Tea Party Targets Senate’s Longest-Serving Republican

Utah’s Orrin Hatch has served six terms in the U.S. Senate, making him the current longest-serving Republican Senator. Now, some Tea Party activists are saying six terms is enough.

“It’s time for him to go home and retire,” Darcy Van Orden, a Tea Partier from Utah, told POLITICO. “Isn’t 36 years enough? He truly hasn’t been a proponent of liberty.”

About 20 Utah residents, including Van Orden, staged a protest in front of the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) headquarters on Monday, the article reported. The protest was organized by FreedomWorks, a Tea Party organization, with the goal of getting the NRSC to not support Hatch’s 2012 re-election bid.

The Senator has been attempting to court Tea Partiers, most recently going on Fox News to promote legislation to prevent taxpayer bailouts of foreign countries. However, the activists protesting Monday said Hatch’s long-term record is less demonstrably conservative.

“Tea party activists say the six-term senator’s record is too liberal: He’s voted to raise the debt ceiling; he helped create the State Children’s Health Insurance Program; and he was an original co-sponsor of the immigration reform bill, the DREAM Act,” the POLITICO article read.

However, NRSC spokesman Brian Walsh told POLITICO that the organization “respects (the Tea Party’s) views just as we respect the views of others who are strongly supporting Sen. Hatch’s reelection, including Mark Levin and C. Boyden Gray, who is the co-chairman of the FreedomWorks Foundation board.”

 

Texas Legislature Blinks

The Texas Legislature blinked Monday and passed a watered-down anti-groping bill that gives Transportation Security Administration agents carte blanche to continue groping travelers at Texas airports based on reasonable suspicion.

House Speaker Joe Straus had opposed the original bill that required a “probable cause” reason for the invasive pat-down procedure, dismissing it as a “publicity stunt.” But the fact that he favors this bill indicates just how toothless it is.

The Texas House had been scheduled to vote on the original version on June 24, but not enough representatives bothered to show up for the vote to constitute a quorum. In other words, Texas, the members of your Legislature, when faced with a choice between tyranny and standing up to a gangster government, tucked their tails and ran.

But even the watered-down version may not become law. The House and Senate must now reconcile their different versions — the House version is even weaker than the Senate’s — and must make it to Governor Rick Perry’s desk today.

Senator Dan Patrick (R-Houston), the chief sponsor of the bill, acknowledged it will be a challenge to get a bill to Perry by the deadline, according to a report in the Star-Telegram.

Perry has been lukewarm to the legislation at best. But Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst has worked diligently with Straus to either kill the bill or remove its teeth.

Dewhurst will be trolling for votes soon as he runs for higher office, most likely for retiring Senator Kay Bailey Hutchinson’s seat. Texans need to remember that Dewhurst sided with the Federal government against freedom.

And anyone seriously considering supporting Perry for President needs to remember his silence on the anti-groping legislation.

Some Farmers Use Agritourism To Improve Self-Sufficiency

The agritourism industry is a way to improve self-sufficiency.With the economy continuing to struggle, Americans have been looking for additional ways to supplement their income. Some of those with farms have been turning to agritourism to give themselves a boost.

According to The New York Times, many farmers have been opening up their properties to tourists in order to protect their incomes and increase their self-sufficiency.

Jim Maguire operates a small dairy farm in California. He recently started a bed-and-breakfast, commonly known as a farm stay, on his property.

“The whole idea is to get the farm in a productive state so that it carries itself, so that it pays its own way,” Maguire told the news source. “The farm stay is an important economic portion of that.”

According to Maguire, the income from the two rooms he rents out is enough to pay for all of the feed for his animals.

Bed-and-breakfasts aren’t the only way that farmers have tapped into the agritourism industry, The Times reports. Many operate corn mazes and other attractions like petting zoos to help make themselves more self-sufficient.

According to the United States Department of Agriculture, in 2007 agritourism brought in an average of $24,300 for each household involved in the industry.

More Physicians Refusing To Accept Patients Even With Health Insurance

The doctor won’t see you now: Doctors are so unhappy with private health insurers that an increasing number of them won’t accept new patients, even if they have health insurance. As a result, the healthcare reform law may not work as advertised. Although the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 means millions more people will have health insurance, recent research suggests that these newly insured people may still be unable to access healthcare.

A new study reported in the June 27th issue of Archives of Internal Medicine shows that, since 2005, doctors have been accepting fewer patients with health insurance. Dr. Tara Bishop, assistant professor of public health at Weill Cornell Medical College and lead author of the study, said the results suggest insured patients could face new obstacles to receiving medical attention, and overall access to healthcare could actually diminish.

“Given the medical profession’s widely reported dissatisfaction with Medicare, we expected to find hard evidence that Medicare patients were being turned away,” Bishop said. “Instead, we saw only a modest decline in doctors’ acceptance of patients on Medicare. The survey data showed a more significant decline in their acceptance of patients with private insurance.”

