Tag Archives: food

Global Elites Sentence Useless Cuban Eaters Who Can’t Grow Their Own Food To Starve

Cuba, facing one of the worst food shortages in years, is now telling its citizens to grow their own food, or literally starve. 

The pandemic has exposed the fragility of the Caribbean island’s food supply chain as produce, poultry and other basic item shortages develop. 

The topic of food security has been a hot subject with the communist party. Several state media broadcasters aired televised round table discussions about the issue, reported Reuters

“Cuba can and must develop its program of municipal self-sustainability definitively and with urgency, in the face of the obsessive and tightened US blockade and the food crisis COVID-19 will leave,” Jose Ramon Machado Ventura, deputy leader of the Cuban Communist Party, was quoted on state media Monday.

Cuba imports about a third of its food, at the cost of $2 billion annually. Those imports have plunged under the Trump administration, which imposed new sanctions on the country in 1H19.

The sanctions triggered shortages of imported food and then steep declines in national agricultural production. Domestic production of rice, tomatoes, and pork plummeted 18%, 13%, and 8% respectively last year – we noted the communist party had to issue widespread rationing of staple foods last year due to shortages triggered by US trade embargo. 

Sanctions and a virus pandemic, have created a perfect storm that has crushed the nation’s food supply chain and economy.

Today we Cubans have two big worries: COVID-19 and food. Both kill. We are flooded with scarcity,” said Yanet Montes, a resident of Havana told Reuters. 

The communist party has distributed leaflets to cities and towns to inform citizens how to grow their food.

“It’s great more people are planting, but it cannot just be when there is a crisis,” Marnia Briones, a sustainable agriculture enthusiast, said. 

Cuban economist Omar Everleny said the communist party must push for reforms so a more robust agriculture industry can thrive, which would lessen the country’s food supply chain exposure to the international community.

“I have the impression in the next few months we will see new reforms,” Everleny said.

Source: ZeroHedge

Coronavirus, Global Bean Shortage & Empty Food Shelves – Multiple Reports

Coronavirus has captured the worlds attention — but have you noticed grocery stores struggling to keep food on the shelves? Whole Foods distributor goes bankrupt as dry bean prices are skyrocketing after 50%+ crop loss, causing global repercussions. Keep your eye on the ball, and start growing food.

The 2019 Dry Bean Harvest is over. Let’s take a careful look at how it was and whats is in store for 2020. Will we see price increases or shortages in the coming months? We take a look at the facts, so you know what it means to you and your family. Take care, be safe and God Bless you all.

You can wait for a corporatocracy solution or take matters into your own hands.

Article Reference Links For Both Video Reports:

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Food Is A Weapon

(Ol’ Remus) As in all war, food would be weaponized in a Civil War II. We don’t have to go back to antiquity for examples, more recent events provide a long list, some of which are:

United States

 Sherman’s “scorched earth” campaign began on November 15th [1864] when he cut the last telegraph wire that linked him to his superiors in the North. He left Atlanta in flames and pointed his army south. No word would be heard from him for the next five weeks. Unbeknownst to his enemy, Sherman’s objective was the port of Savannah. His army of 65,000 cut a broad swath as it lumbered towards its destination. Plantations were burned, crops destroyed and stores of food pillaged.

Germany

 The War Orders given by the Admiralty on 26 August 1914 were clear enough. All food consigned to Germany through neutral ports was to be captured and all food consigned to Rotterdam was to be presumed consigned to Germany. The British were determined on the starvation policy, whether or not it was lawful.

 The average daily diet of 1,000 calories was insufficient to maintain a good standard of health, resulting by 1917 in widespread disorders caused by malnutrition such as scurvy, tuberculosis, and dysentery. In December 1918, the National Health Office in Berlin calculated that 763,000 persons had died as a result of the blockade by that time.

Ukraine

 By the fall of 1932 it became apparent that Ukraine’s grain harvest was going to miss Soviet planners’ target by 60 percent. Stalin then ordered what little they had be confiscated as punishment for not meeting quotas. The Ukrainian famine by one estimate claimed the lives of 3.9 million people, about 13 percent of the population. In June of 1933, at the height of the Holodomor, 28,000 men, women and children in Ukraine were dying of starvation each day.

Great Britain

 Britain imported 70% of its food; this required 20 million tons of shipping a year. Knowing this would lead the Axis powers into hoping to starve the British population into submission, by cutting off those food supply lines. By the end of 1940, 728,000 tons of food making its way to Britain had been lost, sunk by German submarine activity.

Netherlands

 In September 1944, trains in the Netherlands ground to a halt. Dutch railway workers were hoping that a strike could stop the transport of Nazi troops, helping the advancing Allied forces. But the Allied campaign failed, and the Nazis punished the Netherlands by blocking food supplies, plunging much of the country into famine. By the time the Netherlands was liberated in May 1945, more than 20,000 people had died of starvation.

Japan

 The problem was not just harvests and the cutting off imports, transportation problems developed. Fuel shortages made it increasingly difficult getting food from the countryside into the cities. Food Shortages had begun to appear in some parts of the country even before Pearl Harbor.  By 1944 theft of produce still in the fields led police to speak of a new class of “vegetable thieves” and the new crime of “field vandalizing”. The average calorie intake per person had by late 1945 declined to far less than deemed necessary even for an individual engaged in light work.

Berlin

Stalin’s blockade of Berlin from June 1948 through May 1949 was an attempt to starve West Berlin’s two million inhabitants into accepting Soviet rule. The city quickly devolved into near-famine. A largely American airlift rescued it and kept it alive.

The US has historically used food as part of carrot-and-stick diplomacy, or said differently, bribes. During the Second World War, Great Britain and the Soviet Union relied crucially on American food, assuring a measure of their dependency in power negotiations. Germany, and particularly Japan, were nearly US territories after the war, both would have starved without prompt delivery of American food in quantity.

Wars are generally about food. Ancient Rome imported its food and fought epic wars to develop new sources and keep the ones it had. Medieval fiefdoms were agricultural enterprises, raiding their neighbors was common. The westward expansion of America in the nineteenth century was about food and the means to move it, as was Japan’s expanding empire in the early twentieth century. Germany explicitly cited food production to justify its aggression in the east. Their rants about fighting Bolshevism was pep rally stuff, Nazism itself was excessively patriotic Marxism.

History and cold calculation suggest food would be a weapon in a Civil War II, one of many, but of prime importance long term. Civil wars have long gestations, go kinetic suddenly and get complicated in a hurry. We have no firm knowledge what would set it off, who would be actively involved or how it would end. But the outlines are repeated well enough to guide our preparations.

The ruling class already treats middle America as this century’s Untermensch. Nothing is off the table in a civil war. Seizing the nation’s food would be an obvious move. Expect them to deploy troops to secure big ag and the necessary transportation facilities, destroy anyone who got in their way and terrorize potential troublemakers. But there’s a limit to even the deep state’s resources. Prudent survivalists in the far hills wouldn’t warrant their attention, they’d be more likely to trade shots with desperados than find themselves in a firefight with regular forces.

Food is the indispensable survival prep. At minimum this means a secure long-term stash of high calorie food sufficient to outlast the initial violence and privation without relying on resupply. Call it a year, maybe two.

Preppers are kidding themselves about large, elaborate enclaves. Such communities with their gardens, livestock, solar powered utilities, weapons, comms, storehouses, workshops, tools and supplies would be fatally attractive. Training with light infantry tactics and weapons is understandable, but repelling serial attacks by gangs and other armed opportunists would include attrition, i.e., the worker bees would win battles but eventually too few would remain to run the place. And when it became unviable, so would they.

Such redoubts have their place when the meltdown eases, but in the initial phases, less is more.

Well placed and practiced survivalists could get by on a onesey-twosey basis. Two may survive where one wouldn’t. Three or four may be better, assuming an adequate reserve of food and supplies. With more than four the liabilities are likely to outweigh the advantages. It assumes the deepest of deep larders, extensive supplies and harmonious wisdom in all things. Unless each make an irreplaceable contribution of critical value it’s probably too big a footprint for this phase. Loosely allying with similar small groups for mutual benefit may be the better choice. Five or more is a crowd, a danger to itself.

Famine is a given in contemporary civil war. Those embedded in interior cities have no chance, so, next item. The ruling class would continue to work against middle America’s existence. As said above, they’d confiscate local stores of food on a continuing basis, seize major food producing areas intact and grab the needed transportation facilities. Make no mistake, their hirelings would be granted license for absolute ruthlessness. Free fire zones and minefields are not off the table. Skilled labor, if otherwise unwilling, would be arrested and compelled to work.

Feeding their base would guarantee the loyalty of supporters, inflict mass death on the deplorables by ‘no cost’ neglect and keep armed confrontation largely confined to flyover country. But note, as said here before, this is a precarious solution. The coastal megacities are fed from the outside by vulnerable arteries passing through what would be hostile territory. In the end, feeding them would stutter and fail. Even now they’re cauldrons of seething hatred, barely repressed, often organized. With real scarcity and hardship they’d fall on each other and tear the place apart.

Privation, disease, hunger, murderous chaos and high intensity combat would likely peak in the second year. This is the knothole which would separate the survivalists from dabblers and hopeful idealists. In the years that follow, when the maelstrom had largely exhausted itself and the situation clarified, those who made good use of their resources could be largely self supporting, coalescing into tribes, forming families with neighbors and partying like it was 1319.

Be a survivor. The who and what of a civil war would matter only occasionally. Food would matter every hour of every week. Stack food high, wide and deep where it’s secure from looters and confiscation. Backup your stash with an “iron rations” fallback stash. Stack seeds, garden tools, fishing and hunting gear to be prepared for self-resupply opportunities. Calories are life.

Source: Woodpile Report

Grand Solar Minimum: Big Ag Closing American Processing Plants As Grow Zones Shift South

Del Monte is closing US production plants (in WI, MN, and IL) and moving operations further South…or indoors! Likewise, Cargill sold off all assets in Ontario. Tyson fire off lines 6% of US beef pipeline. As major components of modern agriculture are failing, the more significant realization is that these conglomerates have ALREADY GIVEN UP on current large, North American grow zones and started preparing for tougher, long term growing seasons ahead.

Are you prepared?

Americans Brace For Shock Surge In Everyday Food Prices

Avocado Toast

The ‘patient’ Fed has been lamenting the “lack of inflation” for far too long. It is about to get its wish.

American food merchants are struggling to import fruits and vegetables from Mexico as wait times at port of entries along the Mexico–US border have surged because of a shift in Customs and Border Protection (CBP) personnel away from the port of entries to remote regions of the border to fight illegal crossings. As a result, shipments of food have dramatically declined in recent weeks, and the result is an imminent spike in imported food prices in the coming months that could put a sizeable dent in consumer wallets.

Fruit and vegetable importers that wholesale to grocery stores throughout the US, could inflate prices by at least 20% to 40% if the wait times continue, with avocado prices already soaring (see “Mexican Avocado Prices Explode By Most In A Decade After Trump Border Threat“).

https://www.zerohedge.com/s3/files/inline-images/avocado%20price%204.27.jpg?itok=gUW2invn

After the avocado price surge, cucumbers, eggplants, bell peppers, squash, cherry tomatoes, watermelons, and most other fruit and vegetables imported from the tropics would be affected.

“(The) Mexican border, it’s one of the most important crossings to the United States,” said Joshua Duran, Amore Produce sales representative.

About 43% of all US fruit and vegetables originate from Mexico. In the last several decades, Mexico has become the top trading partner with the US. Much of the US-Mexico commerce involves mega-corporations that send products back and forth across the border as part of a critical segment of their supply chain that has increased since the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) took effect in 1994.

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This month [April], distributor Amore Produce truck drivers hauling product from Mexico have experienced a 300% wait time at the various port of entries along the Mexico–US border, stuck in line for up to 15 hours.

“Now we are having a lot of problems in the border,” Duran said. “So, let’s say we used to have like five hours. We’re getting 10 or 15 hours to pass that truck to the United States…one or two (gates) are not enough to get all the entire trucks coming from Mexico and not only for produce, for all the products that people here in the United States get from Mexico.”

Increase wait times have depleted cold storage inventories of McAllen Produce Terminal Market, located just 20 minutes from the border. Duran said the importer cannot ship fresh produce across the country anymore becuase their truck drivers are waiting almost a day to move product across the port of entry – by the time it makes it to the US, the produce won’t make it fresh to the wholesaler.

“We couldn’t get it here and we couldn’t send it to the customers in the north,” Duran said.

Marabella Produce owner Alejandro Knight suggested that wait time increases have impacted his cold-storage levels in the last month. Knight said his warehouse is always at full capacity, but now, the floors are covered with empty pallets. Most of the produce Knight receives from Mexico is spoiled, thanks to wait time increases, warehouse workers have to immediately throw out the produce once it arrives.

“We cannot deliver a fresh product anymore if we have to wait for each load to cross, five to six days, it’s impossible to work like this,” Knight warned.

Knight said Mexican farmers are now “afraid” to export fruits and vegetables to the US because of extended wait times.

Salavador Contreras, an economist at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, said if wait times increase, it could inflate produce for everyday American consumers.

“It’s going to be felt at the grocery stores when we start paying more for limes and our avocados at the grocery store,” Contreras said.

If the wait times persist at the border, in the coming months Americans will be shocked by soaring prices in the produce section of their local grocery stores, a move that could reverse consumer sentiment right before an important election year. But at least the Fed will be delighted: it will have achieved some of that “symmetric” inflation overshoot it has been seeking for so long… and all thanks to Trump.

Source: ZeroHedge

USDA Reports Honey Bee Colony Losses Increase

The USDA just released a report on the state of America’s honey bees, and the news is sour.

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As this Reuters graphic shows, beekeepers reported a loss of 42.1 percent of their colonies in 2014/2015. Summer losses were 27.4 percent, and for the first time on record exceeded the winter rate, which was 23.1 percent. More than two-thirds of the 6,128 beekeepers surveyed reported winter loss rates above the 18.7 percent rate deemed the tipping point for economic sustainability. 

