The most amazing thing I learned on my first safari trip in South Africa is that elephants have the most incredible, very long black eyelashes. Second, lions could not care less about nearby trucks and people, nor lights at night. Third, though giraffes seem to walk slow and gracefully, their legs are so long that they cover long distances very quickly.
When it comes to the political world, I was dismayed to learn that the illiteracy rate among South Africans exceeds 70 percent, 60 percent of school teachers lack a college degree, only 10 percent pay income tax, the public health care system is abysmal, virtually every house is surrounded by an electrified security barrier, and though apartheid is formally and legally gone the small white population at about 10 percent still rules the economy. Nelson Mandela is universally revered, almost closer to a deity than a political leader; his image and name are ubiquitous. Sadly, there is no one in the South African system with similar public respect and capability to help the country solve its severe root problems.
Countless people from all over the globe book African safari tours because of the widespread desire to see exotic, beautiful animals in their native habitat. I can attest as someone who has traveled very widely internationally for decades that taking a safari vacation is one of the best, most rewarding things a tourist can do. I want to share some things I have learned from my recent trip that can help others make good decisions, because these safari tours are pretty expensive. The toughest decision is what tour company to select of the great many in the market.
A critically important issue is how many game drives you actually get, usually one in the early morning and one in the evening at safari lodges. These drives in specially designed vehicles usually last for three hours or more and can be very rough rides over dirt roads and sometimes directly into the bush landscape. Each vehicle has a ranger who drives and provides information continuously to usually four to six guests in the vehicle. He also has a rifle that is always at hand, just for that remote possibility of an animal charging people. Check out this reference for general information on safari trips.
Up front on a special seat sits a tracker who, in the daylight, is continuously examining the ground for evidence of specific animals. At night the tracker continuously directs a large flashlight into the bush to spot the eyes of animals. It is truly amazing how the trackers actually locate various animals, including lions, elephants, leopards, rhinos, giraffes and many more so that guests can get up close to magnificent creatures.
On my tour there were blankets for passengers because of the chill in the morning and nighttime hours. In the morning there was also a much appreciated hot water bottle. Midway during the drives drinks and snacks are served. Upon return from drives there is a sumptuous breakfast and dinner.
Everything is done to make it easy for people to take pictures of the wildlife, often getting extremely close to the animals. Most people take many hundreds of photos on these trips.
For months my wife and I researched a great many African safari tours and finally selected the Tauck company and its South Africa: An Elegant Adventure tour; it offered eight animal drives in two different safari areas in Kruger Park; and the itinerary included seeing more than just wildlife in safari regions, including Cape Town and surrounding areas as well as Johannesburg and Victoria Falls. Second, we had the distinct impression that it would be a luxury tour with true first class hotels and other amenities. Other tours at lower cost, perhaps half as much, mean roughing it and this may appeal to many people.
Let me emphasize that we absolutely loved our trip just as everyone else we met while traveling who were on different tours, mostly because of so many wonderful experiences seeing all the animals in glorious settings. Local guides and staff were excellent. Yet there were some disappointments. Of the five hotels the first three were wonderful five star hotels with great food and amenities, including the waterfront Cape Grace hotel in Cape Town, the best South African city, and the two safari lodges, Tinga and Sabi Sabi. But all the satisfaction of staying there set us up for disappointment.
The last two hotels did not live up to the Tauck reputation for elegant accommodations and supplying comfort to its clients. The rooms at the DaVinci hotel in Johannesburg were in the two star category, small, poorly designed and dysfunctional in many respects. The tour director upon hearing complaints justified the hotel on the basis of its location, the safe Sandton suburb with interconnected underground malls. But nearby was an Intercontinental hotel and the Saxon Boutique Hotel that would surely offer superior rooms. Whatever safari tour companies you consider, question them not only about what hotels or lodges they use but also what type rooms in them you will get; all too often tour companies like Tauck buy the cheapest rooms.
You definitely want to see Victoria Falls if you travel to Africa; they are truly electrifying. Boat rides along the Zambezi River that feeds the falls are usually included in tours; ours was wonderful, including close up views of an elephant and a hippo. But disappointing was the much acclaimed Victoria Fall Hotel. While the location, grounds, exterior and public rooms define a historic, elegant five star venue, nearly all the guest rooms were quite small with very old and drab furnishings and poor views. There are some very fine rooms which a few people on the tour got (including suites), which raises ethical questions why some people were better treated by Tauck. Our room was so awful with a thick smell of tobacco that we demanded and received a different room, which still was a one star accommodation. There are other hotels and lodges in the Victoria Falls area that merit consideration when researching possible safari tours, including The Kingdom, a modern hotel, and the luxury Royal Livingstone Hotel. If you go to the falls, definitely go to the local market where artisans sell their goods; the variety and prices are just about the best we saw on our entire trip.
Tauck proclaims that it offers personalized service with each guest treated as an individual, with their own needs understood, and most safari tour companies also seem to promise this. However, we did not experience this. Unlike luxury, small ship cruises where the cruise director and other staff go out of their way to make you feel cared for, at no point did the Tauck tour director seek to discover whether or not we were fully satisfied and having all our needs satisfied. In particular, it was very disappointing that the tour director did not facilitate shopping at local artisan venues, especially in Victoria Falls. Lastly, there is a valid view that Tauck tours like other companies are relatively small group ones, but there were 31 people in our group, not exactly small and intimate. Pay close attention to any safari tour company with regard to group size.
Most important, give serious thought to going to Africa for a memorable safari tour. Though there are other countries where safari trips are highly praised, starting with South Africa and seeing some of its cities is a good choice, especially for people interested in politics and culture.
The foundation of the Soviet model of trade and investment was centralization under the guise of “universal public ownership”. The entire goal of communism in general was not to give more social and political power to the people, but to extinguish alternative options and focus power into the hands of a select few. The process used to reach this end result can vary, but the goal always remains the same. In most cases, such centralization begins with economic hegemony, and it is in our fiscal structure that we have the means to see the future. Sovietization in our financial life will inevitably lead to sovietization in our political life.
Does the U.S. economy’s path resemble the Soviet template exactly? No. And I’m sure the very suggestion will make the average unaware free market evangelical froth at the mouth. However, as I plan to show, the parallels in our fundamentals are disturbing; the reality is that true free markets in America died a long time ago.
The Tyranny Of Planned Economy
The characteristics of a free market society defy the use of centralized planning. Adam Smith’s original concept of free market trade stood as an antithesis to what was then referred to as “mercantilism,” a select few “joint stock companies” (corporations) monopolizing production while using government ties to destroy any new competition. Unfortunately, there are to this day economists and politicians who believe that corporate centralization is a “natural” function of a free market. In reality, corporate monopolies are an unnatural creation of collusion between governments and big-money interests designed to suffocate any entrepreneurship outside of their sphere of influence. Over time, as we now see in the United States today, government power and corporate power begin to hybridize, until one can barely be distinguished from the other.
The bottom line is that you cannot have planned structures, monopolized production or controlled capital flow within an economy and still claim it to be a “free market. There are no exceptions to this rule.
The Soviet system was the ultimate in centralization. Every aspect of financial life was dictated by the communist government, from industrial input and output to investment to food production and rationing to wages and retail prices. Some people might argue that this structure is a far cry from what we now have in the United States, but let’s look at the fundamentals.
Controlled Money Creation
One of the primary tenets of The Communist Manifesto was the creation of a central bank meant to keep tight controls over currency issuance. The existence of a central bank immediately disrupts any chance of a true free market. Central banking without competition allows an oligarchy, whether corporate or political or a meshing of the two, to manipulate interest rates as well as adjust prices through inflation. Lending standards (which the central bank determines arbitrarily) built on fractional reserve banking opens the door to murky debt instruments and toxic financial products that are further used to either fabricate a “high” standard of living (as we saw in the U.S. in the 90s and early 2000s) or execute a bubble implosion causing a lower standard of living (as the U.S. is experiencing today).
Since the establishment of the Federal Reserve through subversive collusion between banking interests and corrupt politicians in 1913, America has not had a free market system. From that point forward, every boom and bust, every interest rate disaster, every inflationary increase in prices has been scientifically engineered.
Dominance Of Industry
Soviet controls on industrial output are legendary. Every part of the resource allocation process became subject to bureaucracy, and this led to stunted manufacturing growth as well as a culture of misrepresented economic data. In the United States, the establishment has taken a slightly different approach but with the same end result.
Heavy taxation on business ventures within the U.S. against entrepreneurs not lucky enough to run in elitists circles has erased incentives for manufacturing experiments within our borders. In the meantime, members of the corporate glee club receive government subsidization while they simultaneously outsource industrial projects to Third World nations. Controlled industry within communist Russia was meant to force the population to depend upon the government for every means of survival. In the United States, dependency on government has been replaced by interdependency on the globalized model in general. Necessities are now compartmentalized, and only select international businesses with cooperation from government have the ability to bring all the pieces together to keep our domestic economy running smoothly. Our society has been so distanced from self-sufficiency that many people now consider the globalist dynamic indispensable.
The next step in this degradation of free market industry is the introduction of “public works projects” by the federal government, which gives the illusion that job creation through centralization is possible. This is the same strategy used in the Soviet Union and to this day, socialists still argue that the communist design for industrial expansion was “effective”. In truth, the soviet public works plan with all its trains and transits and bridges and buildings was an absolute failure, as the collapse of the country made clear. Tax funded infrastructure is no replacement for free market invention, and at bottom, no public works enterprise can be undertaken without the government first stealing capital from one area in order to fund another. Governments can never and will never create wealth or jobs. They can only present the semblance of economic progress while siphoning wealth away from private citizens.
Bureaucracy And Food Production
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Food and Drug Administration regulations, based on dubious junk science and often instituted on high without congressional oversight, further erode business possibilities, especially for young companies as well as private agriculture, while giving free reign to elitist entities like Monsanto, an organization the government actually PROTECTS through specialized legislation making it nearly immune to civil litigation.
While farms in the United States are not exactly “controlled” by the Federal government in the Soviet sense, many of them are subsidized through welfare on the condition that they grow only particular kinds of crops, raise particular animals or grow nothing at all. This subsidization is an indirect form of price control, creating engineered scarcity or abundance. At the same time, agricultural empires like Monsanto make private farm ownership increasingly difficult by using their government protection to harass and squeeze out independent food producers.
This destabilization of private resource management by common citizens has culminated in the passage of President Barack Obama’s executive order National Defense Resource Preparedness, which allows under a “national emergency” (which the President can declare for any reason) the confiscation of any and all private resources, including farms and businesses, to be redistributed by the government to ensure security conditions. This is the Stalinist model, pure and simple.
Centralized Control Of Investment
We now know that since at least 2008, the U.S. stock market, often presented by the mainstream as a paragon of free market prowess, has actually been propped up and inflated by Federal Reserve fiat. Both former Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan and current branch head Richard Fisher have openly admitted in separate news interviews that the central bank spends considerable energy in “artificially sustaining” equity markets. This has been done, I suspect, with full knowledge of the U.S. Treasury and the Obama Administration.
The Soviet model for investment was to remove all uncertainties from their domestic markets, often in the name of preventing manipulation by “speculators.” The speculator rationale was generally a distraction away from the attempt to dictate the natural forces of supply and demand. The idea was that if the government could dismiss legitimate demand or lack of demand or hide excess supply or lack of supply, the perception of a balanced economy could be conjured for the population. This led to strict redirection of capital to areas where manipulation was needed to artificially pump up (or deflate) a particular part of the economy. The government became the sole investor of the Soviet system and, thus, the sole determinant of the success or failure of any particular market.
This is EXACTLY what is going on in America today, in what mainstream economists now call “the new normal”. Federal Reserve fiat is being printed and dumped into every financial mechanism that supposedly maintains our country’s fiscal health, including stocks, Treasuries and municipals, while trade volume remains low and private investment disappears. The Federal government now owes its very existence to the continued support of central bank dollars, and the Dow Jones does as well. If this is not the Soviet ideal, then I don’t know what is.
Labor Oppression, Dismal Living Standards And Government Dependency
Poverty levels within the United States are at record highs. Nearly 50 million Americans are now dependent on government-subsidized food stamps for their survival. Nearly 100 million Americans receive welfare (or Social Security) in one form or another from the establishment. That is almost one-third of our entire population that relies on the system for at least a part of their sustainment. If Obamacare is fully realized, millions more Americans will also be conditioned to become dependent on government-designated healthcare providers. The point is not to pass judgment on those people who get money or services from the government, only to make clear our progression away from freedom and into centralized servitude.
For a Soviet structure to thrive, poverty among common citizens has to be institutionalized. Dependency requires a constant state of desperation. In America, this has been accomplished through a combination of inflated prices and reduced wages in conjunction with the destruction of labor options.
At the height of the communist machine in Russia, employment was ample; but the kind of employment one could apply for was dependent on bureaucratic red tape and availability based on a worker’s record. Only the academic “elite” within the government-run cesspools of Soviet universities and military schools had their choice of employment; even then, they were often pressured into particular specialized fields, depending on the kind of labor the state needed done at that particular time.
In the United States anyone can certainly aspire to do whatever job he hopes to do. But again, options have been removed economically; and the same academic elitism pervasive in Soviet Union labor markets exists in America today. In a recent installment of his weekly radio show,New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg said it was better for “so-so” high school students to pursue a career in plumbing rather than go to college.
Though I rarely agree with Bloomberg on anything, my initial reaction was surprise at his willingness to steer American youth away from university indoctrination centers. However, upon further examination, it became clear that Bloomberg was not trying to save the next generation time and money. Instead, he is promoting a shift in the labor dynamic of the U.S. economy toward a Soviet-style foundation. Bloomberg knows well that the U.S. labor market will never return to its former glory, partly because he is a supporter of the globalist policies that ruined our economy in the first place. Instead of suggesting ways to reverse the trend of progressive poverty and the lack of high-end jobs that engender ingenuity and invention, elitists like Bloomberg are saying “forget your dreams and get used to being a drone.”
In a 70% service and retail economy, where job availability is increasingly degraded and independent business is discouraged, Americans will have two choices: Excel in the world of federally funded and propagandized education and sell your soul just for a chance at obtaining a professional career in a field of influence, or, settle for the leftovers. Modern socialists often sing the praises of the soviet educational model for raising the literacy rates of once agricultural and isolated people to 98%, but what they fail to mention is that this literacy was only encouraged in order to create a more efficient servant class that was easier to propagandize. The U.S. is moving into a similar paradigm. For some people, being a plumber is a fine thing; but it should not be the only thing. In a true free market, a smart man can make his own way, even if he does not conform to the ideologies of the educational racket. In a Sovietized market, a smart man is prohibited from accomplishing anything unless he conforms to the ideologies of the educational racket.
Some people may respond that the centralization conspiracy within the American economy is an obvious thing today, and that there is little need to expose it any further. I would point out that centralization is not the only issue here; the guidebook by which that centralization is being implemented is also important. This has all been done before on the other side of the world only decades ago, and the end result was a horrifying cascade of social enslavement and mechanically inclined death.
In the end, the Soviet economy was so utterly fraudulent that the final breakdown of the system came as a complete surprise to many in political and economic fields of the era. This is what happens when governments control all source data for financial statistics; transparency dies and collapse creeps in. Centralization is an absolute affront to the natural laws of supply and demand and an oppressive hindrance to the innovation that humanity thrives on. Such systems require constant theft from the populace in the form of reduced employment, reduced wages, reduced resources, increased taxes, increased price controls and a highly ignorant citizenry in order to function even for a short time. Sadly, the United States is well on its way in all of these areas, emulating a poisonous fiscal system and lending itself to a global economic tyranny in which all of us work much harder, for much less, and all for a government that seeks to use our very labor against us.
Source: Brandon Smith | Alt-Market
Many in the precious metals community are eagerly anticipating a complete systemic collapse of the financial system because as “preppers”, they expect to not only survive, but to prosper in a SHTF scenario. We suspect however that the following MUST READ account of surviving the Bosnian war in the midst of a complete collapse of the grid will be eye-opening in just how difficult it is to survive a full-on Mad Max scenario, even if one has spent years preparing for it.
I am from Bosnia. You know, between 1992 and 1995, it was hell. For one year, I lived and survived in a city with 6,000 people without water, electricity, gasoline, medical help, civil defense, distribution service, any kind of traditional service or centralized rule.
Today, me and my family are well-prepared, I am well-armed. I have experience. It does not matter what will happen: an earthquake, a war, a tsunami, aliens, terrorists, economic collapse, uprising. The important part is that something will happen.
The following is my experience:
Our city was blockaded by the army; and for one year, life in the city turned into total crap. We had no army, no police. We only had armed groups; those armed protected their homes and families.
When it all started, some of us were better prepared. But most of the neighbors’ families had enough food only for a few days. Some had pistols; a few had AK-47s or shotguns.
After a month or two, gangs started operating, destroying everything. Hospitals, for example, turned into slaughterhouses. There was no more police. About 80 percent of the hospital staff were gone. I got lucky. My family at the time was fairly large (15 people in a large house, six pistols, three AKs), and we survived (most of us, at least).
