Thursday, February 22, 2024

23 Action Steps to Defend the Second Amendment

By Tim Gamble
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Amendment II

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

1) Know Your Rights - We have a natural (God-given) right to self-defense, and this includes the tools needed to defend ourselves. This unalienable right is recognized and guaranteed by the Second Amendment to U.S. Constitution. Guns are a very useful, even necessary, tool of self-defense. They are also great for hunting, providing food, recreation through shooting sports, and collecting. But their primary function, as enshrined in the Constitution by our Founding Fathers, is for self-defense, against both bad people and bad governments

Action Steps:

A) Read the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.
B) Get a "pocket copy" of both (various organizations often give away such copies).
C) Read the article "The Six Things Americans Should Know About the Second Amendment" by Richard W. Stevens.
D) Check out the Biblical Self-Defense website.
E) Learn the laws of your state and locality regarding firearms, self-defense, and concealed-carry & open-carry. Your local gun store should be able to help with this step. 

[Why know State Laws if the Second Amendment is clear? Because politicians and government officials don't always follow the Constitution, and it is difficult to defend the Second Amendment from a jail cell.]

2) Work to Change Unconstitutional Laws and Excessive Regulations

Many states and localities have passed legislation that violates the Second Amendment and/or otherwise restricts our inalienable right to self-defense. We must work diligently to change these laws and to prevent new restrictions. This takes time, effort, and awarenessThe cost of freedom is eternal vigilance. 

Action Steps:

A) Know the positions of political candidates regarding guns and self-defense. Do not vote for candidates that do not fully support the Second Amendment or that favor restrictions, even so-called "commonsense" restrictions, on guns and self-defense. This is especially important in state and local elections!
B) Make your voice heard. Pressure your politicians at all levels to be pro-Second Amendment, and to resist all gun control efforts. Many politicians end up voting in the direction they feel the greatest pressure. We have to make sure we out-pressure the Elites. The Elites are very good at this, and have the support of the main stream media and academia. We have to be better than them. Write, call, email, and visit your elected officials often. Attend town halls. Write newspaper editorials. Be outspoken. 
C) Here's how to contact federal, state, and local government officials: click this link. 
D) Many gun rights organizations provide legislative alerts and suggested actions to take. Join their email lists and/or follow them on social media to stay informed of these opportunities. (A list of some of these organizations is in step #3 below.)

3)  Join Forces with Others Defending the Second Amendment

There are many organizations defending the Second Amendment. Here are a few you should consider joining. 

Action Steps:

A) Gun Owners Association (GOA) (TwitterWebsite, YouTube)
B) National Rifle Association (NRA) (TwitterWebsiteYouTube)
C) National Association for Gun Rights (TwitterWebsiteYouTube)
D) The Second Amendment Foundation (TwitterWebsite)
E) Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership (TwitterWebsite

4) Know the Facts

Over the years, many politicians and activists have been caught reciting facts and statistics that were highly distorted or even completely made-up. Opponents of the Second Amendment have no qualms about lying to get their way. It is crucial that we know the real facts and statistics so that we cannot be mislead, and so that we can correct the record and prevent others from being mislead.

Action Steps:

A) Visit and explore the Gun Facts website
B) Download and read the free GOA ebook Gun Facts 6.2 (link opens a .pdf) - if someone knows of a newer version of this book, please drop a link to it in the comments section below. 

5) Promote Gun Ownership

Action Steps:
 
A) Own guns and enjoy them. 
B) Encourage others to own guns, and to pursue hunting and shooting hobbies. The more people who own and enjoy guns, the harder it will be for the Elites to take our guns away. 
C) Invite a gun-wary friend, neighbor, or co-worker to go hunting or shooting with you. Get to them before the Elites do.

6) Schools and Zero-Tolerance

Schools have enacted zero-tolerance policies that go way beyond banning the actual weapons from schools. School kids have, and are, getting suspended, expelled, and sometimes arrested for such absurdities as merely using the word "gun", drawing a picture of a gun, having one of those green plastic army men with a gun, biting a pop-tart into the shape of a gun, having a toy "bubble gun" or water pistol that looks nothing like a real gun, and even holding their forefinger and thumb into a gun shape while playing on the playground (no more playing cowboys and Indians, or even cops and robbers).

School officials are smart enough to understand the difference between a half-eaten pop tart that is sort of in the shape of a gun, and a real gun. They intentionally overreact to such an incredible extent not to discourage guns on campus, but to instill a deep-seated fear of guns into students. The Elites know that if the current generation of students are afraid of guns, it will be easier to ban guns once they grow up.  

Action Steps:

A) 
Fight these absurd zero-tolerance rules in your kids' schools. Stand up to administrators who think your kid should be arrested for biting a potato-chip in such a way that it vaguely resembles a gun. Point out the absurdity of pretending that the tiny plastic gun that the green plastic army man is holding is the same as the real thing. 
B) Make sure you are voting for school board members who respect the Second Amendment, as well as the rest of the Constitution and Bill of Rights. This is absolutely crucial. 
C) Teach your kids to respect guns, not to fear them. Teach them how to use guns safely. Take them shooting and hunting. Check out the NRA's Eddie Eagle GunSafe Program for kids. Ask at your local gun store about other age-appropriate gun safety programs in your area. 