Bees impact 50-80 percent of the global food supply, so the issue extends beyond healthy sweeteners. A Cornell University study reported that insect pollinators contribute $29 billion to the U.S. farm economy, and the country has an estimated 2.74 million managed bee colonies which pollinate one-third of the country’s fruit and vegetable crops.

Indeed, the situation is serious enough to attract Washington’s attention: A subcommittee of the House Committee on Agriculture convened this week for a public hearing on pollinator health.

Article by Mike Corones | Reuters

Ruffling Feathers: Farmers reveal secrets of chicken meat trade in America

Chicken farms in the US are notoriously hard to access if you’re not involved in the industry. But one American farmer, contracted to a meat processing company, has thrown open the barn doors. He claims firms routinely mislead customers about the conditions the birds are reared in and their health. Maria Finoshina went to meet him.

Unwanted Piles of Corn, Soy Spur Most-Bearish Crop Outlook Ever

  • Hedge funds expand short-positions as U.S. crop exports plunge
  • Combined U.S. stockpiles are the biggest ever as prices tumble

Piles of unwanted grain on farms near Doug Schmitz’s storage bins in southern Minnesota are a stark reminder of just how bearish the outlook is for U.S. crop prices.

After record yields during the harvest a few months ago, growers in the area still have 80 percent of their corn crop left to sell and 70 percent of soybeans, said Schmitz, who operates four grain elevators and markets to processors and exporters. Normally, half the supply would be unloaded by now, he said. While Schmitz Grain Inc. is under contract to collect 2 million bushels from local farmers, the outlook is so dim that most of that inventory hasn’t been priced yet, he said.

Money managers are holding their most-bearish bets on grain prices since the government started tracking the data in 2006. It’s easy to see why. Stockpiles of corn and soybeans in the U.S., the world’s largest grower, probably were the biggest ever on Dec. 1, and wheat inventories were the highest in five years, according to a Bloomberg survey of analysts. The government will issue its estimate Tuesday.

 

“It’s the slowest sales pace in the 25 years I’ve been in the grain business,” said Schmitz, who’s based in Currie, Minnesota. “It’s amazing how well farmers were able to put away those bushels and wait for a recovery in prices that has failed to come.”

Full Bins

Hedge funds held a combined net-short position of 337,678 futures and options in corn, soybeans and wheat as of Jan. 5, 19 percent more than the previous week and more than twice what it was a month ago, according to Commodity Futures Trading Commission data released three days later. The bearish holdings were twice the short hedges held by commercial end-users, signaling farmers may be withholding crops that elevators would normally have already bought and hedged. All three commodities posted a third straight year of losses on the Chicago Board of Trade in 2015.

Domestic stockpiles have been swelling as U.S. exports falter, fueled by a strong dollar and rising production by other suppliers. Schmitz said he has yet to load a single rail car this season with corn or soybeans destined for West Coast export terminals. A year earlier, he shipped 1 million bushels.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture forecasts wheat exports in the current season will be the lowest in four decades. Corn and soybeans sold for delivery by Aug. 31 are down a combined 17 percent as of Dec. 31, surpassing the USDA’s estimates for a 6.6 percent annual decline. At the same time, corn shipments from Brazil were the highest ever in each of the past four months. Argentina’s exports have become more profitable after new president Mauricio Macri eliminated most crop taxes and lifted four years of currency controls.

“It is a nearly unprecedented retention of crop inventory this year,” said Roger Fray, executive vice president for Ralston, Iowa-based West Central Cooperative, which can store about 78 million bushels of grain. “The producer has shoved corn and soybeans into places he has never used. It is very possible there will be some forced sales of grain this spring, when farmers need cash to plant crops.”

Production Risks

The USDA will issue its World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates (WASDE) report at noon on Tuesday in Washington. The government probably will reduce its estimates of Brazil’s corn and soybean output as well as the forecast of Argentina’s corn production, according to the average estimate of analysts surveyed by Bloomberg. Parts of Brazil were hurt by lack of rain in December, according to Somar Meteorologia. Daily showers in northern crop areas will aid late growth through the next two weeks, Commodity Weather Group said on Jan. 8.

Other U.S. weather risks remain. The current El Nino climate phenomenon has peaked, which may be replaced by a drier pattern known as La Nina in the second half of 2016, Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology said last week. November and December were the wettest since 1895 in the U.S., which could hurt corn and soybean yields later this year, according to T-Storm Weather LLC.

“We need a market-clearing event, whether that’s a demand shock from somewhere or whether that’s a supply shock as a result of weather,” said Gillian Rutherford, who helps oversee about $13 billion as a commodities portfolio manager at Pacific Investment Management Co. in Newport Beach, California. “In the absence of that, we have such a material buffer that it’s difficult to envision a sustained price rally.”

By Megan Durisin in Bloomberg Business

The Shocking Truth About ‘Organic’ Foods Grown In The World’s Worst Environmental Cesspool

(NaturalNews) When it comes to foods, super foods and even nutritional supplements from China, “organic” is largely a hoax. This is my opinion, of course, but I’ve been researching the issue quite extensively as the key decision maker for new products in the Natural News Store. And I’ve come to the conclusion that “organic” from China is largely a fraud. Here’s why…

First off, you’re going to be shocked to learn that there is no limit to how much mercury, lead, cadmium, arsenic and aluminum is allowed in “organic” products.

It’s a fact: USDA organic standards place NO LIMITS on levels of heavy metals contamination of certified organic foods. Even further, there is no limit on the contamination of PCBs, BPA and other synthetic chemicals that’s allowed in certified organic foods, super foods and supplements.

At this point, you’re probably shaking your head in disbelief and thinking, “No, that can’t be true. Organic standards must check for heavy metals and chemical contamination, right?”

No! “Organic” certifies a process of how food is grown or produced. It certifies that the farmer doesn’t add pesticides, herbicides, petroleum-based fertilizer, metals or synthetic chemicals to the crop (among other things), and it certifies that the soil must be free from such things for a certain number of years before organic certification is approved.

But organic certification does nothing to address environmental sources of pollution such as chemtrails, contaminated irrigation water, and fallout from industrial or chemical factories that might be nearby. A certified organic farmer can use polluted water on their crops and still have the crops labeled “organic.”

For this reason: the environment in which organic foods are produced is critical to the cleanliness of the final product.

Organic farming in a clean environment produces clean, organic foods. But organic farming in a polluted environment produces contaminated organic foods. And China is one of the most polluted chemical cesspools on the planet. The pictures on the right show some scenes from China, a country suffocating under a pollution nightmare.

As you view these pictures, ask yourself: Would you eat food grown there? Even if it were sold by Whole Foods and labeled “organic?”

China is an environmental nightmare

China is a nation that has virtually no environmental regulation enforcement. In China, anything goes: You can dump mercury into rivers. You can spray raw human sewage sludge on crops. You can produce factory-made chemicals and blow the waste products right into the air through smokestacks. In China, many rivers are so toxic that, from time to time, they actually catch on fire and burn.

It’s so bad that a Chinese environmental official was recently offered over US$30,000 to take a 20-minute swim in a local river.

He DECLINED. Why? Because the river there is so polluted that swimming in it would mean certain death.

It is this water that’s often used in “organic” food and superfood production in China. So even though the farmer is following organic process standards, he may be using irrigation water that’s wildly contaminated with metals, chemicals and even pesticide residues. He may be spraying hormone drugs on the crops because there’s a pharmaceutical factory upstream.

Here’s the kicker: In a country with virtually no environmental laws, “organic” food production is largely a fraud because environmental sources contaminate the foods or superfoods being produced there.

There are some exceptions to this, by the way. Notably goji berries are grown at high altitude, far away from the pollution of China’s cities and rivers. Goji berries sourced from China tend to be very clean and have very low levels of contamination. There are no doubt other exceptions to the rule, but the difficulty is in knowing what to trust that comes out of China.

In North America, “organic” is legitimate precisely because North America has far more strict environmental standards. Organic is clean food, responsibly produced, and consistently less contaminated than conventional food. The same is true across Europe, where organic standards are also strict. But in China, “organic” is often a joke. Almost a hoax, in my opinion.

And the laboratory tests bear this out. For example, we just published an investigative story on chlorella showing that “organic” chlorella from China is polluted with nearly ten times the aluminum level of “organic” chlorella from Taiwan. And the cleanest chlorella we found in terms of metals contamination was actually a non-organic chlorella produced in Korea.

China is a nation that lacks ethics

Remember, too, that China is a communist regime. It is a country where all religion has been outlawed and the people are never taught ethics or morality. They have no moral compass. Across China, the majority of the population believes that the best way to get ahead is to CHEAT, lie and steal, even if it means harming someone else in the process.

Remember: China is the country where they put melamine in infant formula, knowing that it will kill little children. China is the country where the paint on children’s toys contains obscene levels of brain-damaging lead. China is a nation of shortcut-takers who will do anything to cheapen a product as long as they can cover it up and trick the buyer. This is why “made in China” has, for decades, been synonymous with “crap quality.”

Here’s a little note that will interest pet owners: If you buy pet treats made in China, you are murdering your pet with the most insane chemicals imaginable. The stuff that goes into some pet treats made in China is highly toxic and causes cancer. This is one of the main factors behind the alarming rise of cancers among dogs and cats in North America.

All this isn’t just secondhand information, by the way: I lived in Asia for two years and traveled extensively throughout the region. I speak a fair amount of Mandarin (Chinese), and I’ve interacted with lots and lots of people from China, Hong Kong and Taiwan. I can tell you that Taiwan is a country with much greater honesty, integrity and quality than China. In Taiwan, religion is allowed and openly practiced (Buddhism, mostly). In Taiwan, there is a sense of responsibility to customers. There is a philosophy of striving for quality. Taiwan is to China like revolutionary America was to the British Empire. Taiwan is a island nation of hard-working, creative, innovative entrepreneurs, and when I look to import products from Asia, I always try to find it in Taiwan first because I know Taiwan means quality.

But in China, it’s exactly the opposite: There is no sense of responsibility to customers. The overriding philosophy is to screw the customer, even on the very first order, knowing that the customer will never buy from you again! In China, the idea is to CHEAT people rather than make them happy. You see this all the way to the top of the government which is, of course, a police state communist regime where laws are enforced at gunpoint against a completely disarmed and helpless population that has no rights. China is a culture of corruption, deception and exploitation.

Now, of course, there are people in China who rebel against all this. There are exceptions to the rule, and there may even be some honest organic food producers in China that buck the trend. Not all mainland Chinese are bad people. Many wish to overthrow the corrupt government and restore freedom, liberty and justice to the country. But because they are all disarmed (China has no Bill of Rights), they are powerless against a dictatorial government. They are slaves to the system.

Health Ranger Select brand BANS all foods, superfoods and ingredients from China except for goji berries

I made a decision months ago to ban anything produced in China from my own label, with the exception being goji berries. If a food, super food or supplement has my name on it, I will not use ingredients sourced from China unless I know and can VERIFY the end-product cleanliness of the product.

So if you see the “Health Ranger Select” brand or the “Storable Organics” brand, know that it’s clean and very carefully sourced.

We source from the USA, Canada, European countries, Peru and even Thailand for some ingredients. Mexico is acceptable for some ingredients as well. But China is a big red flag. I simply can’t trust that most foods, super foods or supplements from China are going to be consistently clean and honest.

China is the kind of country where you order a sample of a raw material — say pomegranate juice powder — and the first batch you receive is really clean and passes all the lab tests. So you order 5000kg of the stuff, and when it arrives, it’s all full of lead and pesticides.

Chinese medicine herbs from China are notoriously contaminated with lead. The same is true for green tea and many other ingredients that naturally absorb heavy metals.

All sorts of products at Whole Foods, by the way, are grown in China but certified “organic.” What a joke.

Given that China has virtually no environmental enforcement whatsoever, the very idea that something grown in China can be certified “organic” is absurd. Without a clean environment, you can’t product clean food even if you follow organic growing standards.

So why do so many formulators and food companies in the USA still buy ingredients from China? Because they’re CHEAP.

Buying from China means higher profit

Here’s the dirty little secret of the natural products industry… and yes, the “dirty” is quite literal in this case: Raw materials from China are cheap! Across the board, raw materials (foods, super foods, supplements) from China are about 1/4th the cost of materials grown in North America or Europe.

This means getting your ingredients from China grants your product a lot more profit in the marketplace. For those selling through Whole Foods — whose product shelves are littered with ingredients made in China — this profit margin is essential to economic survival.

If you’re buying a super food powder sold at Whole Foods and paying $50 at retail, the actual ingredient cost that goes into that super food canister is often as little as $5. So sourcing those materials from China is crucial to having the margins. Whole Foods might only pay your company $22 or so for a product they sell at $50. So your company has to buy the materials, pay for shipping, insurance, labor, packaging, formulations and everything else and still somehow make a profit to stay in business. So you source from China. You make a really nice-looking label, you get it “certified organic” with a nice USDA logo on it, and you sell it to Whole Foods which adds another layer of legitimacy to the product.

But inside the bottle, there could be mercury hiding in there. Or pharmaceutical residues. Or pesticide residues. Or just about anything, including melamine.

Now, obviously Whole Foods has a level of quality control in place, and they do require C of A’s for products they carry. But China is expert at FAKING these documents and tricking importers, formulators and manufacturers.

In China, the idea of forging a laboratory analysis document is no big deal. Fabricating fake documents is routine. You have to understand the philosophy of these people living without any code of ethics, surviving under a police state communist regime: There are no ethics. No values. No moral compass. Forging a fake lab report is no different to them than planting seeds: it’s just one more step needed to make money. There is no moral difference in their minds between telling the truth and lying. It’s a “relativistic” morality philosophy.

I’m not saying all people in China are liars and deceivers. But a lot of them are. Anyone who has actually lived there for any length of time knows exactly what I’m talking about. This is a country where deceptive manufacturers take white sesame seeds and coat them in toxic black ink just to sell them as “black sesame seeds.” This is a country where infant formula producers spike their formula with kidney-destroying melamine in order to make an extra five cents a pound, even while killing babies by the thousands. THEY DON’T CARE. China is a nation that has abandoned morality and even attacked it. This is a country where the Falun Gong group of meditation advocates and yoga practitioners is arrested and thrown in prison by an extremely oppressive, dictatorial government.