The Americans dropped MREs every 10 days to help blockaded cities. This was never enough. Some — very few — had gardens. It took three months for the first rumors to spread of men dying from hunger and cold. We removed all the doors, the window frames from abandoned houses, ripped up the floors and burned the furniture for heat. Many died from diseases, especially from the water (two from my own family). We drank mostly rainwater, ate pigeons and even rats.
Money soon became worthless. We returned to an exchange. For a tin can of tushonka (think Soviet spam), you could have a woman. (It is hard to speak of it, but it is true.) Most of the women who sold themselves were desperate mothers.
Arms, ammunition, candles, lighters, antibiotics, gasoline, batteries and food. We fought for these things like animals. In these situations, it all changes. Men become monsters. It was disgusting.
Strength was in numbers. A man living alone getting killed and robbed would be just a matter of time, even if he was armed.
Today, me and my family are well-prepared, I am well-armed. I have experience.
It does not matter what will happen: an earthquake, a war, a tsunami, aliens, terrorists, economic collapse, uprising. The important part is that something will happen.
Here’s my experience: You can’t make it on your own. Don’t stay apart from your family; prepare together, choose reliable friends.
1. How to move safely in a city
The city was divided into communities along streets. Our street (15 to 20 homes) had patrols (five armed men every week) to watch for gangs and for our enemies.
All the exchanges occurred in the street. About 5 kilometers away was an entire street for trading, all well-organized; but going there was too dangerous because of the snipers. You could also get robbed by bandits. I only went there twice, when I needed something really rare (list of medicine, mainly antibiotics, of the French original of the texts).
Nobody used automobiles in the city: The streets were blocked by wreckage and by abandoned cars. Gasoline was very expensive. If one needed to go somewhere, that was done at night. Never travel alone or in groups that were too big — always two to three men. All armed, travel swift, in the shadows, cross streets through ruins, not along open streets.
There were many gangs 10 to 15 men strong, some as large as 50 men. But there were also many normal men, like you and me, fathers and grandfathers, who killed and robbed. There were no “good” and “bad” men. Most were in the middle and ready for the worst.
2. What about wood? Your home city is surrounded by woods; why did you burn doors and furniture?
There were not that many woods around the city. It was very beautiful — restaurants, cinemas, schools, even an airport. Every tree in the city and in the city park was cut down for fuel in the first two months.
Without electricity for cooking and heat, we burned anything that burned. Furniture, doors, flooring: That wood burns swiftly. We had no suburbs or suburban farms. The enemy was in the suburbs. We were surrounded. Even in the city you never knew who was the enemy at any given point.
3. What knowledge was useful to you in that period?
To imagine the situation a bit better, you should know it was practically a return to the Stone Age.
For example, I had a container of cooking gas. But I did not use it for heat. That would be too expensive! I attached a nozzle to it I made myself and used to fill lighters. Lighters were precious.
If a man brought an empty lighter, I would fill it; and he would give me a tin of food or a candle.
I was a paramedic. In these conditions, my knowledge was my wealth. Be curious and skilled. In these conditions, the ability to fix things is more valuable than gold.
Items and supplies will inevitably run out, but your skills will keep you fed.
I wish to say this: Learn to fix things, shoes or people.
My neighbor, for example, knew how to make kerosene for lamps. He never went hungry.
4. If you had three months to prepare now, what would you do?
Three months? Run away from the country? (joking)
Today, I know everything can collapse really fast. I have a stockpile of food, hygiene items, batteries — enough to last me for six months.
I live in a very secure flat and own a home with a shelter in a village 5 kilometers away. Another six-month supply there, too. That’s a small village; most people there are well-prepared. The war had taught them.
I have four weapons and 2,000 rounds for each.
I have a garden and have learned gardening. Also, I have a good instinct. You know, when everyone around you keeps telling you it’ll all be fine, but I know it will all collapse.
I have strength to do what I need to protect my family. Because when it all collapses, you must be ready to do “bad” things to keep your children alive and protect your family.
Surviving on your own is practically impossible. (That’s what I think.) Even you’re armed and ready, if you’re alone, you’ll die. I have seen that happen many times.
Families and groups, well-prepared, with skills and knowledge in various fields: That’s much better.
5. What should you stockpile?
That depends. If you plan to live by theft, all you need is weapons and ammo. Lots of ammo.
If not, more food, hygiene items, batteries, accumulators, little trading items (knives, lighters, flints, soap). Also, alcohol of a type that keeps well. The cheapest whiskey is a good trading item.
Many people died from insufficient hygiene. You’ll need simple items in great amounts. For example, garbage bags. Lots of them. And toilet papers. Non-reusable dishes and cups: You’ll need lots of them. I know that because we didn’t have any at all.
As for me, a supply of hygiene items is perhaps more important than food. You can shoot a pigeon. You can find a plant to eat. You can’t find or shoot any disinfectant.
Disinfectant, detergents, bleach, soap, gloves, masks.
First aid skills, washing wounds and burns. Perhaps you will find a doctor and will not be able to pay him.
Learn to use antibiotics. It’s good to have a stockpile of them.
You should choose the simplest weapons. I carry a Glock .45. I like it, but it’s a rare gun here. So I have two TT pistols, too. (Everyone has them and ammo is common.)
I don’t like Kalashnikov’s, but again, same story. Everyone has them; so do I.
You must own small, unnoticeable items. For example, a generator is good, but 1,000 BIC lighters are better. A generator will attract attention if there’s any trouble, but 1,000 lighters are compact, cheap and can always be traded.
We usually collected rainwater into four large barrels and then boiled it. There was a small river, but the water in it became very dirty very fast.
It’s also important to have containers for water: barrels and buckets.
6. Were gold and silver useful?
Yes. I personally traded all the gold in the house for ammunition.
Sometimes, we got our hands on money: dollars and Deutschmarks. We bought some things for them, but this was rare and prices were astronomical. For example, a can of beans cost $30 to $40. The local money quickly became worthless. Everything we needed we traded for through barter.
7. Was salt expensive?
Yes, but coffee and cigarettes were even more expensive. I had lots of alcohol and traded it without problems. Alcohol consumption grew over 10 times as compared to peacetime. Perhaps today, it’s more useful to keep a stock of cigarettes, lighters and batteries. They take up less space.
At this time, I was not a survivalist. We had no time to prepare — several days before the shit hit the fan. The politicians kept repeating over the TV that everything was going according to plan, there’s no reason to be concerned. When the sky fell on our heads, we took what we could.
8. Was it difficult to purchase firearms? What did you trade for arms and ammunition?
After the war, we had guns in every house. The police confiscated lots of guns at the beginning of the war. But most of them we hid. Now I have one legal gun that I have a license for. Under the law, that’s called a temporary collection. If there is unrest, the government will seize all the registered guns. Never forget that.
You know, there are many people who have one legal gun, but also illegal guns if that one gets seized. If you have good trade goods, you might be able to get a gun in a tough situation. But remember, the most difficult time is the first days, and perhaps you won’t have enough time to find a weapon to protect your family. To be disarmed in a time of chaos and panic is a bad idea.
In my case, there was a man who needed a car battery for his radio. He had shotguns. I traded the accumulator for both of them. Sometimes, I traded ammunition for food, and a few weeks later traded food for ammunition. Never did the trade at home, never in great amounts.
Few people knew how much and what I keep at home.
The most important thing is to keep as many things as possible in terms of space and money. Eventually, you’ll understand what is more valuable.
Correction: I’ll always value weapons and ammunition the most. Second? Maybe gas masks and filters.
9. What about security?
Our defenses were very primitive. Again, we weren’t ready, and we used what we could. The windows were shattered, and the roofs in a horrible state after the bombings. The windows were blocked — some with sandbags, others with rocks.
I blocked the fence gate with wreckage and garbage, and used a ladder to get across the wall. When I came home, I asked someone inside to pass over the ladder. We had a fellow on our street that completely barricaded himself in his house. He broke a hole in the wall, creating a passage for himself into the ruins of the neighbor’s house — a sort of secret entrance.
Maybe this would seem strange, but the most protected houses were looted and destroyed first. In my area of the city, there were beautiful houses with walls, dogs, alarms and barred windows. People attacked them first. Some held out; others didn’t. It all depended how many hands and guns they had inside.
I think defense is very important, but it must be carried out unobtrusively. If you are in a city and SHTF comes, you need a simple, non-flashy place, with lots of guns and ammo.
How much ammo? As much as possible.
Make your house as unattractive as you can.
Right now, I own a steel door, but that’s just against the first wave of chaos. After that passes, I will leave the city to rejoin a larger group of people, my friends and family.
There were some situations during the war. There’s no need for details, but we always had superior firepower and a brick wall on our side.
We also constantly kept someone watching the streets. Quality organization is paramount in case of gang attacks.
Shooting was constantly heard in the city.
Our perimeter was defended primitively. All the exits were barricaded and had little firing slits. Inside we had at least five family members ready for battle at any time and one man in the street, hidden in a shelter.
We stayed home through the day to avoid sniper fire.
At first, the weak perish. Then, the rest fight.
During the day, the streets were practically empty due to sniper fire. Defenses were oriented toward short-range combat alone. Many died if they went out to gather information, for example. It’s important to remember we had no information, no radio, no TV — only rumors and nothing else.
There was no organized army; every man fought. We had no choice. Everybody was armed, ready to defend themselves.
You should not wear quality items in the city; someone will murder you and take them. Don’t even carry a “pretty” long arm, it will attract attention.
Let me tell you something: If SHTF starts tomorrow, I’ll be humble. I’ll look like everyone else. Desperate, fearful. Maybe I’ll even shout and cry a little bit.
Pretty clothing is excluded altogether. I will not go out in my new tactical outfit to shout: “I have come! You’re doomed, bad guys!” No, I’ll stay aside, well-armed, well-prepared, waiting and evaluating my possibilities, with my best friend or brother.
Super-defenses, super-guns are meaningless. If people think they should steal your things, that you’re profitable, they will. It’s only a question of time and the amount of guns and hands.
10. How was the situation with toilets?
We used shovels and a patch of earth near the house. Does it seem dirty? It was. We washed with rainwater or in the river, but most of the time the latter was too dangerous. We had no toilet paper; and if we had any, I would have traded it away.
It was a “dirty” business.
Let me give you a piece of advice: You need guns and ammo first — and second, everything else. Literally everything! All depends on the space and money you have.
If you forget something, there will always be someone to trade with for it. But if you forget weapons and ammo, there will be no access to trading for you.
I don’t think big families are extra mouths. Big families means both more guns and strength — and from there, everyone prepares on his own.
11. How did people treat the sick and the injured?
Most injuries were from gunfire. Without a specialist and without equipment, if an injured man found a doctor somewhere, he had about a 30 percent chance of survival.
It ain’t the movie. People died. Many died from infections of superficial wounds. I had antibiotics for three to four uses — for the family, of course.
People died foolishly quite often. Simple diarrhea will kill you in a few days without medicine, with limited amounts of water.
There were many skin diseases and food poisonings… nothing to it.
Many used local plants and pure alcohol — enough for the short-term, but useless in the long term.
Hygiene is very important, as well as having as much medicine as possible — especially antibiotics.
Source: Silver Doctors
There is no plant on Earth more condemned than marijuana. We’re talking about a living organism which governments have taken upon themselves to designate as an illegal substance. Despite no existing evidence of anyone ever dying of a marijuana overdose, possession of this plant is still illegal in many parts. Marijuana has been found to suppress cancer, reduce blood pressure, treat glaucoma, alleviate pain and even inhibit HIV. It is an antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective. Can you understand more now why it’s illegal?
No Independent Study Has Ever Linked Marijuana To Psychosocial Problems
Cannabis is one of the most powerful healing plants on the planet. Dozens of studies have made pseudoscientific attempts to indicate that young people who use cannabis tend to experience psychological, social problems and mental decline. However, there is no evidence that marijuana use is directly linked with such problems, according to the results of a study published in The Lancet.
“Currently, there is no strong evidence that use of cannabis of itself causes psychological or social problems,” such as mental illness or school failure, lead study author Dr. John Macleod of the University of Birmingham in the UK told Reuters Health.
“There is a great deal of evidence that cannabis use is associated with these things, but this association could have several explanations,” he said, citing factors such as adversity in early life, which may itself be associated with cannabis use and psychosocial problems.
Macleod and his team reviewed 48 long-term studies, 16 of which provided the highest quality information about the association between illicit drug use reported by people 25 years old or younger and later psychological or social problems. Most of the drug-specific results involved cannabis use.
Cannabis use was not consistently associated with violent or antisocial behavior, or with psychological problems.
In another study, Scientists from King’s College, London, found occasional pot use could actually improve concentration levels.
The study, carried in the American Journal of Epidemiology, tested the mental function and memory of nearly 9,000 Britons at age 50 and found that those who had used illegal drugs as recently as in their 40s did just as well, or slightly better, on the tests than peers who had never used drugs.
‘Overall, at the population level, the results seem to suggest that past or even current illicit drug use is not necessarily associated with impaired cognitive functioning in early middle age,’ said lead researcher Dr Alex Dregan.
Dr Dregan’s team used data on 8,992 42-year-olds participating in a UK national health study, who were asked if they had ever used any of 12 illegal drugs. Then, at the age of 50, they took standard tests of memory, attention and other cognitive abilities.
Overall, the study found, there was no evidence that current or past drug users had poorer mental performance. In fact, when current and past users were lumped together, their test scores tended to be higher.
The Age of Deception is Ending
In 2003, the U.S. Government as represented by the Department of Health and Human Services filed for, and was awarded a patent on cannabinoids. The reason? Because research into cannabinoids allowed pharmaceutical companies to acquire practical knowledge on one of the most powerful antioxidants and neuroprotectants known to the natural world.
The U.S. Patent 6630507 was specifically initiated when researchers found that cannabinoids had specific antioxidant properties making them useful in the treatment and prophylaxis of wide variety of oxidation associated diseases, such as ischemic, age-related, inflammatory and autoimmune diseases. The cannabinoids are found to have particular application as neuroprotectants, for example in limiting neurological damage following ischemic insults, such as stroke and trauma, or in the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and HIV dementia. Nonpsychoactive cannabinoids, such as cannabidoil, are particularly advantageous to use because they avoid toxicity that is encountered with psychoactive cannabinoids at high doses useful in the method of the present invention.
In a historic and significant moment in American history, last November, Colorado became the first US state to legalize marijuana for recreational use. The impact of the decision could ripple across the entire country with vast opportunities to educate millions on the top health benefits of marijuana.
With the passage of I-502 in the 2012 Washington State election, marijuana also became legal in Washington–not just for medical use, but also for recreational use. Weed is still illegal as far as the United States government is concerned, but Washington and Colorado both have yet to figure out how that will work. It’s certain that this issue will continue to evolve and smooth out as time goes by, but the remaining states will eventually follow suit or be left behind with outdated laws.
Top Health Benefits
It’s no surprise that the United States has decreed that marijuana has no accepted medical use use and should remain classified as a highly dangerous drug like heroin. Accepting and promoting the powerful health benefits of marijuana would instantly cut huge profits geared towards cancer treatment and the U.S. would have to admit it imprisons the population for no cause. Nearly half of all drug arrests in the United States are for marijuana.
According to MarijuanaNews.com editor Richard Cowan, the answer is because it is a threat to cannabis prohibition “…there really is massive proof that the suppression of medical cannabis represents the greatest failure of the institutions of a free society, medicine, journalism, science, and our fundamental values,” Cowan notes.
Besides the top 10 health benefits below, findings published in the journalPLoS ONE, researchers have now have now discovered that marijuana-like chemicals trigger receptors on human immune cells that can directly inhibit a type of human immuno-deficiency virus (HIV) found in late-stage AIDS.
Recent studies have even shown it to be an effective atypical anti-psychotic in treating schizophrenia, a disease many other studies have inconsistently found it causing.
Cannabinoids, the active components of marijuana, inhibit tumor growth in laboratory animalsÂ and also kill cancer cells. Western governments have known this for a long time yet they continued to suppress the information so that cannabis prohibition and the profits generated by the drug industry proliferated.
THC that targets cannabinoid receptors CB1 and CB2 is similar in function to endocannabinoids, which are cannabinoids that are naturally produced in the body and activate these receptors. The researchers suggest that THC or other designer agents that activate these receptors might be used in a targeted fashion to treat lung cancer.
2. Tourette’s Syndrome
Tourette’s syndrome is a neurological condition characterized by uncontrollable facial grimaces, tics, and involuntary grunts, snorts and shouts.
Dr. Kirsten Mueller-Vahl of the Hanover Medical College in Germany led a team that investigated the effects of chemicals called cannabinols in 12 adult Tourette’s patients. A single dose of the cannabinol produced a significant reduction in symptoms for several hours compared to placebo, the researchers reported.
Marijuana is a muscle relaxant and has “antispasmodic” qualities that have proven to be a very effective treatment for seizures. There are actually countless cases of people suffering from seizures that have only been able to function better through the use of marijuana.
Since medicinal marijuana was legalized in California, doctors have reported that they have been able to treat more than 300,000 cases of migraines that conventional medicine couldn’t through marijuana.
Marijuana’s treatment of glaucoma has been one of the best documented. There isn’t a single valid study that exists that disproves marijuana’s very powerful and popular effects on glaucoma patients.
6. Multiple Sclerosis
Marijuana’s effects on multiple sclerosis patients became better documented when former talk-show host, Montel Williams began to use pot to treat his MS. Marijuana works to stop the neurological effects and muscle spasms that come from the fatal disease.