7) Men, Get Your Woman Into Shooting

Men, get your wives and girlfriends into shooting. The more women who get into hunting and other shooting sports, the more secure the Second Amendment will be in the future.

Think about it. Wherever mothers go, there go their children. The more that children are exposed to responsible gun ownership, and the safe and fun use of guns, the less fearful they will be of guns, despite the anti-gun indoctrination in our schools.

The long-term future of the Second Amendment is being determined in the fight for the hearts and minds of children. The anti-gun activists know that the more fearful children are of guns while they are young, the more fearful they will be when they grow up. Then those fearful future adults - who will be voters, politicians, judges, bureaucrats, school administrators, teachers, and in other positions of influence - will be easier to convince to do away with the Second Amendment and accept complete gun confiscation (the ultimate goal of gun control).

Action Steps:

A) Men, Get Your Woman Into Shooting. The best and easiest way to stop the intentional spread of the fear of guns into children is to get their mothers into guns. Take your wife or girlfriend to the shooting range. Take them hunting. Get them into guns. And the message will seep down to their children.

Suggestions:

I'm not a woman, but I do have some commonsense suggestions for how to get your wife or girlfriend into shooting: 
  • Be patient. 
  • Make it fun. 
  • Don't be a jerk, talk down to her, or make it into some macho thing. 
  • The purpose is to get her into shooting, not to show off your skills or to impress her with your manliness.
  • Don't take over and try to make decisions for her. 
  • Let other people help - you're probably the wrong person to teach her how to shoot, no matter how good you are. 
  • Take a class together. 
  • Don't "take her" shooting or hunting, instead go shooting or hunting together (an important difference, especially to a woman). 
  • Let her progress at her own pace.
I would love to get suggestions from women on how to get women into shooting sports. Please leave suggestions in the comments section below.  
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Nigeria: Muslim Terrorists Kill 23 in 3-Day String of Attacks

02/22/2024 Nigeria – From February 16 to February 19, suspected Islamic terrorists killed 23 people, injured 10, kidnapped five, and set ablaze 28 houses across multiple villages in Nigeria, according to reports by International Christian Concern (ICC). It is unknown if these are coordinated attacks or if the same terrorists are committing each attack in the area. 
On Friday, February 16, suspected Islamic terrorists invaded the Kwassam community in Kauru County of Benue State, burned six people alive, and kidnapped five others, including a well-known banker. 
Then, in the early morning of February 18, suspected Islamic terrorists killed 11 Christians and burned down 28 houses in Adama Dutse Village in Kaduna State. According to residents from the village who confirmed the attack, “The attackers were on many motorcycles, shouting ‘Allah Akbar’ [God is Greatest].” The villagers were said to be sleeping when the terrorists launched the attack in the early morning hours.
“Police came seven hours after the attack to take photos and ask questions,” said Audu Tanko from Kajuru county. “There is tension now in my village. We are killed because of our faith in Jesus,” said Tanko.
A day later, in the late hours of February 19, suspected terrorists attacked a Christian community in Katsina, the home state of former president Mahamadu Buhari. The Nigeria Police confirmed six people were killed and 10 were injured during the attack. The terrorist stormed the village of Nasarawa in the Faskari county of Katsina State late Monday with heavy arms, including AK-47 rifles, said Abubakar Aliyu, the spokesperson for the Nigeria police in Katsina State, in a press statement.
The police spokesman said, “In total, six people were shot dead and about 10 injured. The gunmen also set ablaze three houses and about 10 vehicles.”
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Wednesday, February 21, 2024

5 Warnings About Bank Safe Deposit Boxes

By Tim Gamble
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Bank safe deposit boxes may seem like the perfect place to store important documents, plans, and even valuables. And in many cases this may be true. However, here are five considerations to think through carefully before deciding to do so.

First, you won't have 24/7 access to the documents and other items in your box, as banks are generally closed at night, and on weekends and holidays. Also, in some circumstances, banks may not open during normal business hours due to inclement weather, natural disasters, or "bank holidays" during financial disasters. It is generally recommended that items that may need to be quickly accessed NOT be stored in a safe deposit box, such as passports, medical directives, living wills, etc. 

Second, if you are forced to suddenly bug-out for whatever reason, it is highly doubtful you'll have time to swing by the bank to collect your documents and valuables on your way out of town, even if the bank is open. 

Third, your documents and other items in safe deposit boxes are NOT insured by the government (FDIC does NOT cover the contents of safe deposit boxes). The contents may or may not be insured privately by the bank. You'll have to read your agreement closely to find out if your bank maintains private insurance on the contents, and what exclusions and limitations may apply. It is also worth noting that "The bank cannot be held responsible for anything that may happen to your safety deposit box, nor the items contained within the box," according to legalmatch.com. In other words, the bank cannot be held legally liable if the contents of your safe deposit box are somehow stolen, lost, or damaged. 

