Free - Beyond Collapse

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

The Sleeper Must Awaken

Guest post by Mark J. Grant, author of Out of the Box,

“Above the comforts of Base Camp, the expedition in fact became an almost Calvinistic undertaking. The ratio of misery to pleasure was greater by an order of magnitude than any mountain I'd been on; I quickly came to understand that climbing Everest was primarily about enduring pain. And in subjecting ourselves to week after week of toil, tedium and suffering, it struck me that most of us were probably seeking above all else, something like a state of grace.”

                     -Jon Krakhauer, Into Thin Air

I am not sure the country is seeking a state of grace but we are surely seeking something of a much higher order than we are getting. Congress adjourns, the President spends twenty million dollars of our money flying off to vacation in Hawaii and we peer over the edge of a monetary cliff of our own making because we have elected people that have all of the leadership skills of some Grinch that is stealing our Christmas because we let him. Ultimately it is us you know, “We the People,” and perhaps it is our two party system of government that has failed us because we put people in power who know how to run for election and re-election but who somehow have no idea how to govern the nation. It is pathos, absurdity and frankly a tragedy that we face a financial calamity, and it is just that, and our elected leaders head off on vacation.

"Well, thus we play the fools with the time, and the spirits of the wise sit in the clouds and mock us."

             -William Shakespeare, Henry IV

It may not be fiddling while Rome is burning but it isn’t that far off that course. In the end, I suspect, we will pass the deadlines and find ourselves in trouble. I say this because to date all we are discussing is who to tax and we have not made one serious effort to confront the social programs that have elected people but which the country cannot afford. It is not that complicated at its core; we cannot afford the entitlements that we have legislated and so the nation must, like any household, man up to what we can and cannot afford and get on with it. No use pretending that we are as rich as we once were and so we must first cut-back and then get down to the serious business of how we can increase our revenues. Households, corporations or governments; the fundamental issues apply and while different themes may apply for the fix; America’s economic condition must be fixed.

"The majority is never right. Never, I tell you! That's one of these lies in society that no free and intelligent man can help rebelling against. Who are the people that make up the biggest proportion of the population -- the intelligent ones or the fools? I think we can agree it's the fools, no matter where you go in this world, it's the fools that form the overwhelming majority."

                   -Henrik Ibsen, An Enemy of the People

I have suggested we place hard limits for our social programs and entitlements and work backwards and I believe this would be the prudent course but somehow prudence does not seem to be part of the thinking in Washington these days. If we said that 25 million Americans could be on food stamps or that only so much can be afforded for Medicare or Social Security then we could start from that point and make the necessary adjustments in terms of who qualified for what or raise the age qualification or allow people in gradually as a result of the limits that were set. Common sense, while never very popular in our nation’s capital, must have been banned in the fine print of some legislative act of which none of us are aware.

“Every day, man is making bigger and better fool-proof things. Every day, nature is making bigger and better fools. So far, I think nature is winning.”

                     -Albert Einstein

The awful truth is that WE are responsible. We elected these people. We condone a two party system where we end up with a choice between the mediocre and the inferior. We are left to choose between the fool and the idiot and the men of character, the people of intellect and those focused on the health of the nation are left behind either because they will not participate or because they cannot survive the taunts and tricks of those that have no other interest besides their own ego and their own self-interests. I make no apologies. This is our fault and until and unless WE start demanding a government that represents our interests and values and morals that sets-aside America from other nations; we have no one to blame but ourselves. That is the sad truth of it which is why going off our present fiscal cliff may be the best thing that could happen to the United States. We might just wake up!

“Without change something sleeps inside us and seldom awakens. The sleeper must awaken.”

            -Frank Herbert, Dune

Ron Paul: Government Security Is Just Another Kind Of Violence

Guest post by Ron Paul

The senseless and horrific killings last week in Newtown, Connecticut reminded us that a determined individual or group of individuals can cause great harm no matter what laws are in place.  Connecticut already has restrictive gun laws relative to other states, including restrictions on fully automatic, so-called “assault” rifles and gun-free zones.

