest I has chosen might not be there, but their selection is quite large, including vests from:
5.11
Atlantco
Camelback
Condor
Leapers
Tac Force
It includes tactical vests, chest rigs and plate carriers. If the vest you choose has mounting areas on the back (my Ranger Rack does not) it displays the back as well.
Once you choose your vest in the correct color (yes, it has pics of every color your vest is offered in, for you fashion nuts who can't mix OD Green and ACU!) it takes you to a page with a scrolling selection of pouches on the right. The pouches are sortable by category (Ammo, Ordnance, Heavy or Light Utility) and by color (again, you can see how tacky a Multicam pouch looks on a black vest).
Clicking on a pic of a pouch will move it over to the large pic of your vest. You can then use the mouse to position it. This allows you to pull in multiple pouches and "try them out". For instance, not sure if you can fit a double mag pouch and an EMT pouch? Well, you can try both together to see if it fits. In addition, the pouches are layered in the order you click them. If you click a triple mag shingle, then a double grenade pouch, you can stack the grenade pouch on top of the mag pouch on your vest (as long as the lower pouch has Molle straps on it as well).
If you decide you don't want a pouch in the picture, simply drag it to the bottom of the page and leave it there. You can ignore it or access it later.
One word of caution, although Opsgear got the dimensions for the patches correct, this tool is no guarantee that the PALS webbing on your vest will match up exactly with the Molle straps on your pouch. Some tweaking or rearranging might be in order.
Vestbuilder is a great "Try Before You Buy" tool, and again, Opsgear is a great place to order gear from.
Vestbuilder can be accessed from the Opsgear website, or directly at http://www.vestbuilder.com/# .
The tool is Adobe Flash, so make sure it will run on your computer, then start building that vest!

Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween, all the Pagans are laughing at the Christians for dressing up!

Just a few random musings for this most sanctified of Pagan holidays. Were you aware that there are billions of dollars of US military aircraft sitting in long term storage at Davis-Monthan AFB? Go to Google Maps, type in Davis Monthan and look at the satellite view. Here is a pic I pulled of a bunch of B-1 Lancers. These multi million dollar aircraft were originally cancelled by the Carter Administration in 1977 in favor of less expensive Cruise Missles. President Reagan reopened the program in 1981. These bombers were designed to deliver a nuclear payload on out dirty Communist enemies, and while I am all about that, their 283.1 Million dollar price tags (yes, that is per plane) has me wondering if we are best served by them sitting in the desert. I am all for a strong defense, heck I think we should be bombing Syria and North Korea as we speak, but before our military is allowed to purchase one more single aircraft, I think someone needs to ask them why there are A-10 Thunderbolts, F-16 Falcons, F-15 Eagles, F/A-18 Hornets and B-1 Lancers sitting in this huge military "used car lot" in Arizona. I understand why we keep a large inventory of older planes there. We have a legitimate need to supply parts for our allies who still use these older aircraft, but why is all the new stuff out there? Someone has to answer for how my tax dollars are being spent!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Something non-political for a change!



I was going to write a review of the Gerber ASEK/LMF knife, but I found an excellent review by Bob Galvin at http://www.policeone.com/police-products/duty-gear/knives/press-releases/120430/. I received this knife as a Christmas gift from my son and I have never owned a better knife for all around "chores". It is practically unbreakable, keeps a good edge and is short enough to use for prying and cutting and not have to worry about skewering yourself on accident. If you need a fixed blade knife, this is the one to have in your BOB or on your belt.

I don't think I could put it any better than Bob did, so with all due credit, here is his review:

Case Study: New Gerber LMF II Tactical Knife Proves Versatile Ally in the Field

No one will argue that a good quality knife must be standard equipment in military or tactical situations. The question becomes one of how well the knife being used can multi-task. Today's tactical knife isn't just a tool, but really an extension of its user. The knife must perform a variety of tasks superbly, efficiently and quickly. After all, time and human life are precious in the tactical world. This partly explains why the new LMF 2 Infantry Knife from Gerber Legendary Blades (Portland, Oregon) was designed. The bigger reason was that two years ago the U.S. Army came to Gerber asking for a "pilot's knife" to be made. Specifically, the Army wanted a survival knife for use among pilots involved in a helicopter crash. Up until then, existing survival knives, and even their sheaths, just weren't performing. To ensure that the new knife would perform, the Army issued a daunting list of 30 design criteria to be met for what it calls the "ASEK" (Aircrew Survival & Egress Knife). And, of course, the knife had to be affordable for any GI using it.