The study revealed that doctors’ acceptance of patients with private insurance declined from 93.3 percent in 2005 to 87.8 percent in 2008.

“At a moment when the country is poised to achieve near-universal coverage, patients’ access to care could be a casualty of the collision between the medical profession and the insurance industry,” Bishop said.

Group Challenges NYC Handgun Fee

A group is contesting a handgun fee in New York City.A brief was recently filed by the Second Amendment Foundation (SAF) asking for a summary judgment to strike down a fee for owning a handgun in New York City.

The organization says that the $340 fee the city requires for a handgun license is “inherently prohibitive.”

“The recurring $340 fee is plainly exclusionary and prohibitive because it far exceeds the comparable license fees charged by all other New York localities — and for that matter, by all other U.S. jurisdictions,” the legal brief reads. “A New York City resident who seeks to exercise his or her right to keep and bear arms by keeping a handgun at home must pay a total of $434.25 to obtain a license, which is equivalent to over 60 hours of work at the $7.25 minimum wage.”

The SAF has been fighting to preserve citizens’ 2nd Amendment rights in California as well. The group filed an amicus brief in a San Diego County case that challenges certain gun permit rules. According to the SAF, the rules give authorities too much power over who can receive a carry permit.

One Madman’s Legacy

It was on June 28, 1914 that a single act of violence led to one of the greatest bloodbaths the world had ever seen.

The perpetrator was someone you probably never heard of: Gavrilo Princip. He was a Serbian nationalist who, on that day, murdered Archduke Franz Ferdinand, heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne, and his wife, Sophie.

Within a month, World War I started in Europe. Before it was over, the Habsburg dynasty (the reigning power in Europe for six centuries) would be deposed, deficit spending to finance the war would destroy most countries’ currencies and end the gold standard, the income tax was adopted in the United States to pay for the war and the seeds would be planted for the rise of communism in Russia, Nazism in Germany and fascism in Italy.

It’s amazing what one madman’s deed led to, isn’t it?

—Chip Wood

 

Blood In The Streets

The headline above once pertained to bear markets and the pounding investors would take.* Nowadays, real blood is being spilled in Western democratic cities like Vancouver, Canada, and Athens, Greece. With America’s economy stuck in recession and with the dismal and arrogant leadership provided by President Barack Obama and Congress, it is not hard to imagine similar violence in American cities.

Such an idea would have seemed preposterous four years ago. But that was before the financial crisis of 2008. For three years, anger has been building — and not just in places like the Middle East where violence is as much a part of their culture as the Quran.

On June 15, riots broke out in Athens, the birthplace of democracy. On Tuesday, violence erupted again. The outbursts were ignited by further austerity measures ordered by the Greek government.

The free lunch Greek citizens have been getting for decades is being ripped off the table. The country has already gobbled up the first $139 billion European Union-led bailout. Any talks on a second bailout for Greece hinge on a further belt-tightening. The people of Greece, raised on socialist handouts, are in no mood to stay on a diet.

On June 15 and again Tuesday, protestors poured onto the streets throwing rocks at Parliament. Riot police finally quelled the unrest, but more violence is expected.

Last week, Greece was hit by rolling blackouts as workers at the main power utility began 48-hour rolling strikes to protest the company’s privatization, part of austerity plans needed to avoid a national debt default.

Selling off assets in the utility is a step the socialist government in Athens must take in its $71 billion privatization plan, which must be completed by 2015. The Greek people don’t want spending cuts and higher taxes. But the Greek Parliament is staring down the barrel of a gun. If it doesn’t implement changes by the end of the month, the country will not get the last $17 billion of bailout money.

To ease the crisis in Greece, EU finance ministers agreed to raise the amount of money they will provide for countries drowning in debt. The move is a last-ditch attempt to keep Greece’s financial crisis from spreading to Ireland and Portugal.

All of this has international bankers worried. Last week, Canada’s finance minister, Jim Flaherty, warned there is still “a real danger” of contagion from the ongoing debt crises in Europe, including the possibility of some damage to the country’s banking system.

“Canada is not an island — no country, any more, is an island — our economies are clearly interrelated,” Flaherty said at a breakfast appearance in Toronto following emergency discussions with other G7 countries.

It’s All Greek To Me

Flaherty should also worry about Canada’s homegrown rioters.  The same day Athens was burning, so was Vancouver.

On the evening of June 15, the team favored to win Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals, the Vancouver Canucks, lost. The Cup went to the Boston Bruins, who did not cheat their way to the NHL Championship or get help from the referees. They simply were the better team.

Like most sports fans, I am often brokenhearted. At the conclusion of most seasons, I say, “Wait until next year!” But thousands of Vancouver Canuck fans didn’t say that. Instead, they said things like: “Let’s blow up cop cars; let’s beat up bystanders; and let’s throw bricks though windows!” And that is exactly what they did.

