Archive for April, 2012

A few years ago, I got interested in making those cool looking paracord bracelets. I watched a youtube video and said to myself, “Self, how hard can it be?” Loving Wife just rolled her blue eyes as I ordered the materials. I’m certainly not an expert at knots like the Paracordist. I only do a couple of simple knots.

There’s so many uses for paracord. Side note: I just watched a Myth Busters episode on duct tape being the only supplies used to rescue the MB’s off a deserted island. Very cool stuff, but they must have used 50 plus rolls of tape to “survive”. The sheer weight would be prohibitive for a BOB. I do keep duct tape in my wallet and BOB wrapped around an old gift card. The wallet tape comes in handy often.

Paracord is the duct tape of outdoor survival. The usefulness of this cord makes it indispensable. This post is not intended to go into its many functions but to highlight one of my DIY projects: Paracord rifle slings.

Here are two cobra-stitch slings I made for my Ruger 10-22 and Remington 870. I used about 100 feet of cordage for the tan sling and about 80 for the black one, which is adjustable. With this much cord accompanying me in the woods, I’m sure I could affect my rescue if need be…or build a log cabin even. There’s no such thing as too much paracord.

The sling is 37 inches (approximately 100 ft of cord) with Uncle Mike swivels.

View off the gun

I made the black sling adjustable with some black webbing I had lying around.

Let me know about any of your DIY paracord projects. I’m always open for improvements and new projects.

Semper Vigilans,



I’ve re-blogged a post from Kevin Hayden’s site Truth Is Treason. It’s also advisable to print hard-copies of manuals as well as digital copies.

Semper Vigilans,


37 Survival Downloads and Handbooks – Pioneering, SHTF, Engineering, Urban Gardening, Defense, and More

Posted on Oct 20, 2011 in Emergency Preparedness & Survival, Featured Articles, Urban Gardening, Farming & Homesteading

Kevin Hayden –

Field Manuals & Military Handbooks (.pdf Format)

Psychological Operations (PsyOps) AFDD 2-5-3

CBR Shelters ETL 1110-3-498

Map Reading & Navigation FM 3-25-26

Terrain, Maps, and Direction

Nuclear, Biological & Chemical (NBC) Field Handbook FM 3-7

Nuclear, Biological & Chemical (NBC) Protection FM 34

Military Chemical & Biological Agents and Compounds FM 3-9

Counterinsurgency Operations FMI 3-07.22

Survival, Evasion, Resistance & Escape (SERE) AR350-30

US Army Ranger Handbook

Combined Arms Operations in Urban Terrains (Urban Combat) FM3-06

Expeditionary Maneuver Warware

Medical and First-Aid

Where There is No Doctor

Where There is No Dentist – Excellent, must-read!

Combat Lifesaver Course – Student Self-Study IS0871

Technology, Electronics, and Engineering

Scout Engineering

Pedal Power

Convert Gasoline Engines to Run on Alcohol, 2008

Complete Manual of Pirate Radio

Antennas for Receiving and Transmitting, 2004

Emergency Preparedness, Collapse, Survival, & Post-SHTF

Preparedness Capability Checklist – Minimum and Extended Levels

Long Term Survival Guide: Improvised Towers

Long Term Survival Guide: Scrounging Metal and Survival Blacksmithing

US Army Field Manual – Management of Dead Bodies

Urban Gardening, Farming, Homesteading, Pioneering, & Bushcraft

The Construction of Secret Hiding Places

Raised Bed Garden Book.pdf

Guide to Canning.pdf


Pioneering, 1962

Poisonous Snakes and Lizards

Poisonous Plants

Dangerous Insects and Arachnids

Solar Distillation – Meeting Small Scale Water Demands, 1970

Simple Methods for the Treatment of Drinking Water

Fishing Knots

Ten Best Traps

Ultimate Guide to Wilderness Living Podcast Archive




Related Articles:

  1. Urban Survival Post-SHTF: a How-to Guide and Rural Comparison
  2. Urban Gardening: Indoor and Balcony Gardening Tips
  3. Military Field Manuals and Handbooks
  4. Urban Gardening – Cordite Country

Growing up, I always wanted to fly…without the aid of wings. I’d settle for a Jetman contraption though. Check him out on this flight, and here on TED. Note to self – add to my prep list wish list!

What superhero preparedness power would I choose?

This got me thinking. How practical would super powers be in a survival situation? If I could only have one super-human power, what would it be?

Special Note: To any comic book nerds who somehow stumbled upon this post, please spare me your dork rage for my total lack of intimate super hero knowledge. Nothing I write should be taken seriously. I only give tips. Take it or leave it. Keep in mind that this is satire (but may have application in the prepper community). If at any point in your reading you begin to horripilate , please stop and escape to some true-to-life comic books.

Let’s begin.

First, for the purpose of this piece, I’m only considering my favorite real super heroes. Check out my TOP SUPER HERO pick of all time at the bottom. Please feel free to add your thoughts in the comment section – even if it’s Aqua Man. Lame! Please add to this list of real or lame super hero. After much (one link) research on lame super heroes, I’m adding an honorable mention category for these overshadowed fighters of evil. Please help me understand why the comic book gods created Squirrel Girl.