Fourth, law enforcement and government officials will have access to your safe deposit box. According to legalmatch.com, "Government regulatory or enforcement agencies may obtain a court order to access your safe deposit box in some circumstances. An example of this would be if they have “reasonable cause” to believe your box contains illegal or illegally-obtained items. Safe deposit boxes may be frozen, similar to a bank account, until the matter has been resolved.

Fifth, be aware of what happened in Argentina during their financial crisis. Banks were closed by the government for an extend period of time. When they reopened, bank customers found that their safe deposit boxes had been emptied out, either by corrupt bank employees or corrupt government officials (or both, working together). In most cases, those bank customers had no recourse and never recovered their stolen items. 
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Tuesday, February 20, 2024

Encryption 101 - Part 2 (An Easy and Free Encryption Method)

By Tim Gamble
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Part 1 was posted yesterday, and is a general introduction to encryption for the non-techie.

--The following information is specifically for Windows systems--

Encryption Software

There is a lot of encryption software out there, much of it you have to buy. For years, I used Rohos software, which has both a paid and free version. The free version has less bells and whistles and you are limited, last time I checked, to two gigabytes of encryption (which actually should be plenty for most folks). Rohos worked very well for me, and it does let you create a hidden partition to hide your encrypted data (but that is not really necessary, in my opinion). I haven't used Rohos in years, so things may have changed. 

An Easy, Free Alternative 

I eventually discovered that 7-Zip archive software allows for password-protected full AES-256 encryption. That is one of the encryption standards that I mentioned in Part 1. All that you really need to know is that it is considered one of the absolute best. 

Archive software, such as 7-Zip, is used to compress, or zip-up, files (and extract them later) in order to save memory space. Using 7-Zip to create and password protect encrypted files is easy, even for non-techies. Simply follow these steps:

1- If you don't already have 7-Zip, you can download and install it on your computer. You can get it at Major Geeks (a software site that I have used for years and trust). Go to https://www.majorgeeks.com/files/details/7_zip.html to get it. Again, it is free.

2- Once it is installed, navigate to the folder containing the files and folders that you want to encrypt. Select the files and folders that you want to encrypt, perform a right-click on them, click 7-Zip from the menu, and then click the "Add to archive" option. This works on your Windows-based desktop, laptop, or any USB key (memory stick). 7-Zip compresses and encrypts all files within any folder you select. I simply keep most of my sensitive files in the same folder, using sub-folders to organize the files, and encrypt/decrypt that folder as needed. 

3- At the Add to Archive dialog box, you can either choose the default name in the top box, or type in a new name for the folder or file, and choose the destination for the encrypted file (the ... button to the right of the top line). Make sure the Archive format (next box down) is set to 7z or zip.

Note: Your "Add to Archive" box may look slightly different depending on your particular version.
4- In the same dialog box, you add a password in the Encryption dialog in the right-column about halfway down, where it says Password and Re-enter Password. You need to remember this password! Just below that, make sure the Encryption method is set to AES-256. Then click Okay. 7-Zip will then zip-up the encrypted file and place it wherever you choose in step 3. Depending on the size of the files and your computer's speed, this way take anywhere from a few seconds to several minutes.

5- You have now created an encrypted file. At this point, you may want to delete/shred the original folder and start using the encrypted folder exclusively (make sure the password for the encrypted folder works first, of course). You may move this encrypted file around, place it on a USB key, make back-up copies of it, or whatever you want to do.

6- To open and use the encrypted files, just right click the encrypted file, select 7-Zip, select Open archive, and the 7-Zip file manager will pop up, and use it to open the encrypted file with your password by choosing the file/folder you want, clicking on Extract (green dash), clicking Okay, then entering your password.

Note: Your box may look slightly different depending on your particular version
A final note: It is still possible to accidentally delete files encrypted by this method the same way you may accidentally delete your non-encrypted files, so pay attention to what you're doing! Remember, if you accidentally delete something from your computer, you can usually recover it from your recycle bin.

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Monday, February 19, 2024

Encryption 101 - Part 1 (A Beginner's Guide)

By Tim Gamble
   
--The following information is specifically for Windows systems-- 

You know, or at least have heard, that you should protect your information. You may have even heard the word "encryption." But, what exactly is encryption? And how do you do it? Do you need awesome tech skills or expensive software? This article will quickly give you a basic understanding of encryption and what you may need to encrypt, as well as reveal (in part 2) an easy and free way even non-techies can use encryption. 

What is encryption? Very simply, encryption is a way to "scramble" information stored on your computer, laptop, USB key (memory stick), or other electronic device so that no one without the encryption password can read it.  So, if someone steals your laptop or you lose your USB key, no one can read the sensitive files that are encrypted on it, even if they otherwise can get into your device. There are several different methods and standards for encryption, but there is no need to understand the technical specifications in order to use encryption.

What needs to be encrypted?  How much of your information you decide to encrypt is up to you. I personally only encrypt personal information of a sensitive nature - tax and financial records, business records, insurance information, medical information, my master list of passwords and pin numbers, contact lists, back-up copies of important documents such as birth certificates, CC permits, deeds, titles, driver's licenses and passports. I also encrypt certain "prepper" information that might reveal aspects of my prepping that I don't want to be public knowledge, such as planned bug-out locations, or guns and ammo, food storage and medical supply lists, among others. 