More than 100 rioters were arrested by Vancouver police; as many as 1,000 people could face criminal charges. The dragnet will be aided by the audacity of the looters who photographed and videotaped their rampage and then displayed it on social media websites like Facebook.

The physical cost for the few hours of rioting is more than $1 million, but experts say the long-term damage to Vancouver’s tourist industry could be billions of dollars.

As in Athens, the rioters in Vancouver were mostly gangs of youths bent on creating chaos. This begs two questions:

  1. What would happen in a city like Vancouver if the fledgling economic recovery collapses and the citizens face hardship?
  2. What are the chances this kind of violence will erupt in the United States?

On FoxNews.com, Bill O’Reilly wrote: “The question is: Could this kind of thing happen in America? And the answer is yes. About half the population here now believes income redistribution is the right thing to do. We’re setting the table for violence in this country. Once people start depending on the government for their livelihood, for essentials, and then those essentials are taken away, you’re going to have violence. Also, the more loons there are, the more potential for violence there is. Those anarchists want to burn down everything.

“So we can watch this stuff in Vancouver and Greece, but we shouldn’t think it can’t happen here. The pinheads in America are mounting.”

Before you dismiss O’Reilly as a fearmongering right-wing extremist, it is worth noting that someone on the far left is also frightened of chaos coming to America. Democratic strategist James Carville spoke out about civil unrest that might spring from a still-sick U.S. economy on Don Imus’ syndicated radio show, Imus in the Morning.

“(The recession) is a terrible thing that has happened to people’s lives… If 54,000 (new) jobs is the new norm – this is going to be very, very tough. Some people say it just might be one more thing. We don’t know.”

Carville added that the consequences of America’s continuing financial crisis will not be limited to politics, and he warned of civil unrest because of the bleak economic situation.

“People, you know, if it continues, we’re going to start to see civil unrest in this country. I hate to say that, but I think it’s eminently possible.”

Carville and O’Reilly have agreed on something. If you don’t believe in the possibility, you would have to be naïve. Economic collapse almost always leads to civil strife. What the Vancouver riots demonstrated is that citizens today are spoiled and think they are entitled to whatever they expect.

I have a feeling the world’s staggering economic recovery is about to fall over dead. And not just for Greece. When that occurs, punks like those who rioted in Vancouver will have a lot more to be upset about than the fact their hockey team didn’t win.

Action to take: Take precautions for you and your family should there be violence in and around your neighborhood. Store extra food and water and have your home well secured. Also take whatever defensive measures you feel are prudent. Secure cash on hand and safely inside your home as well as physical gold and silver.

Yours in good times and bad,

–John Myers
Editor, Myers’ Energy & Gold Report

*The book, Blood in the Streets: Investment Profits in a World Gone Mad was written in 1987 by James Dale Davidson and William Rees-Mogg. It remains an excellent read. You can purchase it at Amazon.com.

Pawlenty Gives Hawkish Speech On Foreign Relations

On Tuesday, former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty gave a speech at the Council on Foreign Relations. In it, the 2012 Presidential candidate expressed his concerns about President Barack Obama’s Middle East policies.

“I want to speak plainly this morning about the opportunities and the dangers we face today in the Middle East. The revolutions now roiling that region offer the promise of a more democratic, more open, and a more prosperous Arab world,” Pawlenty said. “But President Obama has failed to formulate and carry out an effective and coherent strategy in response to these events. He has been timid, slow, and too often without a clear understanding of our interests or a clear commitment to our principles.”

Pawlenty went on to criticize Obama’s and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s reactions to the so-called “Arab Spring” more specifically.

“Instead of promoting democracy – whose fruit we see now ripening across the region – he adopted a murky policy he called ‘engagement,’” Pawlenty said. “The leader of the United States should never leave those willing to sacrifice their lives in the cause of freedom wondering where America stands. As President, I will not. We need a president who fully understands that America never ‘leads from behind.’”

Pawlenty also criticized the more isolationist members of the Republican Party: “What is wrong, is for the Republican Party to shrink from the challenges of American leadership in the world.  History repeatedly warns us that in the long run, weakness in foreign policy costs us and our children much more than we’ll save in a budget line item.

“America already has one political party devoted to decline, retrenchment, and withdrawal.  It does not need a second one.”

Liberals Praise Obama, ICE For Putting DREAM Act Tenets Into Practice

In a memo issued earlier this month, President Barack Obama’s immigration chief, Director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) John Morton, advised ICE officials to use “prosecutorial discretion” when considering whether to deport illegal aliens.

The leaking of the memo has led some to suggest ICE is enacting some of the principles of the controversial DREAM Act, which has not been passed despite multiple attempts by Democratic leaders. On Tuesday, the Senate conducted its first-ever hearing on the bill, which would create a path to citizenship for illegal aliens brought into the country as children.

