Saturday, March 28, 2015

A quick, no frills, down & dirty guide to preparing for the End

Observing the world around them, many folks have come to the conclusion that the End is near - the End of the dollar, the End of freedom, the End of Western Civilization, the End of the current economic and political systems, etc... Whether this is intentionally planned by the Elites or the inevitable result of decades of bad decisions & general incompetence, its easy to see why many feel this way...

So, how can we prepare? Here is a quick, no frills down & dirty guide to preparing for the End:

1) Stock up on food, water, cleaning & hygiene supplies, first aid supplies, medicine & medical supplies, flashlights, radios, batteries, tools, sturdy clothes & shoes, etc. The End will mean a massive disruption in the supply chain for goods and services. In other words, the shelves at Wal-mart, Target, Lowe's, Home Depot, Sears, and your local grocery, hardware, and clothing stores will quickly be emptied, and likely will not be re-stocked for months, if ever. Stock up now for an extended period of time in which you will not be able to buy what you need.

2) Buy a gun and learn how to use it. Stock up on ammo. Chaos & violence will be a major feature of the End. And the police won't be there to protect you (and may even be a big part of the problem). The protection of yourself & your family will be - IS - your responsibility.

3) Stock up on fuel. Gasoline, diesel, oil, etc., will get EXTREMELY expensive, if it is available at all. Keep your tanks topped off, and store extra if you can do so SAFELY. Even a few 5-gallon gas cans full will be a tremendous help.

4) Find a relatively safe place to ride out the End. A big city or urban center probably won't be a safe place. Consider instead an out-of-the-way small town or rural area. You may want to go ahead and move there, or at least have a good bug-out plan and vehicle to get their as the End comes.

5) Turn your paper wealth into tangible wealth. Cash, stocks, bonds, etc. will become worthless, so turn them into real, tangible, wealth before the End. This means the food, guns, ammo and other supplies. It also means a home/homestead/land - somewhere relatively safe & productive to ride out the End. It may also mean buying gold, silver, and other tangible storehouses of wealth.

6) Figure out who you can really trust and depend on in a crisis. Crises bring out the best in some people and the worst in others. Desperate people don't always make the best choices. How well do you know the people in your life? Build your team, community, tribe, network, or whatever you want to call it, now. Plan together now for what to do when the End gets here. Plan on how to safely communicate with each other.

7) Pay attention to the world around you. The timing of converting your paper wealth to real wealth is the real trick. Exactly when the End will come is uncertain. Could be next week, next month, next year... You will need some cash to pay bills and live off of until then, so don't go out and immediately get rid of ALL your cash. You still need it. You'll have to pay close attention to what is going on in the world around you. Get your economic and political news from a variety of sources, and think things through using commonsense and reason.

8) Learn as many skills as possible, and work on improving your health & fitness. While waiting for the End, be diligent in improving your health & fitness, and learning a variety of skills. Stop smoking now. Address any addictions you have. Start eating right. Build your strength & endurance. Learn first aid and CPR. Learn self-defense shooting, and other self-defense skills. Learn to garden, to preserve food, to hunt & fish, to sew, to maintain & repair your vehicles,

And that is the no frills, down & dirty guide to preparing for the End. There are lots and lots of details that can be added. Lots of different strategies and tactics within this framework of preparing for the End. Your exact details will be determined by your own unique circumstances and personal concerns. Whatever you do, start getting ready NOW. Time may be running out.

Start taking responsibility for your own life now. in a more detailed, step-by-step guide to prepping? Jim Cobb's book, Countdown to Preparedness, may be for you.

Want a different perspective, more details, and lots of lists on preparing for future bad times? Check out Daxton Brown's book, Going Galt.

Want a real life example of going through an economic collapse and poltical chaos? Fernando Aguirre explains his experiences during Argentina's 2001 economic and political collapse in his book, The Modern Survival Manual.

Friday, March 27, 2015

The Battle Hymn of the Republic

Julia Ward Howe wrote the poem "The Battle Hymn of the Republic" in 1861, after visiting a Union Army camp. It quickly became a very popular patriotic song, set to the music of an earlier song, "John Brown's Body," about abolitionist John Brown.  The sung version contains a chorus not in the poem. It is interesting to note that many modern versions of the song have changed the lyric "let us die to make men free" to "let us live to make men free." 