Here’s my list of top super hero preparedness powers and the one I’d choose for TEOTWAWKI: (Rule change: I was only going to allow one pick overall, but I’ll allow you to choose one from each hero listed – you’re welcome!)

I. Superman: Powers & Abilities – ability to fly, bullet proof, superhuman strength, x-ray vision (TSA approved and safer I’ve heard), super hearing, heat vision (able to annihilate an entire army of Doomsday clones in one blast), super scream, self-sufficiency (His body stores the energy necessary to negate eating and sleeping for an indefinite period), super smell (ability to smell odors across the planet – don’t think I’d want that one), superhuman speed (2000 miles per second), and superhuman stamina.

My Pick: Obviously, his ability to fly would come in handy, but his heat vision (able to annihilate an entire army of Doomsday clones in one blast) is my pick for TEOTWAWKI.

Image by DC Comics

II. Wonder Woman: Powers & Abilities – flight, super-strength, super-speed, highly developed fighting skills, enhanced hearing, enhanced vision, animal empathy, regeneration (healing factor), sisterhood with fire, high resistance to magic. Blessed with the gifts of the Olympian Gods, Wonder Woman is one of the strongest beings on the planet; she can fly at sublight speed; while not invulnerable, she is highly resistant to bodily harm; she can psychically communicate with animals; she is an expert at all forms of classical armed and unarmed combat; a master of the sword, ax, and bow and arrow; a skilled tactician and diplomat; her arsenal includes a magic lasso that forces anyone within its confines to tell the absolute truth; her bracelets can deflect bullets.

My Pick: While “sisterhood with fire” (whatever that is) would be nice, I’d go with master of the sword, ax, and bow and arrow. Remember, I’ve already got heat vision for starting fires in downpours and nuking zombies.

III. Spider Man: Powers & Abilities – wall crawling, night vision, superhuman strength, speed, agility, spider webs, danger sense, and natural weapons.

My Pick: Hands down, gotta have some night vision. No batteries needed. Now I can see Doomsday clones in the dark. Nice add here.

IV. Apocalypse: Powers & Abilities –  superhuman strength, stamina, invulnerability, energy generation, superhuman speed, retarded aging (unable to age), genius-level science geek basically. Note: I didn’t even know this dude existed, but added him just for his name.

My Pick: Energy generation – to power up those re-chargeable batteries that I no longer need for my night-vision equipment.

V. Hulk: Powers & Abilities  – most powerful being in the universe, transformation, superhuman strength (duh!), self sustenance (does not need air, water, food, or sleep – in state of rage…just how long can one be mad though?), prolonged longevity, superhuman speed – 770 mph (very surprising due to his size – 8′ tall, 1,400 pounds of green – he has been fast enough to catch mortar shells shot at him), superhuman stamina, leaping ability, and durability, regenerative healing factor, resistance to psychic control (a single man obviously), immunity to all diseases and viruses (all known Earth-based diseases and viruses, including AIDS – does Aqua Man have this power?), adaptation to hostile environments (capable to adapt itself to new inhospitable environments whenever it is necessary), and homing abilities.

My Pick: While adaptation to hostile environments is needed for TEOTWASWKI, I choose Hulk’s homing ability in case I lose my compass and map in a bug-out situation.

Honorable Mention Lame Superheroes

I. Squirrel Girl: She’s a product of government school bullying. Squirrel Girl subsequently moved to New York City to fight crime, earning quite the reputation as Central Park’s greatest protector. Stop laughing! Seriously! Here’s a comment from a superhero junkie, “Squirrel Girl just replaced Batman as my favorite super hero ever.” Squirrel Girl’s ability to summon an army of squirrels would be very helpful when you’re needing protein for your SHTF soup. Just saying.

II. Tommy has the ability to turn completely flat – like a sheet of paper. She only possesses average human strength. She was the first to die in the Mutant Massacre. Superhero? She’d be useful if you ever locked your keys in your survival retreat. You did remember to stash a hide-a-key right?

III. Goldstar: “Niceness” is somehow considered a superpower. He’s upbeat and moralistic. BUT, he is disaster-prone. Not someone you want to hang out with in emergency/disaster situations. Motto: Can’t we all just get along? He scores zero on my Superhero Preparedness Power Scale.

Real Life Superhero

I’m adding a third category: Real Life Superhero. You may have heard of him. Revolution Comics presents…

Ron Paul: Giving the NWO a black eye, destroyer of Statist propaganda, and champion of real money! He’s my superhero!

If YOU could only have one super-human preparedness power, what would it be? Leave a comment please.

An old coaching buddy emailed this to me. Thought I’d share it for tax season (aka – legal theft at the point of a government gun). Read to the bottom. It’s good.


Charley Reese’s final column for the Orlando Sentinel…
He has been a journalist for 49 years.
He is retiring and this is HIS LAST COLUMN.

Be sure to read the Tax List at the end.