Predictably, the political left responded to the tragedy with emotional calls for increased gun control.  This is understandable, but misguided. The impulse to have government “do something” to protect us in the wake national tragedies is reflexive and often well intentioned.  Many Americans believe that if we simply pass the right laws, future horrors like the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting can be prevented.  But this impulse ignores the self evident truth that criminals don't obey laws.  

The political right, unfortunately, has fallen into the same trap in its calls for quick legislative solutions to gun violence.  If only we put armed police or armed teachers in schools, we’re told, would-be school shooters will be dissuaded or stopped.

While I certainly agree that more guns equals less crime and that private gun ownership prevents many shootings, I don’t agree that conservatives and libertarians should view government legislation, especially at the federal level, as the solution to violence.  Real change can happen only when we commit ourselves to rebuilding civil society in America, meaning a society based on family, religion, civic and social institutions, and peaceful cooperation through markets.  We cannot reverse decades of moral and intellectual decline by snapping our fingers and passing laws.

Let’s not forget that our own government policies often undermine civil society, cheapen life, and encourage immorality.  The president and other government officials denounce school violence, yet still advocate for endless undeclared wars abroad and easy abortion at home.  U.S. drone strikes kill thousands, but nobody in America holds vigils or devotes much news coverage to those victims, many of which are children, albeit, of a different color.

Obviously I don’t want to conflate complex issues of foreign policy and war with the Sandy Hook shooting, but it is important to make the broader point that our federal government has zero moral authority to legislate against violence.

Furthermore, do we really want to live in a world of police checkpoints, surveillance cameras, metal detectors, X-ray scanners, and warrantless physical searches?  We see this culture in our airports: witness the shabby spectacle of once proud, happy Americans shuffling through long lines while uniformed TSA agents bark orders.  This is the world of government provided "security," a world far too many Americans now seem to accept or even endorse.  School shootings, no matter how horrific, do not justify creating an Orwellian surveillance state in America.

Do we really believe government can provide total security?  Do we want to involuntarily commit every disaffected, disturbed, or alienated person who fantasizes about violence?  Or can we accept that liberty is more important than the illusion of state-provided security? Government cannot create a world without risks, nor would we really wish to live in such a fictional place.  Only a totalitarian society would even claim absolute safety as a worthy ideal, because it would require total state control over its citizens’ lives.  We shouldn’t settle for substituting one type of violence for another. Government role is to protect liberty, not to pursue unobtainable safety.

Our freedoms as Americans preceded gun control laws, the TSA, or the Department of Homeland Security.  Freedom is defined by the ability of citizens to live without government interference, not by safety. It is easy to clamor for government security when terrible things happen; but liberty is given true meaning when we support it without exception, and we will be safer for it.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Hitler Survivor Warns America