7. ADD and ADHD A well documented USC study done about a year ago showed that marijuana is not only a perfect alternative for Ritalin but treats the disorder without any of the negative side effects of the pharmaceutical.
8. IBS and Crohn’s
Marijuana has shown that it can help with symptoms of the chronic diseases as it stops nausea, abdominal pain, and diarrhea.
Despite what you may have heard about marijuana’s effects on the brain, the Scripps Institute, in 2006, proved that the THC found in marijuana works to prevent Alzheimer’s by blocking the deposits in the brain that cause the disease.
10. Premenstrual Syndrome
Just like marijuana is used to treat IBS, it can be used to treat the cramps and discomfort that causes PMS symptoms. Using marijuana for PMS actually goes all the way back to Queen Victoria.
Mounting Evidence Suggests Raw Cannabis is Best
Cannabinoids can prevent cancer, reduce heart attacks by 66% and insulin dependent diabetes by 58%. Cannabis clinician Dr. William Courtney recommends drinking 4 – 8 ounces of raw flower and leaf juice from any Hemp plant, 5 mg of Cannabidiol (CBD) per kg of body weight, a salad of Hemp seed sprouts and 50 mg of THC taken in 5 daily doses.
Why raw? Heat destroys certain enzymes and nutrients in plants. Incorporating raw cannabis allows for a greater availability of those elements. Those who require large amounts of cannabinoids without the psychoactive effects need to look no further than raw cannabis. In this capacity, it can be used at 60 times more tolerance than if it were heated.
Raw cannabis is considered by many experts as a dietary essential. As a powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant, raw cannabis may be right u there with garlic and tumeric.
About the Author
Marco Torres is a research specialist, writer and consumer advocate for healthy lifestyles. He holds degrees in Public Health and Environmental Science and is a professional speaker on topics such as disease prevention, environmental toxins and health policy.
Source: Waking Times
The descent was gradual—a slide into the tawdry, the trivial and the inane, into the charade on cable news channels such as Fox and MSNBC in which hosts hold up corporate political puppets to laud or ridicule, and treat celebrity foibles as legitimate news. But if I had to pick a date when commercial television decided amassing corporate money and providing entertainment were its central mission, when it consciously chose to become a carnival act, it would probably be Feb. 25, 2003, when MSNBC took Phil Donahue off the air because of his opposition to the calls for war in Iraq
Donahue and Bill Moyers, the last honest men on national television, were the only two major TV news personalities who presented the viewpoints of those of us who challenged the rush to war in Iraq. General Electric and Microsoft—MSNBC’s founders and defense contractors that went on to make tremendous profits from the war—were not about to tolerate a dissenting voice. Donahue was fired, and at PBS Moyers was subjected to tremendous pressure. An internal MSNBC memo leaked to the press stated that Donahue was hurting the image of the network. He would be a “difficult public face for NBC in a time of war,” the memo read. Donahue never returned to the airwaves.
The celebrity trolls who currently reign on commercial television, who bill themselves as liberal or conservative, read from the same corporate script. They spin the same court gossip. They ignore what the corporate state wants ignored. They champion what the corporate state wants championed. They do not challenge or acknowledge the structures of corporate power. Their role is to funnel viewer energy back into our dead political system—to make us believe that Democrats or Republicans are not corporate pawns. The cable shows, whose hyperbolic hosts work to make us afraid self-identified liberals or self-identified conservatives, are part of a rigged political system, one in which it is impossible to vote against the interests of Goldman Sachs, Bank of America, General Electric or ExxonMobil. These corporations, in return for the fear-based propaganda, pay the lavish salaries of celebrity news people, usually in the millions of dollars. They make their shows profitable. And when there is war these news personalities assume their “patriotic” roles as cheerleaders, as Chris Matthews—who makes an estimated $5 million a year—did, along with the other MSNBC and Fox hosts.
It does not matter that these celebrities and their guests, usually retired generals or government officials, got the war terribly wrong. Just as it does not matter that Francis Fukuyama and Thomas Friedman were wrong on the wonders of unfettered corporate capitalism and globalization. What mattered then and what matters now is likability—known in television and advertising as the Q score—not honesty and truth. Television news celebrities are in the business of sales, not journalism. They peddle the ideology of the corporate state. And too many of us are buying.
The lie of omission is still a lie. It is what these news celebrities do not mention that exposes their complicity with corporate power. They do not speak about Section 1021 of the National Defense Authorization Act, a provision that allows the government to use the military to hold U.S. citizens and strip them of due process. They do not decry the trashing of our most basic civil liberties, allowing acts such as warrantless wiretapping and executive orders for the assassination of U.S. citizens. They do not devote significant time to climate scientists to explain the crisis that is enveloping our planet. They do not confront the reckless assault of the fossil fuel industry on the ecosystem. They very rarely produce long-form documentaries or news reports on our urban and rural poor, who have been rendered invisible, or on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan or on corporate corruption on Wall Street. That is not why they are paid. They are paid to stymie meaningful debate. They are paid to discredit or ignore the nation’s most astute critics of corporatism, among them Cornel West, Medea Benjamin, Ralph Nader and Noam Chomsky. They are paid to chatter mindlessly, hour after hour, filling our heads with the theater of the absurd. They play clips of their television rivals ridiculing them and ridicule their rivals in return. Television news looks as if it was lifted from Rudyard Kipling’s portrait of the Bandar-log monkeys in “The Jungle Book.” The Bandar-log, considered insane by the other animals in the jungle because of their complete self-absorption, lack of discipline and outsized vanity, chant in unison: “We are great. We are free. We are wonderful. We are the most wonderful people in all the jungle! We all say so, and so it must be true.”
When I reached him by phone recently in New York, Donahue said of the pressure the network put on him near the end, “It evolved into an absurdity.” He continued: “We were told we had to have two conservatives for every liberal on the show. I was considered a liberal. I could have Richard Perle on alone but not Dennis Kucinich. You felt the tremendous fear corporate media had for being on an unpopular side during the ramp-up for a war. And let’s not forget that General Electric’s biggest customer at the time was Donald Rumsfeld [then the secretary of defense]. Elite media features elite power. No other voices are heard.”
Donahue spent four years after leaving MSNBC making the movie documentary “Body of War” with fellow director/producer Ellen Spiro, about the paralyzed Iraq War veteran Tomas Young. The film, which Donahue funded himself, began when he accompanied Nader to visit Young in the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Washington, D.C.
“Here is this kid lying there whacked on morphine,” Donahue said. “His mother, as we are standing by the bed looking down, explained his injuries. ‘He is a T-4. The bullet came through the collarbone and exited between the shoulder blades. He is paralyzed from the nipples down.’ He was emaciated. His cheekbones were sticking out. He was as white as the sheets he was lying on. He was 24 years old. … I thought, ‘People should see this. This is awful.’ ”
Donahue noted that only a very small percentage of Americans have a close relative who fought in Iraq or Afghanistan and an even smaller number make the personal sacrifice of a Tomas Young. “Nobody sees the pain,” he said. “The war is sanitized.”
“I said, ‘Tomas, I want to make a movie that shows the pain, I want to make a movie that shows up close what war really means, but I can’t do it without your permission,’ ” Donahue remembered. “Tomas said, ‘I do too.’ ”
But once again Donahue ran into the corporate monolith: Commercial distributors proved reluctant to pick up the film. Donahue was told that the film, although it had received great critical acclaim, was too depressing and not uplifting. Distributors asked him who would go to see a film about someone in a wheelchair. Donahue managed to get openings in Chicago, Seattle, Palm Springs, New York, Washington and Boston, but the runs were painfully brief.
“I didn’t have the money to run full-page ads,” he said. “Hollywood often spends more on promotion than it does on the movie. And so we died. What happens now is that peace groups are showing it. We opened the Veterans for Peace convention in Miami. Failure is not unfamiliar to me. And yet, I am stunned at how many Americans stand mute.”
Chris Hedges, whose column is published Mondays on Truthdig, spent nearly two decades as a foreign correspondent in Central America, the Middle East, Africa and the Balkans. He has reported from more than 50 countries and has worked for The Christian Science Monitor, National Public Radio, The Dallas Morning News and The New York Times, for which he was a foreign correspondent for 15 years.
Most of us are taught from childhood to respect and obey the law. On the whole, Americans are law-abiding people. This is only fitting for a nation that was built on the principles of law. Remember, at our core, this is supposed to be a “nation of laws, not men.” This is one reason that our Founding Fathers bequeathed us a republic and not a democracy.
Unfortunately, it has been over one hundred years since America’s teachers (both secular and sacred) have taught the principles of Natural Law. This has created a vast ignorance that has blinded people (especially Christian people it seems) from being able to properly understand, evaluate, and judge the law.
Our Lord plainly said, “The Sabbath (law) was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath (law).” (Mark 2:27 KJV) This was stated in response to the criticism and judgmentalism of the Pharisees against Jesus and His disciples, who had picked and eaten corn on the Sabbath Day.
During that same discussion, Jesus reminded the Pharisees that David and his men ate bread from the Table of Shewbread in the Temple, which was a violation of the Mosaic Law. (Others had been slain by Jehovah for a careless, cavalier attitude toward the Sabbath and the Temple.) He reminded them of the priests who sacrificed animals on the Sabbath Day, which was considered by many to be a violation of Sabbath law. Jesus healed on the Sabbath Day, which the Pharisees and legalists of the time judged to be unlawful.
After a blistering condemnation of the Pharisees, Jesus asked them, “Is it lawful on the sabbath days to do good, or to do evil? to save life or destroy it?” (Luke 6:9 KJV) In other words, which was more important: doing good and saving life on the Sabbath, or strictly obeying the Law of the Sabbath and letting a man be harmed or even die?
Jesus made it clear that there are greater laws and lesser laws, that the Natural Law of saving life was a superior law to even the Law of the Sabbath. This law of nature can be called “The Law of Necessity.”
In the pursuit of liberty, and in the defense of life, David and his men sustained themselves with the bread from the Table of Shewbread. And not only did Jehovah not slay David and his men for doing this, the Lord Jesus praised them as an example of the greater law principle.
Here’s a question for you: as you walk along a lake, you notice a sign announcing a public statute that says, “No Swimming.” About that same time, you hear the screams of a little boy who had wandered in the lake and is now drowning. Do you obey the State statute that said, “No Swimming,” or do you violate the public law and swim out into the lake to save the little boy?
The Pharisees would say that you must obey the public law even if it means the little boy will drown. Jesus said the natural greater law principle prevails and you ignore the lesser law and go save the drowning lad. The greater law always defers to the provision and protection of human life. The lesser law ignores the divine principle of protecting life and demands unconditional compliance to human law–even if that law results in the death of innocent life.
Now, here is another question: would any of us condemn a man who ignored the law that said “No Swimming,” and swam into the lake to save the little boy? Think very carefully before you answer, because all over America, many people (including pastors and Christians) have developed a legalistic, Pharisaical philosophy regarding law that would indeed condemn the man who ignored the law that said “No Swimming,” and swam into the lake to save the little boy.
For example, all over America, certain states and local communities have enacted strict gun-control laws that would condemn a man for using a firearm in the defense of his home and family. There is more than one person sitting in jail today who was deemed a lawbreaker for doing just that. And now, there are legislators, senators, and a President and Vice President in Washington, D.C, who want to further deny everyone in America the right to self-defense by banning semi-automatic rifles.
Make no mistake about it: the semi-automatic rifle is the premier self-defense tool in the modern world. It is effective against the would-be felon, and even more effective against the would-be tyrant. To enact laws against the ownership and possession of semi-automatic rifles (yes, with large capacity magazines) is tantamount to condemning a man for ignoring the “No Swimming” ordinance in order to save the drowning boy. Plainly put: SEMI-AUTOMATIC RIFLES SAVE LIVES–INCLUDING SAVING THE LIFE OF THE AMERICAN REPUBLIC.
It is at this point that we must point out the jaded philosophy and understanding that so many Americans (especially Christians) have regarding law. So many people seem to be completely ignorant of the natural principle of the greater law, or The Law of Necessity.
When governments pass laws that infringe upon people’s natural right to self-defense, they have become tyrannical; and no one who understands the divine principle of The Law of Necessity is morally obligated to submit to such laws–no more than a man would submit to the “No Swimming” law that would let the little boy drown.
Beyond that, pastors who teach that Christians must submit to these lesser laws in order to please God are no better than the Pharisees of old. Jesus detested the Pharisees’ asinine interpretation of Biblical law and plainly told them so. Likewise, no Christian should tolerate for one minute any pastor or religious teacher who would demand that they submit to any lesser law that infringed upon the greater law of the protection and preservation of life. Not for one minute!
The “higher powers” of Romans 13 do not constitute the “highest” power. All the laws of men are subject to the greater laws of God: the natural laws that were innately given to man at creation. Think about it: if the Law of the Sabbath, a law that was instituted by God, Himself, was inferior to the greater Law of Necessity–the natural law protecting and preserving life–how much more inferior is any law made by man?! To suggest that the Apostle Paul, in Romans 13, was demanding that Christians submit to every man-made law, no matter how contrary it ran to the divine Law of Necessity borders on blasphemy. And the pastors who teach such an absurdity are nothing more than modern-day Pharisees.
As the Pharisees would rather see a man crippled, or even die, than be healed on the Sabbath, so these modern-day Pharisees demand that people submit to laws that infringe on their natural right of self-defense, even if that means that people die as a result.
And remember, according to experts, firearms (including semi-automatic rifles) protect life and avert a crime (including murder) more than 2.5 million times a year. That’s over 6,800 times A DAY. Take away the right to keep and bear arms (including semi-automatic rifles) and those are lives that will be seriously injured or killed.
See this report:
It’s time pastors and Christians understand that breaking a lesser law in order to keep a greater law is no crime–and no sin! Benjamin Franklin may not have been a Biblical scholar, but he demonstrated a greater knowledge and appreciation for The Law of Necessity than most pastors in America today. He said, “Rebellion against tyrants is obedience to God.” And he was exactly right.
Abram obeyed the greater law when he pursued and “slaughtered” (Hebrews 7:1) the kings who had attacked his family and took his nephew Lot prisoner. That is found in Genesis 14. It is no coincidence that he received the Abrahamic Covenant in Genesis 15. Moses obeyed the greater law when he killed the Egyptian taskmaster in defense of his fellow Hebrew. The New Testament says, “For he [Moses] supposed his brethren would have understood how that God by his hand would deliver them: but they understood not.” (Acts 7:24, 25)
Moses’ fellow Hebrews were so steeped in bondage, they “understood not” Moses’ actions and actually joined with the Egyptians in condemning him as a lawbreaker. As a result, they spent an additional forty years in slavery. And ladies and gentlemen, if America’s pastors and Christians do not snap out of their spirit of legalism and bondage, this country is also headed for slavery.
Unfortunately, many pastors and churches would condemn those of us who refuse to submit to these unjust, tyrannical laws that would require us to surrender our semi-automatic rifles. They would call us lawbreakers. So what? As Jesus accepted not the condemnation of the Pharisees, you and I should not accept the condemnation of these modern-day legalists.
It is never wrong to obey the greater law; and it is never right to obey the lesser law that contradicts the greater law! And it doesn’t matter to a tinker’s dam what the legalists and Pharisees think about it! Simon Peter and the apostles employed the same understanding when they said, “We must obey God rather than men.”
When it comes to disobeying a State law that says “No Swimming” in order to preserve the life of a drowning boy, or when it comes to disobeying a federal law that says “surrender your semi-automatic rifles” in order to preserve the lives of our loved ones, not to mention our communities and our freedoms, we, too, must obey God rather than men.
Of course, we Americans respect the laws of men, but only when these lesser laws do not contradict or infringe upon the greater law. This was commonly understood from Abraham and Moses to Christ and the apostles. It was certainly understood by America’s Founding Fathers. And it had better be understood by each of us now!
Psychopathy and sociopathy are both anti-social personality disorders. While both these disorders are the result of an interaction between genetic predispositions and environmental factors, psychopathy leans towards the hereditary whereas sociopathy tends towards the environmental.
Psychopaths are born with temperamental differences such as impulsivity, cortical underarousal, and fearlessness that lead them to risk-seeking behavior and an inability to internalize social norms. On the other hand, sociopaths have relatively normal temperaments; their personality disorder being more an effect of negative sociological factors like parental neglect, delinquent peers, poverty, and extremely low or extremely high intelligence.
Anti-social personality disorder results in extremely violent acts. Though psychiatrists often consider and treat sociopaths and psychopaths as the same, criminologists treat them as different because of the difference in their outward behaviour.
Differences in Outward Behavior of a Psychopath and a Sociopath
Psychopaths often live at the fringes of society. They often tend to be extremely disorganized and are unable to maintain normal relationships with family, friends or co-workers.
Unlike psychopaths, sociopaths can be almost obsessively organized and are normal in their social relationships, often forming symbiotic or parasitic relations. A sociopath would likely live an outwardly normal life and appear to blend in well with society; they may even be charming.
Psychopaths often find it hard to maintain a steady job and home.
Sociopaths often have successful careers and try and try to make others like and trust them. This is because they understand human social emotions quite well but are unable to experience them. This allows them to be master manipulators of human emotions.
