"First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.” -Mahatma Gandhi


Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Links of Interest

Amendment #28 by Greg Bishop at Nolan Chart dot com  Bishop proposes a Constitutional Amendment that would repeal the 16th Amendment (the income tax) and bring us back to the original intent of the Constitution.  In addition to Bishop's proposed amendment, I think we need separate amendments that clearly define the General Welfare and Interstate Commerce clauses.  I will save my thoughts on that for another post.

Thou Shalt Not Infringe by Brent Allan Winters at GOA dot org.  Discusses the 2nd Amendment and its interpretation from common law.  A great read!

ALL YOU ZOMBIES by Jim Quinn at Nolan Chart dot com.  This pretty much sums it all up.  I covers everything from the economy to the degraded state of political awareness in America brought on by idiotic pop culture.  This should be required reading for every singe American!
 
Fighting the National ID Card by Sheila Dean at C4L 
 
Is Gold in a Bubble? by Robert Blumen at Lew Rockwell dot com

Ron Paul wins a key battle in war to open Fed's books at The LA Times

See you at Galt's Gulch!

Last Time...The Definition of a Moderate


TOR wrote a post over at Total Survivalist Libertarian Rantfest a couple days ago called The Future of Conservative Parties in the US.  I started to write a response, but it got to be so long that I decided to turn it into a post here. 


The picture on the left is taken from the Advocates For Self Government website.  It is their Worlds Smallest Political Quiz.  After taking the quiz, it places a red dot somewhere on the diagram to show where you fall on the political spectrum.  You can see where my red dot ended up.
 
So, lets take a look at this diagram, and some of the definitions that are given by the Advocates for Self Government.
 
 
LIBERTARIANS support maximum liberty in both personal and economic matters. They advocate a much smaller government; one that is limited to protecting individuals from coercion and violence.  Libertarians tend to embrace individual responsibility, oppose government bureaucracy and taxes, promote private charity, tolerate diverse lifestyles, support the free market, and defend civil liberties.
 
LIBERALS usually embrace freedom of choice in personal matters, but tend to support significant government control of the economy.  They generally support a government-funded "safety net" to help the disadvantaged, and advocate strict regulation of business. Liberals tend to favor environmental regulations, defend civil liberties and free expression, support government action to promote equality, and tolerate diverse lifestyles.
 
CONSERVATIVES tend to favor economic freedom, but frequently support laws to restrict personal behavior that violates "traditional values." They oppose excessive government control of business, while endorsing government action to defend morality and the traditional family structure. Conservatives usually support a strong military, oppose bureaucracy and high taxes, favor a free-market economy, and endorse strong law enforcement.
 
STATISTS want government to have a great deal of power over the economy and individual behavior. They frequently doubt whether economic liberty and individual freedom are practical options in today's world. Statists tend to distrust the free market, support high taxes and centralized planning of the economy, oppose diverse lifestyles, and question the importance of civil liberties.
 
CENTERISTS (moderates) espouse a "middle ground" regarding government control of the economy and personal behavior. Depending on the issue, they sometimes favor government intervention and sometimes support individual freedom of choice. Centrists pride themselves on keeping an open mind, tend to oppose "political extremes," and emphasize what they describe as "practical" solutions to problems.
 

TOR brings up some valid points in his post, but when I read it, it looks to me like it is based on the same old one dimensional Right vs Left arguments.  When I look at politics today, I see the majority of the politicians falling below the X-axis (left/right).  It is all statist.  The debate always comes to: "How do we use the power of government?" 

This is the only debate we see in the media as well.  Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity are far right but in the middle of the Y-axis (up/down).  Rachel Maddow and Keith Olberman are far left, but in the middle of the Y-axis.  Bill O'Reilly falls somewhere just right of center in that gray area of mediocrity, but is still too low on the Y-axis.  The only guy in the media who seems to have moved upwards toward libertarianism is Glenn Beck.  Maybe that is why his ratings blow everyone else out of the water.