Guest post by Rob Kerby

Kitty Werthmann
Kitty Werthmann survived Hitler.
“What I am about to tell you is something you’ve probably never heard or read in history books,” she likes to tell audiences.
“I am a witness to history.
“I cannot tell you that Hitler took Austria by tanks and guns; it would distort history.
Adolph Hitler
“We voted him in.”
If you remember the plot of the Sound of Music, the Von Trapp family escaped over the Alps rather than submit to the Nazis. Kitty wasn’t so lucky. Her family chose to stay in her native Austria. She was 10 years old, but bright and aware. And she was watching.
“We elected him by a landslide – 98 percent of the vote,” she recalls.
She wasn’t old enough to vote in 1938 – approaching her 11th birthday. But she remembers.
“Everyone thinks that Hitler just rolled in with his tanks and took Austria by force.”
No so.
Hitler is welcomed to Austria
“In 1938, Austria was in deep Depression. Nearly one-third of our workforce was unemployed. We had 25 percent inflation and 25 percent bank loan interest rates.
Farmers and business people were declaring bankruptcy daily. Young people were going from house to house begging for food. Not that they didn’t want to work; there simply weren’t any jobs.
“My mother was a Christian woman and believed in helping people in need. Every day we cooked a big kettle of soup and baked bread to feed those poor, hungry people – about 30 daily.’
“We looked to our neighbor on the north, Germany, where Hitler had been in power since 1933.” she recalls. “We had been told that they didn’t have unemployment or crime, and they had a high standard of living.
Austrian girls welcome Hitler
“Nothing was ever said about persecution of any group – Jewish or otherwise. We were led to believe that everyone in Germany was happy. We wanted the same way of life in Austria. We were promised that a vote for Hitler would mean the end of unemployment and help for the family. Hitler also said that businesses would be assisted, and farmers would get their farms back.
“Ninety-eight percent of the population voted to annex Austria to Germany and have Hitler for our ruler.
“We were overjoyed,” remembers Kitty, “and for three days we danced in the streets and had candlelight parades. The new government opened up big field kitchens and everyone was fed.
Austrians saluting
“After the election, German officials were appointed, and like a miracle, we suddenly had law and order. Three or four weeks later, everyone was employed. The government made sure that a lot of work was created through the Public Work Service.
“Hitler decided we should have equal rights for women. Before this, it was a custom that married Austrian women did not work outside the home. An able-bodied husband would be looked down on if he couldn’t support his family. Many women in the teaching profession were elated that they could retain the jobs they previously had been required to give up for marriage.
“Then we lost religious education for kids
Poster promoting "Hitler Youth"
“Our education was nationalized. I attended a very good public school.. The population was predominantly Catholic, so we had religion in our schools. The day we elected Hitler (March 13, 1938), I walked into my schoolroom to find the crucifix replaced by Hitler’s picture hanging next to a Nazi flag. Our teacher, a very devout woman, stood up and told the class we wouldn’t pray or have religion anymore. Instead, we sang ‘Deutschland, Deutschland, Uber Alles,’ and had physical education.
“Sunday became National Youth Day with compulsory attendance. Parents were not pleased about the sudden change in curriculum. They were told that if they did not send us, they would receive a stiff letter of warning the first time. The second time they would be fined the equivalent of $300, and the third time they would be subject to jail.”
And then things got worse.
“The first two hours consisted of political indoctrination. The rest of the day we had sports. As time went along, we loved it. Oh, we had so much fun and got our sports equipment free.
“We would go home and gleefully tell our parents about the wonderful time we had.
“My mother was very unhappy,” remembers Kitty. “When the next term started, she took me out of public school and put me in a convent. I told her she couldn’t do that and she told me that someday when I grew up, I would be grateful. There was a very good curriculum, but hardly any fun – no sports, and no political indoctrination.
“I hated it at first but felt I could tolerate it. Every once in a while, on holidays, I went home. I would go back to my old friends and ask what was going on and what they were doing.
A pro-Hitler rally
“Their loose lifestyle was very alarming to me. They lived without religion. By that time, unwed mothers were glorified for having a baby for Hitler.
“It seemed strange to me that our society changed so suddenly. As time went along, I realized what a great deed my mother did so that I wasn’t exposed to that kind of humanistic philosophy.
“Then food rationing began
“In 1939, the war started and a food bank was established. All food was rationed and could only be purchased using food stamps. At the same time, a full-employment law was passed which meant if you didn’t work, you didn’t get a ration card, and if you didn’t have a card, you starved to death.
“Women who stayed home to raise their families didn’t have any marketable skills and often had to take jobs more suited for men.
“Soon after this, the draft was implemented.
Young Austrians
“It was compulsory for young people, male and female, to give one year to the labor corps,” remembers Kitty. “During the day, the girls worked on the farms, and at night they returned to their barracks for military training just like the boys.
“They were trained to be anti-aircraft gunners and participated in the signal corps. After the labor corps, they were not discharged but were used in the front lines.
“When I go back to Austria to visit my family and friends, most of these women are emotional cripples because they just were not equipped to handle the horrors of combat.
“Three months before I turned 18, I was severely injured in an air raid attack. I nearly had a leg amputated, so I was spared having to go into the labor corps and into military service.
“When the mothers had to go out into the work force, the government immediately established child care centers.
“You could take your children ages four weeks old to school age and leave them there around-the-clock, seven days a week, under the total care of the government.
“The state raised a whole generation of children. There were no motherly women to take care of the children, just people highly trained in child psychology. By this time, no one talked about equal rights. We knew we had been had.
“Before Hitler, we had very good medical care. Many American doctors trained at the University of Vienna..
“After Hitler, health care was socialized, free for everyone. Doctors were salaried by the government. The problem was, since it was free, the people were going to the doctors for everything.
“When the good doctor arrived at his office at 8 a.m., 40 people were already waiting and, at the same time, the hospitals were full.
“If you needed elective surgery, you had to wait a year or two for your turn. There was no money for research as it was poured into socialized medicine. Research at the medical schools literally stopped, so the best doctors left Austria and emigrated to other countries.
“As for healthcare, our tax rates went up to 80 percent of our income. Newlyweds immediately received a $1,000 loan from the government to establish a household. We had big programs for families.
“All day care and education were free. High schools were taken over by the government and college tuition was subsidized. Everyone was entitled to free handouts, such as food stamps, clothing, and housing.
“We had another agency designed to monitor business. My brother-in-law owned a restaurant that had square tables.
“ Government officials told him he had to replace them with round tables because people might bump themselves on the corners. Then they said he had to have additional bathroom facilities. It was just a small dairy business with a snack bar. He couldn’t meet all the demands.
“Soon, he went out of business. If the government owned the large businesses and not many small ones existed, it could be in control.
“We had consumer protection, too
Austrian kids loyal to Hitler
“We were told how to shop and what to buy. Free enterprise was essentially abolished. We had a planning agency specially designed for farmers. The agents would go to the farms, count the live-stock, and then tell the farmers what to produce, and how to produce it.
“In 1944, I was a student teacher in a small village in the Alps. The villagers were surrounded by mountain passes which, in the winter, were closed off with snow, causing people to be isolated.
“So people intermarried and offspring were sometimes retarded. When I arrived, I was told there were 15 mentally retarded adults, but they were all useful and did good manual work.
“I knew one, named Vincent, very well. He was a janitor of the school. One day I looked out the window and saw Vincent and others getting into a van.
“I asked my superior where they were going. She said to an institution where the State Health Department would teach them a trade, and to read and write. The families were required to sign papers with a little clause that they could not visit for 6 months.
“They were told visits would interfere with the program and might cause homesickness.
“As time passed, letters started to dribble back saying these people died a natural, merciful death. The villagers were not fooled. We suspected what was happening. Those people left in excellent physical health and all died within 6 months. We called this euthanasia.
“Then they took our guns
“Next came gun registration. People were getting injured by guns. Hitler said that the real way to catch criminals (we still had a few) was by matching serial numbers on guns. Most citizens were law abiding and dutifully marched to the police station to register their firearms. Not long afterwards, the police said that it was best for everyone to turn in their guns. The authorities already knew who had them, so it was futile not to comply voluntarily.
Kitty Werthmann
“No more freedom of speech. Anyone who said something against the government was taken away. We knew many people who were arrested, not only Jews, but also priests and ministers who spoke up.
“Totalitarianism didn’t come quickly, it took 5 years from 1938 until 1943, to realize full dictatorship in Austria. Had it happened overnight, my countrymen would have fought to the last breath. Instead, we had creeping gradualism. Now, our only weapons were broom handles. The whole idea sounds almost unbelievable that the state, little by little eroded our freedom.”
“This is my eye-witness account.
“It’s true. Those of us who sailed past the Statue of Liberty came to a country of unbelievable freedom and opportunity.
“America is truly is the greatest country in the world.
“Don’t let freedom slip away.
“After America, there is no place to go.”