Heavy Buttcap Pierces Glass, Skulls; Is a Hammer
What the Army got was a knife that not only met its design criteria, but that is a durable, all-purpose tactical knife that makes survival a priority above all. Several design features make the LMF 2 a particularly staunch knife. The 5-inch stainless steel blade has a 3/16" thickness, and a Rockwell Hardness C Scale rating of 58. The blade also has a high length-of-arc to provide an increased cutting edge. As for the LMF 2's intended purpose of providing quick egress in a downed helicopter situation, there are holes drilled through the blade and handle to allow lashing a spear. But the more noticeable "egress" design feature of this knife is the unique buttcap. It is the heavy end of the knife, made of stainless steel, and, with a point at its end, capable of breaking 1" helicopter Plexiglass or even skulls. Also, the buttcap is physically separated from the knife's tang by handle substrate material. This design gives the buttcap terrific shock absorption when it's used as a hammer and electrically isolates the blade from the buttcap.
Still another bonus with the LMF 2 knife is a removable and replaceable carbide sharpener built right into the sheath. The sheath itself is easily detachable from the vest plate and can be used as a handle when using the buttcap to hammer.


Blade Sharpness Withstands Abuse
Just how important these performance features are for Gerber's new tactical knife can be seen in comments from soldiers using the LMF 2. A retired SEAL, who is presently an independent contractor in Iraq, for example, gave high marks to the new knife after he had several tactical officers conduct rigorous testing. "One classic story is of a sniper team in Iraq that used the knife to knock a hole through a solid brick wall to create a shooting lane to the intended target," the SEAL said. "While the job took a while to complete, using both ends of the weapon, minor damage to the blade incurred that was quickly fixed by the sharpener on the blade's sheath."
The LMF 2's buttcap also was put through its paces during this trial test. "The skull crusher is a favorite for every use, including minimum non-lethal force control of prisoners (arm bars or pressure holds), breaching vehicle windows and basic locks, and, of course, lethal hand-to-hand combat," the SEAL continued. He added that the knife's rubber-coated hand grip creates a secure hold on the blade during the worst conditions.
Blade durability was a highlight of the LMF 2's tour of duty so far in Iraq. "It (the blade) needed hardly any maintenance, and stayed sharp without having to take time out of my day to sharpen it," the SEAL reveals. Such accolades don't get any better when you consider that the LMF 2 was deployed in more than 60 training exercises and 130 world combat missions. Sometimes, a knife can be the best tool or weapon, if not the only one, a soldier has at a given moment. Perhaps the SEAL sums it up best: "I would hate to be on E&E without my LMF 2."


Bob Galvin is a Portland, Oregon freelance writer, based in Portland, Oregon, who writes about various law enforcement/tactical/military tools and technologies, and their applications.

"Socializing" the American Dream



Where it all went wrong-

America has always been an experiment in progress. Social, Economic, Legislative, lots of different things have been tried in our country. This is one of the things that has made us strong. However, I believe there was one huge national tragedy, one failed experiment, that has burdened America for more than 70 years. That experiment? FDR's "New Deal". Let's take a look at the New Deal and draw some parallels to today.

From Wikipedia- By March 4, nearly all banks in the country were closed by their governors, and Roosevelt kept them all closed until he could pass new legislation. On March 9, Roosevelt sent to Congress the Emergency Banking Act, drafted in large part by Hoover's Administration; the act was passed and signed into law the same day. It provided for a system of reopening sound banks under Treasury supervision, with federal loans available if needed. Three-quarters of the banks in the Federal Reserve System reopened within the next three days. Billions of dollars in "hoarded" currency and gold flowed back into them within a month, thus stabilizing the banking system. During all of 1933, 4,004 small local banks were permanently closed and were merged into larger banks. (Their depositors eventually received 85 cents on the dollar of their deposits.) Anti-New Deal economists Milton Friedman and Anna Schwartz said, "The 'cure' came close to being worse than the disease." To avoid future "cures" the Congress created the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) in June, which insured deposits for up to $5,000. The establishment of the FDIC virtually ended the era of "runs" on banks.