A psychopath’s outbreaks of violence are erratic and unplanned. After an erratic act, psychopaths can often be easily identified as they generally leave behind a trail of clues and a history of violent outbursts.
A sociopaths can plan acts of violence for years and may often be motivated by greed or revenge. Violent crimes by sociopaths are often controlled and often go undetected until after a sociopath is caught.
Video explaining the difference
Here’s a short video of HLN’s Dr. Drew explaining the difference between a sociopath and a psychopath:
Similarities between Psychopaths and Sociopaths
Sociopaths and psychopaths both face medical disorders that can be treated or alleviated if properly diagnosed. Treatment involves therapies and may involve proper medication. In fact, psychiatrists often don’t distinguish between the two based on behavior; instead, they label a person with ASPD a sociopath if their mental condition is a result of mainly social conditions like abuse during childhood and a psychopath if the condition is mainly congenital.
The symptoms in both cases begin to establish and surface at approximately fifteen years of age. The initialsymptom can be excessive cruelty to animals followed by lack of conscience, remorse or guilt for hurtful actions to others at a later stage. There may be an intellectual understanding of appropriate social behavior but no emotional response to the actions of others. Psychopaths may also face an inability to form genuine relationships, and may show inappropriate or out of proportion reaction to perceived negligence.
You may be as sick of what happened in Newtown, Connecticut as I am sick to my stomach. What makes me sick stems from the fact that it keeps happening across our country quite regularly, too often with too much insanity.
When I researched the facts about the killings going on in America, I almost emotionally staggered at the five children who are killed daily by their parents or care-givers. In other words, a Newtown, Connecticut occurs within America every four days, but no one thinks about it because the children who die are dispersed across the USA. But just the same, those children die horrible deaths, too. At the hands of their parents.
When I researched the five million women who suffer beatings at the hands of their husbands or boyfriends annually, I would have thought our nation must be a country from the Middle East where they kill their wives and daughters for honor killings—at least 5,000 annually and beat their wives without mercy regularly.
But then I discover an American man beats his wife or girlfriend every 15 seconds in America. How do you swallow that one emotionally, intellectually or otherwise? We are supposed to be a moral, ethical and lawful nation. Instead, we are a sick bunch of child abusers and wife beaters.
Then, we compare Columbine’s 15 killed that horrible day in Littleton, Colorado to the killings in Newtown, but I found out that 18 teenagers commit suicide every single day of the year in this country. Count those numbers dear friend: a Columbine-like massacre occurs in this country every single day because those kids feel so disconnected, so disenfranchised, so separated, so unloved that they kill themselves. It takes my breath away.
Then, when I start thinking about the fact that our Congress and the past two presidents rained down bombs and drones to kill thousands upon thousands of Iraqi and Afghanistan civilians in two 10 year long wars—and we don’t say anything about it. Does anyone see the disconnect of our self-righteousness as to the pretending to be a moral and ethical nation? It’s beyond me how our leaders and Congress critters sleep at night.
Then, we come to animal cruelty in this country. It’s staggering. We kill over four million dogs and cats just because they are excess because of our own irresponsible behavior of letting them breed.
Animal Cruelty Statistics
- Each year, 10,000 bull dogs die in bullfighting.
- Women in abusive relationships often don’t leave their abuser because they worry what will happen to their pet if they leave.
- 13% of animal abuse involves domestic violence.
- 70% of animal abusers also have records of other crimes.
- 3 to 4 million cats and dogs (young, healthy and adoptable) are euthanized every year in shelters.
- Animals that aren’t euthanized are often sent to no-kill shelters where the animals are caged for days, weeks, months or years and the animals risk becoming insane and dying of loneliness.
- Millions of day-old male chicks are killed in a high capacity macerator because they are worthless to the egg industry.
- In the United States alone, 1.13 million animals are used in testing and research every year.
- More than 15 million warm blooded animals are used in research worldwide.
- Scientists estimate that 100 species of animals go extinct every day.
Continue reading at NowPublic.com: Animal Cruelty: Facts, Prevention, Statistics and Action | NowPublic News Coverage
At some point, we have got to come to terms with the violence in our culture, our violence toward other countries, our violence against nature and our violence as a tool to solve things.
We need to reconnect with God, with Nature, with our natural world, with the animals that we slaughter by the millions and the trashing of our planet.
I mean, the human race continues to cause the extinction of 80 to 100 other creatures on this planet every 24 hours every day of the week—without pause.
At some point, we must ask ourselves if we want to live on this ravaged planet. I’ve reported on the Great Pacific Garbage Patch which is a 100 million ton floating plastic debris island out in the Pacific. That plastic litters every ocean on the planet. It kills endless millions of sea creatures, but none of our leaders and none of our citizens will stand up for a simple 10 cent deposit-return law across this nation and/or across the world.
It’s as if we think it will solve itself, but it only gets worse.
We remain quiet as our military kills, maims and slaughters endless other human beings in Korea, Vietnam, Desert Storm, Iraq and Afghanistan—as if we have the right to continue those wars for decades. How friggin’ sick is that kind of thinking and that kind of action?
Then, when something as horrific as what we’ve done to other countries and other creatures comes home to roost in Newtown, Connecticut, we cry, we mourn, we condemn and we point fingers—but we don’t do anything.
We don’t stop the violent movies, violent video games, the violence on TV and the violence to our women and children across the board. We don’t even attempt to stop it.
What have you done at the local level, state level or national level to stop the violence? When will you do it? What actions will you take? What will you do?
Answer: probably nothing.
The so-called conservative talking head at MSNBC, Joe Scarborough, railed that the Connecticut shootings “must change everything.” Scarborough’s inference is that America needs stricter gun control laws. He said, “They [politicians] must . . . be forced to defend our children,” by enacting more gun control laws. Scarborough went on to rant, “I say good luck to the gun lobbyists, good luck to the Hollywood lawyer who tries to hide behind twisted readings of our Bill of Rights.”
This is the same Joe Scarborough who was elected to Congress in 1994 from the First Congressional District of Florida. He ran as a staunch pro-Second Amendment conservative. He was elected to Congress by staunch Pro-Second Amendment conservatives. Now, Scarborough is joining the chorus of the anti-gun left by adding his voice for more gun control.
At one time, Joe and I were fairly close. I hosted a prominent radio talk show in Joe’s district at the time and did everything I could do to help him win that US House seat. At one time, Joe, and several members of his family, verbalized to me that had it not been for my support, he would not have won his congressional seat. At the time, I was proud to do it.
Joe was a different guy then. That was before he suddenly resigned his seat in Congress, before he landed a gig at MSNBC, and before he became a multimillionaire. Since then, I’ve watched Joe Scarborough morph into something different altogether. I no longer know Joe Scarborough.
I remember him telling me some 15 years or so ago that he had his sights set on the White House around the 2016 election. Is that what this is all about, Joe? Are you reading the tea leaves after the Connecticut shootings, and you think you’re going to ride an anti-gun wave to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue? It ain’t gonna happen, Joe!
In the first place, the only anti-gun wave taking place in America is inside the Beltway and inside the establishment media, which is where it’s always been. In the second place, those of us who still believe in the Second Amendment are not the ones who have “twisted readings” of the Bill of Rights. Has anyone noticed the record gun sales that are taking place right now? Gun shops nationwide are literally wiped out of AR-15-style rifles, along with their accompanying magazines. Gun manufacturers are back-ordered into the indefinite future. Joe, do you now believe that all of these millions of honest, hard-working American citizens have a “twisted reading” of the Bill of Rights?
Joe, you used to quote the Second Amendment at your campaign rallies, remember? It reads, “A well-regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.”
Joe, you know as well as I do, that the right of people to keep and bear arms has nothing to do with hunting or target shooting. It has everything to do with “the security of a free state.” It has everything to do with the ability of free citizens within a free State to defend themselves against the potential oppression and tyranny of the federal government. That was the meaning and purpose of the Second Amendment. Minus and plus nothing! Humanly speaking, the only thing that separates free people from the tyrannical propensities of the federal government is a well-armed citizenry. One could even say that they only thing that separates the free people of the world from global tyranny is the well-armed citizenry of the people of the United States!
Beyond that, the number of innocent people whose lives are taken by some mentally-deranged wacko with a gun is miniscule compared to the number of innocent people whose lives are saved BECAUSE THEY HAD A GUN.
Nationally, some 8,000 people are killed by a gun annually, including a significant percentage of suicide deaths. Joe, 8,000 is the number of people whose lives are saved with a gun in TWO DAYS. That’s right, according to US Justice Department statistics, at least 4,000 people use a firearm to defend themselves and others against violent attacks EVERY DAY. Joe, why don’t you, and the rest of the national media, report that fact?
Something needs to change, alright, Joe! It’s time for the federal government and various State governments to stop denying people the right to defend themselves!
Have you ever noticed that these “crazy” killers always select a “gun-free” zone to do their killing? Gee! I wonder why? When is the last time you ever heard of a “crazy” guy opening fire on people at a shooting range? How about a gun shop? Or maybe a police station? Never happens! Why? Because the miscreant knows that people at those places are armed and will shoot back. Gun-free zones are actually free-to-kill zones!
If we really want to reduce the number of these mass killings, here is the way to do it:
1. Expunge the federal and State laws prohibiting teachers, principals, administrators, university students of age, etc., from being armed in the classroom and on school property. In other words, allow adults to do what adults should be allowed to do in a free society: defend themselves and those who are unable to do so.
Thomas Jefferson, and the rest of America’s founders, understood the need for honest men to be armed, which is why they included the Second Amendment in the Bill of Rights. Jefferson said, “Laws that forbid the carrying of arms… disarm only those who are neither inclined nor determined to commit crimes. … Such laws make things worse for the assaulted and better for the assailants.” And at no time did the Founding Fathers attempt to clarify or restrict the type of firearm people could possess.
Gun control laws definitely “make it worse for the assaulted and better for the assailants.” Those federal and State lawmakers who passed laws restricting the right of people to arm themselves, along with those police agencies and private organizations that called for the disarmament of the citizens of Connecticut, certainly made it worse for those victims at Sandy Hook Elementary School and better for the murderer who took their lives. Had just one of those adults at the school been armed, the outcome of this tragedy could have been much different.
Larry Pratt is the Executive Director of Gun Owners of America (GOA). In a public statement, he said, “Gun control supporters have the blood of little children on their hands. Federal and state laws combined to insure that no teacher, no administrator, no adult had a gun at the Newtown school where the children were murdered. This tragedy underscores the urgency of getting rid of gun bans in school zones. The only thing accomplished by gun free zones is to insure that mass murderers can slay more before they are finally confronted by someone with a gun.”
Speaking of the GOA, it is very disconcerting that their sister organization, the largest pro-gun advocacy group in the country, the National Rifle Association (NRA), has been totally silent on the Connecticut shootings. An NRA spokesman recently said that the organization would issue a statement on Friday.
I have to tell you, I have a sinking feeling in my gut that the NRA is fixing to cave-in to political correctness and compromise with gun control advocates on some sort of gun control legislation already being written. I hope I’m wrong. We will find out tomorrow.
2. Stop making celebrities out of these killers.
The truth is, Joe Scarborough, and the rest of the national news media, are encouraging these mentally unstable people like this Lanza creep to “go out with a bang.” The national media is obsessed with inundating the American citizenry with every little detail about these cold-blooded killers. Pat Buchanan made an excellent observation on this point.
Buchanan said, “This was a premeditated and purposeful act of mass murder, and the devil that did it knew exactly what he was doing and why.
“When he put four bullets into his mother’s head while she lay in bed, Adam Lanza wanted her life ended along with his. When he headed for Sandy Hook Elementary, with the Glocks and Bushmaster rifle, he knew he would encounter no armed resistance.
“Before he went into that school to shoot 20, 30 or 40 children, barely more than babies, he knew his slaughter would be so stomach-turning and heart-wrenching that the TV crews would come running.
“And by day’s end, the world would know who Adam Lanza was.
“Lanza kept firing at the children until he heard the sirens. Then he pulled out one of the Glocks, put it to his head and ended it, knowing he was on his way to becoming world famous.
“Just as Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold of Columbine are famous. Just as James Holmes, the ‘Joker’ of the Aurora ‘Dark Knight Rising’ massacre, is famous. Just as Jared Lee Loughner, the Tucson mass murderer who shot Gabby Giffords, is famous.
“A desire to be famous coupled with a dead conscience is the common thread running through these recurring atrocities. These loners and losers want us to know who they are. And, to succeed now, each almost has to outdo in horror those who went before.”
See Pat’s column at:
Anybody remember when “streakers” would run on the gridiron during nationally-televised football games? At first, network cameras would show the fellow running like a maniac around the field until an official or player would put him on the ground. Then they wised up: they stopped showing the idiot on national television. So, when is the last time you remember a nationally-televised football game being interrupted by a “streaker”?
The national attention that the mainstream media gives to these sick individuals is unconscionable. If Scarborough really wants to do something about reducing mass killings, he should use his position in the national media to stop making celebrities out of cold-blooded killers. Or is it really about ratings, viewership, and bottom-line profits, after all?
3. Restore a God-consciousness in the heart of America.
When prayer and Bible reading were expelled from America’s schools in 1962 and 1963, something else went missing: a consciousness of God.
I’m not talking about teaching religion; I’m talking about recognizing the moral soul of man and its responsibility to behave morally. Virtually every belief-system in the world teaches that mankind is accountable, in one way or another, to his Creator. It is a Natural Law that is as old as man himself. In simple terms, it’s called “the fear of God.” But since the US Supreme Court ordered prayer and Bible reading out of America’s public schools, our educational institutions are more than “gun-free” zones, they are “God-free” zones!
Will Joe Scarborough use the national platform he has been given to talk about restoring the fear of God in America? The national news media is as guilty as public schools in ignoring, or even belittling, the fear of God. If we are not created as moral beings, if there really is no such thing as right and wrong, if we really are nothing but soulless animals, why should we be shocked when we act like it?
Plus, there is a plethora of other issues that should be discussed when assessing the kind of barbarity that took place in Newtown, Connecticut. What about the medications that are being used so pervasively today? America has become a drugged society! Drugs are deemed the answer for everything. From the earliest years, millions and millions of America’s children have been given drugs, including behavioral modification drugs.
What about dark government operations? How many national disasters have the fingerprints of dark government on them? How would we know if they did? Who are those two guys outside Sandy Hook school whom police apprehended, handcuffed, and took into custody? Why did eyewitnesses to the shootings say there were at least two shooters? Is it true that the fathers of the mass-killers in both Newtown, Connecticut, and Aurora, Colorado, were both slated to testify in the gigantic LIBOR banking scandal? And, if so, there is no way that this is a coincidence, so who is investigating and reporting on this part of the story?
In other words, who is conducting serious independent investigations today? Who in the national media takes old-fashioned investigative reporting seriously these days? Obviously, not Joe Scarborough.
Then, there is the issue of responsibility. We are taught from childhood that no one is responsible for anything. Everyone is a victim! It’s always someone else’s fault. From our eating and drinking habits, to our smoking or chewing habits, to the choices we make and don’t make, to the friends we hang out with, to the cars we drive, to the places we recreate, to the movies we watch, ad infinitum, we are all told that we are victims. It’s not our fault! So, now we’ve got to disarm the entire country, because one person behaved irresponsibly?
President Ronald Reagan nailed it when he said, “We must reject the idea that every time a law’s broken, society is guilty rather than the lawbreaker. It is time to restore the American precept that each individual is accountable for his actions.” Amen!
I am also reminded of when I was in Israel, I saw ordinary citizens (including teachers) carrying Uzi submachine guns just about everywhere. And in Switzerland, just about every man in the country is expected to keep rifles (including fully automatic ones) in their homes and train with them often. Furthermore, in Switzerland, the gun crime rate is so low that statistics are not even kept. Plus, the Swiss army even sells used guns to the general public when new models are issued. Gee! I wonder why we don’t hear about crazy people shooting up schools and movie theaters in those two countries?
Also think about this: how is it that so many of these do-gooders, who rail for more gun control, hide behind guns every day? They live in gated mansions with armed bodyguards protecting the property. They travel with armed bodyguards when they travel in public. How many guns protect Barack Obama every day? How many guns protect Nancy Pelosi? How many armed guards protect the newscasters and staff at the NBC studios where Joe Scarborough goes to work every day? It’s okay for the rich and famous to be protected by people carrying guns–including fully-automatic assault weapons–but average citizens like you and I are not afforded the same right.
So, who determines whose life is more valuable than others? Are the lives of the members of Congress and the national news media more valuable than the boys and girls in America’s schools? Are they more valuable than the lives of ordinary people who shop, go to movies, go to church, eat in restaurants, and go about their daily lives? The rich and famous in Washington, D.C., and New York City (how many guns protect Mayor Michael Bloomberg?) hire other people to protect them, and then they turn around and tell us that we don’t have the right to protect ourselves! I think there are at least a couple of words that describe such people.
Yes, Joe, something needs to change alright!
At church this weekend, our minister explored the violence that killed 20 2nd and 3rd grade children and six adults in Newtown, CT. With point blank accuracy, one 20 year old disturbed kid, stilled the life of those young children. The father of one of the slain, Robbie Parker said of his daughter Emilie, “I was honored to be her father.” I wept as did one of our other ministers. Hundreds of others in the congregation visibly shuddered.