Look, cultures are different everywhere around the world. You want to hang out with really nice, intelligent and honest people? Get yourself some Dutch friends. They’re the most upstanding, moral, educated bunch of folks you’ll ever meet.

You want to hang out with highly-innovative rule followers? Get yourself some German friends. They follow the rules. And they’re smart, innovative people on top of that. Brilliant minds. Some of the greatest scientists in history came out of Berlin.

You want some friends who are wildly creative? Those are Americans. Americans make the best movies, the best music (well, along with UK musicians anyway), and a lot of the best computer software on the planet. Americans are rebels. They break the rules and forge a new path. America is a nation founded on rebellion.

But if you’re looking for people who will stab you in the back in a business deal, go the China. There, you will find the most back-stabbing, dishonest cheaters and liars you’ll probably ever meet, short of Nigera’s “Prince Nubula” whose emails promise you’ll receive a million dollars if you only send them $5,000 first.

Why you won’t hear this truth anywhere else

I know that telling the truth is unpopular and not politically correct. I’m not interested in winning a popularity contest. What I’m doing here is flat-out telling the truth that most other people are too afraid to say on their own: The very idea of “organic” coming out of China is a disturbing contradiction.

And organic standards have a huge gap in the fact that they don’t require foods to actually be free from mercury or other contaminants. Overall, organic is a wonderful standard and I’ve been a strong advocate of organic, but when a “USDA organic” label is slapped on a product grown in China, you really have to scratch your head and say, “Yeah, it might be organic, but is it clean?”

It may be, but you just don’t know until you test it. “Organic” grown in the USA can be assumed to be clean, but organic grown in China must be assumed contaminated unless proven otherwise.

Until China enforces some really strict environmental standards, “organic” from China is largely a fraud in my opinion. It’s a hoax. You can lie to yourself and say, “Well it’s ORGANIC so it must be clean!” but you’ll be swallowing mercury, lead, pesticides and other synthetic chemicals in various amounts.

Laboratory tests confirm everything I’m telling you here. This is the dirty little secret of the organic food industry that nobody’s talking about.

China’s environmental nightmare

Just how polluted is China’s environment? As I mentioned above, it’s so bad that a Chinese environmental official was recently offered over US$30,000 to take a 20-minute swim in a local river. He declined the offer, as would any sane person.

Are these the same rivers that are being used to produce “organic” crops in China? You have to wonder. A river can be so inundated with smelting factory runoff and chemical pollution that even bacteria struggle to survive in it; yet this water can be legally sprayed on crops that are exported to America as “organic.”

If you buy “organic” foods, super foods or supplements grown in China, you need to know about this.

As The Guardian reports:

A recent government study found that groundwater in 90% of China’s cities is contaminated, most of it severely. The head of China’s ministry of water resources said last year that up to 40% of the country’s rivers are “seriously polluted”, and an official report from last summer found that up to 200 million rural Chinese have no access to clean drinking water.

By the way, this is another story altogether, but I can tell you with 100% certainty that China is headed for an environmental collapse. The country has polluted itself far beyond the point of long-term sustainable life. Children are being born as mutants. Rivers support no fish life. Soils are building up obscene levels of contaminants and becoming so toxic that crop yields are affected. Cities are so filled with airborne pollution that the mere act of breathing causes cancer. And on top of that, China’s one-child policy has resulted in mass gendercide where baby girls are routinely — and yes, I mean ROUTINELY — murdered, drowned, suffocated, etc., because the family wants a son, not a daughter.

In its quest for economic power, China has poisoned itself to death, and now it’s only a matter of time before the nation collapses in a cesspool of toxicity and lies. The economic “boom” of China is nearly over, and it will be followed by an environmental implosion so huge and disgusting that the world will be absolutely horrified. Remember: China is so corrupt that it won’t stop factories from openly dumping toxic waste directly into the groundwater supplies. Instead of acknowledging the source of pollution, Chinese officials simply accept bribes and cover it up. The corruption in China is so deeply rooted in the culture that honesty and accountability can never overcome the deception.

With some exceptions, when you buy food grown in China, you are buying food produced in the most toxic environment on planet Earth, grown by some of the most deceptive and most corrupt liars and back-stabbers on the planet, all ruled by one of the most dictatorial and tyrannical governments history has ever known. That about sums it up.

Ultimately, China has a terminal environmental crisis on its hands, compounded by an eternally corrupt, dictatorial communist regime government that oppresses freedom and outlaws religion while forcing families to kill their own baby girls under its population control mandates.

In summary, China suffers from:

• An environmental nightmare
• An almost complete abandonment of morals and integrity
• A deeply corrupt communist police state political system that mandates the mass murder of baby girls

Is this the vibe you really want to be putting into your body?

by Mike Adams in Natural News

Pope Francis’s Edict On Climate Change Will Anger Deniers And US Churches

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Whiskey Tango Texas Summary:

  • Frances jumps into politics to push radical environmentalism agenda at crucial upcoming UN climate meeting in Paris.
  • Pope argues for a radical new global financial and economic system.
  • US evangelical movement has declared the environmental movement to be “un-biblical” and a false religion.

He has been called the “superman pope”, and it would be hard to deny that Pope Francis has had a good December. Cited by President Barack Obama as a key player in the thawing relations between the US and Cuba, the Argentinian pontiff followed that by lecturing his cardinals on the need to clean up Vatican politics. But can Francis achieve a feat that has so far eluded secular powers and inspire decisive action on climate change?

It looks as if he will give it a go. In 2015, the pope will issue a lengthy message on the subject to the world’s 1.2 billion Catholics, give an address to the UN general assembly and call a summit of the world’s main religions.

The reason for such frenetic activity, says Bishop Marcelo Sorondo, chancellor of the Vatican’s Pontifical Academy of Sciences, is the pope’s wish to directly influence next year’s crucial UN climate meeting in Paris, when countries will try to conclude 20 years of fraught negotiations with a universal commitment to reduce emissions.

“Our academics supported the pope’s initiative to influence next year’s crucial decisions,” Sorondo told Cafod, the Catholic development agency, at a meeting in London. “The idea is to convene a meeting with leaders of the main religions to make all people aware of the state of our climate and the tragedy of social exclusion.”

Following a visit in March to Tacloban, the Philippine city devastated in 2012 by typhoon Haiyan, the pope will publish a rare encyclical on climate change and human ecology. Urging all Catholics to take action on moral and scientific grounds, the document will be sent to the world’s 5,000 Catholic bishops and 400,000 priests, who will distribute it to parishioners.

According to Vatican insiders, Francis will meet other faith leaders and lobby politicians at the general assembly in New York in September, when countries will sign up to new anti-poverty and environmental goals.

In recent months, the pope has argued for a radical new financial and economic system to avoid human inequality and ecological devastation. In October he told a meeting of Latin American and Asian landless peasants and other social movements: “An economic system centered on the god of money needs to plunder nature to sustain the frenetic rhythm of consumption that is inherent to it.
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“The system continues unchanged, since what dominates are the dynamics of an economy and a finance that are lacking in ethics. It is no longer man who commands, but money. Cash commands.

“The monopolizing of lands, deforestation, the appropriation of water, inadequate agro-toxics are some of the evils that tear man from the land of his birth. Climate change, the loss of biodiversity and deforestation are already showing their devastating effects in the great cataclysms we witness,” he said.

In Lima last month, bishops from every continent expressed their frustration with the stalled climate talks and, for the first time, urged rich countries to act.

Sorondo, a fellow Argentinian who is known to be close to Pope Francis, said: “Just as humanity confronted revolutionary change in the 19th century at the time of industrialization, today we have changed the natural environment so much. If current trends continue, the century will witness unprecedented climate change and destruction of the ecosystem with tragic consequences.”

According to Neil Thorns, head of advocacy at Cafod, said: “The anticipation around Pope Francis’s forthcoming encyclical is unprecedented. We have seen thousands of our supporters commit to making sure their MPs know climate change is affecting the poorest communities.”

However, Francis’s environmental radicalism is likely to attract resistance from Vatican conservatives and in right wing church circles, particularly in the US – where Catholic climate sceptics also include John Boehner, Republican leader of the House of Representatives and Rick Santorum, the former Republican presidential candidate.

Cardinal George Pell, a former archbishop of Sydney who has been placed in charge of the Vatican’s budget, is a climate change sceptic who has been criticised for claiming that global warming has ceased and that if carbon dioxide in the atmosphere were doubled, then “plants would love it”.

Dan Misleh, director of the Catholic climate covenant, said: “There will always be 5-10% of people who will take offence. They are very vocal and have political clout. This encyclical will threaten some people and bring joy to others. The arguments are around economics and science rather than morality.

“A papal encyclical is rare. It is among the highest levels of a pope’s authority. It will be 50 to 60 pages long; it’s a big deal. But there is a contingent of Catholics here who say he should not be getting involved in political issues, that he is outside his expertise.”

Francis will also be opposed by the powerful US evangelical movement, said Calvin Beisner, spokesman for the conservative Cornwall Alliance for the Stewardship of Creation, which has declared the US environmental movement to be “un-biblical” and a false religion.

“The pope should back off,” he said. “The Catholic church is correct on the ethical principles but has been misled on the science. It follows that the policies the Vatican is promoting are incorrect. Our position reflects the views of millions of evangelical Christians in the US.”

Watch video response and analysis by Alex Jones

An Old Cowboy, His Trusty Horse And Faithful Dog

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An old cowboy was riding his trusty horse followed by his faithful dog along an unfamiliar road. The cowboy was enjoying the new scenery when he suddenly remembered dying and realized the dog beside him had been dead for years as had his horse. Confused, he wondered what was happening and where the trail was leading them.

After a while, they came to a high, white stone wall that looked like fine marble. At the top of a long hill it was broken by a tall arch topped by a golden letter “H” that glowed in the sunlight. Standing before it he saw a magnificent gate in the arch that looked like mother-of-pearl and the road that led to the gate looked like gold.

He rode toward the gate and as he got close he saw a man at a desk to one side. Parched and tired out by his journey he called out;

“Excuse me, where are we?”  “This is Heaven sir”, the man answered.
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“Wow! Would you happen to have some water?”, the man asked. “Of course sir, come right in and I’ll have some ice water brought right up”.

As the gate began to open the cowboy asked, “can I bring my partners too?”  “I am sorry sir but we don’t accept pets”.

The cowboy thought for a moment, then turned back to the road and continued riding, his dog trotting by his side.

After another long ride, at the top of another hill, he came to a dirt road leading through a ranch gate that looked as if it had never been closed. As he approached the gate he saw a man inside leaning against a tree and reading a book.

“Excuse me,”, he called to the man. “Do you have any water?” “Sure, there’s a pump right over there, help yourself.”

“How about my friends here?”, the traveler gestured to the dog and his horse. “Of course!, they look thirsty too,” said the man.

The trio went through the gate and sure enough, there was an old-fashioned hand pump with buckets beside it. The traveler filled a cup and the buckets with wonderfully cool water and took a long drink, as did his horse and dog. When they were full, he walked back to the man who was still standing by the tree;

“What do you call this place?”, the traveler asked. “This is Heaven”, he answered.

“That’s confusing”, the traveler said. “The man down the road said that was Heaven too”.

“Oh, you mean the place with the glitzy, gold road and fake pearly gates?, that’s hell.”

“Doesn’t it make you angry when they use your name like that?” “Not at all. Actually, we’re happy they screen out the folks who would leave their best friends behind…”

A Russian Plane Zaps U.S. Warship’s Missile Defense System


by
Gary North

An unarmed Russian bomber in April flew over a high-tech U.S. ship. A crew member pressed a button. Poof! No more missile defense system on the ship. No more radar. The ship became a defenseless floating coffin.

Then the plane flew over the blind ship a dozen times. Basically, it was “Nyah, nyah, nyah.”

This story got no play in American media.

On 10 April 2014, the USS Donald Cook entered the waters of the Black Sea and on 12 April a Russian Su-24 tactical bomber flew over the vessel triggering an incident that, according to several media reports, completely demoralized its crew, so much so that the Pentagon issued a protest.

The USS Donald Cook (DDG-75) is a 4th generation guided missile destroyer whose key weapons are Tomahawk cruise missiles with a range of up to 2,500 kilometers, and capable of carrying nuclear explosives. This ship carries 56 Tomahawk missiles in standard mode, and 96 missiles in attack mode.

The US destroyer is equipped with the most recent Aegis Combat System. It is an integrated naval weapons systems which can link together the missile defense systems of all vessels embedded within the same network, so as to ensure the detection, tracking and destruction of hundreds of targets at the same time. In addition, the USS Donald Cook is equipped with 4 large radars, whose power is comparable to that of several stations. For protection, it carries more than fifty anti-aircraft missiles of various types.

Meanwhile, the Russian Su-24 that buzzed the USS Donald Cook carried neither bombs nor missiles but only a basket mounted under the fuselage, which, according to the Russian newspaper Rossiyskaya Gazeta, contained a Russian electronic warfare device called Khibiny.

As the Russian jet approached the US vessel, the electronic device disabled all radars, control circuits, systems, information transmission, etc. on board the US destroyer. In other words, the all-powerful Aegis system, now hooked up — or about to be — with the defense systems installed on NATO’s most modern ships was shut down, as turning off the TV set with the remote control.

The Russian Su-24 then simulated a missile attack against the USS Donald Cook, which was left literally deaf and blind. As if carrying out a training exercise, the Russian aircraft — unarmed — repeated the same maneuver 12 times before flying away.

After that, the 4th generation destroyer immediately set sail towards a port in Romania.

Since that incident, which the Atlanticist media have carefully covered up despite the widespread reactions sparked among defense industry experts, no US ship has ever approached Russian territorial waters again.

According to some specialized media, 27 sailors from the USS Donald Cook requested to be relieved from active service.