“Unable to move this legislation through the Republican-controlled Congress, the Obama administration has used its executive authority to shape immigration policy in line with the DREAM Act,” reported Mother Jones, a liberal website. “This month, in a little-noticed move, Obama’s immigration chief advised (ICE) officials to use discretion when considering whether to deport certain undocumented immigrants who are particularly vulnerable or have strong community ties to the country.”

Another leftist website, DailyKos.com, praises the memo: “This directive still leaves DREAMers in legal limbo. It’s not a path to citizenship, but can give them more breathing room. It’s not an answer to passage of the DREAM Act or comprehensive immigration reform, but it’s a welcome move from President Obama.”

Supreme Court: Banning Violent Video Games UnConstitutional

On Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court found that banning the sale of violent video games violates the 1st Amendment.

The Court’s 7-2 verdict in Brown v. Entertainment Merchants Association struck down a California law that prohibited the sale or rental of violent video games to minors and required the games’ packaging to be specifically labeled for ages 18 and older.

The law in question, California Assembly Bill 1179, covered games “in which the range of options available to a player includes killing, maiming, dismembering, or sexually assaulting an image of a human being, if those acts are depicted” in such a way that “causes the game, as a whole, to lack serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value for minors,” according to the Court’s opinion, which was composed by Justice Antonin Scalia.

“Like the protected books, plays, and movies that preceded them, video games communicate ideas — and even social messages — through many familiar literary devices (such as characters, dialogue, plot, and music) and through features distinctive to the medium (such as the player’s interaction with the virtual world). That suffices to confer First Amendment protection,” the opinion read.

“Under our Constitution, ‘esthetic and moral judgments about art and literature… are for the individual to make, not for the Government to decree, even with the mandate or approval of a majority.’”

White House Says Obama Fundraising Ad No ‘Big Deal’

On Monday, President Barack Obama’s campaign team emailed a short video to supporters and donors. The video, seen below, was reportedly filmed in the White House by a crew from the Democratic National Committee.

“The president’s video is accompanied by a donor solicitation form in which supporters of the administration can check boxes donating from $5 to $700 to the Obama-Biden re-election effort,” reported Real Clear Politics. “This may, or may not, constitute fundraising by a federal employee in a federal office building, a practice that is generally prohibited.”

In an interview with the website, unnamed White House officials confirmed that the video was shot in the White House, but maintained that shooting the video was not illegal.

According to the article, the officials said: “First… an open process for small donors to essentially win a raffle is not the kind of fundraising prohibited under the law — and the president didn’t make a direct appeal for donations, anyway. Second… longstanding advisory opinion from the Justice Department… differentiates between the residence portion of 1600 Pennsylvania Ave… and official rooms in the White House.”

The article also said that previous Presidents had used the White House for similar efforts.

“(D)irectly raising money in the White House was indeed the context of the bitter controversy President (Bill) Clinton and Vice President Al Gore provoked in 1995 and 1996 by aggressively raising millions of dollars in campaign funds during activities expressly designed to use the White House as a hook to attract donor interest,” the article read.

In the video, the President invites supporters to enter a contest, where four winners will join him for dinner, saying Vice President Joe Biden will also be in attendance.

“We’re setting another place at the table for Joe Biden, who wants to join us,” President Obama said in the video. “So this isn’t so much dinner with Barack anymore as it is dinner with Barack and Joe. To use one of his favorite expressions, that’s a big deal.”

Blagojevich Guilty On 17 Counts Of Public Corruption

Former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich was found guilty Monday on 17 of 20 counts of public corruption associated with attempting to sell President Barack Obama’s vacant U.S. Senate seat.

“He was found guilty of all 10 counts involving wire fraud — each of which carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison. The other 10 involved extortion and bribery. Most of the counts have a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison,” CNN.com reported. “The jury acquitted Blagojevich on one count of bribery and was unable to reach verdicts on two counts of attempted extortion.”

“I frankly am stunned,” Blagojevich told reporters after leaving the courtroom, according to the article. “There’s not much left to say, other than we want to get home to our little girls and talk to them and explain things to them and then try to sort things out.”

A previous trial resulted in a mostly deadlocked jury, who, after 14 days of deliberation, found Blagojevich guilty only of lying to FBI investigators. The jury in this trial, composed of 11 women and one man, reached their verdicts after 10 days of deliberation, according to the article.

New Poll Shows Republicans Favoring Bachmann More

Bachmann gains some favor with RepublicansA new Associated Press-GfK poll has found that some Republicans are starting to favor a Presidential candidate other than former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney.

The findings show Representative Michele Bachmann’s (R-Minn.) favorability rating increasing to 54 percent from 41 percent among Republicans. However, Governor Romney still leads with his rating of 61 percent.

The poll was conducted by GfK Roper Public Affairs and Corporate Communications, and surveyed 1,001 adults around the country through landline and cellphone interviews.

Retiree Phyllis Hornung of the State of New York told The Associated Press that Bachmann “captured my heart immediately.”

“There was no question in my mind that she was a straight talker and I should support her,” Hornung added.