When I hear someone say the word moderate, I always apply it to my view on centrist.  Using the traditional one dimensional scale, most people would consider me (a libertarian) a moderate.  I am socially liberal and economically conservative.  With the traditional left vs right argument, I fall in the middle.  But I don't see myself that way at all.  Sure I fall directly in the center on the X-axis, but I am all the way at the top of the Y-axis.  I am as far away from liberals and conservatives as they are from each other.

The future of the GOP is being brought up quite a bit these days.  The biggest problem with so-called moderates in the Republican party is that, while they might move to the center, they tend to move down that slippery slope towards statism.  This is why Obama is in office today.  He is as far left as you can get, but McCain, while trying to appeal to the center moved down into statism.  He is moderate for all the wrong reasons.  He is a statist.  This is the same reason liberals hate Joe Lieberman.  He has moved to the right for what they consider all the wrong reasons, and they see him as a statist.

Using this political spectrum diagram, we can actually watch Obama move from Far Left Liberal to Big Government Statist.  The far left already has the mindset of government control of the economy, but what about personal liberty issues?  He promised that he would close Gitmo.  Didn't happen.  STATIST!  He promised that he would repeal the Patriot Act.  Didn't happen.  STATIST!  And the list goes on.  You see what we ended up with America?  A statist!

As long as we remain focused on the typical right vs left debate, we will continue to move down on the scale as a nation.  Government power always trumps personal liberty unless it is checked by the people.  The right will fight for increased government control over social issues, while the left will fight for increased government control over the economy.  If both continue to gain even small victories, the X-axis continues to shrink.  It just moves down the diamond, and before you know it, you are living under a totalitarian oligarchy.

Ronald Reagan does get brought up a lot in this debate, but the one Reagan quote that should apply most in this instance is: "If you analyze it I believe the very heart and soul of conservatism is libertarianism.  The basis of conservatism is a desire for less government interference or less centralized authority or more individual freedom and this is a pretty general description also of what libertarianism is."  While Reagan was a big-government conservative, he at least realized that the base of the Republican party was comprised of libertarians and social conservatives.  When the party looses the support of one of these groups, the base disappears.

I agree with TOR that you can not expect every member of a party to toe their party's line all the time.  But a move to the center is not the answer.  There is plenty of room for movement within the GOP, it just needs to happen in the top-right portion between libertarianism and conservatism.  I am a "small L" libertarian, which means I do not toe the Libertarian Party line.  I have some beliefs that tend to be slightly more on the conservative side, but I would still fall somewhere in the far upper quadrant of the scale.  There isn't a statist bone in my body!

When the GOP runs candidates that fall anywhere in the centrist area, they tend to loose.  John McCain is a perfect example.  His style of moderate politics is the gray area that needs to be avoided at all costs by the GOP.  Dede Scoszzfava was lurking somewhere in that gray area as well.  At least Doug Hoffman had the gumption to run on a far right conservative ticket.  If the GOP wants to get back in the game they need to either stick to a far right platform, or move up the scale towards libertarianism like Ron Paul.  An attempt to play around in the gray area of centrism is too close to furthering a statist agenda.  While most Republicans don't even realize that there is a second dimension to the political debate, they can feel the statist power grab from the bottom.


Take the quiz by CLICKING HERE and see where you end up.  It is only 10 questions long and takes less than a minute.
 
See you at Galt's Gulch!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Links of Interest

Rage Grows in America: Anti‑Government Conspiracies at The Anti-Defamation Leauge Dot Org.  I am thankful that they refer to Tea Party people are "goers" and not "teabaggers."  The tea parties have been hijacked by the neo-cons anyway, so any association I had with them is now broken.  Anyway, I think the ADL should take note of what the JPFO is doing and stop pointing the finger.

Americans Deserve a Transparent Fed by Ron Paul and Jim DeMint at The Wall Street Journal

Climatologists Baffled by Global Warming Time Out by Gerald Traufetter at Speigel Online International

Hamilton's Betrayal by George C. Leef at C4L  NOTABLE QUOTABLE:  "How much different would America be if she had stayed with Jefferson’s philosophy of government and given Hamilton’s the cold shoulder? No one knows exactly, but I think that comparing the United States as it now is with a hypothetical, Jeffersonian United States would be like comparing life in the United States as it is with life in a country that has never known much liberty at all — Cuba for example. Just as most Cubans have no idea how much better off they would be if it weren’t for Castro, most Americans have no idea how much better off they would be if it weren’t for Hamilton."