This is about as clear and easy to understand as it can be. The article below is completely neutral, either anti-republican or democrat. Charlie Reese, a retired reporter for the Orlando Sentinel, has hit the nail directly on the head, defining clearly who it is that in the final analysis must assume responsibility for the judgments made that impact each one of us every day. It’s a short but good read. Worth the time. Worth remembering!

545 vs. 300,000,000 People
-By Charlie Reese

Politicians are the only people in the world who create problems and then campaign against them.

Have you ever wondered, if both the Democrats and the Republicans are against deficits, WHY do we have deficits?

Have you ever wondered, if all the politicians are against inflation and high taxes, WHY do we have inflation and high taxes?

You and I don’t propose a federal budget. The President does.

You and I don’t have the Constitutional authority to vote on appropriations. The House of Representatives does.

You and I don’t write the tax code, Congress does.

You and I don’t set fiscal policy, Congress does.

You and I don’t control monetary policy, the Federal Reserve Bank does.

One hundred senators, 435 congressmen, one President, and nine Supreme Court justices equates to 545 human beings out of the 300 million are directly, legally, morally, and individually responsible for the domestic problems that plague this country.

I excluded the members of the Federal Reserve Board because that problem was created by the Congress. In 1913, Congress delegated its Constitutional duty to provide a sound currency to a federally chartered, but private, central bank.

I excluded all the special interests and lobbyists for a sound reason. They have no legal authority. They have no ability to coerce a senator, a congressman, or a President to do one cotton-picking thing. I don’t care if they offer a politician $1 million dollars in cash. The politician has the power to accept or reject it. No matter what the lobbyist promises, it is the legislator’s responsibility to determine how he votes.

Those 545 human beings spend much of their energy convincing you that what they did is not their fault. They cooperate in this common con regardless of party.

What separates a politician from a normal human being is an excessive amount of gall. No normal human being would have the gall of a Speaker, who stood up and criticized the President for creating deficits. The President can only propose a budget. He cannot force the Congress to accept it.

The Constitution, which is the supreme law of the land, gives sole responsibility to the House of Representatives for originating and approving appropriations and taxes. Who is the speaker of the House now? He is the leader of the majority party. He and fellow House members, not the President, can approve any budget they want. If the President vetoes it, they can pass it over his veto if they agree to.

It seems inconceivable to me that a nation of 300 million cannot replace 545 people who stand convicted — by present facts — of incompetence and irresponsibility. I can’t think of a single domestic problem that is not traceable directly to those 545 people. When you fully grasp the plain truth that 545 people exercise the power of the federal government, then it must follow that what exists is what they want to exist.

If the tax code is unfair, it’s because they want it unfair.

If the budget is in the red, it’s because they want it in the red.

If the Army & Marines are in Iraq and Afghanistan it’s because they want them in Iraq and Afghanistan …

If they do not receive social security but are on an elite retirement plan not available to the people, it’s because they want it that way.

There are no insoluble government problems.

Do not let these 545 people shift the blame to bureaucrats, whom they hire and whose jobs they can abolish; to lobbyists, whose gifts and advice they can reject; to regulators, to whom they give the power to regulate and from whom they can take this power. Above all, do not let them con you into the belief that there exists disembodied mystical forces like “the economy,” “inflation,” or “politics” that prevent them from doing what they take an oath to do.

Those 545 people and they alone, are responsible.

They and they alone, have the power.

They and they alone, should be held accountable by the people who are their bosses. Provided the voters have the gumption to manage their own employees…

We should vote all of them out of office and clean up their mess!

What you do with this article now that you have read it… is up to you.
This might be funny if it weren’t so true.
Be sure to read all the way to the end:

Tax his land,
Tax his bed,
Tax the table,
At which he’s fed.

Tax his tractor,
Tax his mule,
Teach him taxes
Are the rule.

Tax his work,
Tax his pay,
He works for
peanuts anyway!

Tax his cow,
Tax his goat,
Tax his pants,
Tax his coat.

Tax his ties,
Tax his shirt,
Tax his work,
Tax his dirt.

Tax his tobacco,
Tax his drink,
Tax him if he
Tries to think.

Tax his cigars,
Tax his beers,
If he cries
Tax his tears.

Tax his car,
Tax his gas,
Find other ways
To tax his a–.

Tax all he has
Then let him know
That you won’t be done
Till he has no dough.

When he screams and hollers;
Then tax him some more,
Tax him till
He’s good and sore.

Then tax his coffin,
Tax his grave,
Tax the sod in
Which he’s laid…

Put these words
Upon his tomb,
‘Taxes drove me
to my doom…’

When he’s gone,
Do not relax,
Its time to apply
The inheritance tax.