I see no need to encrypt my music and video files, photos, or even most of the prepper-type videos, articles, and eBooks I've downloaded over the years. In fact, less than 15% of my computer files are encrypted. I only bother encrypting truly sensitive information. 

Why encrypt important information? Privacy is important. ID theft has become a $20 billion a year industry in the United States. Then there is the government, public schools, Big Tech, large corporations, political and social activists, snooping employers, and even nosy neighbors that want to know everything about you, even (especially) the stuff that is absolutely none of their business. Preppers and survivalists also should be concerned about operational security. There are lots of legitimate reason to protect your data. The idea that only "bad people" need to worry about privacy is a stunningly ignorant opinion. 

Are there drawbacks to encryption? There is one, and its potentially a huge drawback. If you forget or lose your password, there is no way to recover it. No one will be able to send you a link to change your password. Even the encryption software company or your favorite IT guy will not be able to recover or change it for you. If you cannot figure out your password, you will be locked out of your encrypted data forever.

Also, its worth noting that the encryption is only as strong as your password. Don't use an obvious or easy-to-guess password, such as your mother's or wife's maiden name, your dog's name, your social security number, or even "password." Many security experts now suggest using a random sentence as your password, such as "IhatepurpleeggssaidSam" (that one is "I hate purple eggs said Sam" without the spaces) - make it something that you'll remember but no one else is likely to ever guess.

Does the Government (FBI, NSA, etc) have the ability to break encryption? This is a controversial question, and opinions vary widely. At the very least, it is not quick or easy for the government to break into encrypted data. Even at the highest levels, it would take considerable time and resources, and even then it may not be possible. However, I personally assume that with their technical expertise, access to supercomputers, and other resources, the government would be able to eventually break any encryption if they were determined enough to do so. 

"Determined enough" means willing to devote a considerable amount of time, manpower, and other resources. They do not care enough about your list of prepper supplies or bug-out locations to devote such effort to your data. They would need a real reason to go after your data to such an extent.     

Does the Government (FBI, NSA, etc) the legal right break into my encrypted data? Can they force me to reveal my password? Constitutionally, no. In the USA, they would need a warrant, obtained only after showing just cause, to go after your data. And even then, they would not be able to force you to cooperate (5th amendment means they cannot force you to incriminate yourself). However, in recent years, we have seen the government and even the Court system itself ignore the Constitution when it is convenient for them to do so. Most other countries do not even have similar 5th amendment protections, and folks in those countries may be jailed for refusing to reveal a password. 
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Please subscribe to Dystopian Survival using the Follow By Email field at the bottom of the right hand column.
AD: I use and highly recommend GorillaDrive USB Flash Drives. They are designed to be pressure / impact resistant (up to 250 psi), heat resistant (up to 225 degrees F), and water resistant (up to 65 feet). Although they list freeze resistance at 32 degrees F, one of mine did survive outside overnight in below freezing weather (mid 20s), when I accidentally left it on top of my vehicle. I've been using Gorilla Drives for 10 years and have never had one fail.


Sunday, February 18, 2024

UK: Nearly a Quarter of 18 to 34 Year Olds Believe the Bible Should Be Banned

By Tim Gamble

02/18/2024 UK – Last week, International Christian Concern (ICC) reported on a study in the United Kingdom showing that nearly a quarter of young Brits are open to banning the Bible, because it contains perceived hate speech.

Whitestone Insights, a UK-based polling group, surveyed over 2,000 adults, asking if they agreed with the following statement: “Unless the offending parts can be edited out, books containing what some perceive as hate speech should be banned from general sale, including if necessary religious texts such as the Bible.

Whitestone found that young Brits, ages 18 to 34, were most likely to agree with this statement, amounting to 23% of participants. Middle-aged Brits, ages 35 to 54, were the second highest group at 17%, followed by Brits over age 55 at 13%.

The results tell of a deeper social belief in the UK that Christian views should be censored – and it is a belief that has plagued all of Europe.

Last year, an American street preacher was arrested in England for preaching the Bible. A woman was also arrested for silently praying outside of an abortion clinic – and in neighboring Finland, Paivi Räsänen, a member of the Finish parliament, faced charges of hate speech after sharing her religious beliefs on social media.

These cases, along with the recent poll, are a concerning reminder of the declining state of religious freedom occurring in Western democracies around the world.


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Friday, February 16, 2024

A brief essay on the proper relationship between the Citizen and Politics

I originally published the following essay in 2014. In light of our current circumstances, I feel the need to republish it. I believe the concepts within the essay are worth revisiting, because so many of our fellow Americans have forgotten them. Please read this essay thoughtfully, paying special attention to those ideas in bold. 


A brief essay on the proper relationship between the Citizen and Politics.

By Tim Gamble

This essay isn't about which candidate or party to support with your vote, money, or time. In that sense, this is a non-partisan essay. Rather, this essay concerns itself with how a prepper, survivalist, Christian, or any other American for that matter, should approach politics.