Vladimir Balybine — director of the research center on electronic warfare and the evaluation of so-called “visibility reduction” techniques attached to the Russian Air Force Academy — made the following comment: “The more a radio-electronic system is complex, the easier it is to disable it through the use of electronic warfare.”

In short, “back to the drawing board!”

Problem: it takes about seven years for the Pentagon to design and deploy a new cyber security system. As for missile guidance systems, it takes even longer.

If you want to know how much bang for the taxpayer’s buck the Pentagon gets, begin here.

This is blind man’s bluff. The Pentagon is the blind man.

The Pentagon’s strategy is to play dumb. “Incident? What incident?”

Congressional hearings? Don’t hold your breath.

Now Russia’s defense minister says that Russian bombers will soon start patrolling the Gulf of Mexico.

George H. W. Bush and NATO promised in 1990 that NATO would not be expanded to Russia’s borders. Then NATO broke the promise. It was mission creep by a bloated bureaucracy, whose original mission was to defend Western Europe for a few hours against an invasion by the USSR until the USA launched nuclear missiles on the USSR. That mission officially ended in 1991, when the USSR committed suicide.

Russian bombers in the Gulf? We are now seeing tit-for-tat. It is mission creep from the other side.

All those Pentagon bucks! So little bang!

The Spike Series By Cold Steel

Spike Series

Cold Steel Bowie Spike Neck Knife, 53NBS. Entirely re-engineered in 2013, this Spike series continue to raise the bar for neck knives! Thin, light and super-tough, their razor sharp, zero ground blades, are complemented by heavily scalloped, textured handle scales that offer a comfortable, secure grip.
Integral quillons provide a safe stop for index finger and thumb, while the textured Faux G-10 provides excellent positive traction even when your hands are cold, wet and slippery.

Available in four distinctive blade shapes (Bowie, Drop Point, Tokyo and Tanto point) they offer all the strength of a solid steel one-piece construction (much stronger than any tactical folder and even rivaling the strength of some boot knives) while still being light enough to carry all day without fatigue.

The brand new Spike series come complete with all-new Secure-Ex sheaths that provide even greater retention and safety. Super lightweight (weighing in at 3oz. in the sheath!) the Spikes can be comfortably worn around the neck 24/7 by using the black bead lanyard provided, or carried on a waistband or belt by taking advantage of their new Tek-Lok™ compatible design.

Easily concealed, razor sharp and light as a feather — the Spike series by Cold Steel!

Good Alternative

New York State Healthcare = Gun Control

New York’s “No-Gun” List Balloons To 34,500 Names

The State of New York keeps a database of individuals that it considers too mentally ill to own a gun. Recently released figures indicate that the list has grown to a massive size and includes many people who pose no threat to the public.

Figures published last month indicate that the registry includes 34,500 people. Mental health doctors say that this figure far exceeds the number of people who actually have dangerous mental illnesses in the state.

“That seems extraordinarily high to me,” said Sam Tsemberis, the former director of New York City’s involuntary hospitalization program for homeless and dangerous people. “Assumed dangerousness is a far cry from actual dangerousness.”

The state of New York requires doctors, psychologists and social workers to notify county officials about patients who they believe should be prohibited from owning firearms. The decision for who qualifies for gun confiscation appears to be completely up to the doctor.

There have already been at least two cases where guns were confiscated from law-abiding citizens.

In 2013, a college librarian in Amherst, NY was forced to surrender his weapons despite no criminal record or indications of mental instability. Why? Because he had briefly been prescribed anti-anxiety medication.

Another individual, who remains anonymous, also had his pistol permit revoked after the state found out that he was seeing a therapist for anxiety. He had no criminal record or history of violence.

Now it appears that thousands of other peaceful citizens could face similar consequences.

source: Sean Linnane

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Furious 7 – Trailer

Take five with Marty Robbins y’all

County Officials Use 24 Cops and Military Vehicle To Collect Civil Judgment

Marathon County sent this armored vehicle along with two dozen officers to collect a civil judgment from Roger Hoeppner and possibly remove wooden pallets and other items from his home outside Wausau.

Escorted 75 year old to bank and forced to withdraw $80,000 and hand it over to police

by Bruce Vielmetti

When officials in the tiny Town of Stettin in Marathon County went to collect a civil judgment from 75-year-old Roger Hoeppner this month, they sent 24 armed officers and an armored military vehicle.

Among other issues, the recent unrest in Ferguson, Mo., focused attention on the growing militarization of local law enforcement, particularly the use by even very small police departments of surplus armored military vehicles.

Marathon County sheriff’s officials aren’t apologizing for their tactics. Sheriff’s Capt. Greg Bean said officials expected to have to seize and remove tractors and wooden pallets to pay the judgment — hence the cadre of deputies. He also said what while Hoeppner was never considered dangerous, he was known to be argumentative.

Hoeppner said when he noticed deputies outside his house, he called his attorney, Ryan Lister of Wausau. Lister said he quickly left for Hoeppner’s house but was stopped by a roadblock that was kept up until after his client had been taken away in handcuffs. “Rather than provide Mr. Hoeppner or his counsel notice…and attempt to collect without spending thousands of taxpayer dollars on the military-style maneuvers, the town unilaterally decided to enforce its civil judgment” with a show of force, Lister said.

Bean said deputies had to handcuff Hoeppner because he was not following all their instructions, but did eventually agree to pay the $80,000 judgment after a visit to a bank — accompanied by deputies.

Bean also said the armored truck was summoned only after Hoeppner initially refused to come out of his house. Once the truck appeared, so did Hoeppner.

“I’ve been involved in about five standoff situations where, as soon as the MARV showed up, the person gives up,” saving time, money and increasing safety, Bean said.

Madison’s police recently made a similar endorsement after officers used one to carry out the safe arrest of a man who had fired at police from a window of his home.

MARV stands for Marathon County Response Vehicle, which his department obtained in 2011. It’s the only one in the county and gets used 10 to 20 times a year, Bean said.

“People may not always understand why, but an armored vehicle is almost a necessity now,” Bean said.

Long Standing Rift:

Hoeppner has filed a notice of claim against the town, and is considering a federal civil rights lawsuit, according to a Madison attorney who represents him in another case about Hoeppner’s right to speak at town meetings.

“It’s a long-running, heavily litigated dispute over his use of his property,” said the lawyer, Jeff Scott Olson. “They’re trying to collect in a very heavy-handed manner.”

Hoeppner owns about 20 acres along Packer Drive, which runs nearly parallel with Highway 29 west of Wausau, where he restores antique tractors and runs a pallet repair business. The latter at times featured giant piles of the wooden pallets visible from Packer Drive.

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In 2008, the town sued Hoeppner over claimed violations of ordinances about zoning, signs, rubbish and vehicles. About a year later, the two sides settled; Hoeppner was supposed to clean up his property, and the town was supposed to open discussions about its zoning.

The town felt Hoeppner had not complied, and it brought a motion for contempt and enforcement. In September 2010, a judge ordered Hoeppner to remove certain items from his land.

The following May, the judge found Hoeppner had still not complied and authorized the town to seize assets. In the summer of 2011, the town hauled away several tractors, pallets, equipment and other items and auctioned them off for “pennies on the dollar,” according to Lister.

But the dispute wasn’t over. In April 2013, the judge entered a final judgment that imposed a $500-a-day fine against Hoeppner for not adhering to the original May 2011 order, and granting the town’s legal fees.

Hoeppner appealed, but lost in a March ruling. So by Oct. 2, he owed the town about $80,000, according to court records, and the Town of Stettin obtained a writ of execution to collect — without notice to Hoeppner or his attorneys, they say.

Threats Alleged:

Town Chairman Matt Wasmundt said neither he nor other town officials and their attorneys could comment about Hoeppner or the serving of the writ, citing pending litigation and “threats.”

Hoeppner, retired from a job at a paper factory, and Lister deny Hoeppner ever engaged in threats of any kind against Wasmundt or other town officials.

In a federal civil rights suit, Hoeppner contends that Wasmundt infringed on his free speech rights by calling deputies to town board meetings where Hoeppner wished to address the board during public comment periods, and for later eliminating public comment entirely from meeting agendas.

Once, Hoeppner said, he was arrested by the deputies at Wasmundt’s direction, only to later be released without charge.

Town Called Unfair:

In an interview, he said he wanted to address what he felt was the town’s unfair focus on his property, when there are dozens of others arguably in violation of the town’s zoning, which is all agricultural-residential.

He said he felt Wasmundt has a “vendetta” against him and a “my way or the highway” style of running the town.

He described deputies with guns drawn walking around his garage.

Asked if he was, as the sheriff’s captain described him, argumentative, Hoeppner admitted he was probably “hostile,” though not threatening when confronted with a writ.

“The $86,000 figure is enough to shock most men,” he said. “And they wanted it now, today.” He said the town later agreed to $6,000 less because it wouldn’t have to pay for hauling away his other equipment to sell.

Hoeppner estimates that, in all, his battle with the town has cost him about $200,000, a retirement fund he “worked very hard to accumulate.” In addition, he said, his arrest the day the armored truck appeared upset his wife so much, he had to take her to a hospital for a few hours.

What Happens When Your Friend’s Smartphone Can Tell That You’re Lying?


Get ready for that smartphone to know your true feelings. (Michael Nagle/Bloomberg)

In just a few weeks, the next installment of “The Hunger Games” will arrive in movie theaters. The latest in a long line of films to depict a future all-knowing or controlling government — think “1984” or “Minority Report” — the dystopian tale will likely be a runaway hit. But the power to seem all-knowing – or at least know more than do now – may soon lie in technology that’s already in the palm of your hand.

We are nearing a point where our smartphones will be able to recognize a face or voice, in real life or on-screen. And identification is only the most basic of the possibilities. Many app-makers are experimenting with software that can also analyze – able to determine someone’s emotions or honesty just by a few facial cues.

This interpersonal assessment technology promises to make our lives easier. For instance, facial recognition technology can allow people to get immediate and amazing customer service. If a restaurant or retailer can identify me before I walk in the door, it would be able to identify me as a returning customer, accessing my favorite dishes or products. I would be greeted like an old friend (whether I were, or not).

Similarly, algorithms are now being developed that link thousands of facial cues with human emotions. Our brains do this naturally – we know without asking whether someone is happy or upset based only on their expressions. Law enforcement and poker players take this a step further, using facial cues to determine someone’s honesty. But with technology augmenting our brain’s natural behavior – possibly providing direct, measurable and verifiable input – we can produce measurable and verifiable data. As sensors move from our smartphones to activity trackers to smart watches from Apple and Samsung, we are measuring more than ever and are not far off from continuously tracking our emotions. And software is now in development to interpret people’s emotions, then project the results via an app onto a screen such as Google Glass.

Technology can also analyze the human voice to determine emotion – again, not just mimicking, but surpassing our brain’s abilities. Moodies, an app developed by Beyond Verbal, is able to detect a speaker’s mood based on nothing more than a voice. Worldwide call centers are testing the technology to help operators determine whether callers are upset and likely to switch their business to a competitor.

There are also some potentially negative consequences. If you can simply run a person’s image and voice through an app to determine their emotions and veracity, we will have to adjust as a society. Many of our daily interactions are built on small lies: “So happy to see you”, “Of course I remember you,” and “This is the best (food, activity or place).” In other words, society’s function is smoothed by little white lies – do we really want to eliminate that?

As we uncover our deceptions – implicit and explicit, including those of which we have convinced even ourselves – a market for technology that hides our emotions will arise. Entrepreneurs may create “emotion-cloaking devices.” Facial coverings may become more popular. Perhaps there’ll be sanctuaries where no devices are allowed, either by custom or law — an atmosphere akin to how we now feel about taking pictures in public bathrooms and kids’ classrooms.

One thing is for sure: politics is in for a major overhaul. With every smartphone possessing a virtual lie-detector test, elected officials will need to be creative in the ways they talk to us. In fact, my fear is the most insecure and most powerful politicians will resist, and quickly seek to regulate or restrict these technologies — ignoring their obvious good — in a hidden but discoverable attempt to preserve their own power and half-truths.

Ready or not, technologies are quickly arriving, which allow us to assess other people to a degree of accuracy we never before imagined. While by no means a cure for Alzheimer’s — at least in the disease’s early stages — facial recognition software could supplement a sufferer’s slowly deteriorating memory and help recall acquaintances, friends and loved ones.

Before we rush to decry these assessment technologies, we must also consider their incredible array of benefits. If this “recognition revolution” can indeed realize its potential, won’t it absolutely be worth a little uncertainty today?

Know Your Enemy

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A Veteran Policeman’s Observations on The Free Shit Army

Source: SurvivalBlog

A lot has been written warning us of what will happen when the City Dwellers find their homes are untenable and vacate [en masse as The Golden Horde] for “the country”, but I haven’t seen anything on what the make-up of these hordes will be. The generic term “city dwellers” encompasses a lot of territory. Who will they be,what kind of shape will they be in, how will they be armed…all of these need to be examined.

One category needs to be examined, I feel, more closely than others. Since I have seen posts on your site lately dealing with the nitty-gritty, unpleasant aspects of prepping, I think this is a needed look into what’s out there. I’ve been a cop over 20 years, my last uniform assignment before moving to Investigator being a two year stretch of Anti-Crime patrols in the Section 8 Housing projects of my city. This put me into contact with some of the “Worst of the Worst” that will be fleeing the cities in time of trouble. Gang-bangers, common street thugs, dope dealers and users, all have a place in the hierarchy of the streets. And they will certainly be part of what preppers will be facing in times of troubles. Here’s some of what I have learned:

The bottom rung is occupied by the drug addicts and users. They exist, not live as we understand the word. They have no assets, no goals, no drive. But they do have an almost animal instinct to continue living. They will be armed with anything they can steal or lay hands on. Most will have a knife of razor box cutter, and some sort of cheap pistol, or they will not live to get out of the city. Since they have no resources or assets, they will be on the edge of starvation and desperation almost within a day of an event. With no fixed residence or place to defend, they will be hitting the road and coming towards us. They will become violent without any provocation and there will be no negotiating or bargaining with them. They don’t want to hear your story or excuses. All they want is what you have. And have no doubts: They will do anything to get what they want. And this does include catering to their most base instincts of rape, murder and mutilation. Letting someone like this even close to you and what you have is flirting with death.  