Saturday, December 15, 2012

School Shootings- Don't Be a Victim- Active Shooter Survival Tactics

As a Martial Arts Instructor for 37 yrs, I believe there are always proactive methods to not being a victim. Guns are not the problem at all, society is the problem. We don't ban cars when some people misuse vehicles to kill others in their drunken stupors. We do not ban spoons, forks and knives because some people choose to kill themselves through obesity. Our government has done their citizens a huge disservice by interfering with their ability to legally protect themselves and others in schools, and other locations. One armed teacher could have recently saved 20 children's lives. Our FDA would rather allow antidepressants that have been found to create psychotic behavior in already psychologically compromised individuals than to allow us to protect ourselves. The police can only respond after a crime has been committed and not before or during. The police can not protect you and have no legal obligation to do so. Instead of promoting a society of people that can do for themselves, take responsibility for themselves, they would rather create a dependent population that must rely on the false notion that govt will do it for them. Those who would give up freedom for safety shall have neither. The following video is made by and the Instructor is Alon Stivi an Israeli Special Forces Sgt that now teaches the US Seal Teams. PAY ATTENTION. Only you can save yourself. Be proactive and stop being victims. Realize that governments that disarm their populations ALWAYS in history, and that is ALWAYS turn on their citizens. Choose individual Freedom and you will never fail.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Why Are Preppers Hated So Much?