This tragedy follows in the wake of Columbine in Littleton, Colorado 13 years ago with Harris and Klebold. This fall a man named James Holmes shot up an entire movie theater, also in Denver. A Muslim U.S. Army Major Hasan shot 42 innocent people. The Times Square bomber and thousands of other acts of violence have devolved us into a violent, unsafe and frightening culture.
It’s not the individual acts that make us a violent culture. We promote violence on TV with incredibly violent programs like NCIS in NYC, in Los Angeles and in Miami. Criminal Minds TV show creates horrific and sickening criminal torture and death plots. Springer, Povich, Cunningham and other moronic TV shows celebrate illiteracy, the dregs of society and sheer violence. We create unspeakable brutality via other TV shows. Our movies depict the sickening world of masochists and sadists while movie goers absorb these graphics deep within their minds.
In every town, you may go to a video arcade and watch kids commit murder, mayhem, slaughter and staggering acts of violence—with glee, joy and a sense of victory. All of it mindless, yet potent toward further real life carnage within our society.
On our highways, drunk drivers killed 17,000 to as high as 20,000 innocent lives every single year with their weapon of choice—a 4,000 pound missile speeding down the highway at 75 miles per hour drunk or high on drugs—but we refuse to construct drunk driving laws that would make the crime more prohibitive than the offense. We promote alcoholism via beer commercials sensationalizing the lifestyle of alcohol, replete with beautiful women and fast cars.
Our U.S. Congress reeks of warmongering by starting the Korean War, Vietnam War, Desert Storm War and Iraq War for no valid reason whatsoever. We killed millions of people and destroyed millions of parents, adults and children. Millions! We remain in Afghanistan, long after bin Laden met his death—still killing their people and ours—with no positive result.
Over the decades, our drones and bombs have created hundreds of thousands of “Newtown, Connecticut’s” where millions of people have died in the aforementioned countries. We insist on maintaining 450,000 military personnel on 700 bases around the world to show-case our ability to kill anyone whose perspective doesn’t match ours.
After the 10 year Vietnam War, over 200,000 of our soldiers became so distraught from their experiences—they committed suicide. Today, an average of four present and former US soldiers commit suicide daily from their war traumas. Millions more emotionally limp along from drugs, depression, PTSD and alcoholism. Some experts predict another 200,000 U.S. soldiers will commit suicide from their military service in Iraq and Afghanistan.
While we war upon other countries for decades, and after Columbine’s mass murders, we fail to take care of our own youth such as the young man who just killed 26 innocent human beings. An average of 18 teenagers commit suicide in America every single day of the year, every year, every decade—without pause.
A mind-numbing 15,000 people kill others with their knives and guns annually, year after year, decade after decade. Equally lethal, although self-imposed, smokers of tobacco kill themselves off at 450,000 annually.
Let’s talk about men beating wives, girlfriends and lovers:
* There are 1,500 shelters for battered women in the United States. There are 3,800 animal shelters. Cruelty to animals abounds in the USA. (Schneider, 1990).
* Three to four million women in the United States are beaten in their homes each year by their husbands, ex-husbands, or male lovers. (“Women and Violence,” Hearings before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee, Senate Hearing, 101-939, pt. 1, p. 12.)
* One woman is beaten by her husband or partner every 15 seconds in the United States. (Uniform Crime Reports, Federal Bureau of Investigation).
Our federal officials have arrested and slammed 37 million kids into jail for smoking a joint in the past 41 years of the “War on Drugs”—while alcohol and booze have killed endless millions—legally.
As our government foments, creates and imposes wars on countries 10,000 miles away, we suffer the cruelty of 14 million jobless Americans, 47.7 million living on food stamps, 1.5 million homeless and 2.3 million Americans subsisting in prisons.
The final costs of the Iraq and Afghanistan War will reach into the trillions of dollars when that money could have been used to create a more just, hopeful and prosperous society for all our citizens.
What we need to do
An evolutionary vision must occur within our country. We citizens must create peace in our schools and communities. We must vote for leaders who insist on peace rather than war. We need to move away from TV, movie and arcade violence to peaceful understanding. “Yes,” you say, “but what can I do?”
We need to shift from war spending toward life-enhancing contributions to flourish our society. We spend trillions of dollars on war and a tiny fraction for education and betterment of our society.
What not to continue because it doesn’t work:
- Stop engaging in useless, costly, deadly and meaningless wars overseas
- Stop our empire building by bringing home 450,000 military personnel from those 700 bases. It wastes money, people and resources and it accomplishes nothing.
- Stop meddling in hundreds of countries’ business as if the U.S. ethnocentric position constitutes the bottom line of righteousness
- Stop the War on Terror, War on Drugs and War on Poverty because the energy of fighting anything pales in comparison to the support of human dignity
- Stop violent video games, violent movies, violent TV programming
Transfer war funds to peace funding for our society:
- Spend billions for jobs that give dignity to citizens
- Spend billions on after-school classes, activities and playgrounds
- Spend billions on mental health, emotional health and well-being in families
- Spend billions on high school marriage, relationship and child rearing classes to support fathers and mothers in workable marriages, which will result in viable lives for children
- Spend billions to build personal responsibility, personal accountability and educational excellence for all our citizens to grow our civilization into a positive future
- Spend billions on raising healthy, happy and balanced children with mental health services, parental training and guidance
We Americans need to reassess ourselves. We need to invent or discover another path. We need to open toward a spiritual awakening. We need to move toward slower living, inter-related living and environmentally balanced living. We need to eschew 80,000 chemicals injected into our air, water and ground 24/7—most definitely scrambling our emotions, body chemistries and minds. We need to live and grow in smaller, community-oriented cities. (As John Muir said, “There is not a single sane man in all of San Francisco.) We need both fathers and mothers for our children so they grow into healthy adults who value themselves and know they are essential. We must extricate ourselves from the pervasive violence in our culture by moving toward peaceful solutions, love and kindness.
This transformation requires you, your actions, your passions, your energy and your optimism for the future.
Racism raises its ugly head in every multi-ethnic society on this planet. Wherever you see different races co-existing in places like Canada, Europe, Australia, America, Africa, Asia and Mexico—you see racism. It’s virtually universal wherever races mix throughout human kind.
When you see a majority of blacks, you see racism against whites. When you see a majority of Chinese, you see racism against other races. When you see a majority of Mexicans or Latinos, you see racism against blacks and whites. When you see whites in the majority, you see racism against other ethnic groups. It’s not learned; it’s biological.
Webster’s definition: racism—a belief that race is the primary determinant of human traits and capacities, and that racial differences produce an inherent superiority of a particular race.
Another definition as to biology—racism is not learned, but it is biological. It stems from millennia of tribal warfare, religious warfare and linguistic warfare throughout humanity’s history. It does not have anything to do with superiority, but it has to do with color, culture and language. Different races normally do not get along with each other. Just like the “cat” family, tigers do not get along with lions. Cheetahs do not get along with leopards. In the “human” family, Japanese do not get along with Chinese, etc.
In the United States, Canada and European countries, racial unrest colors every aspect of our (their) history and society. The charge of “racism” erupts daily in newspapers, radio and TV. It’s been with us since the first slave ship brought blacks to this country. Racial unrest colors much of Europe and Asia.
No amount of education, integration or wealth has ever erased racism in the United States or any other country.
Today, we see “multicultural” appreciation classes in high schools and colleges. We see workshops in businesses to promote peace among ethnic groups. But in the end, most people of similar races leave the workplace, athletic field or other mingling places and go home to their own tribe.
In the raging immigration debate, all of the minorities in the United States scream “racism” against “white” America. But, they carry on their own “Black Caucus” and “Hispanic Caucus” in Congress. They carry on with Black Entertainment Television. They sponsor “Black Miss America” and other racially segregated events. Whites are not allowed to sponsor anything of that nature.
If anyone stands up to endless illegal immigration, they automatically become a racist. Never mind that 20 million illegal migrants inhabit the United States in violation of this nation’s laws. If anyone speaks up, writes up or presents the facts, he or she becomes a racist.
Within the next 38 years, as America remains on course to add 100 million immigrants from all over the world. They bring incompatible languages, cultures and religions that fail to meld with Western thought and civilization. Within those 38 years, the current dominant European tribe will become a minority to the new dominant Hispanic tribe coming up from Mexico, Central and South America. (The same thing occurs in Canada, Europe and Australia.)
Writer Sam Francis said, “You cannot separate a culture and its attendant civilization from the genetic endowments of its founding people, nor can you expect to transfer it to another people, i.e. [immigrants.]”
Therefore, America and other Western societies will face enormous racial, religious and cultural predicaments as endless tribes vie for dominance and their share of the American pie. Those immigrants, as in the case of Muslims, create city-states within the United States that counter every aspect of Western thought. They will utilize the U.S. Constitution to institute laws for multiple wives, subjugation of women, squelching of free speech, rights taken from gays, religious intolerance, arranged marriages and FGM. In fact, those practices manifest in places like Detroit, Michigan today.
As this civilization transforms itself into multiple cultures that no one understands or can identify with on any level—future generations will need to overcome their tribal biases. They will need to learn to respect the confusion, dislocation and loss of American culture. They will need to transform themselves in light of ever greater shortages of water, food, energy and resources.
The only difference between animals and humans is that humans are animals that think, talk and reason. Once we are left without food and water, we return to our animal nature.
Across Syria these days, one is able to examine massive evidence that this ancient civilization, the historic bastion of nationalist Arabism and since the 1948 Nabka, an essential pillar of the growing culture of Resistance to the Zionist occupation of Palestine, is becoming awash with foreign arms being funneled to “rebels” by countries advocating regime change.
This observer has been researching foreign arms transfers into certain Middle East countries since last summer in Libya, where to a lesser degree the identical foreign actors were involved in facilitating the transfer of arms and fighters to topple the then, “Libyan Arab Jamahiriya.”
During a recent stay in Syria, I was able to observe first hand, substantial demonstrative evidence supporting the thesis that American, Zionist and Gulf intelligence agencies as well as private arms dealers from these countries top the list of more than two dozen countries benefiting from the crisis in Syria by injecting arms. These countries gain politically and financially, via governmental and black market arms transfers.
Which countries are sending the most weapons into Syria to arm militia?
A list of the top 24 countries, among the more than three dozen that are currently involved in sending weapons to Syria to achieve regime change include: USA, Iraq, Lebanon, Israel, Turkey, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Bahrain, UK, France, Canada, Belgium, Germany, Austria, Brazil, Portugal, Poland, Yugoslavia, Czech Republic, Bulgaria, Italy, Spain, and Argentina.
Above: one of the periodic lists complied of foreign weapons confiscated from foreign fighters in Syria. Aug.-late September, 2012
Nearly two-thirds of the above listed arms suppliers are members of NATO and constitute almost half of NATO’s 28 country membership.
Russia is not included in the above list because it is the main supplier of arms to the Syrian government. Yet, one finds older USSR era weapons and even some more recent vintage Russian arms in rebel hands, the latter from the decade (12/79-2/89) of Soviet, occupation of Afghanistan. Also offering Russian weapons are a growing number of black market arms dealers of whom there is no shortage along the Turkey-Syrian border and elsewhere. This recent visitor to Syria was offered near the Old City, AK 47’s (Russian Kalashnikovs) or Rocket Propelled Grenades (RPG) for $ 1,800 (in Lebanon today and before the Syrian crisis the price was around $800. After some bargaining and starting to walk away a couple of times, the “special one-time only price for an American friend” dropped to $ 750 each. Russian made Dragunov sniper rifles are being offered at $ 6,500 but can be bought for around $ 5000.Buying arms these days in Syria is a caveat emptor proposition. Fake weapons and military rejects/defects are also being offered by hustlers from nearby countries including Lebanon, Iraq and Turkey.
The involvement of numerous countries in the Syrian crisis as arms suppliers and political operatives was tangentially referenced by the recent UN Security Council Statement of 12/25/12 which admits the existence of foreign actors and implies their arms supplying activities by urging “all regional and international actors to use their influence on the parties concerned to facilitate the implementation of the (Eid al Adha) ceasefire and cessation of violence.”
Syria’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Bashar al-Jaafari observed last week: “This part of the [Security Council] press statement, mentioned for the first time, proves Syria’s view repeated since the beginning of the crisis on the existence of Arab, regional and international parties influencing the armed groups negatively or positively. Therefore, those parties need to be addressed.”
One of the key challenges for the UN and Arab League envoy, Lakhdar Brahimi whose aides told this observer at the Dama Rose hotel on 10/22/12 where we were staying, is: “We need to persuade key countries in the Middle East, but also internationally, not to support the rebels with arms.
The failed initiative of envoy El Brahimi, was the third ceasefire attempt to date following the December 2011Arab League proposal and the April 2012 Kofi Annan initiative, both of which were endorsed by the Syrian government and most of the world community. Some rebel militia, but not nearly enough, did endorse the Brahimi four day Eid al Adha ceasefire only to have it collapse this past weekend. To his credit, Brahimi continues his work.
The same Brahimi sources suggested that the United States may also be supplying man-portable air-defense systems (Manpods) to rebels in Syria. According to Russian Foregin Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich, speaking on 12/15/12: “At the same time, it is also well-known that Washington is aware of supplies of various types of arms to illegal armed groups operating in Syria. Moreover, the United States, judging by admissions by American officials that have also been published in American media, is conducting coordination and providing logistical support for such supplies.” NBC News, based in New York reported in July that Syrian insurgents had obtained two dozen US MANPADS, delivered from Turkey.
A month after the October 2011 death of Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced in Tripoli that the U.S. was committing $40 million to help Libya “secure and recover its weapons stockpiles.” Congressional sources report that the Obama administration is fully aware that quantities of these arms are current in Syria and more in transit.
With respect to arms moving from Libya to Syria, on the night of Sept. 11 Libya time, in what was his last public meeting, US Ambassador Christopher Stevens met with the Turkish Consul General Ali Sait Akin, and accompanied him to the consulate front gate just before the assault began. Although what was discussed has not yet been made public, Washington sources including the pro-Zionist Fox News speculate that Stevens may have been in Benghazi negotiating a weapons transfer, from Libya to Syria.
Earlier this year, Assistant Secretary of State for Political and Military Affairs Andrew Shapiro expressed concerns that the increasing flow of Libya arms was far from under control. Speaking to the Stimson Center in Washington D.C. on 2/10/12 Shapiro said: “This raises the question — how many weapons and missiles are still missing? The frank answer is we don’t know and probably never will.”
According to a 10/14/12 report by the Times of London, a vessel flying the Libyan flag named Al Entisar (Victory), loaded with more than 400 tons of cargo, docked in southern Turkey 35 miles from the Syrian northern border. While some of the undeclared cargo was likely humanitarian, staff accompanying UN envoy Brahimi during his recent Syrian trip report the Al Entisar also carried the largest consignment of foreign weapons to date, including surface-to-air anti-aircraft missiles, RPG’s and MANPADS destined for Syria.
Partly because of the jihadists and arms entering Syria from its northern border, southern Turkey is increasingly referred to here in Damascus as “New Afghanistan”, given its matrix of jihadists, salafists, wahabists, and battle-hardened panoply of arriving foreign would-be mujahedeen and al Qaeda affiliates.
One teenage al Qaeda wannebe explained to the author that his specialty was making and using homemade specialized knives as shown in this photo. He also delivered a mini-lecture he said was based on a Koranic Hadith explaining why severing heads of animals and adversaries is actually the most humane method. He gave earnest assurances that if allowed to perform a one-time demonstration, this observer would feel no pain and he would post the photo on Facebook!
Remarkably, as was witnessed in 2007, during the conflict at the Nahr al Bared Palestinian refugee camp in north Lebanon, some of the arriving eager jihadists in “New Afghanistan” actually believe that they are fighting against Zionist forces near occupied Palestine and not killing fellow Arabs in Syria.
Some, but not all of the many types of small arms flowing into Syria in large numbers, and viewed by this observer include:
7.62mm Tabuk (Yugoslavia) rifles, Mass rifles (UK), 7.62 mm rifles (Poland), 12 mm rifles (Italy), 7.62 mm Kalashnikovs (several countries versions), 9 mm ‘fast gun’, (Austria), 7.62 mm Val (Belgium), G3 7.62 mm G3 rifles (Germany), 7.5mm model 36 rifles (France), M16 and a variety of sniper and other rifles (USA), 7.62 rifles (Bulgaria, 10.5 Uzi and other automatic machine guns, three types of hand grenades (Israel), 9 mm guns (Canada), 7 mm guns (Czech Republic), 7 mm guns (Brazil).
Photo: 10.23.12 Syria
Israeli weapons are among the most frequently found in Syria as was the case in Libya. Israeli arms dealers are claimed to have recently intensified links with Blackwater International and also are currently smuggling through the Golan Heights, the tri-border area of south Lebanon, occupied Palestine and Syria.
The observer also examined and was briefed on M72 LAW and AT-3 anti-tank missiles developed by the United States. But the extent of their use is difficult to verify. Most of the arms shown in accompanying photos are from the main urban centers and near the Turkish, Iraqi, Lebanese and Jordanian borders.