First, let's get one thing straight: politics affects everyone. You can ignore it, but you can't hide from it. Politics affects everything from the health of the economy, to whether or not government respects your rights (government doesn't give you rights - those come from God - but government often tries to deny you those rights). From zoning laws to EPA regulations, sales taxes to the education system, directly or indirectly we all are affected by politics. For better or for worse, and it seems too often to be for worse, politics affects your life everyday, and in many ways.

Therefore, you must deal with politics. But how? There are many ways: One response is to simply try to ignore politics as best you can. But you will still have to deal with consequences of politics, whether you want to or not.

Another response is to try to manipulate politics to your advantage (the elites in big business and the political class are masters of this manipulation). Most people today choose one of those responses, at least to some degree. I suggest a third - respond as a true Citizen of the Republic.

Before I define how a Citizen  of the Republic responds, let me say this: Politics will not save us. What is wrong with America goes well beyond politics and economics. It is a spiritual sickness which infects the USA. No politician, no election, no piece of legislation, will cure spiritual sickness. We must appeal to a Higher Authority for that kind of healing. 

The United States of America is a Republic, NOT a Democracy

The first thing a Citizen of the Republic should realize is that the United States is NOT a democracy. It is a Republic, and that is a very good thing. Democracy is Evil. It is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to eat for dinner. In a democracy, rights come from government, and therefore are subject to change with the passing whims of the times. The rights of individuals, even basic rights such as the rights to life, free speech, free exercise of religion, and even self-defense, can be ignored or even taken away by the government or a simple majority vote of the people.

In a Republic, Rights are external from government. Rights come from a Higher Authority (God, the Creator, Natural Law, Nature and Nature's God, or whatever one wishes to call that Higher Authority). Since Rights don't come from the government, government cannot take away or change those Rights. Not even by majority vote. 

Those Rights from God (or whatever you wish to call the Higher Authority) are therefore "unalienable," literally un-a-lien-able. A "lien" being a legal claim on something belonging to another (a lien on a house, for example, where someone other than the owner, typically the government or a bank, claims an interest over the house, typically over money owed). Something being unalienable means that no one can claim an interest over it other than the owner. In the case of unalienable Rights, no one - not even government, not even a majority of voters - can make any claim against those Rights. Well, they can and do try, but those efforts are immoral, unjust, and not valid under a Republic.

The United States was intentionally created by our Founders as a Republic, not a democracy. They knew and feared the dangers of democracy, and wanted to protect themselves and their fellow Citizens from it. Sadly, since the early days of our founding, the United States has slowly been slipping away from a Republic, and into a democracy. In recent decades, and even more so in recent years, this process has been greatly accelerated. Today, we stand on the brink of becoming a full-fledged democracy, with the last remnants of the old Republic slipping away. This is the source of most of our nation's political problems, and has made the people little more than slaves of a government which demands ever-increasing control over our lives, rights, money, and property.

Note: The word "democracy" does not appear anywhere in the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, or the Bill of Rights. Nor does it appear in any of the fifty state constitutions. We were never intended to be a democracy. 

Limited Government

The way our Founding Fathers protected the Citizens of the Republic from democracy was through the concept of Limited Government. They created a government limited in both size and power by the Constitution, with our unalienable Rights guaranteed (not granted)  in the Bill of Rights. 

The Constitution establishes and limits the scope of the federal government. It sets up a system of checks-and-balances intended to keep government and politicians from exceeding their limits of power as set forth in the Constitution. The Bill of Rights specifically guarantees that government will respect the unalienable Rights of the people. In other words, the Constitution and Bill of Rights intend that the Citizens of the Republic be more powerful than the government that represents them.

It has taken more than 100 years for the elites in the political class to successfully re-interpret our Founding documents to subvert the Republic into a democracy, and to successfully dumb-down the American people to accept, and even applaud, the evils of democracy. 

Amendment X of the Constitution: The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

Respond as a Citizen of the Republic

Democracy is mob-rule. It is divisive, and based in emotion, selfishness, and greed. It is easy to manipulate. Reason and logic, and an unwavering belief in the Higher Authority, are the cure to democracy. Think; don't react emotionally. Consider the consequences, both intentional and unintentional, of your words, actions, and votes. 

To enable you to think with reason, not emotion, you need to learn real history, real economics, and real civics, rather than the pro-democracy and pro-collectivist propaganda taught in public schools over the last several generations.

Be independent of government. Do not look to government for hand-outs, freebies, or special favors. Be self-reliant. The less dependent on government you are, the less power government will be able to exert over you.

Don't look to government to "make life fair" or to "get even" with people who may be richer or more successful than you. One of the most successful tactics of the collectivists is to convince people that they are "victims" and need government to protect them and make things right. Don't ever think of yourself as a victim.

Don't look to government to redistribute the wealth of others. Holding a gun to someones head and demanding they give you money is theft. Having the government hold a gun to someones head, demanding their money, and then giving their money to you, is also theft. Don't ever think you are entitled to anything without having to earn it first, other than your God-given Rights.