The Battle Hymn of the Republic

Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord;
He is trampling out the vintage where the grapes of wrath are stored;
He hath loosed the fateful lightning of His terrible swift sword:
His truth is marching on.

I have seen Him in the watch-fires of a hundred circling camps,
They have builded Him an altar in the evening dews and damps;
I can read His righteous sentence by the dim and flaring lamps:
His day is marching on.

I have read a fiery gospel writ in burnished rows of steel:
"As ye deal with my contemners, so with you my grace shall deal";
Let the Hero, born of woman, crush the serpent with his heel,
Since God is marching on.

He has sounded forth the trumpet that shall never call retreat;
He is sifting out the hearts of men before His judgment-seat:
Oh, be swift, my soul, to answer Him! be jubilant, my feet!
Our God is marching on.

In the beauty of the lilies Christ was born across the sea,
With a glory in His bosom that transfigures you and me.
As He died to make men holy, let us die to make men free,
While God is marching on.

He is coming like the glory of the morning on the wave,
He is Wisdom to the mighty, He is Succour to the brave,
So the world shall be His footstool, and the soul of wrong His slave,
Our God is marching on.

Chorus from the Sung Version

Glory, glory, hallelujah!
Glory, glory, hallelujah!
Glory, glory, hallelujah.
Our God is marching on.

Monday, March 23, 2015

The Odd, Checkered History of the Pledge of Allegiance

The Original 1892 Pledge

The Pledge of Allegiance has an odd, checkered history that most folks don't realize. It was originally written in 1892 by a former Christian minister, Francis Bellamy, and read:

"I pledge allegiance to my Flag and the Republic for which it stands, one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."

Francis Bellamy was a socialist, and he intended the Pledge to be not just an American pledge, but rather a pledge that could be recited by any citizen of any country. Notice the generic wording of the original Pledge: "my Flag" instead of "the Flag of the United States of America." The Pledge was intended by Bellamy to promote a collectivist ideal, with citizens swearing fealty to their country rather than to God, their families, or their own self-interests, and thus promoting collectivism over individualism. .

In 1891, the year before he wrote the Pledge, Bellamy had been forced out of the ministry due to the Socialist nature of his sermons and lectures, with titles such as "Jesus the Socialist," "What is Christian Socialism," and "Socialism versus Anarchy." He would later leave the Church entirely, supposedly because of what he considered racism within the Church. Bellamy was a proponent of Worker's Rights, favored the redistribution of wealth, and was a founding member of the Society of Christian Socialists, serving as its first Vice-President.

Note that the original Pledge, as written by Bellamy, did not include the phrase "under God."

The Bellamy Salute and Its Replacement

The original pledge was intended to include a special salute with the arm extended outward toward the flag, palm up, as the words "to my Flag" were recited. This salute was replaced during World War II with the hand-over-the-heart gesture, because of the unfortunate similarity of the Bellamy Salute to the Nazi salute.

(Socialist movements historically have used a variety of salutes of an arm extended, with either the hand stretched outward or balled into a fist.)

1923 Changes

In 1923, the words "my Flag" were replaced with "the Flag of the United States of America." The revised Pledge read:

"I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America and to the Republic for which it stands, one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."

1954 Changes

In 1954, President Eisenhower asked Congress to add the words "under God" to the Pledge. This was done response to the Communist dogma of atheism, and created the Pledge as we know it today:

"I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."

Current Controversies

Several challenges have been made in recent years by atheists on the grounds that the phrase "under God" violates the separation of Church and State, and that it constitutes a form of discrimination against atheists. Thus far, the Courts have ruled that it does not violate the separation of Church and State because it is a patriotic exercise, not a religious exercise. The Courts have also ruled that it is not a form of discrimination as long as one is not forced to recite the Pledge, nor punished for not doing so.

The use of the Pledge has also been criticized by some Libertarians and Conservatives, pointing out its promotion of collectivism over individualism, and its Socialist origins.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

The Emancipation Proclamation

On January 1, 1863, President Abraham Lincoln issued an executive order freeing all slaves in the ten states that were still in rebellion at that time. The proclamation did not outlaw slavery, nor did it make the freed slaves citizens. However, it did make the end of slavery an official goal of the war, along with reunification. Up to 50,000 slaves in areas under Union control were immediately freed. However, there was no way to enforce the Proclamation, until the end of the war, in areas not under Union control. 