Accounts Receivable Tax
Building Permit Tax
CDL license Tax
Cigarette Tax
Corporate Income Tax
Dog License Tax
Excise Taxes
Federal Income Tax
Federal Unemployment Tax (FUTA)
Fishing License Tax
Food License Tax
Fuel Permit Tax
Gasoline Tax (currently 44.75 cents per gallon)
Gross Receipts Tax
Hunting License Tax
Inheritance Tax
Inventory Tax
IRS Interest Charges IRS Penalties (tax on top of tax)
Liquor Tax
Luxury Taxes
Marriage License Tax
Medicare Tax
Personal Property Tax
Property Tax
Real Estate Tax
Service Charge Tax
Social Security Tax
Road Usage Tax
Recreational Vehicle Tax
Sales Tax
School Tax
State Income Tax
State Unemployment Tax (SUTA)
Telephone Federal Excise Tax
Telephone Federal Universal Service Fee Tax
Telephone Federal, State and Local Surcharge Taxes
Telephone Minimum Usage Surcharge Tax
Telephone Recurring and Nonrecurring Charges Tax
Telephone State and Local Tax
Telephone Usage Charge Tax
Utility Taxes
Vehicle License Registration Tax
Vehicle Sales Tax
Watercraft Registration Tax
Well Permit Tax
Workers Compensation Tax

Not one of these taxes existed 100 years ago, & our nation was the most prosperous in the world.
We had absolutely no national debt, had the largest middle class in the world, and Mom, if agreed, stayed home to raise the kids.

What in the heck happened? Can you spell ‘politicians?’

I hope this goes around THE USA at least 545 times!!! YOU can help it get there!!!

Start you education by visiting these top personal freedom and liberty sites.

Hat tip to The Capital Free Press for putting the list together!

This is a ranking of the top libertarian websites based on the number of unique visitors in the most recent month according to the data compiled by Compete. They only compile data for domains and subdomains, so perhaps this list is more accurately described as the most visited libertarian domains rather than websites. It is compiled through calls to Compete’s API, so it will automatically update when they release new data each month. For more information on this list, see the blog post introducing it.

Automating everything means that adding a new website is as simple as plugging a new url into my list, so you have any suggestions for a website to add, please email me at

Due to the restrictions on the free use of the Compete API, there is a chance that I could run out of API calls in a 24 hour period (resets at midnight EST). The way that I compile this list and the terms and conditions on the use of their API prevent me from displaying the number of unique visitors for each website in the chart, though that information and more can be accessed via the link I have provided.

Rank Name Website
1 Compete Site Profile
2 Electronic Frontier Foundation Compete Site Profile
3 Ron Paul 2012 Official Campaign Website Compete Site Profile
4 Reason Magazine Compete Site Profile
5 Daily Paul Compete Site Profile
6 The Cato Institute Compete Site Profile
7 Ludwig von Mises Institute Compete Site Profile
8 Compete Site Profile
9 Compete Site Profile
10 Outside the Beltway Compete Site Profile
11 Economic Policy Journal Compete Site Profile
12 Library of Economics and Liberty Compete Site Profile
13 The Daily Bell Compete Site Profile
14 Ron Paul Forums Compete Site Profile
15 Endorse Liberty PAC Compete Site Profile
16 Tenth Amendment Center Compete Site Profile
17 Cato-at-Liberty Blog Compete Site Profile
18 The Freeman Compete Site Profile
19 Future of Freedom Foundation Compete Site Profile
20 Campaign For Liberty Compete Site Profile
21 The Independent Institute Compete Site Profile
22 Advocates for Self Government Compete Site Profile
23 Marginal Revolution Compete Site Profile
24 The Agitator – Radley Balko Compete Site Profile
25 Carpe Diem – Mark J. Perry Compete Site Profile
26 Libertarian Party Compete Site Profile
27 Tom Woods Compete Site Profile
28 Whiskey and Gunpowder Compete Site Profile
29 Revolution PAC Compete Site Profile
30 Run Ron Paul Compete Site Profile
31 The Ayn Rand Institute Compete Site Profile
32 Cop Block Compete Site Profile
33 Acton Institute Compete Site Profile
34 Free State Project Compete Site Profile
35 Adam Vs The Man Compete Site Profile
36 United Liberty Compete Site Profile
37 Reason Foundation Compete Site Profile
38 Moment of Clarity – Tim Nerenz Compete Site Profile
39 Cafe Hayek Compete Site Profile
40 Downsize DC Compete Site Profile
41 Free Keene Compete Site Profile
42 The Humble Libertarian Compete Site Profile
43 Laissez-Faire Books Compete Site Profile
44 Strike-The-Root Compete Site Profile
45 Foundation for Economic Education Compete Site Profile
46 John Locke Foundation Compete Site Profile
47 Break The Matrix Compete Site Profile
48 Compete Site Profile
49 Competitive Enterprise Institute Compete Site Profile
50 Compete Site Profile
51 Vox Popoli Compete Site Profile
52 The Institute for Justice Compete Site Profile
53 – The Blog of the CEI Compete Site Profile
54 Freedomain Radio Compete Site Profile
55 Institute for Humane Studies Compete Site Profile
56 Peter Schiff Show Compete Site Profile
57 Center for a Stateless Society Compete Site Profile
58 Learn Liberty Compete Site Profile
59 Young Americans for Liberty Compete Site Profile
60 Young Americans for Liberty Compete Site Profile
61 Compete Site Profile
62 Free Talk Live Compete Site Profile
63 The Future of Capitalism Compete Site Profile
64 Doug Wead The Blog Compete Site Profile
65 Libertarian Republican Compete Site Profile
66 Adam Smith Institute Compete Site Profile
67 The Capital Free Press Compete Site Profile
68 Bleeding Heart Libertarians Compete Site Profile
69 Militant Libertarian Compete Site Profile
70 Students for Liberty Compete Site Profile
71 Coyote Blog Compete Site Profile
72 Ron Paul News Compete Site Profile
73 Republican Liberty Caucus Compete Site Profile
74 Bastiat Institute Compete Site Profile
75 The Libertarian Standard Compete Site Profile
76 Compete Site Profile
77 Coordination Problem Compete Site Profile
78 Center for the Study of Innovative Freedom Compete Site Profile
79 Compete Site Profile
80 Goldwater Institute Compete Site Profile
81 Liberty Radio Network Compete Site Profile
82 Ideas – David Friedman Compete Site Profile
83 Daily Anarchist Compete Site Profile
84 Stephan Kinsella Compete Site Profile
85 Compete Site Profile
86 Liberty Underground Compete Site Profile
87 Liberty Pulse Compete Site Profile
88 Peace, Freedom & Prosperity Compete Site Profile
89 Free Advice – Robert Murphy Compete Site Profile
90 Libertarian Leanings Compete Site Profile
91 Americans for Limited Government Compete Site Profile
92 Liberty Documentaries Compete Site Profile
93 Liberty PAC Compete Site Profile
94 Taking Hayek Seriously Compete Site Profile
95 Liberty Maven Compete Site Profile
96 Congress Shall Make No Law: IJ’s Free Speech Blog Compete Site Profile
97 Ron Paul Radio Compete Site Profile
98 LacrosseWatchDog Compete Site Profile
99 Bad Quaker Compete Site Profile
100 Libertarian Papers Compete Site Profile
101 Porcupine Freedom Festival Compete Site Profile
102 The Libertarian Patriot Compete Site Profile
103 The Southern Libertarian Compete Site Profile
104 The Tireless Agorist Compete Site Profile
105 Liberty Classroom Compete Site Profile
106 Government by Contract Compete Site Profile
107 Freespace – Timothy Sandefur Compete Site Profile
108 Austrian Dad Compete Site Profile
109 Compete Site Profile
110 Libertarian Advocate Compete Site Profile
111 Liberty Web Alliance Compete Site Profile
112 Liberty On Tour Compete Site Profile
113 Libertarian Book Club Compete Site Profile
114 Run Rand Run Compete Site Profile