In tightly built up urban areas such as Homs, Idlib and Aleppo, door to door fighting includes a battle among snipers. According to one Syrian military intelligence source in whose Damascus office this observer discussed the subject, the most frequently confiscated sniper rifles currently being found in the hands of “rebels” include:
· the U.S. Army & USMC M1903-A4 (also: USMC M1903-A1/Unertl), the U.S. Army & USMC M1C & M1D and U.S. Army M21;
Photo: Damascus 10/23/12: American weapons from Iraq, Afghanistan, Turkey and NATO stores are entering Syria with the aid of Qatar and Saudi Arabia and black market arms dealers.
· the Israeli M89SR Technical Equipment International 7.62x51mm NATO Semi-automatic, Galil Sniper Rifle and the T.C.I. M89-SR,
· the British .243 Winchester, 7.62x51mm NATO/.308 Winchester,.300 Winchester Magnum, and the 338 Lapua Magnum Bolt action sniper rifles.
Photo: Syria 10/13/12: The most frequently confiscated sniper rifles currently being found in the hands of “rebels” in Syria include the above shown U.S. Army & USMC M1903-A4. Other US sniper rifles include the USMC M1903-A1/Unertl), the U.S. Army & USMC M1C & M1D and U.S. Army M21
A few Afghanistan era Russian Dragonov SVD and SV-98 sniper rifles have also been confiscated among an assortment of others.
Foreign jihadists have some access to Soviet-era DShK heavy machine guns or ZU-23-2 anti-aircraft cannons which are used for anti-aircraft and fire support. Both use fairly scarce high-explosive rounds and armor-piercing rounds, which are capable of penetrating the armor of the Syrian military’s BMP infantry fighting vehicles. The ZU-23-2 “Sergey”, also known as ZU-23, is a Soviet towed 23 mm anti-aircraft cannon. Vehicle mounted Zu-23-2’s are relatively easy to spot by government aircraft and artillery units are used to attack a target and quickly flee to avoid counter strikes.
On 10/25/12 Russia reiterated its claims that the US assists and coordinates arms deliveries to foreign-sponsored insurgents battling the Syrian government forces. Russia’s chief military officer said that Syrian armed groups have acquired US-made weapons, including Stinger anti-aircraft missiles. This observer saw many weapons from more than a dozen types of IED’s (improvised explosive device) to medium sized artillery pieces but no missiles.
Photo: 10/24/12 Damascus, Syria
Improvised Explosive Devices are a key rebel weapon with many arriving from Iraq and camps near Hataya, Turkey. Many DIY (do it yourself) improvisations have been uncovered across Syria in both urban and rural areas. This observer examined and was briefed on several types, including those shown above.
According to the Russian Foreign Ministry issued statement of 10/25/12, “Washington is aware of the deliveries of various weapons to illegal armed groups active in Syria. Moreover, judging by the declarations of US officials published in US media, the US coordinates and provides logistical assistance in such deliveries.”
Some analysts in Damascus claim that Syria’s potential military strength has not been as effective as it could be in the current urban fights against rebels. The government appears very strong militarily if one studies the statistics regarding Syria’s large and disciplined army which continues its support and also given its sophisticated long range missiles, air defense systems that have deterred an airborne attack from Israel. One reason progress has at times appeared slow against the “rebels” according to some local analysts was a certain initial unpreparedness to confront highly motivated guerrilla militia in downtown densely populated areas. These kinds of battles, it is claimed, require a mobile infantry, armored flexibility and very effective use of light arms. The Assad government’s “adapt, catch up and go on the offensive” paradigm is developing rapidly according to US Senate Armed Service Committee sources who assert that the Syria army has actually become battle hardened, tougher, stronger and more disciplined over the past several months. But it has taken time and has incurred a significant cost.
Weapons examined by this observer in Syria during 10/12 include some of the more than 1,750 new American sniper rifles channeled from Iraq and NATO supply stores to rebel militia.
How foreign weapons are entering Syria
As widely speculated particularly in the regional media, foreign supplied weapons to “rebels” arrive by air, sea and mainly by land from Iraq, Turkey, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Jordan and occupied Palestine.
Israel is reported, by some researchers in Damascus who have been covering the crisis for nearly 20 months, to be sending arms to Syria from Kurdistan, having had much experience in Africa, South America and Eastern Europe via Mossad and Israeli black market arms dealing. What Israel did in Libya in terms of a wide spread arms business it is also trying to do in Syria. Israeli arms, according to Syrian and Lebanese sources are being transported into Syria from along the tri-border area of South Lebanon, near Shebaa Farms, close to Jabla al-Saddaneh, and Gadja. In addition, Israeli smugglers have increasingly, over the past five months, been seen by locals moving arms inside Syria via the Golan Heights. These violations of Syrian and Lebanese sovereignty raise serious questions about the vigilance of the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force Zone (UNDO) based in the Golan Heights as well as the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) and the Lebanese Army as well as National Lebanese Resistance units near the ‘blue line’ to stop the illicit Israeli arms transfers.
The recent arrival in southern Turkey and along the northern Syrian border of Blackwater mercenaries is expected to increase the foreign arms flow. Currently using the name Academi (previously known as Xena- Xe Services LLC, Blackwater USA and Blackwater Worldwide) Academi is currently, according to Jane’s Defense Weekly, the largest of the US governments “private security” contractors. Details of its relationship with the US Defense Department and the CIA are classified.
Is there a coherent US policy toward the Syrian crisis?
Secretary of State Clinton has been announcing recently that the U.S. is increasing its “non-lethal support” (i.e. direct shipments as opposed to boots on the ground or ballistic weapons) according to her Congressional liaison office. She also confirmed that Washington is working with its friends and allies to promote more cohesion among the disparate Syrian opposition groups with the aim of producing a new leadership council following meetings scheduled for Doha in the coming weeks.
Photo: Syria: 10/24/12
Examples of US, UK and NATO “non-lethal aid” equipment taken from militia in south and north Syria between 5/2011 and 10/2012.
However, to the consternation of the State Department, General David Petraeus the former US commander of NATO forces in Iraq, now director of the CIA acknowledged, during his senate confirmation hearings. “Non-lethal aid to combatants, including communication equipment, is sometimes more lethal and important than explosive devices due to the logistical advantages they provides on the battlefield.”
In tandem with the US, the UK and several European governments are supplying “non-lethal” aid to the Syrian opposition, including satellite communications equipment according to Syria security sources.
There is also plenty of anecdotal and demonstrative and probative evidence in Syria of human weapons patterned on the “Zarqawi model” which refers to the bloody al Qaeda in Mesopotamia campaign named for its leader Abu Musab al Zarqawi after U.S. troops occupied Iraq.
In a speech this week in Zagreb, Croatia, this week, Secretary of State Clinton insisted that any group seeking to oust President Bashar al-Assad must reject attempts by extremists to “hijack” a legitimate revolution. She added, “There are disturbing reports of heavily armed foreign extremists going into Syria and attempting to take over.” Clinton used her strongest words to date concerning risks that the uprising in Syria could be overtaken by militants who do not seek a democratic replacement or the reforms that the current government claims it is trying to implement. She told her conferees: “We made it clear that the SNC can no longer be viewed as the visible leader of the opposition. They can be part of a larger opposition, but that opposition must include people from inside Syria and others who have a legitimate voice. We also need an opposition that will be on record strongly resisting the efforts by extremists to hijack the Syrian revolution. There are disturbing reports of heavily armed extremists going into Syria and attempting to take over.” Clinton advised her colleagues that the US has become convinced that the SNC does not represent the interests of all ethnic and religious groups in Syria and that it has little legitimacy among on-the-ground activists and fighters, and has done little to stem the infiltration of Islamist extremists into the opposition forces.
Clinton’s language is being interpreted by some as evidence that a post-election Obama Whitehouse, she he win on November, may move toward the Russian, Chinese, and Iranian position and away from, what one Congressional source derisively labeled, “ the view from the Gulf gas stations” i.e. Saudi Arabia, Qatar and some other despotic monarchies.
The intervention in Syria by more than three dozen countries supplying weapons must be stopped. Both sides of the Syrian crisis need to manifest by actions, not just words, a serious commitment to meaningful dialogue. The above noted arms supplying countries, and others off stage, have a solemn obligation to their citizens and to the world community to immediately halt the shipment of arms.
They should, and their people should demand that they do without further delay, honor the words of Isaiah 2:3-5….”and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore.”
Granted, perhaps a cliché and certainly far easier said than done.
Yet, as Oregon’s late great US Senator Wayne Morse used tell audiences around America during the Vietnam War, quoting General George Marshall, “The only way we human beings can win a war is to prevent it.”
It’s time for the international community to end the Syrian crisis diplomatically, stop funneling arms and cash fueling hoped for regime change elements. Instead, they must demand that all the involved parties immediately engage in serious dialogue and settle their differences.
During the second half of the 20th century the United States was an opportunity society. The ladders of upward mobility were plentiful, and the middle class expanded. Incomes rose, and ordinary people were able to achieve old-age security.
In the 21st century the opportunity society has disappeared. Middle class jobs are scarce. Indeed, jobs of any kind are scarce. To stay even with population growth from 2002 through 2011, the economy needed about 14 million new jobs. However, at the end of 2011 there were only 1 million more jobs than in 2002. http://www.bls.gov/webapps/legacy/cesbtab1.htm
Only 426,000 of these jobs are in the private sector. The bulk of the net new jobs consist of waitresses and bartenders and health care and social assistance. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, over the 9 years, employment for waitresses and bartenders increased by 1,188,000. Employment in health care and social assistance increased 3,087,000. These two categories accounted for 1,000% of the net private sector job growth.
As for manufacturing jobs, they not only did not grow with the population but declined absolutely. During these nine years, 3.5 million middle class manufacturing jobs were lost.
Over the entire nine years, only 48,000 new jobs were created for architects and engineers.
In the 21st century the US economy has been able to create only a few new jobs and these are in lowly paid domestic services that cannot be offshored, such as waitresses and bartenders.
The lack of jobs, especially high value-added, high productivity jobs, is the reason real median household income has declined and the distribution of income has worsened. Without rising real household income, there cannot be a consumer economy.
In the early years of the 21st century, the Federal Reserve substituted a rise in consumer debt to drive the economy in place of the missing rise in consumer incomes. Low interest rates drove up housing prices, and people refinanced their mortgages and spent the equity. The Federal Reserve kept the economy alive by loading up consumers with debt that housing prices and consumer incomes would soon be unable to support.
When debt and real estate prices reached unsustainable levels, the bubble popped, and the ongoing financial crisis was upon us.
The cause of all of the problems is the offshoring of Americans’ jobs. When jobs are moved offshore, consumers’ careers and incomes, and the GDP and payroll and income tax base associated with those jobs, go with them. When the goods and services produced for American markets by offshored labor are brought into the US to be sold, the trade deficit rises, and downward pressure is put on the dollar, pushing up domestic inflation. (On October 12, statistician John Williams (shadowstats.com) reported that “third-quarter wholesale inflation jumped to an annualized 6.2%.”)
Jobs offshoring is driven by Wall Street, “shareholder advocates,” the threat of takeovers, and by large retailers, such as Walmart. By cutting labor costs, profits go up.It is that simple. However, as a result of sending American jobs to cheap labor countries, US consumer incomes go down. The end result is to destroy the domestic consumer market. What would have been US consumer income growth becomes instead profit growth for US corporations.
Keynesian economists use in their textbooks the example of how the aggregate effect of individual saving could be the opposite of the effect intended by the individuals. Whereas each saver seeks to improve his position by building wealth, in the aggregate saving could exceed investment, resulting in a decline in aggregate demand and a fall in income for all. Offshoring has the same logic. Each corporation can expect to gain more profits from moving US jobs offshore, but the aggregate effect is a fall in American consumer incomes and a reduction in the American consumer market.
I have told this story many times. But policymakers, the media, and economists seem unable to connect the dots.
Jobs offshoring has substantial implications for Social Security and Medicare. The US has the least adequate social safety net of any developed country. The two major components of the US social safety net are Social Security and Medicare for the elderly. Social Security and Medicare are financed by a payroll tax. The combined tax is 15.3% of payrolls. For the past quarter of a century the Social Security portion of the payroll tax has built up a surplus of over $2 trillion. Recently, the Medicare portion began running in the red.
Right-wing Republicans, free market ideologues, and the left-wing have all indoctrinated themselves with incorrect beliefs about Social Security and Medicare. The right-wing claims that a safety net financed with 15.3% of payrolls is a “Ponzi scheme” and an “unfunded liability.” If that is the case, then so are veterans benefits, military pensions, and federal pensions, all of which are financed by the income tax, the basis for the payroll tax.
The left-wing claims that the rich do not pay high enough payroll taxes, because the income subject to Social Security payroll tax is capped at about $110,000. But the benefits are also capped. Social Security is not supposed to be an income redistribution scheme from rich to poor, and it is not supposed to be a pension system for the rich. The pension paid is supposed to correlate with the pre-retirement income level of the retiree. Those who had higher wages or salaries and consequently paid more in payroll taxes receive a larger Social Security check than those who had lower wages and salaries and paid less payroll taxes, although there is favoritism toward the lower income earners who receive proportionally more in respect to their payroll taxes than higher income earners.
There is no cap on income subject to the Medicare portion of the payroll tax. Moreover, Medicare charges a Medicare Part B premium that is deducted from the Social Security monthly check. In addition, there is a further Part B premium based on retirement age income. For example, someone working beyond retirement age and making $250,000 per year pays about $3,800 in Medicare Part B premium in addition to the Medicare portion of the payroll tax of about $7,500. The annual premium he pays for his “free” Medicare for which he has paid all his working life with a payroll tax is about $11,300.
Moreover, Medicare by itself is insufficient coverage. To actually have medical coverage, those covered by Medicare have to purchase a supplementary private policy to cover the large gaps in Medicare. Depending on the range of coverage, a supplementary policy costs approximately $100 to $300 per month.
As the person making $250,000 per year is likely to go for the most coverage, he will be paying about $14,900 (excluding deductions and co-payments) per year for his “free” Medicare. This is despite having paid the Medicare payroll tax each year of his working life. A person who made $250,000 in taxable income per year for 30 years would have paid $217,500 into Medicare at the current Medicare payroll tax rate.
The right-wing’s notion that Social Security and Medicare are handouts, part of the welfare state’s bread and circuses, and the left-wing’s idea that the rich get a free ride are equally untrue.
(Note: $250,000 is the politicians’ dividing line between the rich and the rest of us. For a person making $50,000 a year, an income five times larger can seem rich. However, a $250,000 annual income leaves a family or person far distant from the lifestyle of the rich. Upper middle class incomes are generally associated with high-tax, high-cost urban areas in states with high income taxes. After federal income and payroll taxes, state income and sales taxes, and property taxes, what appears to many as a large income disappears. In New York City, the federal income tax will take about 25% of the $250,000, New York state will take about 9%, and New York City will take about 3.65%. The combined city and state sales tax is 8.875%. The property tax is high. The conclusion is that in New York City a $250,000 income is reduced to $125,000 or thereabouts. Those who claim “the rich don’t pay taxes” are not talking about $250,000 incomes.)
Social Security and Medicare have served the country well. They protect the individual from his own mistakes, from crooked and incompetent money managers, and from financial crises, and they protect society from the moral dilemma of confronting large numbers of fellow citizens who through fault or no fault of their own cannot provide for their livelihood and medical care. After the financial scandals and crisis of the past five years, it is a stretch to believe that any but the astute can manage their personal wealth, whether small or large, in today’s situation of unregulated financial markets, zero interest rates, currency uncertainty, and highly complex investment instruments with computers programmed with mathematical models dominating equity trades.
The argument that conceptually a person could do better by investing his payroll taxes in the stock market is a poor basis for old age security policy. The person can do better as long as he or she doesn’t fall into the hands of a Bernie Madoff or a Goldman Sachs, doesn’t receive zero interest on his bonds because the Federal Reserve has to bail out the “too big to fail banks,” doesn’t experience a decline in currency value due to monetization of enormous federal deficits, and doesn’t experience a bear market as he approaches retirement.
The right-wing ideologues who try to scare old age security out of existence go on and on about rising medical costs, about an aging population living longer, declining birthrates and a worsening ratio of workers to retirees, about people learning to rely on handouts rather than their own means, and about Washington’s rising unfunded liabilities.
Scare projections are designed to scare, and most are untenable. For example, longevity was a product of rising incomes, good diet, and antibiotics. Today only the upper crust have rising incomes. Antibiotics are wearing out from abuse and rising immunity of bacteria. Diet is compromised in ways still poorly understood as a result of GMOs, pesticides, herbicides, pumping chicken, pork, and beef full of antibiotics and hormones and feeding the animals GMO grains and also possibly infected animal byproducts, and pumping our water full of fluoride. A variety of destructive activities and behaviors are causing ecological damage. Longevity might have been a short-term benefit of irreproducible conditions considering the mounting ecological damage and the rise of superbugs, stress, and tainted food and water production.
The projection of an aging population might also be wrong. Clearly, the post-World War II baby boomers are aging, but do the projections take into account the legislated 1965 immigration increases plus the illegal influx from Mexico and points south of young people with high birth rates? How can it be that a country with allegedly 30 million illegal immigrants, whose children born in the US are citizens, has a declining birth rate? How do we know that the illegal population will not continue to increase?