The Proclamation did not apply to the four slave states (Kentucky, Maryland, Delaware, and Missouri) not in rebellion. It also did not apply to Tennessee and the lower part of Louisiana, both under Union occupation. The ratification of the 13th Amendment in December of 1965, would bring about the final end of slavery in all states and regions of the US. 

By the President of the United States of America:

A Proclamation.

Whereas, on the twenty-second day of September, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-two, a proclamation was issued by the President of the United States, containing, among other things, the following, to wit:

"That on the first day of January, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, all persons held as slaves within any State or designated part of a State, the people whereof shall then be in rebellion against the United States, shall be then, thenceforward, and forever free; and the Executive Government of the United States, including the military and naval authority thereof, will recognize and maintain the freedom of such persons, and will do no act or acts to repress such persons, or any of them, in any efforts they may make for their actual freedom.

"That the Executive will, on the first day of January aforesaid, by proclamation, designate the States and parts of States, if any, in which the people thereof, respectively, shall then be in rebellion against the United States; and the fact that any State, or the people thereof, shall on that day be, in good faith, represented in the Congress of the United States by members chosen thereto at elections wherein a majority of the qualified voters of such State shall have participated, shall, in the absence of strong countervailing testimony, be deemed conclusive evidence that such State, and the people thereof, are not then in rebellion against the United States."

Now, therefore I, Abraham Lincoln, President of the United States, by virtue of the power in me vested as Commander-in-Chief, of the Army and Navy of the United States in time of actual armed rebellion against the authority and government of the United States, and as a fit and necessary war measure for suppressing said rebellion, do, on this first day of January, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, and in accordance with my purpose so to do publicly proclaimed for the full period of one hundred days, from the day first above mentioned, order and designate as the States and parts of States wherein the people thereof respectively, are this day in rebellion against the United States, the following, to wit:

Arkansas, Texas, Louisiana, (except the Parishes of St. Bernard, Plaquemines, Jefferson, St. John, St. Charles, St. James Ascension, Assumption, Terrebonne, Lafourche, St. Mary, St. Martin, and Orleans, including the City of New Orleans) Mississippi, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, and Virginia, (except the forty-eight counties designated as West Virginia, and also the counties of Berkley, Accomac, Northampton, Elizabeth City, York, Princess Ann, and Norfolk, including the cities of Norfolk and Portsmouth[)], and which excepted parts, are for the present, left precisely as if this proclamation were not issued.

And by virtue of the power, and for the purpose aforesaid, I do order and declare that all persons held as slaves within said designated States, and parts of States, are, and henceforward shall be free; and that the Executive government of the United States, including the military and naval authorities thereof, will recognize and maintain the freedom of said persons.

And I hereby enjoin upon the people so declared to be free to abstain from all violence, unless in necessary self-defence; and I recommend to them that, in all cases when allowed, they labor faithfully for reasonable wages.

And I further declare and make known, that such persons of suitable condition, will be received into the armed service of the United States to garrison forts, positions, stations, and other places, and to man vessels of all sorts in said service.

And upon this act, sincerely believed to be an act of justice, warranted by the Constitution, upon military necessity, I invoke the considerate judgment of mankind, and the gracious favor of Almighty God.

In witness whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the seal of the United States to be affixed.

Done at the City of Washington, this first day of January, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty three, and of the Independence of the United States of America the eighty-seventh.


By the President:
        Secretary of State.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Abraham Lincoln's "A House Divided" Speech

Feb. 12, 1809 – April 15, 1865
On June 16, 1858, at the Illinois State Republican convention in Springfield, Abraham Lincoln delivered his now famous "A House Divided" speech. Despite the fact that the speech was widely considered too radical by even his supporters, Lincoln was selected to be the Republican candidate for US Senate to run against Stephen A. Douglas. 

Lincoln lost the Senate race to Douglas, in part because of this speech. Yet, oddly enough, a number of Lincoln's contemporaries later credited this speech for awakening the people and eventually propelling Lincoln into the White House as the 16th President of the United States.