 Guest Post By Michael

Have you noticed that it has become trendy to bash preppers?  For a long time the prepper movement was ignored, but now it has become so large that it is getting very difficult for the mainstream media to pretend that it is not there.  In fact, it has been estimated that there are now approximately 3 million preppers in the United States alone. 

So now the mainstream media has decided that mocking the movement is the best strategy, and lots of “critics” and “skeptics” out there have picked up on this trend.  Instead of addressing the very real issues that have caused millions of Americans to prepare for the worst, those criticizing the prepper movement attempt to put the focus on individual personalities.  They try to find the strangest nutjobs they possibly can and then hold them up as “typical preppers”.  The goal is to portray preppers as tinfoil hat wearing freaks that need to be locked up in the loony bin for their own personal safety and for the good of society.  The criticism of preppers has really ramped up in recent months, and it will likely get even worse in 2013.  The establishment does not like any movement that is outside of their control, and the prepper movement is definitely not under their control.

Often, hit pieces on the prepper movement are disguised as articles or shows that are supposed to be “balanced” looks at the movement.  This is especially true of shows such as “Doomsday Preppers“.  That show is the highest rated show that the National Geographic channel has ever had, and it can be a lot of fun to watch.  But if you notice carefully, they almost always try to feature people that they consider to be “freaks” or that are “on the fringe of society”.  Many other “reality shows” follow the exact same recipe.  The goal is to draw high ratings by running a “freak show” that people can’t help but watch.

Even if you go on such a show and try to do your best to explain your prepping in a rational and coherent manner, they will still edit the footage so that it makes you look like a freak.  It really is a no-win proposition.  These shows are trying to make it clear that preppers should be mocked.  The underlying implication is that these people are crazy and that what they are doing is stupid.