Realize the sole legitimate purpose to government is to protect the unalienable Rights of its Citizens; to protect Life, Liberty, and Property. The role of government is not to protect individuals from their own mistakes and bad choices. 

But what about helping the poor, widows, orphans, and others who cannot help themselves? Shouldn't we help them? Isn't that what Jesus' taught? Yes, He did. The role of government is to protect the Life, Liberty, and Property of all, especially those who cannot help themselves. But, help beyond that is the proper role of the Church, charities, and individuals. When Jesus, and later the Apostles, taught us to help others, it was always a command to us as individuals and as His followers (the Church). Never did Jesus or the Apostles teach that such help was the role of the government. On the contrary, we are expected to help each other. 

Work hard to elect candidates to public office who realize that we are a Republic, not a democracy, and who understand the difference. Look for candidates who are pro-Constitution, pro-Bill of Rights (all of them), pro-Free Market Capitalism, and pro-Liberty. This is important on the federal level, but also and especially on the state and local levels.

In considering politicians, character matters, especially integrity. If a politician or candidate is dishonest, you cannot trust them to keep their word to respect the Constitution and our unalienable Rights. Liars rarely keep their word.

Pay attention to what your elected officials actually do, and hold them accountable. Not just in DC, but in your state and hometown, too.

Beware of politicians using a crisis to enact laws taking away our liberty, even "temporarily." Realize that temporary laws, such as the income tax was supposed to be, are never temporary. Once government successful takes on an expanded power, it never willing lets it go. Government doesn't care about you as an individual, or about your rights. Government only cares about expanding and protecting its power.

Politicians and government officials often use crises, real or imagined, as the excuse to expand government power. By definition, government power can only be expanded at the loss of individual liberty.

"We must pass this law (or this tax) in order to stop terrorism, stop crime, stop climate change, win the war on drugs, and protect the children. If you are against this law or this tax, then you must be a potential terrorist, or a criminal, or hate children." -- any politician, anytime, wanting to pass a new law or tax
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AD:  Total Resistance - The classic study on resistance & underground operations, by Swiss Major H. von Dach. Recommended by Pastor Joe Fox (aka Viking Preparedness). 

AD:  Resistance Operating Concept (ROC) - Another great resource for resistance & underground operations. Recommended by both Pastor Joe Fox (aka Viking Preparedness) and Bear of Bear Independent. 

Thursday, February 15, 2024

Four Things Patriots Should NEVER Do

By Tim Gamble
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I've written past articles about these four things that patriots should NEVER do, not in good times nor in bad times, but it bears repeating. 

1) NEVER give up your personal sovereignty. You are responsible for yourself and your family. Never look to the government to protect you or save you, even in a major crisis. Especially in a major crisis. Remember the political saying "Never let a good crisis go to waste." Don't be naive about politicians and bureaucrats. Don't trade your freedoms for the promise of security.  Figure out now how to survive future chaos without going to the FEMA camp or blindly following the instructions of "authorities."

2) NEVER give up your ability to defend yourself.  Self-defense is a God-given right that neither government nor society has the right to take away from you. This includes the right to the tools of self-defense, such as guns and knives.  Strongly support the Second Amendment now, and resist all attempts to curtail it.  Avoid situations in which you are required to disarm (such as flying or entering a government building). Learn to defend yourself with your hands and improvised weapons in case you are ever forced to disarm.

3) NEVER stop improving yourself and your situation.  Never stop learning new skills. Never stop practicing old skills. Never stop adjusting your plans. Never stop developing your homestead or bug-out retreat. Never stop building your supplies. Even highly-experienced experts need to keep learning, keep practicing, keep planning. and keep preparing.

4) NEVER make a threat you are not ready, willing, and able to back up. No matter how prepared and skilled you are, the safest confrontation is the one you avoid. Never let your ego or overconfidence cause you bite off more than you can chew. 

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Kaito KA500 Emergency Radio. This one has is all: AM/FM/SW/NOAA (weather alert) bands; powered five ways (electrical cord, USB port, AA batteries, solar, and hand-crank); plus flashlight, reading lamp, and cellphone charger.

Wednesday, February 14, 2024

An Immigration Crisis Beyond Imagining

Credit Line: "Reprinted by permission from Imprimis, a publication of Hillsdale College." 

This article is from the January 2024 issue of Imprimis. Get your FREE print subscription to Imprimis now! (click link to go to the Imprimis subscription webpage).

An Immigration Crisis Beyond Imagining

Todd Bensman 
Center for Immigration Studies

The following is adapted from a talk delivered on January 22, 2024, at the Allan P. Kirby, Jr. Center for Constitutional Studies and Citizenship on Hillsdale’s Washington, D.C., campus, as part of the AWC Family Foundation Lecture Series.

In 1960, the Eisenhower administration began counting the number of foreign nationals “apprehended” or “encountered” by what was then called the U.S. Border Control when crossing into the U.S. over its southern border with Mexico. These figures have been published and closely monitored through the years, and there has never been anything like the numbers we are seeing now. A human tsunami of previously unfathomable size—Border Patrol has had to handle more than 7.6 million border crossers in 36 months—has smashed every record, with each year’s numbers exceeding the previous year’s record in stair-stepping fashion.