“To attain knowledge, add things everyday. To attain wisdom, remove things every day.” Lao Tzu

Stop it! Now! It’ll only make you more stupid as a survivalist.

I use to look at all the preparedness blogs and books and turn green drooling over all the cool stuff these folks say I needed to survive an emergency, SHTF situation, or TEOTWASKI. I still slap myself on my green face from time to time. Maybe the hand prints are fading with time. Let’s hope so. I’d wake up at crazy hours of the night wondering how I’d get my family to safety if…fill-in-the-blank happened. I still envy some of my self-reliant heroes and heroine. It’s addictive. But I’ve come to realize that only makes me more stupid.

I’m no expert on anything. I’m a self-professed serial multitasker. I consider myself the stupidest survivalist on the planet. I’ve added lots of preparedness knowledge to my brain, but I have to balance my knowledge with wisdom. Taking away things like prepper envy adds wisdom. It’s so unwise to envy what many in the prepper community have in terms of gadgets, supplies, and tools.  But I catch myself still doing it.

Here’s my 7 cures for prepper envy.

Prepper Envy Cure #1:

Be honest. Seems simple. The most useful, yet most neglected, item in my preparedness toolbox is honesty. I wish I was more honest with myself. I said I’m the stupidest survivalist on the planet. I really feel this way. This isn’t false humiliating, self-depreciation babble. This falls into the more I know, the less I know category.

Arrogance humbles. Last year I decided I needed to start working out with my BOB (Bug Out Bag). I consider myself to be in above average shape for my age (50). So I sling my 40 pound pack on my back and start my daily 4 mile walk with my Loving Wife. Into mile 2 I discovered I hadn’t been honest about two things: A) My fitness level; B) The amount of “needed” stuff in my BOB. Find out before the curtain goes up for the show if you’re ready. Be honest and adjust your lifestyle.

Every book I read reminds me to be honest about my abilities. Kevin Dunn’s Caveman Chemistry is one book that has me humbled and excited. I was never interested in chemistry in school. If all school textbooks were written like this, government schooled students might have a chance of learning. Dunn comes across as a mad scientist at times. I like him. Now I see my lack of knowledge and treat it as a challenge. Learn to be a producer. Your stuff/supplies will run out eventually.

Prepper Envy Cure #2:

Don’t worrying, be happy. Pollyanna notions about whorled peas is not what I’m talking about here. Worrying may be the biggest drain and waste of energy in the prepper community. FEAR! A friend gave me this advise in the early 90’s that has served me well since (when I do it): Be prayed up and laid back. At some point, we all have to get over ourselves and depend on a higher power. Mine happens to be God. This is by no means a He’ll take care of everything excuse not to prepare for our future. Prepare, but stop worrying about things you can’t control. Do what you can do, do all you can do, and let go of the rest.