In a piece titled Michele Bachmann the Believer, Los Angeles Times columnist Meghan Daum stated she and others were starting to take the candidate seriously.

Stress Hormone Promotes Preference For High-Calorie Food

Stress Hormone Shown To Promote Preference For High-Calorie FoodPrevious research has shown that when people feel pressures at work or experience other life stressors, they have a tendency to snack more, and the foods they choose are often high in fat and calories.

Researchers at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center have recently uncovered one of the mechanisms behind this response to stress: the gut hormone ghrelin.

In a study of mice, scientists showed that stressed-out rodents that were genetically modified to block the production of ghrelin had no cravings for fatty foods, when compared to normal mice.

“Our findings show that ghrelin signaling is crucial to this particular behavior and that the increase in ghrelin which occurs as a result of chronic stress is probably behind these food-reward behaviors,” said study author Jeffrey Zigman, M.D.

The researchers also found that the hormone has an anti-depressant effect, which, combined with its tendency to induce cravings, may have been a useful survival advantage in early human history. However, they added that the benefits of ghrelin make it difficult to target in potential therapies to treat or prevent obesity.

Germs: The Myth

This is my old, favorite subject. I was drawn to it in the beginning because everybody believes “germs” spread sickness and disease. But I know that “what everybody believes” is wrong.

It has been proven, without any doubt, that germs do not cause illness. Instead, they are part of the healing process. They are not contagious.

Taking medication is useless.

If germs are contagious and if they will cause sickness and spread death, everybody on Earth would have been dead since the Black Death plague.

When we get sick, we have an error in our immune system — possibly from our diet, like consuming too much sugar.

We didn’t “catch” something. Notice that not everybody “catches” it.

Now, let’s reason: Who do we think gains from the germ myth? Of course, the pharmaceuticals.

Can we even imagine how many trillions of dollars they have sucked out of Americans for useless and dangerous vaccines and so-called immunizations? The most recent example was the swine flu, or H1N1.

They have cooked, pasteurized and ruined our healthy raw milk because of the germ phobia. And on and on.

UN Encourages Developing Countries To Go Back To Basics In Farming

UN Encourages Developing Countries To Go Back To Basics In FarmingWhile practices developed in the 1960s to reduce famine were effective in producing the mass quantities of food needed to alleviate hunger, the use of agrochemicals and modern management techniques in large-scale farms has resulted in infertile farm land and pollution, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations reported.

Combined with dwindling land and water resources and rising prices of fuel and fertilizer, the after-effects of industrial farming have created significant challenge for farmers worldwide, according to the U.N.

As a result, the organization is recommending that farmers practice conservation agriculture in an effort to become more self-sufficient.

“The present paradigm of intensive crop production cannot meet the challenges of the new millennium. In order to grow, agriculture must learn to save,” according to the organization’s Save and Grow webpage.

CropLife International reports that conservation agriculture consists of selective usage of tilling and pest-control products and implementing processes that promote natural regeneration, like nitrogen fixation and nutrient recycling. Such practices have been shown to reduce energy and labor costs as well as promote soil fertility and biodiversity.

Bachmann Formally Announces Presidential Bid

Michele Bachmann will run for President.Representative Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) formally announced her intention to seek the Republican nomination for the 2012 Presidential election.

Bachmann made the announcement in her hometown of Waterloo, Iowa, and stressed her connection to the Hawkeye State, which hosts the nation’s first caucus.

“I often say that everything I needed to know I learned in Iowa,” she said. “I know what it means to be from Iowa — what we value and what’s important.”

The Congresswoman, who founded the House’s Tea Party Caucus, came out firing at President Barack Obama, whom she called a “one-term President.” Bachmann also stressed that America was in trouble because of policy decisions on both sides of the aisle.

“Our problems don’t have an identity of party, they are problems created by both parties,” the Representative said. “Americans agree that our country is in peril today and we must act with urgency to save it. And Americans aren’t interested in affiliation; they are interested in solutions, and leadership that will tell the truth.”

Bachmann joins a crowded field of contenders for the GOP nomination for the Presidential election, which includes former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, Representative Ron Paul (R-Texas) and businessman Herman Cain.

The Politics Of Ease

As it turns out, what Billy Sunday failed to accomplish, some unruly teenagers — with some assistance from the Democratic Party — are close to finishing. That toddlin’ town, Chicago — the home of deep-dish pizza, Al Capone and a sizable number of adolescents in dire need of an extended stay at a juvenile detention center — is facing a new crime wave.

The reports have come fast and furious. Mobs of teenagers have knocked over drug stores. Mobs of teenagers have assaulted passersby. Mobs of teenagers have pillaged retail establishments and plundered the Magnificent Mile as if they were Alaric and his horde of Visigoths and the Windy City was Rome. All this adolescent rage makes me wonder about the efficacy of Bill Clinton’s “midnight basketball.”