Abraham Lincoln's "A House Divided" Speech

Mr. President and Gentlemen of the Convention:

If we could first know where we are and whither we are tending, we could better judge what to do and how to do it. We are now far into the fifth year since a policy was initiated with the avowed object and confident promise of putting an end to slavery agitation. Under the operation of that policy, that agitation has not only not ceased but has constantly augmented. In my opinion, it will not cease until a crisis shall have been reached and passed. "A house divided against itself cannot stand." I believe this government cannot endure, permanently, half slave and half free. I do not expect the Union to be dissolved; I do not expect the house to fall; but I do expect it will cease to be divided. It will become all one thing, or all the other. Either the opponents of slavery will arrest the further spread of it and place it where the public mind shall rest in the belief that it is in the course of ultimate extinction, or its advocates will push it forward till it shall become alike lawful in all the states, old as well as new, North as well as South.

Have we no tendency to the latter condition?

Let anyone who doubts carefully contemplate that now almost complete legal combination — piece of machinery, so to speak — compounded of the Nebraska doctrine and the Dred Scott decision. Let him consider, not only what work the machinery is adapted to do, and how well adapted, but also let him study the history of its construction and trace, if he can, or rather fail, if he can, to trace the evidences of design and concert of action among its chief architects, from the beginning.

The new year of 1854 found slavery excluded from more than half the states by state constitutions and from most of the national territory by congressional prohibition. Four days later commenced the struggle which ended in repealing that congressional prohibition. This opened all the national territory to slavery and was the first point gained.

But, so far, Congress only had acted; and an endorsement by the people, real or apparent, was indispensable to save the point already gained and give chance for more.

This necessity had not been overlooked, but had been provided for, as well as might be, in the notable argument of "squatter sovereignty," other-wise called "sacred right of self-government," which latter phrase, though expressive of the only rightful basis of any government, was so perverted in this attempted use of it as to amount to just this: That if any one man choose to enslave another, no third man shall be allowed to object. That argument was incorporated into the Nebraska Bill itself, in the language which follows:

It being the true intent and meaning of this act not to legislate slavery into an territory or state, nor to exclude it therefrom, but to leave the people there-of perfectly free to form and regulate their domestic institutions in their own way, subject only to the Constitution of the United States.

Then opened the roar of loose declamation in favor of "squatter sovereignty" and "sacred right of self-government." "But," said opposition members, "let us amend the bill so as to expressly declare that the people of the territory may exclude slavery." "Not we," said the friends of the measure; and down they voted the amendment.

While the Nebraska Bill was passing through Congress, a law case, involving the question of a Negro's freedom, by reason of his owner having voluntarily taken him first into a free state and then into a territory covered by the congressional prohibition, and held him as a slave for a long time in each, was passing through the United States Circuit Court for the district of Missouri; and both Nebraska Bill and lawsuit were brought to a decision in the same month of May 1854. The Negro's name was Dred Scott, which name now designates the decision finally made in the case. Before the then next presidential election, the law case came to, and was argued in, the Supreme Court of the United States; but the decision of it was deferred until after the election. Still, before the election, Senator Trumbull, on the floor of the Senate, requested the leading advocate of the Nebraska Bill to state his opinion whether the people of a territory can constitutionally exclude slavery from their limits; and the latter answers: "That is a question for the Supreme Court."

The election came. Mr. Buchanan was elected, and the endorsement, such as it was, secured. That was the second point gained. The endorsement, however, fell short of a clear popular majority by nearly 400,000 votes, and so, perhaps, was not overwhelmingly reliable and satisfactory. The outgoing President, in his last annual message, as impressively as possible echoed back upon the people the weight and authority of the endorsement. The Supreme Court met again, did not announce their decision, but ordered a reargument.

The presidential inauguration came, and still no decision of the Court; but the incoming President, in his inaugural address, fervently exhorted the people to abide by the forthcoming decision, whatever it might be. Then, in a few days, came the decision.

The reputed author of the Nebraska Bill finds an early occasion to make a speech at this capital endorsing the Dred Scott decision, and vehemently denouncing all opposition to it. The new President, too, seizes the early occasion of the Silliman letter to endorse and strongly construe that decision, and to express his astonishment that any different view had ever been entertained!