Of the over 7.6 million illegals encountered by Border Patrol since January 2021, the number allowed to stay inside the U.S. is somewhere north of five million. But with the percentage of those allowed to stay now approaching 100 percent, if current trends hold, the total allowed to remain in the U.S. under the Biden administration will reach ten million by next January.

The U.S. has experienced surges of illegal immigration in the past, but these have been brought quickly under control by implementing policies to deter, block, detain, and deport illegal immigrants. Not this time. To put the current numbers in perspective, consider that Jeh Johnson, President Obama’s Director of Homeland Security, told MSNBC that in his time in office—when the number of illegal crossings was relatively low—he considered it bad if apprehensions exceeded 1,000 a day, because anything more than that “overwhelms the system.” Over the past three years, apprehensions have averaged about 6,940 per day.

Even with a surge in illegal crossings in 2019—this was due to a legal loophole that encouraged illegals to cross with minors—the Trump administration had brought apprehensions down to between 800 and 1,500 a day in his final year in office, the lowest numbers in 45 years. Four months into the Biden administration, apprehensions spiked to about 6,000 per day. There were 2.4 million apprehensions in 2022, a daily average of 6,575. In 2023 there were three million apprehensions, a daily average of 8,219. Entering 2024, apprehensions were up to 12,000 to 15,000 per day.

The reality is even worse, because these numbers do not include the people who entered the U.S. illegally without being apprehended—sometimes referred to as “gotaways”—a number the Border Patrol estimates but does not make public. That estimate over the past three years is two million, bringing the three-year total of illegal immigrants to ten million—a number equivalent to the population of Greater London or Greater Chicago.

But these are just numbers. Who are these people? They are internationally diverse: 45 percent come from 170 countries outside the traditional origin countries of Mexico and Central America. Many are unaccompanied minors: 448,000 to date. More than 330 as of November 2023 are on the FBI’s terrorist watch list. Many are murderers, rapists, kidnappers, and violent criminals. More than a million have been lawfully ordered deported by judges in the U.S. but remain in our country regardless. The dismissal by the executive branch of our government of hundreds of thousands of cases of immigration law violations is unprecedented.

It is worth noting some other firsts: Mexico’s crime syndicates and their paramilitary forces have never earned so much money from cross-border smuggling, and it is reported that their proceeds from human smuggling are surpassing those from drug smuggling for the first time. Never before have the Border Patrol’s 19,000 agents been ordered to abandon vast stretches of the border to conduct administrative intake duty. Never have so many immigrants died to take advantage of policies that all but guarantee quick release into the U.S. Never has our government explicitly refused to enforce immigration laws requiring detention and deportation of illegal immigrants on the grounds that those requirements are cruel and inhumane—instead adopting ad hoc policies aimed at providing “safe, orderly, and humane pathways” into the U.S. for illegal border crossers. And never has there been anything like the current conveyor-belt policy to distribute millions of illegals throughout the American interior.

This crisis is not the result of incompetence, but of purposeful policies. What is more, America’s establishment media has largely abdicated its duty to report on the crisis, refusing to acknowledge an event that is having a greater impact than almost any other in the world today. One can only assume that the reason for this is partisan bias: after all, the crisis can easily be traced to an identifiable moment in time—Inauguration Day 2021.

Prior to that day, the Trump administration had brought the southern border largely under control using four key policies.

    1. Diplomatic Big Sticks: The U.S. gained Mexico’s cooperation by threatening ruinous trade tariffs of up to 28 percent on Mexican goods. We gained the cooperation of Central American nations by threatening to freeze U.S. foreign aid. The cooperation of these countries consisted of two things: accepting deported illegals from the U.S. and using their military and police to block incoming immigrants at their own borders.
    2. Remain in Mexico: Border Patrol was required to return apprehended immigrants immediately to Mexico, where they had to wait out the long duration of asylum processing, rather than releasing them to disappear inside the U.S.
    3. Safe Third Country: Immigrants who had passed through designated “safe third countries” (including Guatemala, Honduras, and Mexico) on their way to the U.S. without applying for asylum in one of those countries were automatically deported with no chance to claim asylum in the U.S.
    4. Title 42: This pandemic-control health order required rapid deportations to Mexico, without the option to claim asylum, of all immigrants caught illegally crossing the U.S. border.

During the 2020 campaign, candidate Biden promised to undo Trump policies within the first 100 days, to include ending detention and deportation of illegal immigrants. On January 20, 2021, he began to follow through. Four new U.S. policies and a new Mexican law are the chief drivers of the immigration tsunami we see today.