There are so many Spanish speaking people in the US today that if a person calls any of his utility companies, whether telephone, Internet, water, electricity, TV, or any of his credit card companies, or his bank, he has to select English or Spanish. Obviously, as
anti-immigration sites make clear, the US population is changing in its national origin, and there appears to be no sign of an aging Hispanic population. How many old Spanish speaking people do you see in the US compared to the young?
When confronted with this apparent fact, the response is: “why will the Hispanics pay for the aging white population?” The answer is: because they are in the same payroll tax system and the taxes will be withheld from their wages and salaries just as they are from everyone else’s.
It is possible that if Hispanics in the US have suffered years of hostility, accusations, and hatred from “the ice people,” once Hispanics are sufficiently numerous to control the legislature, assuming one still exists, or to take over the executive branch, the only seat of power, they may in retribution cut off the aging whites. But if so, the whites will have brought it on themselves.
Whatever the scare projections that are mustered to undermine the public provision of old age security, the real financial danger is never mentioned. The only significant financial danger to Social Security and Medicare is the offshoring of American jobs and GDP. A country without a job base is without a payroll tax base. If the only jobs that the 21st century “world’s only superpower” economy can create are for waitresses, bartenders, and health care and social assistance (hospital orderlies and practical nurses), payroll tax revenues will be less than if the US still had 20 million workers and rising in well-paid manufacturing jobs instead of 11 million.
Regardless of Medicare’s financing, the death knell for the elderly was the legality of abortion. If the yet to be born are an insufferable burden, imagine the cost of the elderly. As far as the state is concerned, once you stop producing income and payroll tax revenues for the state, it is time for you to die. Washington would rather enact euthanasia than to pay back the $2+ trillion in the Social Security trust fund that Washington spent, leaving only non-marketable IOUs in the account.
Readers might think that Americans would never stand for death by injection for the elderly once the qualified age is reached. But why would they not? They have accepted millions of aborted babies, and Americans, including the elderly, have stood for Washington’s murder, maiming and displacement of millions of Muslim men, women, and children in 7 countries over the past 11 years and are yet to show any signs of remorse for their complicity in mass murder. Next month tens of millions of Americans will vote for Mitt Romney who believes Obama isn’t killing Muslims fast enough.
The new “Obamneycare” health legislation does have “death panels.” They are not called that, and they do not make formal decisions to terminate lives. But it comes to almost the same thing. Various panels, committees, or bureaucratic departments are empowered to make decisions about “effective care.” It has long been known that most health care costs are associated with the last year of life. Cost and age will be elements in determining standards of care. The greater the weight assigned to cost, the more care will be withheld. In effect, the “effective care” panel is a “death panel.”
Prior to the advent of the new “health care” system, Medicare and or hospitals are already shifting costs to Medicare patients. To avoid penalties and fraud allegations for “medically unnecessary hospitalizations,” rather than formally admit Medicare patients as inpatients, hospital administrators classify them as outpatients “under observation.”
According to a Brown University analysis of Medicare records in 2007, 2008, and 2009, the ratio of Medicare observation patients to those admitted as inpatients rose by 34 percent.
Being classified an outpatient under observation eliminates medicare coverages, especially for post-operative or post-accident rehabilitation care, leaving Medicare patients with bills in the tens of thousands of dollars (AARP Bulletin, October 2012).
Other costs are being shifted to doctors and to hospitals. Medicare pays fixed prices for each covered procedure or test, and these prices can be as low as half of the billed prices. During a period when costs incurred by providers of health care have been rising, Medicare has been cutting the amounts it pays providers.
As the payroll tax is commingled with general tax revenues, Social Security and Medicare payroll tax collections can be diverted to other purposes and, thus, are always subject to competing budgetary demands, such as the previous 11 years of gratuitous wars and the bailouts of “banks too big to fail,” or to deficit reduction demands as the government consistently overspends all revenue sources.
A national health service is the only way to control health costs and provide the population with health care coverage. A national health system takes the many levels of profits out of the system and also reams of compliance and liability costs. A national health system can coexist with a private system for those who can afford it or whose employers are sufficiently profitable to provide it.
As Jarad Diamond reveals in his book, Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed, societies fail, if not because of their moral bankruptcy, then because their rulers are only capable of short-term thinking. The future is beyond their interest. The US offshored its economy, because it worked short-term for corporate executives (rewarded with multi-million dollar performance bonuses), Wall Street (rewarded with profits), shareholders (rewarded with capital gains), and politicians (rewarded with corporate and Wall Street campaign contributions).
Incompetent free market economists confused jobs offshoring with free trade. They said the country would and was benefiting by giving its manufacturing, industrial, and tradable professional service jobs to China and India, that the US was ridding itself of “dirty fingernail jobs” and would soon be flush with highly paid high-tech jobs and highly paid financial service jobs.
None of these promises or predictions were true. Nowhere in the government’s jobs statistics are there any of these promised replacement jobs. The economists who provided cover for the destruction of the US economy were rewarded by the corporations with speaking fees, grants for their university departments, and newspaper columns paid for by corporate advertisers. Those few who told the truth were expelled from the corporate media that Bill and Hilary Clinton allowed to be monopolized (for campaign contributions, of course).
The future of old age security in the United States has been lost, because the job base has been given away to foreigners in order to maximize incomes in the short-run for the few decision-makers.
The misrepresentation of jobs offshoring as free trade has destroyed the prospects of cities, counties, and states along with those of unions and millions of Americans who once had a secure future. It has destroyed the prospects of class after class of university graduates burdened with student loans who expected to step into the jobs that have been offshored or filled by H-1B visa holders from abroad.
The American work force has been forsaken by the corporations and by Washington, and this means that Social Security and Medicare have also been forsaken.
As I predicted in the early years of this new century, “the United States will be a third world country in 20 years.” We might get there even sooner as Washington exhausts what little is left of American wealth in gratuitous wars in service to Israel and the US Military/Security Complex, in unaffordable military buildups in futile hopes of establishing hegemony over China and Russia, and in negative interest rates from the Federal Reserve’s effort to drive up the book value of debt instruments on the balance sheets of financial institutions.
In 1817 Percy Bysshe Shelly forecast America’s future:
“I met a traveler from an antique land
Who said: “Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert. Near them, on the sand,
Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown,
And wrinkled lip and sneer of cold command,
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read,
Which yet survive, stampt on these lifeless things,
The hand that mockt them and the heart that fed:
On the pedestal these words appear:
‘My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!’
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare
The lone and level sands stretch far away.”
Writing in the October 15 online CounterPunch, John V. Walsh, relying on charts prepared by economics professor Mark J. Perry at the University of Michigan and blogger John Hunter, concludes that it is a myth that US manufacturing is in decline.
Walsh says that the loss of US manufacturing jobs is due to automation, not to offshoring. Think about this for a moment. Perry’s graph on which Walsh relies shows the sharp drop in US manufacturing employment to be a 21st century experience. However, automation has been around for a long time. The notion that its effect on employment only showed up recently needs an explanation that is not provided. The steep drop in US manufacturing employment that began in 2000 does correspond with the date at which jobs offshoring began to bite hard.
Why does automation not also affect Chinese manufacturing, especially as most of the Chinese manufacturing technology came from the US as US corporations offshored their production for the US market? If Chinese manufacturing is not up to date with automation, like the US is assumed to be, how do the Chinese, even with cheap labor, undersell US automated factories? How did Chinese manufacturing employment increase in a mere four years by an amount equal to the total manufacturing employment in the US?
The US Bureau of Economic Analysis shows only 11.2 million full time US manufacturing jobs in 2010. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics shows 11.7 million US manufacturing jobs in 2011, down from 15.3 million in 2002.
In contrast, China, an industrial and manufacturing backwater for most of my life, had 112 million manufacturing jobs in 2006. In a mere four years (2002-2006), the increase in China’s manufacturing employment was as large as today’s total employment in US manufacturing. As long ago as 2006, China’s manufacturing employment was about 10 times the current US manufacturing employment. The Chinese population is about 4 times larger than the US population, but China’s manufacturing population is proportionately greater–10 times larger. Indeed, Chinese manufacturing employees almost equal the total number of employees in all occupations in the US (Manufacturing and Technology News, December 15, 2009).
Obviously, something is wrong with Walsh’s article or the graphs on which he relied.
America’s manufacturing prowess cannot be found in the statistical data. The US is primarily an exporter of Agricultural commodities. The US imports almost twice the amount of manufactured goods as it exports. Indeed, according to the US Census Bureau Statistical Abstract of the US http://www.census.gov/compendia/statab/2012/tables/12s1308.pdf US imports of manufactured goods are 5.5 times larger than US imports of crude oil and 4 times larger than all imports of mineral fuel. Yet, we hear about energy dependency, not manufacturing dependency.
As of 2010 the “superpower” US economy still had a trade surplus in airplanes and airplane parts and a small $6 billion surplus in scientific instruments, but that is about all.
In ADP equipment and office machinery, the US exported $22.2 billion in 2010 (latest information at time of writing), down from $44.6 billion in 2000. US imports in 2010 of ADP equipment and office machinery were $113.5 billion, or 5.1 times exports.
The US cannot even make its own clothes and shoes. In 2010 footwear imports are 28.7 times exports. Clothing imports are 24.6 times exports.
Electrical machinery exports were $77 billion; imports were $120 billion.
Exports of power generating machinery were $33 billion; imports were $42 billion.
Exports of television, VCRs were $21.5 billion; imports were $137 billion.
US exports of vehicles was $88 billion; imports were $179 billion.
US news reports of thousands upon thousands of discharged US workers never cite their replacement by automation. The news story is always that the plant is being closed and the jobs moved abroad. Any review of America’s former manufacturing centers verifies this. Boarded up plants and cities and towns in decline are the remains of America’s formerly world dominant manufacturing economy.
The loss of the US post-war trade surplus in manufacturing has left the US with a huge trade deficit. The charts on which Walsh relied left him unaware of the fact that China has a large trade surplus with the US, and the US has a large trade deficit not only with China but with the world.
The fact that the US has to import not only manufactured goods, but also high-technology products from China, an inconceivable outcome during the second half of the 20th century, is powerful testimony to the decline of the US as a manufacturing powerhouse.
It took some doing to obscure the facts and to present the US as a rival to China in manufacturing prowess. How did it happen?
The fault might lie in the way statistical information is collected and presented. Apple, for example, is a US corporation. It reports its worldwide earnings to the IRS. Its manufacturing is counted as US manufacturing as it is a US corporation. However, Apple doesn’t produce a single computer in the US. They are produced in China. The employment that Apple reports is in China. The Chinese are employed by an American company, but they are not Americans. The Chinese incomes that Apple provides do not support the American consumer market or provide the tax base for cities and states. The Chinese incomes do not provide ladders of upward mobility or careers for Americans.
The wages Apple pays are in China. The consumer incomes and GDP that it generates are in China. When Apple’s computers come back to America to be sold they come in as imports. But Apple’s manufacturing and employment are reported as the output and employment of an American company.
When statistics and the methods by which they are compiled were put into effect, countries did not offshore their production for their domestic markets. Foreign investments were made for selling abroad, not for selling in the home market. With the advent of offshoring, counting the employment and output of US firms that are producing abroad for their domestic market as an indication of the strength of US manufacturing is very misleading. Apple, for example, has done more to boost China’s GDP than to boost America’s GDP. This is true of every US corporation that offshores its production for US consumers.
In recent years the percentage of the work forces of large US corporations that is foreign sourced has risen rapidly. Some of the overseas hiring reflects traditional foreign investment in which a company builds abroad in order to sell abroad, but much of the hiring reflects offshored production for US markets.
The US has been able to survive the large trade deficits produced by jobs offshoring, because the US dollar is the world reserve currency. Being the world reserve currency, the US does not have to earn foreign currencies with exports in order to pay for its imports. However, as these trade deficits persist and the buildup of foreign holdings of dollar paper assets rises, there is a diminishing willingness of foreigners to trade real goods and services for financial assets denominated in a fiat currency whose value is diminishing with the ever-growing supply.
Thus, the basic notion of globalism–that a country’s corporations can produce goods and services in any country for home markets–is false.
Walsh is correct that China is not to blame for the decline in US manufacturing. Offshoring is to blame, and, thus, the blame lies with US corporations, policymakers, and the economists and financial media who shill for “globalism.” The decision was made to sacrifice the US economy to the short-term profits of the few. A country so poorly led can do nothing but decline.
Source: Paul Craig Roberts
Can we believe any of the economic numbers that the government is feeding us these days? Most of the focus recently has been on thebizarre jobs report that the government released last Friday, but the truth is that the inflation rate is a lie too. In fact, the way that the government calculates inflation has changed more than 20 times since 1978. The government is constantly looking for ways that it can make inflation appear to be even lower. According to John Williams of shadowstats.com, if inflation was measured the same way that it was back in 1990, the inflation rate would be about 5 percent right now. If inflation was measured the same way that it was back in 1980, the inflation rate would be about 9 percent right now. But instead, we are expected to believe that the inflation rate is hovering around 2 percent. Well, anyone that goes to the supermarket or fills up their vehicle with gasoline knows that prices are going up a lot faster than that. Just about everything that we buy on a regular basis is steadily becoming more expensive, and so most Americans are not buying it when government officials tell us that there is barely any inflation right now.
John Williams is not the only one doing research into these inflation numbers. According to the American Institute for Economic Research, the real rate of inflation was about 8 percent last year. The following is an excerpt from a story that was recently posted on the website of Pittsburgh’s NPR news station….
The federal government says that consumer prices rose moderately last year, but if you think the cost of everyday purchases increased more than that, then you’re probably right according to the American Institute for Economic Research (AIER).
The Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Consumer Price Index (CPI) was up 3.1% in 2011. However, AIER’s Everyday Price Index (EPI) indicates most Americans saw their day-to-day costs increase by 8%. That’s because the EPI excludes housing, automobiles, furniture, appliances and other items purchased occasionally.
So what are we supposed to believe?
Anyone that buys food on a regular basis knows that food prices have been going up significantly over the past couple of years, and because of the current drought things are about to get a whole lot worse.
In particular, the drought is expected to send meat prices much higher over the next 12 months. The following is from arecent Reuters article….
The worst drought to hit U.S. cropland in more than half a century could soon leave Americans reaching deeper into their pockets to fund a luxury that people in few other countries enjoy: affordable meat.
Drought-decimated fields have pushed grain prices sky high, and the rising feed costs have prompted some livestock producers to liquidate their herds. This is expected to shrink the long-term U.S. supply of meat and force up prices at the meat counter.
Some analysts are projecting that we could see food prices rise by 14 percent or more over the next year.
So you might want to start clipping more coupons, because a trip to the supermarket is about to become even more painful on the wallet.
Water bills have also been steadily rising all over the country. According to a study conducted by USA Today, some Americans have seen their water bills triple over the past 12 years….
While most Americans worry about gas and heating oil prices, water rates have surged in the past dozen years, according to a USA TODAY study of 100 municipalities. Prices at least doubled in more than a quarter of the locations and even tripled in a few.
So what is causing water prices to skyrocket?
The following are the reasons given by USA Today….
The trend toward higher bills is being driven by:
– The cost of paying off the debt on bonds municipalities issue to fund expensive repairs or upgrades on aging water systems.
– Increases in the cost of electricity, chemicals and fuel used to supply and treat water.
– Compliance with federal government clean-water mandates.
– Rising pension and health care costs for water agency workers.
– Increased security safeguards for water systems since the 9/11 terror attacks.
Unfortunately, one of the experts USA Today interviewed said that we can expect water bills to rise between 5 percent and 15 percent a year moving forward.
Of course the price of gasoline has also become absolutely outrageous. It has doubled since Barack Obama entered the White House, and the average American household spent more than $4000 on gas last year.
In California, temporary refinery problems have sent gasoline prices absolutely skyrocketing over the past week. The average price of a gallon of gasoline hit another brand new record high on Sunday. According to AAA, the average price of a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline in California is now $4.655, and at some stations it is well over $5.00 a gallon.
Sadly, some analysts are warning that the supply problems in California may last until November.
Hopefully this is a reminder to all of us of just how vulnerable our economic infrastructure can be. If temporary refinery problems can cause this kind of chaos, what would a major crisis do?
But despite all of the evidence to the contrary, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke continues to insist that prices are very stable right now.
In fact, one of the reasons why he says that more money printing (“quantitative easing”) is okay is because we are in a “low inflation” environment at the moment.
Sadly, this is exactly the kind of delusional thinking that led to the horrible crisis in the Weimar Republic back in the 1920s. Quantitative easing did not work for the Weimar Republic, and it is not going to work for us either.
But it will cause the prices of the things that we buy on a regular basis to go up even more.
So what can we do about all of this?
Well, perhaps we can avoid paying higher prices for things by having the government give them to us for free.
That is what some Americans are doing.
There are some Americans out there that have absolutely no shame at all and will squeeze as much free stuff out of the government that they can. For example, one woman in Baltimore has actually accumulated 30 free “Obamaphones”. Thevideo below explains how she has been able to get 30 free cell phones all paid for by the U.S. government.