U.K. Royal Mint Quadruples Production of Gold Coins at Bloomberg Dot Com

Obama's Phony Federalism by Gene Healy at CATO

The 'Stimulus' for Unemployment by Alan Reynolds at CATO

Quote of the Week

"The baying on the idiot end of the American Left that W. Bush should have been impeached or tried for 'war crimes' because of his actions in the Persian Gulf region is a symptom of how stupid statists have become.

Whether operating on faulty intelligence or duplicitously pursuing a long-standing plan to avenge his father's geopolitical losses, W. had the permission of Congress to proceed with his military adventures in Afghanistan and Iraq.  He was on firmer ground, legally, than Jack Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson were in Vietnam...

...Al Queda's tactical successes in the early 2000s follow from a crude but effective understanding of the patterns of statist behavior in the West.  It understands statism because it is, at core, a statist organization itself.  Its leaders hope their version of fascism (tinted with religious extremism) will fill the vacuum of power left after the end of the Cold War.  And, with the bumbling and unintended help of statists in the W. Bush and Obama administrations, they've achieved more than their numbers or slapdash philosophy deserve...

...W. Bush and Barack Obama have pursued a patchwork policy that satisfies no one.  They speak of building coalitions among Western powers--but abandoned this idea when those powers questioned American strategies and tactics.  Bush tried to justify his invasion of Iraq in legalistic terms, which invited legalistic scrutiny of his justifications.  They didn't stand up.

Bush should [have] positioned the United States against al Queda's fascist nature, rather than against specific countries or leaders.  He should have stated simply, from the start, that he would protect the commercial and financial interests of U.S. citizens and corporations; he could have staked out this position with or without international cooperation.  Political consensus would have followed him.

Bush erred in many ways; but one of the most important was that he tried to rationalize his impulse to war.  This rationalization is a common thing among minor world leaders.  It's a fool's errand.

War is never rational.  It's never humane.  It's ugly, bloody business that should be avoided at all costs.  But, when it can't be avoided, there's no reason to pretend it's something as feckless as a college colloquium on feminist literary theory.  War should be prosecuted brutally, powerfully...and quickly."

--James Walsh in Libertarian Nation

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Emails From My Uncle

My uncle sends me some awesome emails from time to time, so I thought I would start posting some of them.  I am not sure if the content of this email was truly spoken by a small business owner to his employees, or if the whole thing is just one of those spoof forwarded political messages.  Regardless of the origin, the message is good.

The Employee Meeting:

I would like to start by thanking you for attending this meeting, though it's not like you had much of a choice. After all, attendance was mandatory. I'm also glad many of you accepted my invitation to your family members to be here as well. I have a few remarks to make to all of you, and then we'll retire to the ballroom for a great lunch and some employee awards.

I felt that this meeting was important enough to close all 12 of our tire and automotive shops today so that you could be here. To reassure you, everybody is being paid for the day --- except me. Since our stores are closed we're making no money. That economic loss is mine to sustain. Carrington Automotive has 157 full time employees and around 30 additional part-timers. All of you are here. I thank you for that.

When you walked into this auditorium you were handed a rather thick 78-page document . Many of you have already taken a peek. You were probably surprised to see that it's my personal tax return for 2008. Those of you who are adept at reading these tax returns will see that last year my taxable income was $534,000.00. Now I'm sure this seems rather high to many of you. So ... let's talk about this tax return.

Carrington Automotive Enterprises is what we call a Sub-S - a Subchapter S corporation. The name comes from a particular part of our tax code. Sub-S status means that the income from all 12 of our stores is reported on my personal tax return. Businesses that report their income on the owner's personal tax return are referred to as "small businesses." So, you see now that this $534,000 is really the total taxable income - the total combined profit from all 12 of our stores. That works out to an average of a bit over $44,000 per store.