    1. The tariff threat against Mexico was withdrawn and full foreign aid to all Central American nations was restored, freeing these countries to end cooperation with U.S. efforts to stem illegal immigration. This marked the end of the Remain in Mexico policy.
    2. The Title 42 pandemic rapid expulsion policy was waived for most families with children under ten, for all unaccompanied minors, for pregnant women, and for many single adults from nations that would not accept deportees.
    3. Two days after the 2020 election, the Mexican government passed a law prohibiting the detention of families, pregnant women, and unaccompanied minors. It then released thousands of families from 58 Mexican detention centers ten days before President Biden took office.
    4. The Biden administration established an ad hoc Border Patrol turnstile honor system by which Title 42-exempted families and others were released into the U.S. with a promise to report back later; this catch-and-release approach came eventually to incorporate the aforementioned conveyor-belt policy, with Border Patrol delivering illegals to non-governmental organizations that would arrange bus and air travel to cities around the U.S.
    5. To give the false impression of fewer illegal crossings, the Biden administration created an ad hoc system that allowed hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants to use a cell phone app called CBP One to schedule “pre-approved” entries at border crossings and U.S. airports.

Those who seek to come to the U.S. illegally are rational actors. They are more willing to pull up stakes and come when they think the effort and expense will pay off. The typical cost for the dangerous journey is $10,000 per person paid to smugglers. Few will take the gamble when the odds are against them. It’s a different matter when the odds move dramatically in favor of success as they did in January 2021.

Toward the end of the Trump administration, Border Patrol used Title 42 to deport nearly 90 percent of apprehended illegals. The Biden administration immediately reduced that number to 60. By 2023, Title 42 deportations were down to 35 percent. And on May 12, 2023, the Biden administration formally ended Title 42, and with it all instant expulsions. U.S. intelligence had predicted that ending Title 42 would lead to between 14,000 and 18,000 crossings a day, and that prediction turned out to be right. As I recently reported, it appears that the Biden administration recently took steps to reduce these numbers—most likely in response to public outrage in an election year—though it remains to be seen how long this will last.

It is too early to gauge the full impact of the ongoing settlement of millions of illegal foreign nationals in the U.S. We know that the initial financial cost is high—$400 billion, by one estimate, to feed, house, clothe, and resettle the illegals who have been allowed to stay. Then there is the burden placed on public school districts that have no choice but to take in millions of new children who often speak no English and whose educations are not commensurate with those of their schoolmates. It is probably not coincidental that hospital systems across the nation have fallen deep into the red since the great mass migration crisis began. And large cities across the nation are looking to Washington for help with unfunded and unexpected fiscal burdens reaching into the tens of billions to care for the hundreds of thousands showing up with hands out.

Expense, of course, is only one part of the equation in terms of impact. Public safety, criminal justice, and national security systems face unprecedented new burdens as the personal histories and criminal backgrounds of most of the millions allowed easy entry are unknown and, often, unknowable. Some percentage will commit crimes and—in addition to the often horrendous effects on the victims of their crimes—increase the load on our already over-burdened courts and prisons. One prays not, but some may also commit acts of terrorism. Last but not least, this great influx will increase joblessness and put immense downward pressure on wages for American workers.

It is not rocket science to figure out how to solve the immigration crisis. Nor is it hard to tell whether a politician is serious when he proposes a solution—one can simply ask whether the proposal will increase or decrease the odds that an aspiring illegal immigrant will decide to make the significant effort and financial sacrifice. For instance, in the ongoing standoff in Texas, placing razor wire at the border as the Texas Governor ordered done will clearly decrease the odds, and removing the razor wire as the Biden administration seeks to do will increase the odds. Similarly, any politician who proposes a solution that begins by granting amnesty to illegals currently in the U.S. is increasing the odds and not serious.

There are two essential steps we must take to begin to solve the border crisis:

    1. Enforce current immigration law, specifically the requirements under the Immigration and Nationality Act to detain and deport illegal entrants.
    2. Restore the threat of trade tariffs on Mexican goods to ensure Mexico’s cooperation with reinstituting the Remain in Mexico policy, forcing asylum seekers to stay in Mexico while their asylum claims are processed.

Three additional steps will help to solve the problem:

    1. Withdraw from the United Nations Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees treaty, which requires the U.S. to meet outdated standards for handling asylum claimants; then institute an asylum law that ends the current catch-and-release system and requires that an asylum claim first be made in a suitable departure or transit country, such as Mexico.
    2. Put diplomatic and financial pressure on Colombia, Panama, Costa Rica, and Mexico to implement their own policies of detention and deportation of foreign nationals who are in those countries illegally.
    3. Close loopholes in U.S. immigration law such as the Flores Settlement Agreement—which circumvents Immigration and Nationality Act requirements for detention and deportation during asylum claims and forces the release of asylum-seeking families within 21 days—and the William Wilberforce Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2008, which requires the quick release of immigrant minors if they are from anywhere but Mexico.

Our politicians know these actions are the ones needed. The problem is not a lack of knowledge but a lack of political will. Too many of our elected leaders have selfish reasons to let the border crisis continue, no matter what their constituents demand. Whether they will be able to continue in their inaction is in the hands of the American people.

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Credit Line: "Reprinted by permission from Imprimis, a publication of Hillsdale College." 

The above article is from the January 2024 issue of Imprimis. Get your FREE print subscription to Imprimis now! (click link to go to the Imprimis subscription webpage). 
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