What’s your biggest fear?

Prepper Envy Cure #3:

Hone your abilities. Coach John Wooden once said, “Ability is a poor man’s wealth.” You don’t have to be wealthy to be prepared. Skills trump gadgets. Again, I’m not advocating not stocking up on supplies. I’m saying practice your skills. Ability comes from experience and practice. Turn off the TV or computer (ONLY after you’ve finished my article) and get outside and practice bush crafting skills. Take a kid fishing/hunting. Walk your lawn and identify common weeds that might be useful for meds or food. You do have weeds in your yard right? I know exactly were to find plantain in my yard for the occasional tick bite or skin irritation. It’s an amazing wild weed!

Quit wishing you had the latest whatyacallit all the experts say you need. Time spent developing yourself helps dissolve prepper envy.

Prepper Envy Cure #4:

Avoid stupid mistakes. Avoid getting a personal “Darwin Award”. “That could have put your eye out,” Mama said. Why? Because we were shooting our BB guns at each other and she found out. It was obvious with the welt over my eye. I’d envy the ability to see if the BB had struck 2 inches lower.

We all make stupid mistakes. Prepper envy doesn’t have to be one of them.

Prepper Envy Cure #5:

Exercise mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually. I know I could have made these four Prepper Envy Cures #5-8, but I refuse to have “list envy” on top of prepper envy – (you’ve seen it, “The 39 Top Threats To Tyranny”,  “7 Myths That Schools Teach as Real History”, “30 Canned Foods You Never Knew Existed“).

I touched on the physical aspect here. I’ll develop these four in a later post.

Prepper Envy Cure #6:

Fail forward. No regrets. I regret way too much. When I was five, I wanted to grow up to be the guy that rode on the back of the trash truck. It’s looked fun at the time. I don’t regret following that dream. I do regret wasting so much money, time, and energy on stuff that really doesn’t matter in the big scheme of life. I envy those with no regrets. See how it’s a vicious cycle.

Regrets waste energy and stop your preparedness momentum. Let the past go. In an earlier chapter of my life, I read a John Maxwell book or listened to one of cassette tapes (that dates it, huh?) and remember hearing the phrase “fail forward.” That stuck with me. I don’t always follow this wisdom, but it’s still truth. You’re reading this from an electric device because Thomas Edison was a “fail forward” man.

Regrets kills future ideas! I’ve never read any science on this, but it’s been proven in my life. The more I wallow in regret, the less creative I become.

Prepper Envy Cure #7:

Perfection is overrated. If you have OCD (Obsessive Compulsion Disorder), I feel for you. My mother-in-law has it. I don’t know how I passed the vetting to marry her daughter. Somehow she overlooked my many imperfect traits.

We’re bombarded with thousands of images daily promoting perfection – the perfect figure, job, car, drug, home, makeup, gun, knife, etc. Even in “education”, NCLB (No Child Left Behind) says we will achieve 100% passing rate on standardized testing for all students by 2014. Educrats are clueless! Resist the urge to envy perfect people. Their photo shopped. Be yourself. That’s enough.

See Prepper Envy Cure #1: Be honest about your imperfections. It opens more doors and opportunities than the vinyl veneer of perfection. See, I told you I’m the stupidest survivalist on the planet.

Semper Vigilans,


Head on over to BuzzFeed and check out 30 Canned Foods You Never Knew Existed.

I’ve eaten some crazy stuff in my time on this spinning ball, but haven’t tried some of these. #18 is worth adding to your larder. I’ve eaten the following, but never out of a can: #1, 7, 11, 13, 16, 18, 19, 23 (beef not sheep), 25, 27, 29, and 30 (not intentionally).

#18 - I've actually heard this is good stuff.

#30 gives a whole new meaning the phrase, “I’m going to open a can of whoop-ass on you!”

This is your side dish

What’s your favorite?

Below is a recent post on Mises Daily by Joel Poindexter. I highly recommend both Mises Daily and Mr. Poindexter. See his blog at EconomicHarmonies.

Joel Poindexter is a student working toward a degree in economics. His writing has been published by the Ludwig von Mises Institute, and the Tenth Amendment Center. He lives with his wife and daughter near Kansas City.

Full article below:

In the course of my deployments to Iraq I learned a great deal about economics, though I didn’t realize it at the time. I hadn’t yet been introduced to the Austrian School or a Rothbardian view of laissez-faire capitalism. Looking back, however, I can see quite clearly that in several important areas voluntary systems not only existed in that country but thrived.

My first deployment was to Baghdad, that ancient Mesopotamian city positioned on the Tigris and Euphrates rivers. It was there I discovered how, even during the most violent and unstable times, markets can adapt to the needs of consumers and peacefully provide essential services to humanity.