And at the end of each segment, the producers of the show are careful to include reasons why the prepper that was just featured is being irrational and why the things they are preparing for are extremely unlikely to happen.  Just in case you missed the message they have been trying to communicate the entire time, they come right out and tell you the conclusion that you are supposed to come to.
And of course we see the same attitudes reflected in reviews of the show.  For example, the following is from a recent Los Angeles Times review of the new season of Doomsday Preppers…
Still, it’s hard not to feel for young Jason from tiny Plato, Mo. (pop. 109), who is awaiting worldwide financial collapse with his homemade, nail-studded “mace-ball bat,” and that his is a life on the verge of going completely wrong. “I’m not afraid to have to kill,” Jason says, in his camouflage pants and dog tag, and there seems to be no question in his mind that it will come to that. (“Jason has always been a worrywart,” says his mother.)
Or for Big Al, from Nashville, who is getting ready for old-school nuclear war by digging down into the earth and surrounding himself with steel. (“I prefer not to use the term ‘bunker’ — to me, it’s an underground house.”) He spends months at a time by himself down there, training for the inevitable — which he expects to weather alone — cooking different combinations of canned goods and, you know, spending too much time alone. One leg pumps constantly as he talks.
The preppers don’t want my pity, of course — quite the opposite, I’m sure. The joke will be on me, they would say, when I am expiring from fallout or smallpox, being carried away in a tornado or torn apart by the hungry ravaging hordes. (I am not even prepared for the Big Earthquake that might more probably get me.)
Would this Los Angeles Times reporter mock other groups of Americans in a similar manner?
Probably not.
But the establishment has made it clear that it is open season on preppers, so this particular writer mocks them with no fear.
Not that any prepper that is thinking clearly would go on a show such as “Doomsday Preppers” anyway.  Sure, it is nice to be on television, but if you are a serious prepper then one of the last things you want to do is to go on television and advertise your preparations to millions of people.
Others have picked up on the contempt that the establishment has for preppers and have started to issue their own critiques of the movement.  For example, an “emergency manager” named Valerie Lucus-McEwen recently published a blog post entitled “Doomsday Preppers are Socially Selfish” that got a lot of attention…
You might wonder why someone like me, who has been in the business of encouraging disaster preparedness for a very long time, is so critical of people who are doing just that. It’s because they are being socially selfish – preparing themselves and the hell with everyone else.  Instead of spending time and energy making changes that would benefit the larger community, in their very narrow focus of loyalty they are more concerned about themselves.
Emergency Managers can’t afford that kind of attitude.  It is diametrically opposed to everything we do. Our job is to prepare individuals and communities and jurisdictions and regions and – ultimately – the globe for disasters, knowing we won’t always succeed.
She followed up that venomous attack with another blog post in which she declared the following…
Selfish is defined as concerned excessively or exclusively with oneself, seeking or concentrating on one’s own advantage or well being without regard for others. By that definition, Doomsday Preppers are socially selfish – Disaster Preppers are not.
Subsequently, she has issued a very brief apology, but what she wrote is very typical of the type of thinking that is out there these days.  Anyone that does not “trust the government” and attempts to become “self-sufficient” is actually very “selfish” and is not “being a good citizen”.
And sadly, it appears that being a “prepper” is now enough to get special attention from the authorities.  For example, a 46-year-old prepper in rural Maryland named Terry Porter recently had his home raided by 150 armed law enforcement officers.  The details of this incident were described in a recent article by Paul Joseph Watson
According to a charging document filed in Washington County District Court, Porter “openly admitted to being a prepper” (as if this was an illegal act in and of itself) and said that he was “very irritated” about the recent presidential election. Porter had also invested in an underground bomb shelter and had installed surveillance cameras on his property.
Once the investigation into Porter began, police discovered that he had a 1992 felony drug conviction and was therefore barred from owning firearms. On Thursday last week, no less than 150 armed and militarized police and FBI agents in the guise of tactical assault teams descended on Porter’s house as if they were confronting a terrorist cell. The raid also included helicopters, SWAT crews, armored vehicles and even excavation equipment.
Porter was absent at the time of the raid but turned himself in the next morning at Hagerstown Barrack.
After the raid, the claim that Porter was stockpiling “10-15 machine gun-style firearms” was demolished when police uncovered “four shotguns, a .30-30-caliber rifle and two .22-caliber rifles,” hardly a deadly mass arsenal.
Would 150 officers have shown up at his home if he had not been identified as a “prepper”?
Of course not.
But “preppers” have been labeled as “dangerous” and “crazy” and that is the way that law enforcement authorities now treat them.
So why are preppers hated so much?
It is because they are a direct challenge to the status quo.  Just by prepping, preppers are proclaiming that they do not have faith in the system.  But most people have complete and total faith in the system, and many of them do not like to have that faith questioned.  As I have written about in other articles, polling has found that most Americans expect that the government will take care of them if disaster strikes.  Most people have been trained to “trust the experts” and to “trust the government” all of their lives, and that conditioning can be very difficult to overcome.
This blind faith in the system is a big reason why so many Americans have not made any preparations at all.  In fact, one recent poll discovered that most Americans do not even have three days worth of food in their homes…
A recent survey found that 55 percent of Americans have less than three days supply of food in their homes. Many people have no emergency supplies, or even a first aid kit.
That absolutely astounds me.
Another poll discovered that 64 percent of all Americans are “unprepared for a major natural disaster”.
So what is going to happen to them if something even worse than a major natural disaster hits?
For example, what if the electrical grid went down and we had no more power for an extended period of time?

Well, one survey found that 21 percent of all Americans believe that they would survive for less than a week, and an additional 28 percent of all Americans believe that they would survive for less than two weeks.  Close to 75 percent of all Americans said that they would be dead before the two month mark.
So I guess we sure had better hope and pray that nothing goes seriously wrong, eh?
The truth is that it isn’t the preppers that are crazy.
Rather, it is the people that believe that everything will always be fine and that the government will always take care of them that are crazy.
Our world is becoming increasingly unstable, and now is the time to get prepared.
You may get mocked a bit for prepping now, but later on you sure will be glad that you prepared for the worst.

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