The next and most numerous will be the drones who make up the majority of the project dwellers. They live on Government Entitlement checks, have no assets and, on any given day will have no more than 3 or 4 days supply of food in their apartments,most of this being refrigerated. There will be a high percentage of females without male companions,will have a large number of children and will be absolutely vicious and violently inclined. Their day to day existence within the defined society they live in demands they be aggressive and violent.They fight more, and are arrested more,than the males they live around. The males will have more serious charges, but the females will have more of them. They too cannot be trusted. If they are drug users, they will, and have, traded their children for drugs, and, based on this proven behavior, will most certainly abandon them or trade them if the situation calls for it. Seeing that you are supplied, they will leave their children in your yard and walk away, counting on your liberal Good Samaritan instinct that has always bailed them out in the past to care for their offspring and justify that to themselves as “doing what they have to do”. Knowing that they will do something as low as this,be assured they will do much worse. They habitually carry razor knives and small pistols such as .25 ACPs and .380 ACPs. They are very dangerous and unstable folks to be around. These females may or may not be accompanied by men. The males may be linked biologically to one or more of the children but will abandon them as easily as the females. These males come from the lower order of males (see next classification) and will be armed as described next.  

The next order of classification will be unattached or drone males. These males tend to be convicted of felonies before they are 21 and who hang around the other, more productive males who deal drugs and have money. They will also be the so-called “foot soldiers” of the drug and street gangs. They exhibit sociopath behavior and have no allegiance to anyone except maybe a family member, usually referred to as a “cousin” or a gang. They live off the female drones by paying cash rent, gained by low level drug dealing and petty crimes, to a female who has Section 8 housing, for a room that they sleep in and usually have no other attachment such as taking meals there.They live off fast food,carry guns of dubious origin and consume massive amounts of drugs and alcohol, mostly beer and cheap brandy and marijuana. They will not have any assets to defend, may accompany the female who rents them a room and will hang around the cities and projects only as long as their cohorts do. They will leave in junky vehicles,steal what they need along the way and kill,rob,rape and pillage their way across the countryside. Their weapons tend to be of the pistol variety although they may have access to shortened, easily concealable shotguns or rifles. Their lifestyle doesn’t give them a secure place to hide or keep long guns,but they will steal and use them if given a chance. They will also have some type of blade weapon and be proficient with the use of them. They are very dangerous to anyone who comes into contact with them. The last and highest order will be the moneyed drug dealer.He will have a flashy vehicle such as an Escalade or Lexus variety. He will have quality firearms, preferring Glock handguns and SKS or AK type rifles and will have ammunition for them in quantity. He will be arrogant and a definite killer. He will have assets to defend and may not leave his comfort zone until forced by authorities or circumstances. He will have “foot soldiers” and a woman traveling with him, but probably not children. He will travel well and be charming when trying to gain confidence or talk himself out of a jam. He will also be vicious and hateful, full of spite at those he sees as having taken away his lifestyle and means of making a living. He most probably will not have a lot in the way of supplies such as food and medical equipment, tending to live in the moment and not for the future. He will be one of the opportunistic “I’ll just take what I need” types. He will be very cunning, having risen to the top of the street hierarchy,and all the more dangerous because of this.  

When dealing with all of the above types, caution is the word. Never let them get even a glimpse of what you have. Never let them get past your outer barrier, be that a fence, abatis or boundary line. Its best to keep verbal contact to the barest minimum. A terse: “We have nothing, go away or we will shoot” is a good example. I have seen them be charming and seemingly harmless while edging into a fence gate or otherwise getting closer until they are in range to strike. You must always remember the 20 foot rule (Never let anyone get closer than 20 feet from you at any time). It is important to remember also that the longer they have been roaming and stealing,the better armed they may be, having stolen others firearms and equipment. Seeing an obvious street thug carrying an expensive scoped rifle or an engraved shotgun should be a tip off as to what they are. These type people would never spend money on a gun that may be taken by the law at anytime in their day to day existence. They do worship Glocks and the glamor they see in them. A dealer told me once, when confessing to an assault “I just outs with my Glock .40 and let it holla” as if he had done something great.  

I know that most people who read your blogs are aware enough to keep strangers away from their refuge.But if someone has never lived around these types of people,they may not be aware of just how dangerous they really are. As I mentioned,they can be charming,cunning and deceitful. They have lived their entire lives off the goodwill of others and The Government and are past masters at pretending to be needy,harmless and “safe”. Guile is engrained in them.   I leave you with one short story. In the days after Hurricane Katrina, we were reinforced with officers from other agencies, many states away, who had volunteered to help. (I was not in New Orleans, but on the edge of the hurricane strike) I was partnered with a state SWAT officer from up North. This man was experienced and a “steady hand”. As we walked through some of the power blacked-out , sweltering-in-the-heat projects, he turned to me and said: “This is worse than Mogadishu”. He was scared and had good reason to be. And this was after only three days of no electricity and relief was just starting to arrive. Think about those same areas after a real failure of services and food deliveries.   Good Luck.

50 Years Later: Reagan’s ’A Time for Choosing’ Speech

Fifty years ago Monday, Ronald Reagan gave the speech that launched his career in politics and made him a star.  The speech, called “A Time for Choosing,” aired to a prime time NBC audience and made him a household name.

 

 

Law Lets I.R.S. Seize Accounts on Suspicion, No Crime Required


Carole Hinders at her modest, cash-only Mexican restaurant in Arnolds Park, Iowa. Last year tax agents seized her funds. Credit Angela Jimenez for The New York Times

by Shaila Dewain

ARNOLDS PARK, Iowa — For almost 40 years, Carole Hinders has dished out Mexican specialties at her modest cash-only restaurant. For just as long, she deposited the earnings at a small bank branch a block away — until last year, when two tax agents knocked on her door and informed her that they had seized her checking account, almost $33,000.

The Internal Revenue Service agents did not accuse Ms. Hinders of money laundering or cheating on her taxes — in fact, she has not been charged with any crime. Instead, the money was seized solely because she had deposited less than $10,000 at a time, which they viewed as an attempt to avoid triggering a required government report.

“How can this happen?” Ms. Hinders said in a recent interview. “Who takes your money before they prove that you’ve done anything wrong with it?”

The federal government does.

Using a law designed to catch drug traffickers, racketeers and terrorists by tracking their cash, the government has gone after run-of-the-mill business owners and wage earners without so much as an allegation that they have committed serious crimes. The government can take the money without ever filing a criminal complaint, and the owners are left to prove they are innocent. Many give up.


The I.R.S. seized almost $33,000 from Ms. Hinders. Credit Angela Jimenez for The New York Times

“They’re going after people who are really not criminals,” said David Smith, a former federal prosecutor who is now a forfeiture expert and lawyer in Virginia. “They’re middle-class citizens who have never had any trouble with the law.”

On Thursday, in response to questions from The New York Times, the I.R.S. announced that it would curtail the practice, focusing instead on cases where the money is believed to have been acquired illegally or seizure is deemed justified by “exceptional circumstances.”

Richard Weber, the chief of Criminal Investigation at the I.R.S., said in a written statement, “This policy update will ensure that C.I. continues to focus our limited investigative resources on identifying and investigating violations within our jurisdiction that closely align with C.I.’s mission and key priorities.” He added that making deposits under $10,000 to evade reporting requirements, called structuring, is still a crime whether the money is from legal or illegal sources. The new policy will not apply to past seizures.

The I.R.S. is one of several federal agencies that pursue such cases and then refer them to the Justice Department. The Justice Department does not track the total number of cases pursued, the amount of money seized or how many of the cases were related to other crimes, said Peter Carr, a spokesman.

But the Institute for Justice, a Washington-based public interest law firm that is seeking to reform civil forfeiture practices, analyzed structuring data from the I.R.S., which made 639 seizures in 2012, up from 114 in 2005. Only one in five was prosecuted as a criminal structuring case.

The practice has swept up dairy farmers in Maryland, an Army sergeant in Virginia saving for his children’s college education and Ms. Hinders, 67, who has borrowed money, strained her credit cards and taken out a second mortgage to keep her restaurant going.

Their money was seized under an increasingly controversial area of law known as civil asset forfeiture, which allows law enforcement agents to take property they suspect of being tied to crime even if no criminal charges are filed. Law enforcement agencies get to keep a share of whatever is forfeited.

Critics say this incentive has led to the creation of a law enforcement dragnet, with more than 100 multi-agency task forces combing through bank reports, looking for accounts to seize. Under the Bank Secrecy Act, banks and other financial institutions must report cash deposits greater than $10,000. But since many criminals are aware of that requirement, banks also are supposed to report any suspicious transactions, including deposit patterns below $10,000. Last year, banks filed more than 700,000 suspicious activity reports. Owners who are caught up in structuring cases often cannot afford to fight. The median amount seized by the I.R.S. was $34,000, according to the Institute for Justice analysis, while legal costs can easily mount to $20,000 or more.

There is nothing illegal about depositing less than $10,000cash unless it is done specifically to evade the reporting requirement. But often a mere bank statement is enough for investigators to obtain a seizure warrant. In one Long Island case, the police submitted almost a year’s worth of daily deposits by a business, ranging from $5,550 to $9,910. The officer wrote in his warrant affidavit that based on his training and experience, the pattern “is consistent with structuring.” The government seized $447,000 from the business, a cash-intensive candy and cigarette distributor that has been run by one family for 27 years.

There are often legitimate business reasons for keeping deposits below $10,000, said Larry Salzman, a lawyer with the Institute for Justice who is representing Ms. Hinders and the Long Island family pro bono. For example, he said, a grocery store owner in Fraser, Mich., had an insurance policy that covered only up to $10,000 cash. When he neared the limit, he would make a deposit.

Ms. Hinders said that she did not know about the reporting requirement and that for decades, she thought she had been doing everyone a favor.


Jeff Hirsch, an owner of Bi-County Distributors on Long Island. The government seized $447,000 from the business, a candy and cigarette distributor run by one family for 27 years. Credit Bryan Thomas for The New York Times

“My mom had told me if you keep your deposits under $10,000, the bank avoids paperwork,” she said. “I didn’t actually think it had anything to do with the I.R.S.”

In May 2012, the bank branch Ms. Hinders used was acquired by Northwest Banker. JoLynn Van Steenwyk, the fraud and security manager for Northwest, said she could not discuss individual clients, but explained that the bank did not have access to past account histories after it acquired Ms. Hinders’s branch.

Banks are not permitted to advise customers that their deposit habits may be illegal or educate them about structuring unless they ask, in which case they are given a federal pamphlet, Ms. Van Steenwyk said. “We’re not allowed to tell them anything,” she said.

Still lawyers say it is not unusual for depositors to be advised by financial professionals, or even bank tellers, to keep their deposits below the reporting threshold. In the Long Island case, the company, Bi-County Distributors, had three bank accounts closed because of the paperwork burden of its frequent cash deposits, said Jeff Hirsch, the eldest of three brothers who own the company. Their accountant then recommended staying below the limit, so for more than a decade the company had been using its excess cash to pay vendors.

More than two years ago, the government seized $447,000, and the brothers have been unable to retrieve it. Mr. Salzman, who has taken over legal representation of the brothers, has argued that prosecutors violated a strict timeline laid out in the Civil Asset Forfeiture Reform Act, passed in 2000 to curb abuses. The office of the federal attorney for the Eastern District of New York said the law’s timeline did not apply in this case. Still, prosecutors asked the Hirsch’s first lawyer, Joseph Potashnik, to waive the CARFA timeline. The waiver he signed expired almost two years ago.

The federal attorney’s office said that parties often voluntarily negotiated to avoid going to court, and that Mr. Potashnik had been engaged in talks until just a few months ago. But Mr. Potashnik said he had spent that time trying, to no avail, to show that the brothers were innocent. They even paid a forensic accounting firm $25,000 to check the books.

“I don’t think they’re really interested in anything,” Mr. Potashnik said of the prosecutors. “They just want the money.”

Bi-County has survived only because longtime vendors have extended credit — one is owed almost $300,000, Mr. Hirsch said. Twice, the government has made settlement offers that would require the brothers to give up an “excessive” portion of the money, according to a new court filing.

“We’re just hanging on as a family here,” Mr. Hirsch said. “We weren’t going to take a settlement, because I was not guilty.”

Army Sgt. Jeff Cortazzo of Arlington, Va., began saving for his daughters’ college costs during the financial crisis, when many banks were failing. He stored cash first in his basement and then in a safe-deposit box. All of the money came from paychecks, he said, but he worried that when he deposited it in a bank, he would be forced to pay taxes on the money again. So he asked the bank teller what to do.

“She said: ‘Oh, that’s easy. You just have to deposit less than $10,000.’”

The government seized $66,000; settling cost Sergeant Cortazzo $21,000. As a result, the eldest of his three daughters had to delay college by a year.

“Why didn’t the teller tell me that was illegal?” he said. “I would have just plopped the whole thing in the account and been done with it.”

 

The New Great Depression

new poverty

by Mrs. Cogs

A few years back Peter Schiff opined the Great Depression of the 1930s would look like a Sunday school picnic compared to what is headed our way. Without a doubt the cat is out of the bag. Everyone knows things are not going well. Unfortunately, it seems most people think that fixing the system, changing the politicians, tweaking the rules and the return to honorable ways of yesteryear hold the solution to restoring our idea of a stable and prosperous society.

The disconnect is easy to perceive when we compare black and white faded photos from the 1930’s of dusty farms, soup lines and children who don’t smile to the modern edgy world images from our cell phones, televisions and computers of how things supposedly are now. We live in a bright and vivid world where descriptions have been meticulously spoon fed to us so we will largely act according to how others might see us and we can feel better about ourselves. This only works until financial or emotional changes crash into our lives such as the Big One roaring towards us all now.