Why did I feel it important for you to see my actual 2008 tax return? Well, there's a lot of rhetoric being thrown around today about taxes, small businesses and rich people. To the people in charge in Washington right now I'm a wealthy American making over a half-million dollars a year. Most Americans would agree: I'm just another rich guy; after all ... I had over a half-million in income last year, right? In this room we know that the reality is that I'm a small business owner who runs 12 retail establishments and employs 187 people. Now here's something that shouldn't surprise you, but it will: Just under 100 percent ... make that 99.7 percent of all employers in this country are small businesses, just like ours.

Every one of these businesses reports their income on a personal income tax return. You need to understand that small businesses like ours are responsible for about 80 percent of all private sector jobs in this country, and about 70 percent of all jobs that have been created over the past year. You also need to know that when you hear some politician talking about rich people who earn over $200,000 or $500,000 a year, they're talking about the people who create the jobs.

The people who are now running the show in Washington have been talking for months about raising taxes on wealthy Americans. I already know that in two years my federal income taxes are going to go up by about 4.5 percent. That happens when Obama and t he Democrats allow the Bush tax cuts to expire. When my taxes climb by 4.5 percent the Democrats will be on television saying that this really isn't a tax increase. They'll explain that the Bush tax cuts have expired .. nothing more. Here at Carrington we'll know that almost 5% has been taken right off of our bottom line. And that means it will be coming off your bottom line.

Numbers are boring, I know ... but let's talk a bit more about that $534,000. That's the money that was left last year from company revenues after I paid all of the salaries and expenses of running this business. Now I could have kept every penny of that for myself, but that would have left us with nothing to grow our business, to attract new customers and to hire new employees. You're aware that we've been talking about opening new stores in Virginia Beachand Newport News . To do that I will have to buy or lease property, construct a building and purchase inventory. I also have to hire additional people to work in those stores. These people wouldn't immediately be earning their pay. So, where do you think the money for all of this comes from? Right out of our profits .. right out of that $534,000. I need to advertise to bring customers in, especially in these tough times. Where do you think that money comes from ? Oh sure, I can count it as an expense when I file my next income tax return .. but for right now that comes from either current revenues or last year's profits. Revenues right now aren't all that hot ... so do the math. A good effective advertising campaign might cost us more than $300,000.

Is this all starting to come together for you now?

Right now the Democrats are pushing a nationalized health care plan that, depending on who's doing the talking, will add anywhere from another two percent to an additional 4.6 percent to my taxes. If I add a few more stores, which I would like to do, and if the economy improves, my taxable income ... our business income ... could go over one million dollars! If that happens the Democrats have yet another tax waiting, another five percent plus! I've really lost track of all of the new government programs the Democrats and President Obama are proposing that they claim they will be able to finance with new taxes on what they call "wealthy Americans."

And while we're talking about health care, let me explain something else to you. I understand that possibly your biggest complaint with our company is that we don't provide you with health insurance. That is because as your employer I believe that it is my responsibility to provide you with a safe workplace and a fair wage and to do all that I can to preserve and grow this company that provides us all with income. I no more have a responsibility to provide you with health insurance than I do with life, auto or homeowner's insurance. As you know, I have periodically invited agents for health insurance companies here to provide you with information on private health insurance plans.

The Democrats are proposing to levy yet another tax against Carrington in the amount of 8 percent of my payroll as a penalty for not providing you with health insurance. You should know that if they do this I will be reducing every person's salary or hourly wage by that same 8 percent. This will not be done to put any more money in my pocket. It will be done to make sure that I don't suffer financially from the Democrat's efforts to place our healthcare under the control of the federal government. It is your health, not mine. It is your healthcare, not mine. These are your expenses, not mine. If you think I'm wrong about all this, I would sure love to hear your reasoning.

Try to understand what I'm telling you here. Those people that Obama and the Democrats call "wealthy Americans" are, in very large part, America 's small business owners. I'm one of them. You have the evidence, and surely you don't think that the owner of a bunch of tire stores is anything special. That $534,000 figure on my income tax return puts me squarely in Democrat crosshairs when it comes to tax increases.