The focus of this article will be on economic provision, rather than the war itself. However, it’s important to note that the following free-market solutions have blossomed in spite of being in the heart of a country ravaged by economic sanctions and all but total war. Not only was the US-led war destructive of the physical means to provide such services; it also destroyed the institutions that delivered them, adding to the difficulty in restoring them.

Utility Services

In the United States virtually all utilities are a service provided by government. Whether they are directly controlled by municipal governments or simply regulated to the point of being creatures of those organizations, relatively few cases exist where the market provides utilities unhindered. Baghdad, however, was not so tightly regulated.

Being the capital city, it is home to all of the major government offices and thus has a priority for electrical power; this was true before and after the invasion. However, after a decade of brutal sanctions, followed by a relentless bombing campaign of “shock and awe,” the socialized infrastructure was entirely unfit to meet demand. The solution arrived at by the Iraqi people was brilliant.

Taking advantage of economies of scale, residents would pool their resources and either buy a large generator or contract with someone who already owned one. Then a mechanic would be hired to maintain the generator, guarding it against thieves and ensuring it was properly fueled. The more clients a neighborhood had, the lower the consumer cost and higher the profits for the owners.

The one flaw in this system was that fuel was supplied by a centrally planned government agency. As might have been expected, shortages were frequent, leading to power outages. Had fuel been freed from the highly politicized and bureaucratic web of government, there’s no doubt an equally innovative and peaceful solution would have arisen to address this need.


Another pocket of freedom that many Iraqis enjoy is in market-based currency, or something similar. After the collapse of Iraq’s government, the central bank no longer issued notes for the Iraqi dinar. At this time the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA), which was the US-lead interim government, began a large-scale influx of the US dollar. Between large shipments of currency from the CPA, and the widespread use of the dollar by hundreds of thousands of troops, its supply quickly increased. And while many thought the result would be large-scale abandonment of the dinar, quite the opposite in fact occurred.

B.K. Marcus describes the result here, wherein the dinar actually increased in value and was in many cases the preferred currency by many in the country. One primary reason seems to be that the value of the dinar remained fairly constant, due to its supply being more stable. But other currencies existed, some fiat-based, others springing from the market.

In another account of the market in Iraq, Edward Gonzales described how in the western region of the country, sheep and bottled water acted as money. Their value floated based on the season and relative quantities of one or the other. While I never witnessed trades made with livestock or other commodities, I did see that not just dinars and dollars were used for exchange.

My second deployment was to the Babel province, south of Baghdad, and the Iranian rial was fairly common there. This was particularly true in the Shia towns and neighborhoods, as might have been expected. I was not familiar with the exchange ratios among the currencies, but all were used in trade. It was not uncommon for a man’s wallet to contain two or more of a different states’ moneys, even all three at times.

Defense Services

Perhaps the state’s longest running and most institutionalized monopoly is that of defense. Advocates of limited government will quickly concede that most services ought to be provided in a free market. This provides incentives for firms to compete for market share, thus raising quality while driving down prices. One service that must be provided by the state, according to everyone from socialists to minarchists, is defense of persons and their property.

Even many who claim to believe steadfastly in free enterprise will concede that defense is the sole purview of government. By doing so they implicitly argue that the same economic laws that govern the provision of trash collection are rendered impotent when applied to defending property. This certainly does not hold water theoretically, nor is it true when applied to the market in Iraq.

In most of the country there were multiple layers of government police and military, and martial law had become the norm. Despite (or perhaps because of) the saturation of the market by government defense monopolists, private services were a valuable commodity. In Baghdad, circa 2005, there were 175,000 US troops engaging various guerilla forces. On top of that, the government’s police never bothered with the pretense of scruples and corruption was standard fare. Private security quickly became a profitable enterprise.

It is often suggested by advocates of a free society that, theoretically, defense would be an individual endeavor. So long as individuals are free to own property, goes the argument, they’ll be able to arm themselves for protection. This is largely how it played out in Iraq. Each adult male was permitted to own one AK-47 rifle, for personal defense, and gun ownership was nearly ubiquitous. (This allowance was expanded later to allow shotguns for hunting).

As an added layer of protection, many neighborhoods employed night watchmen. These were typically middle-aged men who were contracted by their neighbors to patrol the streets and defend against thieves. Their teenage sons would often assist, and we came to know the groups well. Some took employment in the markets, hired by the business owners to protect commercial interests. Others were posted near residential street corners, keeping a watchful eye on their clients’ homes through the night.

These were trusted men in the community, who had found a way to earn a living in a ravaged economy by supplying a highly valued service to their fellow man. They did as good or better a job than we did at securing neighborhoods. Recognizing this, we equipped them with infrared lights, indicating they were friendlies, to help protect them from our helicopter gunships and other units passing through the area at night.


In each of these cases, where proponents of the state argue we must have active government involvement, individuals found voluntary, peaceful solutions to their problems. In spite of the failure by both the Iraqi and US governments to provide essential services, such as adequate electrical power and the defense of property, private solutions quickly sprang up among the violence and disorder. Money too was not something that required a government fiat to make trade possible. The market, unhindered by the state, provided a currency by which individuals could exchange with one another.