The New Depression already began and the news blackout is deafening. Aside from malcontents who insist upon harping on unpleasant subjects and who have no desire to participate in society’s uniform “solutions”, one only has to watch a Sunday football game and it’s commercials to be refreshed in the programming that the American dream indeed lives on. It’s right there in front of us to see with our own eyes and if you are not living that life you are obviously doing something wrong. (And obviously this is sarcasm.)

americandream

As the government has altered the methods to compute inflation, unemployment and debt, the headlines are meaningless since we can no longer use these measures to compare with numbers from the past. Most people are so busy and programmed in their complicated lives that even if it is noticed, what could we possibly do about it? So we suck it up and proceed, feeling better after we catch that prescribed Sunday game. If we’re lucky we have a few like minded friends or family members to gripe to about the state of things before we carry on in the same manner. Until we can’t.

The modern day New Depression has indeed arrived, it just hasn’t been announced yet. Draw your own conclusions. The population of America: 319 million or 4.4% of the people in the world. Americans who are of working age and are “out of the work force”: 92 million. The average household worth compared to ten years ago: 36% less. Number of homeless people in America: 1.75 million (and those are the ones they can find to count). The percent of American college grads supported by parents two years after attaining their degree: 50%. The number of Americans who lead hungry lives: 31 million.

It is here and it’s about to get much uglier. How our personal future develops is largely dependent upon the mindset we each adopt now. As many of us have recently concluded, this postponement of announcing the reality and truth of the dire situation has bought us time. This is our wiggle room. It may last for a few more years or it may end next month.

What is required is something we can choose voluntarily or wait until it is forced upon us by circumstances. It is a critical examination and re-prioritizing of what we value. More than just taking for granted a roof over our heads and a meal when we are hungry a new mindset, or rather a return to what many consider old school views, is called for.

In a world of instant gratification and narcissistic attitudes, where many collect affirmation from unlimited sources via social media, all those “likes” aren’t going to mean so much when one is suddenly living in their car. Who won on the reality TV show of the week will quickly become meaningless when the kids are hungry. These rude awakenings happen every day for people and continue at an accelerated rate.

For years now I have followed the progress of well meaning people trying to change this downhill progression of behavior and the resulting events by means of protest, political change or through the alternative media. While more people are becoming aware of the true reality swirling around the pretty images of life still broadcasted to us, the system careens towards the tar pits and our efforts must first and foremost be focused upon ourselves. As I have stated many times before, if we are to help anyone else we must first put on our own oxygen mask and breathe deeply.

There are some tough truths to think about if you are going to save yourself. The one that knocked me off my feet was learning that if I don’t know how to take care of myself, then I am dependent upon others. And that is about to be a very bad thing. I realized I depended upon an employer to pay me so I could pay for food, water, heat, housing, basic sanitation; in essence every product I use. And I depend upon other people to do their job so I can access these goods and services. Many now depend upon the government to provide what they cannot. The opportunity to alter the way we depend upon others to fill our needs may or may to not be available or affordable in the future. And this deficiency exposes each of us to assured failure at some point along the line.

poverty in the USAWikiHow now supplies us with instructions on How To Live On The Street.

I was not really providing any of this for myself, but rather depending upon everyone else’s specialties to supply goods and services to me and others. The risk that another cannot or will not fulfill their end of this collective bargain is known as counter-party risk. As our systems degrade, this risk will be the weakest link for most people.

Being prepared for events or changing times is a very good idea, one I wholeheartedly endorse. But to only prepare yourself for a rough patch and then to expect life will continue with business as usual, because (after all) it always has, is foolish in the face of a paradigm change such as the magnitude the world is facing.

Never before have global systems of banking, food, natural resources and information been so over-leveraged and extended. When the music stops and everybody reaches for their chair, rather than one person being left without a seat, there will be one heavily protected chair for every 20 or 30 people. That is when the New Depression becomes official and is acknowledged in a public out loud voice.

It won’t matter whether the catalyst is blamed on an epidemic, terrorism or even Krugman’s alien invasion. Finally everyone will see that the music has stopped playing and be forced to recognize we are living in a very different world. May I humbly propose that what that world becomes for each of us ultimately largely depends upon what we do now.

For me, as I expect is also the case for many of you, making decisions that bring about big changes in our lives will be met with great disapproval of those closest to you. We live in a society where change is bad and should be resisted, unless of course it involves upward mobility and better “things”.

Moving to a smaller house? Yanking the kids out of the school system where their friends are? Leaving the urban jungle for parts unknown? This is just crazy talk. After all, in order to have these be positive changes, one would need to acknowledge that happiness does not come from what we have in life or how others perceive us. It requires a huge deliberate mental adjustment. I would suggest that this decision is your proverbial oxygen mask. Breathe deep and become comfortable with the new air. I think you’ll find it much fresher.

Rethinking the big picture involves “crazy talk” such as considering the liquidation of today’s luxuries and believed future security for a different goal. Try telling anyone who understands finance that you are thinking of quitting your job so you can get your hands on your 401k so you can cash it out after paying 45% in penalties and taxes. Then add the part about downsizing your home and lifestyle and for a while you will find you’ve become the new cautionary tale that person tells others about.

But here is the thing you can’t get around. When the music stops playing, whatever you have is all you have. Whether those ‘things’ consist of retirement funds, brokerage accounts or whatever you have at the bank, or public ‘benefits’ such as Social Security, disability, Medicare, Medicaid or EBT, all of them are just pieces of paper with a promise on it and you will NOT be on the short list of people to get what they expect. The late comedian George Carlin informed us many years ago, “It’s a small club and you ain’t in it.”

hungry

For now, those paper promises are still being delivered. The US Dollar has not become so debased it is worthless….yet. Capital controls have not yet been completely implemented to ‘protect’ your retirement funds from yourself. Even if you have no savings and are receiving food stamps and government aid, there are many choices everyone can make to be less dependent upon others, even if each seems like an inconsequential baby step. Every step you can take to provide something for yourself is a victory.

This is not your granny’s depression, this is the New Depression where anybody who really desires to can access the information highway and find alternatives, especially with a bit of help. As the systems we depend upon degrade, we can actually improve our lives with each decision we act upon as we learn that our needs and wants aren’t really what we were taught they are.

As the momentum of change progresses, the fear levels will increase and the herd will be corralled in various directions, often not ultimately in their best interest. The only way to avoid the majority of the chaos is to be able to depend upon yourself. Roll up your sleeves, it’s going to take a lot of time and hard work.

Many definitions are going to need revising such as what is ‘normal’ and what does one ‘deserve’. How we choose to look at life will determine the new normal and will predicate what we create and how we treat others. If the rules are all about to change, what better time to set an example such as showing small kindnesses or taking the generosity of our time to teach someone something useful? Maybe I cannot save the current system, but I certainly can turn to my neighbor and lend a hand.

I would suggest that before the brunt of the storm hits that all of us, even those far ahead of the curve, take some extra time to consider what we need and value. If you think because you are but one person that what you choose and how you act doesn’t make a difference, I am here to say you are wrong. How you write the narrative of your own reality makes all the difference in the world.

Teaching the next ones a better way.
Teaching the next ones a better way.

Mobility: Something To Think About

https://i0.wp.com/www.survivalnewsonline.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/BOL-cabin.gif

by Fren2ken

The concept of Bunker-in-Place as the best solution to the SHTF scenario has been the first choice of Preppers for a long time. To that end, we build up our supplies, choose our locations carefully, reinforce our dwellings, keep a low profile, and also stock ammo. This preparation ideally includes training oneself and establishing a small community of trusted fellow Preppers in fairly remote locations who have varied skill sets to make the community (SOC = Self Organizing Collective) self-sufficient. This is great. There remain, however, many folks that are unable to become fully integrated into a SOC for any number of valid reasons including lacking opportunity for contact, or other communications issues. It is to those Preppers that I address this discussion. The fact that you are reading this article on American Preppers Network is a good start towards communicating with fellow Preppers.

What do you do when, despite your best planning and preparation, you and your dependents are “caught out in the cold” when the SHFT happens? You gather your family together in your site. You have done the best you can to stockpile food and supplies for your family. You relocated your residence to a place that, to the best of your ability and resources, is as far away from the perceived danger zones as you could get. You built out your domicile as far as possible given your money and time constraints. You have trained and gained knowledge to the best of your ability but, you have not been able to get connected with others who are like-minded. You know that your location and support structure may have a limited time before you may be forced to Bug-out. You didn’t have the opportunity, money, or contacts to preposition caches through the countryside. Right? Now what do you do? The “balloon has gone up” and you foresee the end to your “bunker-in-place” strategy’s ability to support you. It is too late to consider new options if you reach that point and haven’t been able to plan for, or hoped the time would come that you would need to, prepare for a Bug-Out ahead of time.

Staying in-place for as long as possible with a low profile is always preferable to moving around due to the inherent dangers of travel in a post SHTF world, especially while the event(s) is/are in progress. Most Prepping sites and blogs have great info concerning everything except how to get you someplace else when things either become too dangerous or unsustainable where you are. The primary concentration of most sites is for critical item preparation and the mobility aspect is given little attention. There WILL come a time when, if you are not already established in a permanent Prepper community (SOC), you will find it necessary to seek out and join those communities. When that time comes, you want to have resources and knowledge to offer them when you get there, so as to not be a drain on their own already (likely) stretched resources.

Some of the solutions from down-to-Earth and knowledgeable Preppers have limitations that may not work for you. They generally advocate backpacking or biking out to a new location. These work but, limit what you are able to carry with you, depend on fair/good weather, and they assume that all your party are able to do the same. What do you do with remaining food, munitions, weapons, hand tools, raw materials, books, extra clothing, etc. that you don’t have carry capacity for but will have to be left behind when you decide to B-O? Make hard choices of what to leave behind, hoping you don’t leave something critical? How far can you travel in a day with your children or elders while loaded down to the max? Is it far enough to get you away from danger zones in a timely manner? What resources will you have left to offer to any SOC communities of fellow Preppers you encounter? Will you have barter goods? Excess food? Fuel? Can you carry enough weaponry and ammo to assure your safety?

As we begin this discussion, you are probably thinking, “I’ll load up the family car and slide down the road.” Sorry. Not a very good answer. The major highways will be littered with abandoned vehicles and patrolled by whatever entities are in charge by that point. That makes for a very high risk adventure. Secondary and tertiary roads are likely to be lower on the priority lists of patrols and to be more open than the major highways. Dirt roads and trails are most likely to be passable, particularly in the more rural areas. Make sure that you have local maps with trail and fire-road level detail. How will your family car deal with them? Answer: Not well and likely not for long. Your 1/2 –Ton pickup? Better but with limitations for passenger capacity. So. Now what? That is what we will attempt to address in this series. There are no perfect answers to these questions in an indeterminate SHTF aftermath. Our intent is to help increase your odds of being able to Bug-Out successfully, when time comes, by stimulating your thinking and invoking your Prep Planning muscles toward mobility.

In this series of articles, we explore the topic of mobility, with the goal of maximizing the load-out capabilities of your preparations and survivability when the bug-out time comes. While I don’t have all the answers, I have spent many years as an engineer and analyst of mobile systems in the DoD world. I am hoping to share concepts with you and cause you to seriously evaluate your mobility options and plans for Bugging-Out, should it become necessary. The Post SHTF world will be a dangerous and alien place…we can be sure of that. The time to plan is now. Part 2 of this series will take a top-level look at mobility plans. Again, the goal here is to start the thought process and give a venue for discussion. Please join in the discussion and share your views. There are no perfect answers. We can get more answers by sharing information and asking questions.

Preparing To Move:

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In most Prepper’s planning, there must be a contingency plan for Bugging Out. Sooner or later, most of us will run into the possibility that our location will no be longer be sustainable or defensible. This is most likely to occur if we are unable to form an association with a larger group of like-minded people (such as a Prepper SOC) or, when that group is too far away to be able to support us (and us them) in real-time. It is that point in time that we are looking at.

In preparation for SHTF or other disaster, we stocked up on all the items that we anticipate we will need for at least 3-months or more. This includes stored food, water (or a good source), tools, fuel, usable scrap materials, and shelter. Take a good look at the weight and bulk of all those items. How much of it are you able to take with you when you need to abandon your shelter? How many people are in your shelter group?

Establish a priority list of items. There are many reference sources in APN and other websites that will help you prioritize. We will not go into those here but, you need to compile that list. Make a list of minimum essentials for a 2-week duration from the priority list. Make that the list of items you plan to Bug-Out with. Now it is time for the list of “It would be nice to have” items that are what is left. Let’s look at what transportation capacity you have. According to priority, make sure that all the items on the 2-week list are accommodated. Evaluate your mobility options. Still have excess capacity? If so, see how many additional items you can add using the Priority list as a guide.

Let us consider for a moment the situation of the Preppers who are in a permanent encampment or SOC (Self Organizing Collective) community. These hardy folks will be guarding their territory and provisions like their life depends on it … because it does. If you are an unknown person or group and show up suddenly on their doorstep looking for entry, you will need to convince them that you and your group will be of value to their community and are no threat. If you arrive with nothing to contribute other than yourselves, you may find your self turned away due to resource constraints and/or perceived threat to the community. These communities will be stretched for food and other resources themselves. Adding to their load without contributing tangibles will be a difficult “sale”.

So, what is your plan? Are you planning to backpack out? The maximum a healthy adult can safely carry in a backpack for a long duration haul is about 75 lbs. Children can carry, at great need, 50% of their body weight. How much of your needed supplies can your party carry out? How much of your 2-week supply list can you accommodate? Hiking will allow you to average about 20 miles in an average day, terrain and weather permitting. Pulling a cart will allow greater capacity but, at the loss of ground covering ability.

Biking out is another option. Your carry capacity will be increased to a minor degree over hiking but, the amount of ground you can cover in an average day increases dramatically. On a good day, 50 to 75 miles will be achievable in a Post-SHTF environment. Children will decrease the achievable mileage due to physical constraints. Also depending on weather factors. Motorcycles may also be a viable option but with similar limitations on how much of a load they can safely carry, also depending on weather factors. In good weather, 200 miles will be possible on a motorcycle if the fuel tank is large enough. Neither of these options are very good in Winter travel due to ice, snow, or cold conditions.