Fret not, Chicagoland citizens. Your top cop, Police Supervisor Garry McCarthy, is on the case. McCarthy, who previously served as Police Chief in that Paris-on-the-Passaic, Newark, N.J., has identified the criminal mastermind behind the growing crime wave enveloping Chicago: Governor Sarah Palin.

Actually, according to McCarthy, Palin is the commander of a conspiracy comprised of:

  • Palin: “(Palin) was caribou-hunting and talking about the right to bear arms. Why wasn’t she at the crime scene with me?”
  • Firearm makers: “Who’s paying the price for gun manufacturers being rich and living in gated communities?”
  • And government-sponsored racism: “… the flow of illegal firearms into our urban centers… that are killing black and brown children.”

Among those who didn’t make McCarthy’s list of suspects would be the actual perpetrators. Granted, in the legendary, Democratic machine-controlled political sewer that is Chicago, blaming crime on criminals is about as functional as blaming the Cubs’ World Series drought on the lights at Wrigley Field. McCarthy could blame the parents; but parents who unleash little monsters like those tearing through Chicago are as likely to accept responsibility for their progenies’ misbehavior as they are to vote for a conservative (who would likely remind them of their dereliction of parental duty). And it is possible that their good-for-nothing 15-year-old brats really did find new watches and Air Jordans™ on the side of the road. “Honest, Mom!”

I call this sort of Keystone Kops method of avoiding the real culprits in urban societal breakdown “the politics of ease.” It’s easier for a liberal like McCarthy to blame a crime wave on the former Governor of Alaska than it is to force criminals, their accomplices and their enablers to look in the mirror. More important to liberals like McCarthy, it’s easier for the Democrats to gain votes by offering the chance to blame Palin, gun manufacturers and mythological institutional racism than to suddenly develop the introspection which is as common in a place like Chicago (or Newark) as honest politicians and well-behaved teenagers.

Fortunately for the liberal establishment, decades of near-total Democratic domination of Windy City politics has — much like Newark — left Chicagoans either unwilling or unable to discern the true nature of their city’s burdens. However, unlike cesspools like Newark, Chicago boasts some significantly redeeming characteristics, not least of which is the presence of living proof that McCarthy’s charge of racism is void on its face. Surely, McCarthy and his liberal allies don’t expect us to believe that Sarah Palin, firearms manufacturers and fictional bigotry can create chaos-from-afar in the same place that boasts the residency of the most powerful individual in the free world. I find it highly unlikely that Oprah Winfrey would allow it.

Barring intervention from Oprah or some other powerful product of Illinois (ahem) who may choose to assist Chicago in escaping the grip of increasingly violent crime, the Windy City faces a grim future. If the liberal who has been ill-advisedly placed in charge of local law enforcement is more interested in explaining away antisocial behavior with anti-bill of rights demagoguery, tangential blame-shifting and pointing fingers at a woman who lives more than 3,000 miles away, then Chicago is headed down the highway to either hell… or Newark.

Slavery To Continue At Walmart

In a June 20 ruling, the U.S. Supreme Court struck a note for liberty when it overruled Federal courts in San Francisco that had allowed all women who worked for Walmart since December 1998 to join in a single, nationwide suit seeking back pay. I say struck a note for liberty, because this was about far more than Walmart’s winning out over a bunch of high-priced litigators who represented a group of ungrateful Walmart employees.

The court ruled that the 1.5 million women at 3,400 Walmart stores in the United States had too little in common to allow a class-action lawsuit to move forward. In the court’s opinion, there was no proof that Walmart employed a general policy of “systemic discrimination.”

What makes the Supreme Court’s decision especially delightful is that the law firm of Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll lost roughly $7 million in pursuing this classic deep-pockets case. It’s enough to make one fantasize about how different our court system (and our economy) would be if attorneys who lost frivolous lawsuits would be required to pay the winners’ legal fees.

But let’s get back to Walmart’s employees. Forget that Walmart is the No. 1 employer in the country, employing 1.4 million Americans in 4,424 stores. (Worldwide, Walmart employs more than 2.1 million people in 9,198 stores.) Forget that Walmart saves consumers billions of dollars each year on retail purchases. Forget that its employees, on average, earn about double the minimum wage. It doesn’t matter how much good Walmart does, the raw-meat crowd continues to call for beheadings. Bring on the Jacobins!

The word from some disgruntled employees has long been that Walmart doesn’t treat its employees “fairly” — whatever that’s supposed to mean. But, definitions aside, this is your lucky day. Because if you think Walmart is “unfair,” guess what? You don’t have to shop there.

Wow! What a novel idea: shopping with your feet. If you don’t like the fact that Walmart carries too many products made in “sweatshop” countries, shop with your feet. If you believe Walmart puts smaller retailers out of business and you’re unhappy about that, shop with your feet.

Nevertheless, to make it easy on the social-justice crowd, let’s assume there is such a thing as absolute fairness. And let’s further assume that Walmart does, indeed, treat its employees unfairly. That, of course, begs the question: What in the world can be done to protect Walmart’s paid slaves?