Let's be clear about this ... crystal clear. Any federal tax increase on me is going to cost you money, not me. Any new taxes on Carrington Automotive will be new taxes that you, or the people I don't hire to staff the new stores I won't be building, will be paying. Do you understand what I'm telling you? You've heard about things rolling downhill, right? Fine ... then you need to know that taxes, like that other stuff, roll downhill. Now you and I may understand that you are not among those that the Democrats call "wealthy Americans," but when this "tax the rich" thing comes down you are going to be standing at the bottom of the mud slide, if you get my drift. That's life in the big city, my friends ... where elections have consequences.

You know our economy is very weak right now. I've pledged to get us through this without layoffs or cuts in your wages and benefits. It's too bad the politicians can't get us through this without attacking our profits. To insure our survival I have to take a substantial portion of that $534,000 and set it aside for unexpected expenses and a worsening economy. Trouble is, the government is eyeing that money too ... and they have the guns. If they want it, they can take it.

I don't want to make this too long. There's a great lunch waiting for us all. But you need to understand what's happening here. I've worked hard for 23 years to create this business. There were many years where I couldn't take a penny in income because every dollar was being dedicated to expanding the business. There were tough times when it took every dollar of revenues to replenish our inventory and cover your paychecks. During those times I earned nothing. If you want to see those tax returns, just let me know.

OK ... I know I'm repeating myself here. I don't hire stupid people, and you are probably getting it now. So let me just ramble for a few more minutes. Most Americans don't realize that when the Democrats talk about raising taxes on people making more than $250 thousand a year, they're talking about raising taxes on small businesses. The U.S. Treasury Department says that six out of every ten individuals in this country with incomes of more than $280,000 are actually small business owners. About one-half of the income in this country that would be subject to these increased taxes is from small businesses like ours. Depending on how many of these wonderful new taxes the Democrats manage to pass, this company y could see its tax burden increase by as much as $60,000. Perhaps more.

I know a lot of you voted for President Obama. A lot of you voted for Democrats across the board. Whether you voted out of support for some specific policies, or because you liked his slogans, you need to learn one very valuable lesson from this election. Elections have consequences. You might have thought it would be cool to have a president who looks like you; or a president who is young, has a buff body, and speaks eloquently when there's a teleprompter in the neighborhood. Maybe you liked his promises to tax the rich. Maybe you believed his promise not to raise taxes on people earning less than a certain amount. Maybe you actually bought into his promise to cut taxes on millions of Americans who actually don't pay income taxes in the first place. Whatever the reason .. your vote had consequences; and here they are.

Bottom line? I'm not taking this hit alone. As soon as t he Democrats manage to get their tax increases on the books, I'm going to take steps to make sure that my family isn't affected. When you own the business, that is what you're allowed to do. I built this business over a period of 23 years, and I'm not going to see my family suffer because we have a president and a congress who think that wealth is distributed rather than earned. Any additional taxes, of whatever description, that President Obama and the Democrats inflict on this business will come straight out of any funds I have set aside for expansion or pay and benefit increases. Any plans I might have had to hire additional employees for new stores will be put aside. Any plans for raises for the people I now have working for me will be shelved. Year-end bonuses might well be eliminated. That may sound rough, but that's the reality.

You're going to continue to hear a lot of anti-wealth rhetoric out there from the media and from the left. You can chose to believe what you wish .. .but when it comes to Carrington Automotive you will know the truth. The books are open to any of you at any time. I have nothing to hide. I would hope that other small business owners out there would hold meetings like this one, but I know it won't happen that often. One of the lessons to be learned here is that taxes ... all taxes ... and all regulatory costs that are placed on businesses anywhere in this country, will eventually be passed right on down to individuals; individuals such as yourself. This hasn't been about admonishing anyone and it hasn't been about issuing threats. This is part of the education you should have received in the government schools, but didn't. Class is now dismissed.