With good advance planning, 4-wheeled motor vehicles will allow you to take the maximum of your provisions, people, supplies, equipment, and arms with you. Weather is less of a problem than biking or motorcycle. Fuel is always a concern but, with prior planning and a full tank, you will be able to cover 300 to 400 miles in a short time with all your supplies and your people. The downside is that they are louder and require better surfaces to travel on. This additional range and cargo capacity should permit you to arrive at your fellow Prepper’s SOC with much needed barter goods, provisions, tools, and materials. Any remaining fuel will be most welcome also. Purpose-bought vehicles are not necessary. If you can easily obtain “upgrades” or replacements of your existing vehicles, by all means do so but do so wisely. For Scouting purposes, it will be a good idea to include bicycles, ATV’s, or motorcycles. For carrying capacity, 4-wheel vehicles are best.

Part 3 of this series discusses the timing of your Bug-Out. Note that these articles not intended to be a Final Answer. They are intended to give you food for thought and the open up a venue for discussion of these topics.

When Should We Bug Out?

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Okay. You have planned and executed preparations for the SHTF or other disaster event to the best of your ability with available resources. Well, let’s imagine that finally it happened. The SHTF and you are now in survival mode, working your plan. For this exercise, we will assume that your situation is as follows: your dwelling is outside of a medium sized city at minimum; you have not been able to connect with a Prepper SOC within 50 miles of you; you have sufficient food and ammo for 4 months; you have a family of 4: your spouse, and 2 children under the age of 12. The Grid is unreliable and telephone service (cell and landline) is mostly unavailable. Now what? Be discrete and low profile. Be aware of what is going on around you.

Conventional wisdom says that in this situation, it is wisest to fort up (or “bunker”), working with your neighbors to defend your location and wait out the situation to see how it develops. In the first few days of the event, most city dwellers will remain in-place and wait for the government to resolve their problems. As time passes, those same city folk will see that the stores have become empty of food, fuel supplies are dwindling, potable water is in short supply, and ruffians are starting to rove around the city, looking for targets. You, being an aware human being and recognizing the signs of what comes next, know that it is time to hunker down. Now is when your planning begins to be worthwhile as you put it into effect. You are prepared for this.

The city dwellers will migrate away from the city that they know so well using major highways and byways. They will tend to avoid the lesser roadways as panic ensues because they fear running out of fuel and food sources as they travel to perceived “safe harbors”. In the initial phases of SHTF, local residents will be using the lesser-known roadways to get home, get provisions, or bug-out on their own. After all, “everyone knows” that there is always food and fuel on the Interstate. Right? This will hold true for 80 to 90% of the migrating herd. They will then gravitate to the smaller population centers as they run low on fuel, believing that the towns have the resources that they seek. Law enforcement and the military will channel these folks into established evacuation routes for better control of the migrating masses. The small towns are likely to fort up. So you bide your time and stay put for now. Be vigilant and observant of your surroundings.

If your situation stabilizes and order is restored locally, you’re good. If your situation looks like it will stabilize in a manner that won’t allow you to maintain your safety, it may be time to implement a Bug-Out Plan taking all you can carry with you. Do not wait until you have no remaining choices before you make this decision. Be aware of the situation around you. If it looks like it will be “going South” soon (within the next week or so), that is the time to pack it in and Bug-Out while you still have time and resources remaining. By looking ahead, you will have sufficient time to prepare and pack your goods and take advantage of nominal timing for leaving with at least 2-weeks of provisions.

Now is the time to let your Prepper contacts know that you are heading their way, if you were able to make arrangements with them prior to the SHTF. You did maintain communication with them as SHTF progressed … didn’t you? It is wise to forewarn them you are coming and your approximate timing to avoid being viewed as unknowns and a threat to their community. If you have no contacts, you will need to implement Plan B. Plan B is the plan that you made that recognizes that you may have to Bug-Out blindly into the unknown. Plan B will head into a direction that you believe will give the highest probability of reaching a safe location or community to join. Study your maps and terrain carefully in advance of moving. You will need to plan your route carefully. Take maximum advantage of railroad right-of-ways. All rail lines have service roads along the tracks. It is wise to make preliminary plans NOW, don’t wait until the moment is upon you. Hopefully, you will never have to implement Plan B. Be prepared anyhow.

Part 4 of this series of articles will briefly discuss vehicle selections. This series of articles is not intended to be the last word on the subjects covered. They are intended to provoke thought and a venue for further discussion amongst us.

Vehicle Selection Concepts:

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Buckle your seat belts. This is going to be a long one. There are many websites and blogs that will tell you all about what to prep with, how to prep, and how to survive a SHTF event. The majority of them concentrate on static locations. That is to say, how to prepare your home, bug-out location or how to cache supplies. What is not often discussed is how to get everybody in your party, and all the remaining supplies you stockpiled, out of a non-tenable location to a safer, more secure one.

My intent is not to provide an exhaustive and complete list to you, nor is it to tell you what to do. My intent is to point your thinking to possibilities that you may not have considered before this. It is too easy to get lost in details and concentrate solely on accumulating supplies to stay put. The probability there may come a time when you need to move out is significant. I’m reasonably sure that you would prefer to take all your unused preparations with you for further/future use and protection. After all, ammo and water are heavy, people take space and need food. You might also like to have barter goods available without reducing your own needed supplies.

There are some questions that you should be asking yourself. What kind of vehicle are you starting with? A small station wagon or SUV with AWD? A Jeep? A ½-ton pickup? A van? A Medium Duty truck? A combination of these? The next question is: How reliable is it? Is it in good condition? How new is it? What are its’ load and mobility capabilities? Do you need multiple vehicles?

Let’s talk newness. Shiny new, upscale vehicles scream TARGET. They are also susceptible to electronic component failures, Nature (sunspot activity EMP) or, police/officials (many new vehicles can be stopped remotely). They also draw too much attention from the unsavory types, looking for an easy target. How common is your vehicle? Can you find parts easily? Your better chances are with older, well-maintained, scruffy looking vehicles. They are easier to come by, repair, and cheaper too. Making them reliable is easy and fairly cheap. Choose well and keep it/them fully maintained. Make sure that you can accommodate all the members of your party, plus maximize storage and cargo weight capability. Install external cargo racking wherever possible (roof racks, ladder racks, etc.). Keep the fuel tank full. Keep all you are able loaded at all times.

Pickup trucks have good cargo capacity but are limited in the passenger department. SUV’s have passenger capacity but lack cargo capacity. You may want to think about multiple vehicles if you overrun one of these capabilities with a single vehicle. I know. You think I’m nuts. “What? Two fuel eating hogs?”. No. I am not insane. Multiple vehicles will give you options when you are out on the road. Think of it as built-in redundancy and “shelter in place” wherever you are each day. Even if you end up abandoning one along the way, you still have more supplies than you would otherwise have had and, possibly a new “cache” location when you leave the dead vehicle.

Have you considered a Contractor’s work truck? This is also known as a Work Body truck. These are commonly of the F350, F450, F550 (or GM or Dodge RAM equivalents). Look around next time you are on the road and notice how many of these vehicles are around. Note also how they are loaded. Interesting, isn’t it? These are heavy-duty beasts of burden. Their whole purpose in life is to haul equipment and materials safely, economically, and securely in all weather. They do not have an easy life. They do have huge payload capacities for their size, exceptional towing capacity and are built to take abuse. They do not often have the frills of their non-commercial brothers but have only one purpose in the world … work hard and work long. Picking one of these beasts up used is cheap but, be aware that they will require repairs before their full reliability is restored. The first owners will have worked them very hard and only replace them when reliability declines. Once restored, they will happily provide services to you for an extended time.

So you think I’m nuts for advocating a Work truck. Consider this: work trucks have the same characteristics as their cousins, without the luxury. They get the same, or better fuel mileage, use the same driveline components, and they were made reliable because the commercial world demands it. Many of them also have extended cabs to accommodate a larger crew and are 4X4. Think about your experience loading, unloading, or accessing your tools with a standard pickup truck. Wouldn’t it be nice to access your tools and equipment without climbing into the truck bed, chasing stuff around that has come loose? Wouldn’t it be nice if the goods and equipment stored could be kept out of the weather and secure, while still having the capability to place a full load in the bed AND have access to all of it? Consider also that the large population of such vehicles will guarantee that after SHTF, there will be spare parts available for a LONG time … jus’ sayin’. Food for thought.

In the final article of this series, we will explore camouflage. In it we will explore what is meant by the term. It doesn’t only mean “Multi-colored, earthen patterns to blend in with the woods.” There is much more to it than that. These articles are intended to get you thinking and provide a venue for further discussion and idea sharing.

Camouflage:

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In previous articles of this series, we have discussed, at a top level, various means of preparing for a Bug-Out using vehicles. The purpose of getting you mobile is to transport you, the members of your party, and the maximum of your supplies, safely to a new location. For this to happen, you need camouflage to pass through areas without issue.

What is camouflage really? Is it green/brown/black patterns painted on your vehicle(s)? Sometimes. By working definition, camouflage is the disguising of items so that they blend into their surroundings to escape notice. If you are in a urban or suburban area, a vehicle that is painted Desert or Forest Camouflage will stand out like a sore thumb among the surroundings. This defeats your purpose until you are fully in that environment. If you are in a rural or wilderness area, a shiny white vehicle might stand out. So, how do we reconcile the differences? Rattle-can paint.

Before the SHTF event and possible B-O time, the majority of us will be interacting primarily in an environment that requires travel and interaction in populated areas. Preppers generally are trying to stay discrete and off the radar. Attracting attention with vehicles that stand-out is less than desirable. We don’t want undue attention called to our activities. Your greatest camouflage is the ability to blend in with the vehicle population on the roads and in parking lots. To that end, you it is desirable to have ordinary looking transportation that is common to that area. Ordinary SUV’s, pickups, and trucks disappear into the background easily and are not memorable.

I have brought up the Work Truck in previous articles. You may concede that they have good capabilities for our uses but you wonder how noticeable they are. After all, they are usually large and heavy. Consider that these trucks have great camouflage. There are so many of them in use by companies and contractors that they effectively disappear in most populated areas. They “hide in plain sight”. A convoy of these vehicles will be mistaken for “official” or “worker” vehicles during the initial phases of an event, even into much of the settling period after it. This gives you an edge when Bugging-Out and will add some protection to your early travel by being “invisible” (ie: not noticed).

So, where does the rattle-can come in? Once you have escaped the populated areas during your B-O, you will be in areas where your ability to blend into natural surroundings becomes key. Provision your supplies with sufficient colors and quantities of paint to cover all your vehicles. This is the time to pause long enough to repaint your vehicles with the spray cans of paint to blend with your natural surroundings. The goal is to escape detection by undesirable groups to the best of your ability. This is likely to be the transition time of your travel patterns. In the early part of your B-O, you likely traveled during the daytime, hunkering down at night, to reduce attracting notice and to blend with others who are moving around. Once you have gotten away from the crowd and deeper into the wild areas, you may be changing over to night travel and digging in, covering up during the day, and scouting the next night’s travel route. Blending in with the surroundings will be necessary to escape detection by undesirable searches.

This concludes the Mobility articles. I hope that they have given you food for thought and perhaps given you ideas to ponder. My goal has been to cause you to think about, and plan for, your possible Bug-Out in the event that things go really wrong in our world. Keep prepping, keep planning, and be prepared for as many possibilities you can conceive. You will be glad you did, should we need to implement them in times of tribulation. Good luck and plan well.

Police Infuriated About New “Cop Detecting” Device That Warns People When a Cop is Near

by The Free Thought Project

A powerful new device has hit the market that promises to warn drivers of nearby emergency vehicles, including police cars, fire trucks and ambulances. The device is called “Target Blu Eye” and is being sold by the Dutch Company “Target Automotive.

The Blu Eye system works by monitoring frequencies that are used by emergency vehicles and then alerts the driver when those frequencies are nearby. It does not allow the driver to listen in on the encrypted communications, but will simply give a signal when those frequencies are nearby.

This is far more advanced and accurate than a traditional radar detector, because this device works even when the officer has their radar and other equipment turned off.

Police representatives and mainstream media sources are not pleased that this device is on the market, because it will give oppressed drivers an edge on police who depend on the element of surprise to generate their revenue.

The Sunday Times published an attack piece on the invention this week, calling it a “gadget for crooks,” and suggested that it undermines the goals of law enforcement.

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David Bizley, the Royal Automobile Club’s chief engineer responded to The Sunday Times, saying that his device actually makes the roads safer.

“As it does not distinguish between a police car, ambulance or fire engine responding to an emergency or one that is simply driving under non-blue-light conditions, this particular device is sadly just as likely to be bought by a minority of motorists who wish to evade being caught behaving illegally,” Bizley said.

The Target Blu Eye system sells for about $1,600 in Europe, where the device is currently being sold. The type of frequencies that the system is trained to detect are only used by emergency vehicles in Europe. However, according to Fox News, Target Managing Director Jan Rijks said a version that will be compatible with emergency vehicles in the US is nearly ready for release, and could be released sometime in 2015.

Rijks also responded to the attacks against his invention, saying that: “We promote the safe side. Of course, people may say, ‘I want, now and then, to drive a little faster,’ but in a big city there is no licence to speed because there is always the presence of emergency vehicles, which could be ambulances or fire engines. People driving with Blu Eye are more aware of their speed and driving behaviour because you get alerts, which makes people check that they are doing everything OK.

10 Rye Whiskeys


by Gear Patrol

You’ve heard it before, but here’s another shot: Rye whiskey is on the comeback. We’ve long contented ourselves with corn-based bourbon, and we’re not ready (in the least) to change that habit — but to be sure, rye deserves some serious sipping. Long handcuffed to mixed drinks like the Manhattan, rye’s extra boldness and spice in comparison to corn-heavy whiskey is particularly pertinent after a long day of work. It’s simple, like good things should be, served straight up or over ice, and of course still works beautifully in cocktails.