Source: The American Dream
Genetically modified foods have been shown to cause harm to humans, animals, and the environment, and despite growing opposition, more and more foods continue to be genetically altered. It’s important to note that steering clear from these foods completely may be difficult, and you should merely try finding other sources than your big chain grocer. If produce is certified USDA-organic, its non-GMO (or supposed to be!) Also, seek out local farmers and booths at farmer’s markets where you can be assured the crops aren’t GMO. Even better, if you are so inclined: Start organic gardening and grow them yourself. Until then, here are the top 10 worst GMO foods for your “do not eat” GMO foods list.
Top 10 Worst GMO Foods for Your GMO Foods List
1. Corn: This is a no-brainer. If you’ve watched any food documentary, you know corn is highly modified. “As many as half of all U.S. farms growing corn for Monsanto are using genetically modified corn,” and much of it is intended for human consumption. Monsanto’s GMO corn has been tied to numerous health issues, including weight gain and organ disruption.
2. Soy: Found in tofu, vegetarian products, soybean oil, soy flour, and numerous other products, soy is also modified to resist herbicides. As of now, biotech giant Monsanto still has a tight grasp on the soybean market, with approximately 90 percent of soy being genetically engineered to resist Monsanto’s herbicide Roundup. In one single year, 2006, 96.7 million pounds of glyphosate was sprayed on soybeans alone
3. Sugar: According to NaturalNews, genetically-modified sugar beets were introduced to the U.S. market in 2009. Like others, they’ve been modified by Monsanto to resist herbicides. Monsanto has even had USDA and court-related issues with the planting of its sugar beets, being ordered to remove seeds from the soil due to illegal approval.
4. Aspartame: Aspartame is a toxic additive used in numerous food products, and should be avoided for numerous reasons, including the fact that it is created with genetically modified bacteria.
5. Papayas: This one may come as a surprise to all of you tropical-fruit lovers. GMO papayas have been grown in Hawaii for consumption since 1999. Though they can’t be sold to countries in the European Union, they are welcome with open arms in the U.S. and Canada.
6. Canola: One of the most chemically altered foods in the U.S. diet, canola oil is obtained from rapeseed through a series of chemical actions.
7. Cotton: Found in cotton oil, cotton originating in India and China in particular has serious risks.
8. Dairy: Your dairy products contain growth hormones, with as many as one-fifth of all dairy cows in America are pumped with these hormones. In fact, Monsanto’s health-hazardous rBGH has been banned in 27 countries, but is still in most US cows. If you must drink milk, buy organic.
9. and 10. Zucchini and Yellow Squash: Closely related, these two squash varieties are modified to resist viruses.
The dangers of some of these foods are well-known. The Bt toxin being used in GMO corn, for example, was recently detected in the blood of pregnant women and their babies. But perhaps more frightening are the risks that are still unknown.
With little regulation and safety tests performed by the companies doing the genetic modifications themselves, we have no way of knowing for certain what risks these lab-created foods pose to us outside of what we already know.
The best advice: steer clear of them altogether.
Source: Nation of Change
It’s once again time for my annual survival list column. One does not have to be a prophet to know that we are on the precipice of some potentially catastrophic–or at the very least, challenging–days. In fact, most of us are already in challenging days, and some are already enduring catastrophic events. That is, if one would call being out of work, losing one’s home, facing life-threatening medical conditions without any prospect of medical insurance, several families being forced to live in one house due to homes being foreclosed, etc., catastrophic.
The potential for an escalation of cataclysmic events, however, is very real. Only a “blooming idiot” would call someone who attempts to prepare for “the day of adversity” a Chicken Little now. Anyone who does not see the storm clouds on the horizon isn’t paying attention.
For example, can one imagine what would happen if Russia or China launched a nuclear attack against the United States? (Once again, I encourage readers to watch the CBS TV series “Jericho” to get an idea of how quickly life, and even civilization, could change.) Imagine if there was another 9/11-type event. What would happen if some form of Zimbabwe-style inflation hit the US? What would happen if anything disrupted the distribution of Welfare checks, or food to local grocers? Imagine a Hurricane Katrina-style natural disaster in your town. I think people everywhere are beginning to awaken to just how vulnerable we all really are.
As a result, people from virtually every walk of life have asked my thoughts on how they should prepare. Therefore, I will, again, attempt to share with my readers some of the counsel I have given these folks.
First, a disclaimer. I am not an economist; I am not a survival expert; I am not a firearms expert; I am not an attorney; I am not a physician. In fact, I am not an expert in anything! For several years, however, I have tried to learn from others. I am an avid reader. My work has allowed me to travel extensively. In fact, I have logged over 150,000 miles crisscrossing this great country over the last few years. I have had the privilege of sitting at the feet of–and learning from–many of America’s most learned, most trained, and most qualified “experts” in a variety of fields. What I write today, I have learned from others. I’ve formed my own opinions and priorities, of course, but everything I’m sharing has been said, or written about, before. But if I can share something in today’s column that will help someone be better prepared for the days to come, then my goal will have been achieved.
Analyze your living conditions. Where do you live? Do you live in an urban or rural environment? Is it a big city or small town? Do you live in an apartment or condominium? How close are your neighbors? Do you even know your neighbors? Would you trust them if the electricity was off and they were hungry? Could you grow your own food if you had to? How easily could you secure your home? If you live in a cold weather environment, how long could you stay warm without electricity? These are the kinds of questions you need to ask yourself now.
Over the past several decades, masses of people have migrated into large metropolitan areas. More people currently live in urban areas than at any time in American history. While this may be well and good for times of prosperity, it is an absolute nightmare during any kind of disaster. Does anyone remember what New Orleans looked like after Hurricane Katrina came through? Can anyone recall what happened in downtown Los Angeles during the 1992 riots? Needless to say, any inner-city environment could become a powder keg almost instantaneously, given the right (or wrong) circumstances. And the bigger the city, the bigger the potential problems.
If you live in the inner city, I suggest you consider moving to a more rural location. Obviously, now is a very good time to buy property (especially rural property), but the downside is, selling property is not as favorable. If you can afford it, now is a great time to buy a “safe house” outside the city. If you are fortunate enough to have family or some true friends nearby, you may want to put your heads–and some resources–together in preparation for serious upheaval. Obviously, a team of prepared people is much better than being alone.
If you must stay in your urban location, have some common sense plans in hand in the event of a major disaster. Get to know your neighbors: find out whom you can trust and whom you can’t. Keep some extra gasoline on hand, in case you need to get in your car quickly and leave. Have several exit routes planned ahead of time, in case roads are blocked. Have a “bug-out” bag containing essential ingredients to live on for three to four days. If leaving is not an option, have a plan to secure your home as best you can. You’ll need to think about things such as food, water, medicine, warmth, self-defense, etc. But at this point, to do nothing is absolute lunacy!
Most readers probably know that my entire family and I made the decision two years ago to move 2,600 miles from our home of 35 years in the Florida panhandle to the Flathead Valley of Montana, which is located about 75 miles south of the Canadian border in the Rocky Mountains. I can tell readers without equivocation or hesitation that we are so glad we made this move. We absolutely love it here–all the difficulties and trials associated with such a life-changing move notwithstanding. In fact, I’ve never lived in a place I love so much!
If readers want to learn more about what prompted our move to Montana, please peruse the information on this web page:
During a major disaster, food will quickly disappear. Living for over three decades on the Gulf Coast, I can tell you with absolute certainty that whenever disaster strikes (usually an approaching hurricane, for those folks), food and provisions at the store sell completely out in a matter of a few hours. People panic, and within hours, you cannot find food, bottled water, ice, generators, batteries, candles, etc. In a matter of hours, every gas station in the area will be completely out of gas. Not days. Hours!
Furthermore, almost all disasters include a complete loss of electricity. The water supply is compromised. Bottled water becomes more valuable than bank accounts. Dehydration becomes a very real and present danger. I remember witnessing a man offer an ice vendor $100 for an extra bag of ice during Hurricane Ivan. My wife and I went two weeks (14 days) without electricity in the aftermath of that hurricane. Believe me, I got a taste of just how precious bottled water, ice, batteries, generators, fuel, etc., can become.
I suggest you have a supply of food and water to last at least a month. Many survival experts insist that a six-month supply is the minimum. Personally, I can live a long time on tuna fish or peanut butter. You can purchase MREs from a variety of sources, as well as “camp-style” packaged food from many sporting goods stores. Of course, bottled water is available everywhere during normal times. Stock up! Distilled water will store longer than spring water. Plus, I suggest you have some water purification tablets or a Katadyn water filter on hand. And, if you are able, prepare to grow your own food. In cold weather climates such as we have here in Montana, people quickly learn how to construct and utilize greenhouses in which to grow food. Canning food is another very helpful hedge against deprivation. If your parents and grandparents were like mine, this was standard operating procedure.
Get a generator. Keep a supply of fuel on hand. Stay stocked up on batteries, candles, portable lights, first aid supplies, and personal hygiene items–especially toilet paper. Trust me, during times of intense and prolonged disaster, toilet paper could become more valuable than money. I also suggest you never run out of lighters or matches. You never know when you’ll need to build a fire–and during a prolonged survival situation, fire could save your life. If you live in a cold weather climate, you probably already have some sort of wood stove or fireplace. And don’t overlook the necessity of a good knife.
Obviously, you need to take stock of your clothing. Do you have clothes suitable for extended outdoor activity? What about boots? During a disaster, you would trade your best suit from Neiman Marcus for a good pair of boots. Do you have gloves? Insulated underwear? What about camouflage clothing? These could become essential outerwear in the right conditions. Plus, any “bug-out” bag will need to include spare clothing. And as most folks here in Montana know, “cotton kills.” For extended outdoor wear in cold weather, wool is the only way to go!
Communication and medical provisions are also a high priority in any kind of emergency. How will you communicate with your loved ones when the phones (including cell phones) go down? Portable ham radios are a very valuable resource. But the time to buy (and train to use) one is NOW! A preordained rally point (or safe house) might be something to think about. And what about medical supplies? Do you have enough to take care of routine (and not-so-routine) emergencies? What about your prescription drugs? How long could you function if you were cut off from your pharmacist for any length of time? Also, seriously consider learning about natural, herbal medicines. Those plants growing in your “back forty” might just cure a headache, stop bleeding, or even save your life. Think about it now.
And one more suggestion, while we’re on this subject: the best resources in the world are of little use if one is physically incapable of making good use of them. In other words, GET IN SHAPE. During any kind of emergency situation, physical exertion and stamina become immensely important.
I suggest you have at least some cash on hand. Just about any and all disasters will result in banks being closed for extended periods of time. That also means credit card purchases being suspended. You need to have enough cash to be able to purchase essential goods (if they are even available) for an undetermined amount of time.
Of course, some survival gurus insist that during any cataclysmic climate, precious metals will become the only reliable currency. A little gold and silver could go a long way in a prolonged emergency. For that matter, with the way our fiat money system is coming unraveled, you may want to seriously consider moving your IRA accounts into precious metals, if for no other reason than to better protect your savings. Ask yourself, how much money have I already lost at the hands of these banksters in the Federal Reserve and their toadies in the stock market?
In fact, in a disaster, what is considered a valuable commodity can change rather quickly, as the barter system takes a life of its own. What is valuable is determined by what you need and how badly you need it. In a prolonged disaster, simple things such as toilet paper, canned goods, ammunition, and clothing could become extremely valuable; while cars, video games, televisions, etc., could be reduced to junk status. In antiquity, wars were fought over things such as salt. You might be surprised to learn that there are already active barter groups in your area. I suggest you establish a relationship with these people now!
Speaking of cars, remember that during a prolonged “national emergency” that might involve some sort of nuclear attack or widespread civil unrest, an Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP) might be employed; in which case, most every late model vehicle would be completely inoperable. Accordingly, if one can keep an older, pre-computer-age vehicle in good working order, he or she might be driving the only non-government vehicle capable of going anywhere. Of course, you might not want to drive it to town!
Needless to say, during any kind of disaster, your safety and protection will be completely up to you. If you really think that the police are going to be able to protect you during an upheaval, you are living in a dream world.
In both the New Orleans and Los Angeles disasters, police protection was non-existent. Lawless gangs quickly took control of the streets, and people were left to either defend themselves or swiftly become the helpless prey of violent marauders. In fact, in New Orleans, some of the policemen actually abandoned their oaths to uphold the law and joined with the criminals, turning their weapons upon the public.
Face it, folks: in any kind of disaster, you must be able to defend yourself, or you and your family will be meat for these animals of society that will quickly descend without mercy upon the unprepared, unsuspecting souls around them. This requires that you be armed! It also requires that you be skilled enough to be able to efficiently use your arms. Therefore, I strongly suggest that you purchase firearms sufficient to keep you and your family safe, and also that you practice sufficiently to know how to use them.
Now, when it comes to a discussion of which firearms are preferable for self-defense, the suggestions are as varied as the people who proffer them. These are my suggestions:
I believe every man (along with his wife and children of adequate age) should be proficient with the following weapons: a handgun in .38 caliber or above, a .22 rifle, a center-fire bolt-action hunting rifle, a semi-automatic battle rifle, and a shotgun.
My personal preference for a self-defense handgun is either a .45 ACP 1911 (either Colt or Kimber), a Glock .45, or a .40 S&W. In the .40 caliber, my favorite is a Glock 22 or 23. In the 1911, I like the Commander size configuration. I prefer either the Model 21 or the Model 30 in the Glock .45. And I will also admit to sometimes carrying a 9mm Glock 19 or a Smith & Wesson .357 revolver. My two favorites in this caliber are the Model 66 with a 2 ½-inch barrel and the Model 586 with a 4-inch barrel. My wife prefers to carry a Smith & Wesson .38 caliber revolver in the snub-nose, J-frame configuration. But this is primarily due to the reduced weight of these weapons for carry purposes. If needed, she could make a good accounting of herself with the Glock 19. If you are someone who has never owned and seldom fired a handgun, I recommend you buy a Glock. They are as simple as revolvers to operate, reliable, and almost indestructible. Plus, they provide increased magazine capacity, and are safe. They are also very easy to disassemble and clean. Of course, in dangerous game territory, you will need the power of a 10mm (the Glock 20 shines here), .45 Long Colt, .44 Magnum, or even a .454 Casull. These calibers are not for the limp-wristed, but when one is facing a brown bear or mountain lion, it is what one will need to survive. Plus, when your life is on the line, you’ll never feel the recoil.
For a .22 rifle, I really like the Ruger 10/22. A Marlin tube-fed .22 is also very effective. The CZ bolt-action .22 just might be the most accurate .22 on the market. For a hunting rifle, my suggestion is either a .270 or .30-06 caliber bolt-action rifle. I prefer the Remington Model 700 BDL or Browning X-Bolt, but there are several fine weapons in this configuration and caliber by numerous manufacturers. In dangerous game territory, a Marlin .45-70 could be a lifesaver. For a battle rifle, I suggest an AR-15-style weapon in .223 caliber or a .308 Springfield M1A. For a shotgun, I suggest a 12-gauge pump. Here I prefer a Winchester Model 1300, which is not made anymore. So, you’ll probably have to choose between Mossberg and Remington. For ladies, however, a 20-gauge shotgun is probably a better choice, and at “bad breath” range (where a shotgun shines, anyway), it is just as lethal.
Whatever you choose, practice with it to the point that you are able to use it proficiently. And be sure you stock up on ammunition. A gun without ammo is reduced to being either an expensive club or a cumbersome paperweight.
Go to your local independent sporting goods store (I don’t recommend the large national chain stores to do your firearms shopping.) and get to know your hometown firearms dealer. Most of these people are kind and helpful folks who will be more than happy to assist you in finding exactly what type of firearm is suitable for you and your family.
I firmly believe that man is created to have fellowship with his Creator-God. I really don’t know how people can face the uncertain future that we currently face without the spiritual knowledge, wisdom, comfort, and power that is made available through Jesus Christ. I believe the maxim is true: “Wise men still seek Him.” I strongly suggest that you seek to possess a personal relationship with God’s only begotten Son. In truth, spiritual preparation is far and away the most important preparation of all. Accordingly, be sure to pack a copy of God’s Word in your survival gear.
And if you have not been able to find a local church where the pastor isn’t afraid to deal with the kind of issues like I am dealing with in this column, I invite you to worship online with us at Liberty Fellowship. People all over America who are tired of these 501c3, establishment churches–who have no clue as to what is going on and who wouldn’t take a stand if they did–are tuning in to hear my messages at Liberty Fellowship every Sunday afternoon. To tune in this Sunday, go to:
That we are facing challenging days is a certainty. Exactly what that means is yet to be determined. I trust that some of my suggestions will help you be better prepared for what lies before us. Plus, here is an excellent online Survival Blog chock-full of great suggestions and resources for all things survival. Check it out:
And if you are considering relocation, please check out Joel Skousen’s web site at:
And if you think you may want to relocate to the Flathead Valley of Montana, George Hudson, a man at Liberty Fellowship who “escaped” from California to locate here–and who is now helping scores of people from all over the country to resettle in our beautiful valley–may be contacted at:
Please give him a few days to email you back, but he will be happy to try to answer any questions you have about moving here.
I am sure that I have left out several items that others more qualified than me would include. I welcome their suggestions, as I am always desirous to learn from those who are wiser and more experienced. In the meantime, remember your Boy Scout motto: “Be Prepared.”