My Thoughts

I would argue that most Americans today think that they are "middle class." They grew up being called middle class, or they grew up dirt poor and have slightly improved their status in life, so they now think they are middle class. I am a small business owner. I had always considered myself middle class. But when I actually started my own business and experienced for myself what making money was all about, I started to realize what being in the middle class was all about.  I was never middle class before, I had just grown up thinking that I was.  Sad...

This is a popular trick for the power elite. They throw around generalizations about "taxing the rich." This plays to a large number of the population because most people don't make $250,000 or more in a year. Most people would call that rich. That is not rich my friends. That is middle class. If you want rich, look to people making 10 million or more per year. That is rich. They can afford to take a tax hit and still keep their business running.

The article that I posted makes one of the best points on this topic.  Why should a guy who has spent 23 years creating a small business take the hit?  He shouldn't!  He was the one with his ass on the line for 23 years.  He was the one who would ultimately take the hit if anything failed.  Bankruptcy is not a pretty thing to live with.  When it comes down to the owner, or the employee, who do you think the owner is going to choose?  The left seems to think the purpose of business is to provide jobs for poor people.  That thinking is so backwards, I don't even know how to comprehend it.  The purpose of business is making money!

This article lays it onto the Left pretty hard, but the Right is equally responsible.  Bush's tax cuts were an effort to placate the small business owners.  It wasn't even really a true tax cut.  It was robing Peter to pay Peter back, instead of paying Paul.  Paul doesn't deserve it in the first place, but I digress.  Bush's thinking was:  Lets give them some money back so they don't bitch when we increase federal spending and broaden the deficit.  Everyone wants something for nothing, and we are seeing the results now.  Sadly, Obama is doing the exact opposite of what needs to be done.  He is putting a tomato on the shit sandwich that we all have to eat, and trying to tell us that it is palatable.  Its shit people!

The class warfare has to stop. If you want to complain about the "greedy bankers" that make things hard for "the little guy" don't look to you local banker.  If you want to complain about the "greedy businessmen" that make things hard for "the little guy" don't look to small business owners.  They might make more money than you, but they also employ you.  Your job depends on them being successful.  If you want someone to blame, look to the international mafia that owns the federal reserve and other national and world banks. That is rich. That is who you should be angry with. That is where the true deception lies. Calling for taxes on your employers will do nothing but cut your wages. If you push it too far, you might find yourself out of a job.

Related Articles
Money, Characterization and Classification at Total Survivalist Libertarian Rantfest

See you at Galt's Gulch with all the other small business owners who said "fuck it" and stopped contributing to the looting.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

A BIRTHDAY MESSAGE FROM THE COMMANDANT OF THE MARINE CORPS

United States Marines represent the best young men and women our Nation has to offer. To be a Marine is to be a member of America's warrior class - to be one of the few who steps forward with the courage and conviction to face whatever dangers await. Our Nation expects her Marines to be ready when the Nation calls; to leave family and the comforts of home behind; to march into battle and thrive under austerity; and to come home under a victory pennant.

From Al Anbar in the west of Iraq, to Helmand Province in the south of Afghanistan, our Corps of Marines can always expect to be found where the fight is toughest. Such is our history. Today, as we write the final chapter on our victory in Iraq, we will increasingly take the fight to the enemy in Afghanistan and add new pages to our legacy in places called Delaram, Now Zad, and Garmsir. One day, we will return to our naval heritage and patrol the high seas with our Navy brothers. Such is our future.

As we celebrate our Corps' 234th Birthday, we first pause to reflect and pay tribute to those Marines who have given the last full measure in defense of freedom. We extend our deepest gratitude to our Marine Corps families - the unsung heroes who endure hardship and sacrifice so that we are able to go forward and accomplish any mission. We extend our appreciation to our countrymen who have answered our every need. And we celebrate the magnificent men and women who willingly and selflessly continue to go into harm's way to protect this great Nation.

To all who have gone before, to those who wear the uniform today, and to the families that give us the strength to forge ahead - I wish you all a heartfelt Happy 234th Birthday!

Semper Fidelis,

James T. Conway
General, U.S. Marine Corps

Monday, November 9, 2009

NutnFancy on the Sheepdog Concept, Closing to Engagements, and Free Fire Zones





Quote of the Week

"A fear of weapons is a sign of retarded sexual and emotional maturity."