More good news: In a truly free society, unfair treatment of employees would never be an issue, because workers would be free to sell their services for the highest possible wages in the open market. If someone chose to work at Walmart, he would do so only because he believed, consciously or otherwise, that it afforded him the best opportunity to be adequately compensated for his skills, his experience and his efforts.

An employer doesn’t ask a job applicant to present a list of his job requirements when he submits his application. On the contrary, the employer lets the applicant know, in advance, what the company’s conditions of employment are.

If those conditions call for 15-hour workdays, minimum-wage pay and no paid sick leave, so be it. How can I say such a dastardly thing? Because an employee not only does not have to take such a job, he also has the right to quit his job at any time.

Furthermore, since an unhappy employee is free, he can apply for another job anywhere he chooses. No permission needed. On the other hand, if he chooses to stay in his present employment situation, he is making a clear statement that he believes it’s the best position he can hope to obtain at that particular time. If this were not true, he would be insane, or perhaps masochistic, to remain in his present job.

It doesn’t take a Ludwig von Mises to explain it. In a free market, everything works smoothly because both employers and employees are free to make their own choices. It’s only when government bureaucrats or labor thugs (aka labor unions) enter the picture that freedoms are violated.

All government intervention between employers and employees results in infringements on the rights of one or the other — or both. The same goes with labor unions. The actions of most labor unions are fundamentally immoral and in violation of the Constitutional rights of both employees and employers.

The so-called union shop is a violation of the natural rights of every employee who is forced to join a union against his will — even without the new card-check legislation being proposed by the National Labor Relations Board. And, worse, it is a violation of the rights of an employer to hire whomever he wants, whenever he wants, for whatever reasons are important to him.

Unfortunately, that’s not reality in today’s People’s Republic of America. After decades of artificially high wages and benefits, job-protection schemes and government-mandated safety standards, spoiled American workers demand still more.

I would make the case that an excellent investment for Walmart would be to spend mega-millions of dollars to educate its employees about the morality and efficacy of liberty and laissez-faire economics. It would be a lot less expensive than the draconian legal fees it is certain to continue incurring in the coming years.

Now that we’ve come face to face with the ugly realities of Marxism in the United States, it’s time for corporate leaders to man up and start educating their own employees, as well as the public at large, about the wonders of capitalism. History has clearly taught us what to expect if good men do nothing.

However, educating muddled minds does not begin with the worker; it begins with big business. If corporate America does not truly believe in laissez-faire capitalism, why should its workers? And if it does believe in laissez-faire capitalism, but is unwilling to suffer “mortification of the flesh” (in the words of Frank Chodorov) in presenting the truth to the public, then the case for free enterprise is lost.

In the meantime, it’s up to each of us to become proactive and not wait for corporate America to come to our rescue. Take every opportunity you can get to extol the virtues of capitalism; when you do so, you extol the virtues of freedom. It’s true that you are but one person in a sea of millions, but it is completely within your power to be part of the solution to America’s ills rather than part of the problem.

If the Supreme Court can rule in favor of liberty, anything is possible.

–Robert Ringer

Will Looters Target You?

Protecting your property — whether your home, your animals or your garden — is key, especially if there’s been a breakdown in civil order.

A reader asked: “What is the best way to misdirect potential thieves and looters from your property?”

Another reader said: “We’re in a rural setting, we’ve got chickens and, depending on the season, a garden that would make an inviting target. We’re currently in the process of hardening the house proper, but we still have sheds, a chicken coop and a workshop to keep in mind. I’d rather people just pass us by than have to fight anyone off.”

Protection is something everyone needs to consider, no matter his level of preparedness. I’ll cover the urban situation first.

Misdirecting Thieves And Looters

In short, make sure your neighbors look like better targets than you do. Criminals are creatures of opportunity and will, in general, pick the targets that offer the most potential reward in exchange for the least potential risk.

Also, look at your house as if you were a thief. Do you have a big-screen TV, a gun case or other valuables in plain view through your windows? If so, move the items so they aren’t easily visible.

If you have an alarm system, make sure you have signs advertising the fact and use your alarm. It won’t stop a truly determined home invader, but it will give you a few seconds’ advanced warning. If you don’t have an alarm, consider getting one or at least getting alarm stickers.

While you’re looking at your house through the eyes of a thief, do you see any places where you could hide — either because of bushes or because of shadows? One of the most basic things you should do is to add lighting with motion sensors on the approaches to your house. Also, consider clearing out the bushes that provide concealment or replacing them with roses or other thorny bushes.

The next thing is to look at your doors. Do they look secure? Is the bolt lock a high-end one or the $12 special from Home Depot that lock-pickers use for practice when they first start picking locks?

How about your windows? Fragile antique windows may look great architecturally, but they are also very inviting to someone who wants to break in. If replacing old windows isn’t an option, install some inexpensive alarms, back up old locks with a piece of wood or PVC cut to size to prevent someone from opening the window from the outside and apply security film.