At length a squabble springs up between the President and the author of the Nebraska Bill, on the mere question of fact, whether the Lecompton constitution was or was not in any just sense made by the people of Kansas; and in that quarrel the latter declares that all he wants is a fair vote for the people, and that he cares not whether slavery be voted down or voted up. I do not understand his declaration, that he cares not whether slavery be voted down or voted up, to be intended by him other than as an apt definition of the policy he would impress upon the public mind — the principle for which he declares he has suffered so much and is ready to suffer to the end. And well may he cling to that principle! If he has any parental feeling, well may he cling to it. That principle is the only shred left of his original Nebraska doctrine.

Under the Dred Scott decision, "squatter sovereignty" squatted out of existence, tumbled down like temporary scaffolding; like the mold at the foundry, served through one blast and fell back into loose sand; helped to carry an election and then was kicked to the winds. His late joint struggle with the Republicans against the Lecompton constitution involves nothing of the original Nebraska doctrine. That struggle was made on a point — the right of a people to make their own constitution — upon which he and the Republicans have never differed.

The several points of the Dred Scott decision, in connection with Senator Douglas' "care not" policy, constitute the piece of machinery in its present state of advancement. This was the third point gained. The working points of that machinery are:

First, that no Negro slave, imported as such from Africa, and no descendant of such slave can ever be a citizen of any state in the sense of that term as used in the Constitution of the United States. This point is made in order to deprive the Negro, in every possible event, of the benefit of that provision of the United States Constitution which declares that "the citizens of each state shall be entitled to all the privileges and immunities of citizens in the several states."

Second, that, "subject to the Constitution of the United States," neither Congress nor a territorial legislature can exclude slavery from any United States territory. This point is made in order that individual men may fill up the territories with slaves, without danger of losing them as property, and thus enhance the chances of permanency to the institution through all the future.

Third, that whether the holding a Negro in actual slavery in a free state makes him free, as against the holder, the United States courts will not decide, but will leave to be decided by the courts of any slave state the Negro may be forced into by the master. This point is made, not to be pressed immediately but, if acquiesced in for awhile, and apparently endorsed by the people at an election, then to sustain the logical conclusion that what Dred Scott's master might lawfully do with Dred Scott in the free state of Illinois, every other master may lawfully do with any other one, or 1,000 slaves, in Illinois or in any other free state.

Auxiliary to all this, and working hand in hand with it, the Nebraska doctrine, or what is left of it, is to educate and mold public opinion, at least Northern public opinion, not to care whether slavery is voted down or voted up. This shows exactly where we now are; and partially, also, whither we are tending.

It will throw additional light on the latter to go back and run the mind over the string of historical facts already stated. Several things will now appear less dark and mysterious than they did when they were transpiring. The people were to be left "perfectly free," "subject only to the Constitution." What the Constitution had to do with it, outsiders could not then see. Plainly enough, now, it was an exactly fitted niche for the Dred Scott decision to afterward come in and declare the perfect freedom of the people to be just no freedom at all.

Why was the amendment expressly declaring the right of the people voted down? Plainly enough, now, the adoption of it would have spoiled the niche for the Dred Scott decision. Why was the Court decision held up? Why even a senator's individual opinion withheld till after the presidential election? Plainly enough, now, the speaking out then would have damaged the "perfectly free" argument upon which the election was to be carried. Why the outgoing President's felicitation on the endorsement? Why the delay of a reargument? Why the incoming President's advance exhortation in favor of the decision? These things look like the cautious patting and petting of a spirited horse preparatory to mounting him when it is dreaded that he may give the rider a fall. And why the hasty after-endorsement of the decision by the President and others?

We cannot absolutely know that all these exact adaptations are the result of preconcert. But when we see a lot of framed timbers, different portions of which we know have been gotten out at different times and places and by different workmen — Stephen, Franklin, Roger, and James, for instance — and when we see these timbers joined together and see they exactly make the frame of a house or a mill, all the tenons and mortises exactly fitting, and all the lengths and proportions of the different pieces exactly adapted to their respective places, and not a piece too many or too few, not omitting even scaffolding, or, if a single piece be lacking, we see the place in the frame exactly fitted and prepared yet to bring such piece in — in such a case, we find it impossible not to believe that Stephen and Franklin and Roger and James all understood one another from the beginning, and all worked upon a common plan or draft drawn up before the first blow was struck.