-- Don B. Kates  Often misattributed to Sigmund Freud

Links of Interest

STRANGE NEWS
A Particle God Doesn’t Want Us to Discover by Jonathan Leake at UK Times online  Could the Large Hadron Collider be sabotaging itself from the future, as some physicists say?  When man plays god, God does this...

POLITICS
MIAC Report by Missouri Information Analysis Center at Constitution dot org.  I have referenced MIAC in some of my previous post, but have never linked to it.  Here is the full text of the document.  While it doesn't directly say that all libertarians, constitutionalists, and Ron Paul supporters are "right wing extremist militia members" it does group them into the same category.  I can understand how some do-gooder Barny Fife might take one and apply it to the other.  I think I have been unfairly stereotyped!  Watch out!

Ron and Rand Paul with Judge Napolitano: Third Party Option? at YouTube dot com.  (Video) I said roughly the same thing in my previous post on this topic.

SURVIVAL
SANYO eneloop PowerPack  Eneloop can be charged 1000 times, before it needs to be replaced.  Eneloop battery is delivered pre-charged to the store and is ready for immediate use following purchase. There is no need to charge-before-use.  Once the application has used all or some of the energy, eneloop can be charged like a conventional rechargeable battery, 1000 times, before it needs replacing.  Seems like a good purchase.  You will still need to look into other options for 9v and other odd sized batteries.
 
TriSquare eXRS handheld radios  Looking for semi-secure comms for your family or group?  These babies  freq-hop over 10 billion channels!
 
Intershelters  A cost effective bug out location!  For the price of a double wide, you can purchase a prefab dome and customize it yourself.  It is transportable, easy to set up, and offers a lot of room.  NOTE: Due to heavy traffic, this website is sometimes shut down.  Keep checking back until you get on.
 
PRECIOUS METALS
Gold's a Great Investment Because There's a War Coming by Charles Nenner at Yahoo Finance  An interesting take on purchasing gold.  What ever reason you choose, its a good investment for peace of mind.
 
India buys gold from International Monetary Fund at Resource Investor  Many people thought that the IMF dumping this much gold on the market would drive its price down, but India bought the entire 200 tons.  This drove prices even higher.  We are now seeing the re-monetization of gold.  Get some now while you still have a chance.  The price is only going up!  Second Article

Friday, November 6, 2009

The Survival Cache and Geocaching (A New Perspective)

FerFAL wrote a post recently on his blog Surviving in Argentina about survival caches.  A reader sent in some other suggestions.

While his ideas go fairly in-depth, I have some other ideas.  About a month ago I accidentally stumbled upon the geocaching website. Geocaching is a worldwide scavenger hunt played using GPS devices.  A "cacher" will go out and hide a container with SWAG (Stuff We All Get) inside of it, and then post the container's GPS coordinates online.  Other cachers will then go out and try to find the cache.  There are a ton of rules and guidelines for the activity, but the thing I want to focus on are the caches themselves.  These people are creative!  Some of the caches are just an ammo can or a Tupperware container stuck inside a hollowed out log, but others are crazy, complicated, and extremely well hidden.  This is an entire subculture that is hidden in plain sight.  There is a cache hidden in a park in my home town.  I have been to that park probably 100 times in the last year, and never knew there was a cache hidden at that location, until I found it on the website.

If you are thinking of making a survival cache, I would highly recommend looking over the geocaching website and other sites that deal with geocaching for creative ideas.  FerFAL brings up the problems associated with digging up buried PVC caches in time of crisis.  How do you dig it up without a shovel?  How do you open the cache without a saw?  Perhaps hollowing out a log to slide that PVC tube into would be a better plan.  Or hollowing out the bottom of a tree stump and placing an ammo can underneath.