Sound familiar? The Federal Government bailing out banks? The New Deal set a dangerous precedent. If something doesn't work, Uncle Sam will step in and fix it. The Welfare State for businesses. Not to mention, it was small depositors who got burned. If the Fed determined your bank did not fit their model, they simply closed it down, and as a consequence, stole 15% of your saved money as a penalty for being stupid enough to trust a small local bank. Seems to me the Fed was creating a system of banks beholden to Uncle Sam. With smaller, less controllable, local banks out of the picture, and larger banks being propped up with Federal money, the Fed could now dictate the rules to these banks.

Oh my God! The Fed is making a move to control banking again? Apparently they didn't feel it worked well enough when FDR did it, because the current administration just did the same thing. Even going so far as to force stable banks to take bailout money. But wait, it gets better (or worse)!

From Wikipedia- In March and April in a series of Acts of Congress and executive orders Roosevelt and Congress suspended the gold standard for United States currency. Under the gold standard, the Federal Reserve was prevented from lowering interest rates and was instead forced to raise rates to protect the dollar. Actions to suspend the gold standard included Executive Order 6073, the Emergency Banking Act, Executive Order 6102, Executive Order 6111, the 1933 Banking Act and House Joint Resolution 192. Anyone holding significant amounts of gold coinage was mandated to exchange it for the existing fixed price of US dollars, after which the US would no longer pay gold on demand for the dollar, and gold would no longer be considered valid legal tender for debts in private and public contracts. The dollar was allowed to float freely on foreign exchange markets with no guaranteed price in gold, only to be fixed again at a significantly lower level a year later with the passage of the Gold Reserve Act in 1934. Markets immediately responded well to the suspension, although it was assumed to be temporary.

Why is this significant? Well, as long as the government was on the Gold Standard, your money was actually worth something. With this action, the Fed now controlled how much the dollar was worth. You could no longer make a direct exchange for something tangible, and if you had any gold put away, you had to give it up, at a price set by the Fed. In addition, when things get tough economically, the government could now artificially stimulate the economy by lowering interest rates. This makes things look better, although there is no actual rise in personal wages or personal wealth. This was a "feel good" measure by the government, and ever since, whenever something goes wrong economically, instead of fixing the problem, our government lowers interests rates, giving us a false sense of stability.

Wow, we are getting screwed. Quite a realization. Surely there is a bright spot, right? Surely since our government is expecting us to make sacrifices to help the economy, we can be assured that they are doing everything they can to keep a lid on their spending? Think again, monkey-boy!

From Wikipedia- The Economy Act, drafted by Budget Director Lewis Douglas was passed on March 14, 1933. The act proposed to balance the "regular" (non-emergency) federal budget by cutting the salaries of government employees and cutting pensions to veterans by forty percent. It saved $500 million per year and reassured deficit hawks such as Douglas that the new President was fiscally conservative. Roosevelt argued there were two budgets: the "regular" federal budget, which he balanced, and the "emergency budget," which was needed to defeat the depression; it was imbalanced on a temporary basis.

So let me see if I got this right. Rather than be more fiscally responsible, the government created 2 different budgets? The first being the "Just for Looking at" budget, which they balanced by cutting wages for Federal workers. By the way, would you quit your job in protest over a pay cut in the middle of a depression with a 25% unemployment? This is the Federal government equivalent of raping a retarded girl. It's not like she can do anything about it, right? And just to get a little more money, let's take away money that we have promised our veterans. "Thanks for risking your lives when you country called, now turn around and drop those trousers, Uncle Sam is going to hit that!" But that does balance the budget, and the President can go in front of Congress and say so. Now, what about this other budget? Well, turns out that is the "real" budget. That is what is the true measure of Federal spending. The other one exists only on paper. And this second budget will not be balanced. Why? Well, those new social programs that the President is touting have to get paid for somehow. (Sound familiar in 2008?).