And something with an extra kick-your-ass? That’s what whiskey’s all about. Rye whiskey sales have tripled in the last five years, so it’s time you jumped on this train. Here’s 10 great rye sippers at price points for the thirsty pauper or the libational prince.

Wild Turkey 101 Rye

This affordable 4-5 year aged rye rendition serves dual threat as a killer Manhattan mixture and a straight sipper with some serious zip. It’s solidly anchored in rye spiciness with a bit of apple and honey. Unfortunately, it’s a bit hard to find right now; the 81 proof iteration is similarly affordable and delicious.

George Dickel Rye Whiskey

Stop giggling at the name. This inexpensive rye whiskey is smoothness incarnate, aged five to six years using 95% rye. Plus, charcoal filtering means lots of tasty flavors, like vanilla, raisin and fruit — all at a poor college kid price.

Knob Creek Rye Whiskey

Knob Creek has long boasted tasty bourbons that won’t break the bank, and their rye blend is no different. Bare spice up front with earthy sweetness make this an interesting sip, and distinctly different at a still-affordable price.

Van Winkle Family Reserve Rye 13 year

With maturity comes layers of depth and intensity that our elderly readers are well aware of. Old Rip Van Winkle’s 13 year aged rye blends “cocoa, vanilla and white pepper” into rye’s standard kick. It’s rare to find this many years of aging at such a low price — you should jump on this discontinued whiskey before all the bottles are gone.

Michter’s US*1 Single Barrel Rye

This single barrel rye whiskey gives both spiciness and fruity flavors like plum and marmalade. Sound interesting? We think so.

Whistlepig Straight Rye Whiskey

Brewed by former Maker’s Mark Master distiller Dave Pickerell, this 100% Canadian rye whiskey is aged for 10 years in oak barrels before it makes its way into your happy stomach. That oak aging mellows the rye bite with vanilla notes, and the utter absence of corn still makes this a distinct, and tasty, drink.

Journeyman Ravenswood Rye

Tasty doesn’t have to mean aged. This young whiskey, made from organic rye and wheat, has bold grain notes and is smooth throughout — sounds perfect for a cocktail drink, doesn’t it?

Buffalo Trace Colonel E.H. Taylor, Jr. Straight Rye Whiskey

This corn-free, to-be-released creation has it all: alcohol burn, caramel, rye spice, cinnamon, and even strawberries. Oh, and it’s named after one of the founding fathers of American whiskey. He’d be proud of this one.

Sazerac 18 year Rye

Balance is key in one of the most sought-after rye whiskeys on the market. 18 years of relaxation mellow the usual oakiness and spice and induce citrus and honey. Only 28 barrels are released per yearly bottling, so if you can sniff this one out, hide it well from moochers.

Masterson’s 10 Year Old Straight Rye Whiskey

For those with a sweet tooth, Masterson’s first foray into whiskey is a treat. The usual spice (have we drilled that point home yet?) in this Canadian import is finished with raisin and orange notes. Not bad, eh?

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TrackingPoint unveils precision-guided AR line

TRACKINGPOINT PGF with ShotGlass

by Lee Williams

TrackingPoint Unveils the Next Generation of Precision-Guided Semi-Automatic Rifles

Three New Precision-Guided Rifles Support TrackingPoint ShotGlass™

Shooting Glass, Longer-Range Engagements and Higher Target Velocities

Pflugerville, TEXAS (October 14, 2014) — TrackingPoint™, creator of the world’s first and only Precision-Guided Firearm (PGF) systems, introduces new semi-automatic rifles that utilize fighter jet lock-and-launch technology enabling shots once considered beyond human ability.

The new semi-autos enable you to make routine shots on targets moving up to 15mph out to ranges of more than one half mile.  The new precision-guided semi-autos connect via WiFi to TrackingPoint’s newly introduced ShotGlass™ shooting glass technology. The Google Glass™ of hunting and shooting, ShotGlass™ enhances your precision-guided shooting experience via a built-in camera and high definition video display.

“The new semi-auto models were designed for several missions including wild boar eradication, predator control (including coyotes), whitetail hunting, homestead defense, and precision target shooting,” said TrackingPoint CEO John Lupher. “Precision-guided semi-automatic rifles are the game changer. Routinely making extraordinary shots at extreme distances on moving targets is a thrilling experience.”

The new semi-auto Precision-Guided Firearms are based on TrackingPoint’s breakthrough Tag-and-Shoot™ system.  Tag-and-Shoot frees the shooter from common errors caused by jitter and trigger jerk. With Tag-and-Shoot, ballistics are calculated automatically and the need to estimate shot hold-over is eliminated, enabling you to successfully eradicate moving targets at extraordinary distances.  Third party testing validates that Precision-Guided Firearms enable you to shoot better than the best shooter that ever lived.

TrackingPoint is offering three new semi-auto precision-guided rifles: a 5.56 caliber with one-third mile range at up to 10MPH target velocity for $7,495; 7.62 caliber with half-mile range at 15MPH target velocity for $14,995; and a brand new .300 WM with half-mile range at up to 20MPH target velocity for $18,995. To learn more go to http://www.Tracking-Point.com

About TrackingPoint

TrackingPoint based in Austin, Texas created the first Precision-Guided Firearm, a revolutionary new shooting system that puts fighter jet lock-and-launch technology in rifles, enabling anyone to make extraordinary shots on moving targets at extreme distances. www.tracking-point.com.

What It Does

A TrackingPoint Precision-Guided Firearm ensures never-before-seen precision at extreme distances and high target velocities. Here’s how:

  • TriggerLink™ connects the tracking optic with a guided trigger.
  • Tag-and-Shoot™ technology lets you designate an exact target impact point.
  • The tracking system then guides the trigger release.

How You Use It

Prepare for an extraordinary shooting experience beyond belief.

  • Press the tag button to designate an impact point.
  • Align the reticle with the tag.
  • Squeeze and hold the trigger.
  • The Precision-Guided Firearm does the rest

How to Survive: Preparing to Survive Pandemics, Disease Outbreaks and Disasters

by Robert Richardson

While many in this country have become extremely fearful over the current Ebola crisis, I still don’t think there’s a reason to panic. While there are some very real reasons to be concerned – any disease outbreak that has a 70% death rate is troubling, to say the least – the real crisis brought forward by this situation is our country’s level of preparedness when it comes to fighting any disease outbreak or pandemic.

Throughout history millions upon millions of people have died as the result of pandemic outbreaks; in fact, almost every recorded civilization has been affected by one of these outbreaks. From smallpox, which killed an estimated 300-500 million people during the 20th century, to things like tuberculosis, the 1918 Flu Pandemic and the Third Pandemic, caused by the Bubonic Plague, which wasn’t fully contained until 1959, pandemics are a very real cause for concern.

While most people, up until this recent Ebola crisis believed our medical system was equipped to deal with these types of outbreaks, because of modern technology and modern medicine, the fact is, we are no more prepared today than we were a hundred years ago. In fact, I believe we are in worse shape today, and I believe our modern world has somewhat set us up for disaster.

The risk of seeing a major Pandemic Outbreak has never been Greater

We live in an interconnected world; this makes it increasingly likely that we will see a major disease outbreak in the very near future. While it may not be this current Ebola outbreak, we will see some sort of pandemic outbreak at some point.  It’s a process that’s highly predictable.

When you consider the fact that the 1918 flu pandemic killed an estimated 50 million people, it’s actually quite frightening to think about a disease like that breaking out in today’s world. The 1918 Flu Pandemic took around 6 months to spread throughout the world. In today’s environment, where a disease outbreak is only a plane trip away, this same thing could be accomplished in a single day. The chance of a pandemic strain spreading throughout the world is greater than it’s ever been.

The Government is not ready, and will not be able to help.

I’ve been telling people this for over a decade. In fact, it was the basis for why I wrote my book, The Ultimate Situational Survival Guide: Self-Reliance Strategies for a Dangerous World.

After attending a number of high level conferences with the top government preparedness agencies, I was shocked at how little these people actually knew about preparedness. While I always recognized they wouldn’t be able to adequately respond to a large-scale disaster, it was actually shocking to see their complete lack of experience firsthand.

Even worse were the actual conference tracks. Conference after conference was dedicated to things like handling PR after the agency dropped the ball, how to talk to the media without making the agency look bad, or how to respond to an angry public on social media. Instead of figuring out why things went bad during previous disasters, these people instead choose to focus on how they should have responded in a way that made themselves look better ­– Simply Disgusting!

Over the years I’ve received a lot of criticism; mostly from unprepared people who were too lazy to take their own health and safety seriously. These people insisted the government was there to help; insisted that the billions of dollars we spend every year on federal preparedness was enough; insisted I was crazy for saying anything to the contrary. Well, after watching the government’s failed response to a single case of Ebola showing up inside the United States, I think most of that doubt has been put to rest.

A lot of really unprepared people are finally waking up to the realization that they need to be their own first responders, because to count on the government to do it isn’t an option that’s going to keep them breathing when the shit hits the fan. Sorry if that may be a little graphic for you, but what’s happening in our government isn’t pretty, and what happens during any crisis in this country, whether it’s a natural or man-made disaster, isn’t pretty when you’re not prepared. In fact, it quite possibly could be deadly.

Things the average person can do to protect themselves.

Understand what threats are out there: Only you can decide what threats to prepare for, but it should be based on a realistic threat assessment. Before spending a single cent on emergency preparedness gear, supplies, or whatever it is you think you need, you need to understand what the most likely threats are that you’ll face, and then formulate a plan to deal with them.

Prepare now! The time for pretending the government can help you, or all those days spent putting it off until tomorrow are over. It’s only a matter of time before you are affected by some sort of disaster, crisis, economic problem, or threat to your health and safety. Whether it’s Ebola, or some future threat we’ve yet to see, you need to start taking steps to protect yourself and your family now.

You need a stockpile of food, water and emergency supplies. Even during small-scale disasters our country’s infrastructure is quick to be affected. How many times have we seen entire grocery stores wiped out in the lead up to a major storm or hurricane? Now imagine a pandemic outbreak that affected the country for 3 – 6 months. If you don’t have an adequate supply of food and water, you’re going to starve or die of dehydration. I don’t mean to be harsh, but there’s simply no way to sugar coat what’s going to happen.

You need to be able to defend yourself. In the case of a deadly pandemic outbreak we are going to see major social unrest. The moment people realize they can’t feed their families, or they see people in their neighborhood dropping dead, all hell is going to break loose. Listen, people riot in this country over a basketball game; imagine these same people when they’re starving, and people are dying around them.

Four Greatest Kinetic Threats To Preppers

by Samuel Culper III

This article outlines what I see as the four greatest kinetic threats to preppers.  By kinetic, I mean physical threats of force.  This list doesn’t include dehydration, starvation, illness or natural disasters.

1. Your neighbors.  Not only are your neighbors your greatest counterintelligence threat – that is, the threat that will turn you in for owning stockpiles of weapons or food – but they’re also your greatest physical threat.  We’re already seeing a concerted effort by government to identify ‘preppers’ and gun owners.  I imagine a day will come where it could be illegal to stockpile anything.  Your neighbors likely know, if they don’t know you personally, what you have or may have, and if turning you in meant their survival, then they’re the critical threat living beside you.  Secondly, if we experience a SHTF event that brought the grid down, or stopped the transportation of fuel or food, then not only are your neighbors in the greatest proximity but they also may be in the greatest need.  For all the talk of the Golden Hordes (not to diminish that threat), your neighbors are potentially the most dangerous because they know the terrain and could most easily band together to create a more imminent and dangerous threat.

2. Criminals & Gangs.  Organized and disorganized crime is likely to wreak havoc in many communities during a national or regional emergency.  What’s worse is the tactical dilemma some of these threats will bring.  Fourth generation warfare, tribal warfare and civil unrest create plenty of tactical dilemmas – what do you do with the stranger who presents no immediate threat?  Is it morally sound to kill all strangers around your home during a post-SHTF emergency because they could be a threat?  If you don’t consider that stranger an enemy combatant, say they’re just walking down the road and see you or your house, and you don’t shoot them, then what do you do with them?  What if other preppers in the area report surveillance before an attack?  Or what will you do if this individual asks for food to feed his family?  What if he shows up with his small children? Do you provide them food and confirm his suspicions that you have food to spare, or do you turn away small children, potentially considered morally reprehensible?  A soft heart may be moral, but it could also be fatal.  (In this case, a few tents and a community garden away from your community may present one solution.) Additionally, there may be shoot/don’t shoot situations in which people will needlessly lose their lives out of hesitation or fear.

3. The Golden Horde.  The Golden Horde were Mongols who ravaged central Asia, including Russia and northern China, in their expansion, hopping from village to village, farm to farm pillaging and taking captives and slaves for trade.  I was once told that the city of Atlanta’s emergency management plan was to turn all arteries into Atlanta outbound during an emergency.  That evacuation of Atlanta would mean millions of urban dwellers essentially invading suburbs and surrounding rural farms out of lack of anywhere else to go.  It really goes without saying that without food and water, these millions of people – around 5.5 million in the Atlanta-Metro area – are going to be wholly dependent on Americans who live within 100 miles of downtown.  Cities like New York, Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles and other large cities are likely going to be the same.  If fuel is so scare or so costly that food doesn’t get into the cities, if potable water becomes unavailable, if the grid goes down for hours or days or longer, then hundreds of thousands or more of these people simply won’t stay in the city.  They will be in the yards or homes of suburbanites or surrounding farms.

4. Your own government.  Whether it’s the latent threat of gun confiscation (through lawfare on a case by case basis), EPA regulations against fuel and wood stoves, or search and seizure of raw milk and other farm products, your state and federal government poses a risk of a kinetic threat.  Under the government of tomorrow, it’s not entirely inconceivable that known preppers are targeted by law enforcement or political leaders because of the availability of water, food or medicine.  If shiny badges confer special rights today, then what’s to stop them from requisitioning supplies during tomorrow’s emergency because their need is greater?