Perhaps most important, look at your house and the other houses in your area and see which you would try to rob first. Which would be last on your list? Is your house closer to the top of the list or the bottom of the list? You may be able to get away with having valuables visible through your windows if you have Rottweilers, German shepherds, pit bulls or other guard-type dogs in the house or in the front yard.

If you find yourself in an urban-survival situation, you not only want to look like a bad target from the outside, you probably want to make sure you don’t look like a target to people who are inside your house.

You can accomplish this by separating and hiding as much of your survival provisions as possible so that, if need be, you can actually let people into your house to show them you don’t have much food or supplies worth stealing. This obviously isn’t an ideal scenario, but it is a realistic one when you’re dealing with hungry friends.

Historically, almost no urban-survival situation has been a “Mad Max”-type scenario. Instead, they are long-term, extremely fluid scenarios in which people are dying of starvation and struggling to get by in close proximity to healthy people who have jobs and food.

When most people think of survival, they think of a dramatic, instant, across-the-board breakdown in civilization in which people are eating one another within three to four days. Again, history proves this just doesn’t happen. One of the biggest reasons is because the majority of people will simply act like zombies and do nothing, unless they’re told to do something by an authority figure. They don’t know how to make decisions, they don’t know how to take initiative, and they sure as heck don’t know how to spend their time and resources in a way that improves their chances of surviving.

There’s no doubt that a complete breakdown is possible, but this melting pot of people in completely different phases of desperation living near each other is probable and requires a completely different approach.

In these in-between scenarios, you can reduce your risk of becoming a target by simply hiding the fact that you have supplies to steal.

This will be much harder to do with generators, solar panels, deep-cycle battery arrays and other large items, but the principle of hiding everything you can holds true.

Survival In The Country

If you have chickens, you might need to have a plan to move them inside your house if things get unstable. Again, your options are to hide them, increase deterrents or have a 24/7 watch.

If you need to protect a garden, there are a few options; but none of them are really easy. One would be adding a skylight to your garage or attic and switching over to a hydroponic or aeroponic garden.

Another would be surrounding your garden with weeds to disguise it.

A third strategy is to make sure you don’t plant things that will scream: “Food!” As an example, carrots blend in with green weeds because the orange is underground, but tomatoes stick out because the red is aboveground and visible from a considerable distance.

Keep in mind that it’s very difficult to grow enough food to provide all of the calories you need if you’re gardening part-time.

Considering the number of calories you’ll need and the amount of time it takes to maintain and protect the garden, combined with the potential shortage of water, fertilizer, pesticides and herbicides, it’s a 50/50 bet at best whether you will get enough food to survive or just end up wasting a lot of time trying. Add in vitamin, mineral and fiber requirements, and you start to see how big of a challenge this really is.

If you already live off your own garden, this doesn’t apply. But if you don’t have a garden or if you are just a hobby gardener and expect to be able to flip a switch and start growing everything you need to survive while adjusting to civilization breaking down and doing something to earn money at the same time, you might want to rethink your plan.

A better approach may be to switch to medicinal herbs or native edible plants that are low-maintenance. Plant native vegetables that grow easily and have low water requirements. A bonus is that they blend in and don’t look like food to passers-by.

This brings up an important point. Even if you have chickens, a garden and a rural location, you still need to have a good supply of food in the event of a breakdown in civil order.

Even without having to defend against looters and thieves, chickens get sick and predators get hungry. Bugs come, hail happens and, sometimes, gardens just don’t grow the way you expect them to or that they have in seasons past.

U.S. Houses Aren’t Made To Withstand A Determined Attack

Determined, focused attackers aren’t going to mess around with your doors and windows. If they want you badly enough, they’ll launch Molotov cocktails with a water balloon launcher over your neighbors’ house and smoke you out.

If they want your stuff, all they have to do is drive a truck through one of your exterior walls and use smoke, gas grenades or a mix of household chlorine and ammonia to take care of you.

Both readers wanted to learn how to “misdirect” thieves and looters instead of how to make an impenetrable fortress. They were spot on that a better approach is to do whatever you can to stay invisible, and that’s one of the points I hit repeatedly in the SurviveInPlace.com Urban Survival course.

If a fight comes to your front door in a survival situation and you have to defend yourself against a lethal-force attack, you’re setting yourself up to likely spend time in jail or looking out for people who want revenge.

I’m not suggesting you let people steal from you. I’m saying you should try to do whatever you can to keep from being a target thieves think is worth hitting.

What thoughts do you have for these two scenarios? What operational security measures are you using to keep your preparations under wraps? Do you have any “wicked-smart” strategies for hiding livestock and gardens from passers-by? What’s your top survival and preparedness question that you’d like David to answer in an upcoming article? Let us know by commenting below or by contacting David directly at: http://secretsofurbansurvival.com/contact-us/