Wow, this sucks so far. Our government, who we elected, is putting the screws to us pretty hard. They shut down our local banks, and stole 15% of our savings while doing it. They took away the guarantee that printed money was worth something. They have banking in their pocket. They are artificially stimulating the economy via interest rates and they are lying to us about having a balanced budget. How much worse could it get? Grab you ankles America, here comes daddy!

From Wikipedia- Roosevelt was keenly interested in farm issues and believed that true prosperity would not return until farming was prosperous. Many different programs were directed at farmers. The first hundred days produced a federal program to raise farm incomes by raising the prices farmers received, which was achieved by reducting total farm output. The Agricultural Adjustment Act, created the Agricultural Adjustment Administration (AAA) in May 1933. The act reflected the demands of leaders of major farm organizations, especially the Farm Bureau, and reflected debates among Roosevelt's farm advisers such as Secretary of Agriculture Henry A. Wallace, Rexford Tugwell, Lewis C. Gray and George Peek. The AAA used a system of "domestic allotments," setting total output of corn, cotton, dairy products, hogs, rice, tobacco, and wheat. The farmers themselves had a voice in the process of using government to benefit their incomes. The AAA paid land owners subsidies for leaving some of their land idle with funds provided by a new tax on food processing. The goal was to force up farm prices to the point of "parity," an index based on 1910-1912 prices. To meet 1933 goals some growing cotton was plowed up, and little pigs killed. The idea was that the less produced, the higher the price, and the farmer would benefit. Farm incomes increased significantly in the first three years of the New Deal, as prices for commodities rose. One legal historian says that consumers bore the brunt of higher food prices and were "horrified with its policy of enforced scarcity." A Gallup Poll printed in the Washington Post revealed that a majority of the American public opposed the AAA.

Wait, let me see if I have this right. Our government just took over the farms and told farmers how much they could produce? And it appears this was done RAISE prices on food? Why would they want us to pay more for food? Why would the government destroy resources and create scarcity? Well, gentle reader, it seems we had just a little too much freedom. The natural ebb and flow of supply and demand economics didn't work for Roosevelt's "Brain Trust". Seems these over-educated, East Coast elitists decided for us that a free market economy was not the way to go. I checked the Constitution, Congress has the right to regulate commerce, but I would be willing to bet my worthless 401k that this is not what the framers of the Constitution had in mind when they assigned that power.

Now, in case you think I am just another "FDR Hater", I will give the New Deal it's props. Here are the good things:

Creation of jobs and rural development through programs such as the CCC, REA, WPA, Forest Service and TVA. People needed work, and FDR found it. My Grandfather was a CCC firewatcher in the Kisatchie Nation Forest during the Great Depression. Electricity came to areas of the country that desperately needed it. Real, tangible, concrete improvement in the way of dams, roads, schools and National Parks were built.

The repeal of Prohibition. Why America was ever so stupid as to let morality overwhelm the ability to collect taxes on our vices escapes me. FDR saw the light. Legal booze flowed again, and we collected the taxes.

Set minimum wage, maximum work week and limits on child labor. As much as I hate government interference is any kind of economics, it was truly needed in these areas. With 25% unemployment, the American worker had nothing to bargain with against management. Evening the playing field was in order.

However, in the grand scheme of things, this grab for power by the government has had dire consequences for America. Government regulation, deregulation, price manipulation, interest rate variation and a general sense that Uncle Sam should control the economy have led every successive administration to apply their version of control to our economy. What you see in the markets is not real. Prices are driven by speculation. Commodities such as gas and oil are sold on "futures". This does not take into account real world economic situations, but instead leaves the American consumer vulnerable to the whims and worries of investors. This is why gas prices increase every time the "President" of Iran breaks wind.

I don't have an easy fix. No one does. However, I think that it is our duty as Americans to be informed and whenever possible to call out our government for it's attempts at fascism (and/or socialism). When I went to school, someone told me that our government was "of the people, by the people and for the people". I think we need to remind Uncle Sam who he works for.