Look into geocaching.  You will find a lot of creative ideas for hiding emergency caches, and you might have some fun looking for geocaches as well.  Its a great way to learn some basic land navigation skills too!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Libertarians, Moderates, and the Legitimacy of Third Party Candidates

Thought I would do a political post today.  The elections are over, and results are in.  We are seeing the Republicans starting to gain a foothold after completely falling off the cliff last November.  A Gallup poll conducted in October shows that Conservatism at an all time high.  "Some 40 percent of Americans call themselves conservative, compared with 36 percent who self-describe as moderates and 20 percent as liberals."

Many people confuse the term libertarian with moderate, but these two belief systems are not synonymous with one another.  Libertarians can be best described as economically conservative and socially liberal.  Moderates, are more the "Blue Dog Democrat" types, Independents like Joe Lieberman, and John McCain Republicans.  Moderates concern themselves with bridging the gap and "reaching across the isle" between neo-cons and liberals, whereas libertarians have clearly defined beliefs that support freedom across the board.  I have said it over and over again, neo-cons and liberals are both big government types, they just have a fundamental disagreement over how to use the power of government.  Libertarians want to bring big government back down to the size and scope outlined in the Constitution.

Back to the elections... 

The Republicans won gubernatorial seats in Virginia and New Jersey.  The New Jersey race featured an Independent candidate, Chris Daggett.  Typical of historical third party runs, Daggett finished in the single digit percentages, helping Republican Chris Christie defeat incumbent Gov. Corzine.

The most interesting story to come out of this round of elections is the U.S. House election in upstate New York.  Democrat Bill Owens beat out Conservative Party candidate Doug Hoffman by a margin of around four percent.  Dede Scozzafava, the Republican candidate, dropped out of the race four days before the election.  Proving that there is no difference between Republicans and Democrats anymore, the moderate Scozzafava turned her support to Owens, the Democrat.  Even though Scozzafava had dropped out, her name was still on the ballot, and she received five percent of the vote anyway.

What does this all mean?  Well, typically people will not vote for a third party candidate.  They would rather cast a vote for the lesser of two evils.  They believe that a third party vote is a wasted vote that could help the greater of two evils elected.  We saw this in the New Jersey election, Daggett finished way behind the other two candidates, but may have been the deciding factor in Christie's victory.  But with the race in upstate New York, the Conservative party candidate, Doug Hoffman, came very close to winning.  With the right media attention and high profile backing, a third party candidate has a chance.  The race in New York was about principles and beliefs.  Scozzafava was not the kind of Republican the people wanted, so she was cast aside for the third party option. 

Libertarians, Constitutionalists, Ron Paul Republicans, and members of the Liberty Caucus should take note.  For too long, the third party option has been viewed as a wasted vote, even though the third party candidate may better represent the views of the voter.  By taking local elections to the national stage, third party candidates now have the opportunity to make a difference.

On a bit of a side note, Maine has voted to overturn a same sex marriage law.  While I see this as bad from a personal liberty standpoint, I also view the whole debate as primarily a tax issue.  I think the whole conflict could be eliminated by taking the state out of marriage and the bedroom.  Why do we need to apply for a marriage license through the state in the first place?  If the state would just butt out and let people live how they want to, there would be no debate on this topic in the first place.  It has morphed into two opposing sides trying to use the power of government to push their moral views on the whole populace.  For more about my views on this topic see this post that outlines my views of the whole debate in depth.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Links of Interest


Newspaper Prints Letter Advocating Killing Hunters at The National Shooting Sports Foundation  I wish they would have linked to the actual newspaper online so there is proof.  Not sure if this one is true or not, but it is worth looking into and maybe sending a letter to the editor anyway.

Retreat Security: I Am Your Worst Nightmare, by Jeff T. at Survival Blog dot com.  Interesting article written from the perspective of a post-crash mutant zombie biker.  I actually know guys who have said that they plan to do this if the SHTF.  Keep your shit wired tight and look out.  This is what you might be dealing with.

Whisky on (Antarctic) Ice By Emily Stone at Global Post dot com  I consider myself a whisky connoisseur.  I would love to see what this tastes like!

The Monetary Economics of Halloween Candy by Jeffrey Tucker at C4L  A great read.  I did a post similar to this at the beginning of the year, but Tucker's article goes more in depth.

7 Lies in Under 2 Minutes