Copyright © 2012 by the Ludwig von Mises Institute. Permission to reprint in whole or in part is hereby granted, provided full credit is given.

What’s tub-thumping got to do with the Constitution?

A tub-thumper is one who argues for or promotes something vigorously with noisy, violent, or ranting public speaking.

Noisy and violent come to mind when the subject of the U.S. Constitution is breached. I watch my twitter feed some days and I’m drawn to get on the bandwagon to bash our “unconstitutional” government leaders. Obama happens to be the latest in a long line of targets for verbal bashing. Being a Constitutional law professor, you’d think he’d know better. Maybe he knows it better than we think (I’ll explain a little later).

Obama said, “that an unelected group of people (Supreme Court – the branch that’s suppose to monitor the feds – like letting kids grade their own papers) would somehow overturn a duly constituted and passed law (Congress).” He called it “unprecedented.” Read here. This is easy to swallow with a gulp of kool-aid. The courts do this all the time. It’s their job.

When the cat and mouse agree, the grocer is ruined. – Arab proverb

Why hasn’t the constitution stopped Obamacare? How has the Federal Government, past and present, overstepped our strict constitution? What about checks and balances?

I’ve always considered myself a tub-thumping constitutionalists. I always thought the Constitution was carefully constructed by our Founding Fathers (lawyers) to limit and restrain government’s lust for complete control and power. However, with each passing year,  the Leviathan strengthens its crushing grip on its prey (us). Once upon a time, not so long ago, I fought in the left-right war. I couldn’t put to rest that gnawing feeling that we (liberal, conservative, moderate, independent) are being played as fools. If the Constitution gives Congress only specific powers, how do the States and the people end up with the short straw in this experiment of republic government? Why are our freedoms eroding? Maybe we weren’t really meant to be free. Stay with me now. Don’t put the tar pot on the fire just yet.

Last year I read Hologram of Liberty Kenneth W. Royce (a.k.a. Boston T. Party). This single book, well researched and documented, should be read by all in the Libertarian/Liberty movement. Just as Government “education” was not established to educate, but to school the masses to be useful to the elites running the show, our Constitution has built-in loss of freedom clauses allowing expansion of Big Government.

In “No Treason”, Lysander Spooner states, “The Constitution has either authorized such a government as we have had, or has been powerless to prevent it.”

Don’t take me to be anti-American. I love my country. I’m just exhausted by government.  After reading HoL, I gave up parchment worship. When addressing the Virginia ratifying assembly in 1788, Patrick Henry (one of my favorite liberty-lovers) said, “I look upon the constitution as the fatal plan that could be possibly be conceived to enslave a free people.” When you search and dig deep for answers to those gnawing questions about the “backsliding” Federal Government, you may come to Mr. Henry’s conclusion.

For further self-education, I highly recommend Hologram of Liberty! Take the time to read it before ranting about the next Big Government encroachment into your life. Then you’ll begin putting the puzzle pieces together.

If you read it, please let me know what you think.

Semper paratus!


They chanted and walked out of Frederick Douglass Academy in Detroit. What nerve! They’re demanding an education in a government-run compulsory school. The suspension may work to their benefit. I can only hope that their days away from the prison-like institution helps them figuring out that “educating” is NOT what goes on in public schools – with or without government licensed teachers.

Here’s the article: (Hat tip to Karen De Coster)

About 50 students from a high school in Detroit have been suspended after staging a walk-out to protest deteriorating conditions in the school. Public schools in the area have lost about 100,000 students during the past decade due to poor management.

­Pupils from the boys’ school Frederick Douglass Academy abandoned their classrooms over teacher shortages and a lack of resources on Friday.

They gathered outside the building amid cries of “We want… education! When do we want it? Now!”

Parents reportedly organized the march after the consistent absence of a number of teachers and the dismissal of the principal. Students had allegedly been out of lessons for weeks due to a shortage of staff.

Parent and pupils alike were taken aback when Frederick Douglass was no longer listed as an application school in the district, meaning that current students had to re-apply to attend the next academic year.

“We’ve been wronged and disrespected and lied to and cheated,” said senior Tevin Hill to local newspaper, the Detroit Free Press.

“They didn’t listen to us when we complained to the administration. They didn’t listen to the parents when they complained to the administration, so I guess this is the only way to get things solved,” he stressed.

Parents have also accused teachers of abusing sick leave; one math teacher reported to have been off for more than 69 days in a row. As a result, students are now months behind with the syllabus.

Detroit Public Schools spokesperson maintained that the district council remained dedicated to keep the school open and addressed the topic of negligent teachers saying “teachers who abuse sick time will be reprimanded.”

Hundreds of student staged a walk-out earlier in March at nearby Denby High over administrative changes at the school.

Detroit’s schooling system has suffered greatly over the past couple of years, with many public institutions having to close through a lack of funds and staffing. Arne Duncan, US secretary of education, had previously labeled Detroit as “ground zero” in the struggle for school reforms.

Official government figures put unemployment in Detroit at below 30 per cent, but local authorities dispute this, claiming that it is in fact closer to 50 per cent.