Friday, October 24, 2008

The Conscience of a Conservative


I hate elections. It has been many years since I had any hope that those elected will take our country in a new and bold direction. I have seen too many years of "Meet the new boss, Same as the old boss." All politicians in our modern age are liars and all that I have ever seen would put the needs and desires of their constituency over those of the common US citizen. Instead of wasting this space telling you who you should vote for, I would like to take a moment to reflect on what I feel is one of the best works of political theory and one of the most overlooked blueprints for National greatness ever published. Barry Goldwater's The Conscience of a Conservative. Take time to read it for yourself, and consider the message it contains. I have aligned myself with 1 party or the other my whole adult life (the old saying goes "You don't have a heart if you are not a liberal at 20 and you don't have a brain if you are not a conservative by 30."), but more than allegiance to any party, I now consider myself an Independent, aligned to a set of principles, not a party or a candidate. Many of these principles are set forth in Barry's book. I would like to share a few with you today.
1. The economic and spiritual aspects of man’s nature are inextricably intertwined. He cannot be economically free, or even economically efficient, if
he is enslaved politically; conversely, man’s political freedom is illusory if he is dependent for his economic needs on the State-
This is why Socialism is a failed experiment. Putting heavier political burdens (taxes) on those who earn more saps their will and desire to excel. Why work harder if the government is just going to take it away. And conversely, State mandated handouts (welfare) create an environment where hard work is not rewarded, so why work hard? If all Americans are to be given an equal chance as well as an enticement to succeed, we have to stop the silliness of punished those who do succeed and rewarding those who put forth no effort.
2. The Conservative is the first to understand that the practice of freedom requires the establishment of order: it is impossible for one man to be free if another is able to deny him the exercise of his freedom. But the Conservative also recognizes that the political power on which order is based is a self-aggrandizing force; that its appetite grows with eating. He knows that the utmost vigilance and care are required to keep political power within its proper bounds.- Government of the people, by the people and for the people is a phrase which modern politicians would love to sweep under the rug. Bigger government and more rules means more power for politicians and more money to make it all run. The proposed FY09 budget for the Department of Homeland security is $50.5 BILLION dollars. Of course, we need them, right? Before they were here, no one was in charge of keeping America safe, correct? Wrong. On the FBI's website, under "What We Investigate", they list International Terrorism, Domestic Terrorism and Weapons of Mass Destruction. They were established in 1908 and had an annual budget (as of FY08) of $6.04 BILLION dollars. Did the government cut the FBI budget when the Department of Homeland Security was started? No, in fact, it was increased. Then there is the CIA. We won't even discuss their budget. On their website, they say one of their primary missions is "Collecting information that reveals the plans, intentions and capabilities of our adversaries and provides the basis for decision and action.". Sounds a bit like what the FBI and Homeland Security do. Bigger government just breeds bigger government.
3. The framers of the Constitution had learned the lesson. They were not only students of history, but victims of it: they knew from vivid, personal experience that freedom depends on effective restraints against the accumulation of power in a single authority. And this is what the Constitution is: a system of restraints against the natural tendency of government to expand in the direction of absolutism.- Ah, the Constitution. A moldy old document that a bunch of old geezers (white, rich, Masonic slave holders if you believe modern history) cobbled together so long ago to shape the course of a new nation. Surely of no use to us today, right? Wrong again misinformed reader. In the Constitution, the Founding Fathers gave us the tools with which to either build and keep the greatest nation on earth, or to hang ourselves. Sections 8 and 9 of Article 1 specifically outline what Congress can and cannot do. Read it and you will realize that many of this nations most important decisions may have been in direct violation of these rules. Read Article 2 and you will see that the specific job duties of the President have been overstepped on numerous occasions! What we see in the White House today is nothing like the President our Fore Fathers imagined.
That covers just a few of the items that Barry talks about. I think in the coming days and years as our American situation grows more desperate, we would all be well served to take a long hard look at our country and decide if this is really what "We, the people" had in mind.