Monday, October 26, 2009

Going Dark 

I believe there are more instances of the abridgment of freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments by those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations.
--James Madison

[Insert tongue in cheek] Ya know what? If you pay attention, the average American could pretty easily become jaded with their government. Really. [remove tongue from cheek]

One of my brothers and I were having a discussion about bailouts and greed and all the bullshit that goes with it. It is abundantly clear that our various levels of government simply do not represent the individual people. They represent themselves and special interests.

Pick a topic or subject, and there is corruption involved - at least when Nanny gets her mitts on it.

But what do we do about it? I was reading a story in the Sacramento Bee this morning about millions and millions of dollars that were spent by the state government on cars and trucks that are just sitting there. No one needs them, no one uses them, but some bureaucrat knows that if you don't spend your entire annual budget, you get less money the following year.
One department still has pickup and larger trucks parked in its yard that it bought during 2006, 2007 and 2008, a Bee investigation found. The vehicles are awaiting final assembly and are undeployed.
No one will be called on the carpet for this. It will be swept under the rug with promises of tougher reforms. Then it will happen again, and again.

I read that 60 Minutes (I won't watch shit on CBS) did a story last night actually ripping government management in health care. There is a 12%-20% fraud rate - but that's only the fraud they KNOW about.

We now want to increase the size of government in health care by at least 50%. The word, "insane" does not adequately describe that consideration. In private business, it would be like putting an incompetent manager in charge of a bigger department simply because he promises to do a better job going forward.

It would never happen because you'd lose your ass, financially. Nanny doesn't have that same concern. They have no capital invested in the enterprise.

It's gonna happen, and there's not a damned thing we can do about it. Cap-and-Trade will soon follow. More bailouts, more favors, more expansion of government. Logic and responsible government have, "left the building". Regardless of how poorly it's run or how corrupt it becomes, no one will ever be held accountable.

Look what Barry is doing with his various Czars. They're all "presidential advisers" - not vetted by Congress or anyone other than Barry himself. As such, they can't be compelled to testify before Congress. These people are running the country, but we have no right to question what they're doing.

With the single exception of National Security advisers, anyone who whispers into the president's ear needs to do so publicly. Of course, everything then becomes a national security issue. I screamed long and loud when the oil companies were giving back rubs and prostrate gland massages to the Bush administration. We couldn't even get those bastards names, much less what was discussed at the meetings. "National security, you know!"

Regardless of who occupies the Oval Office, the same shit happens. Too many secrets and not enough accountability.

I guess we can just keep trying to plug along and absorb the blows. Don't prosper, just get-along.

If you go off into your own little self-sufficient property, your county will increasingly tax your ass to pay for their largess. You will need to at least occasionally buy stuff from "the world" and they'll hammer you with sales or VAT taxes. If you don't show enough income to pay for the goods you have, they'll come after you for tax evasion.

Perhaps the only hope is that the big, fat bloated government won't notice your tiny existence and will leave you alone. What a horrible way to live. Cowering so the bully doesn't kick your ass. Don't strive for excellence, settle for mediocrity.

I'm just not built that way.

I said a while back that I wanted this blog to evolve into a "things you can do" blog, and not a bitch-and-moan fest.

I try and do that with some of the prepper articles, some financial education and some political insight. But it's not enough.

The problem is, talking about the things that need to really happen tends to draw the attention of the people in power, regardless of the legality of what you're suggesting. Some guy screaming at the top of his lungs on his blog is not going to change one single thing, other than his freedom and maybe his pulse rate.

I seem to keep coming back to the Secret Freedom Fighter paper. It was published back in 1986 by Paladin Press, and is now available online. In broad terms, its philosophy is to fight-the-fight as an individual.

There's a lot I agree with and a lot I disagree with in the book. But I think the philosophy is sound - do your own shit for the sake of doing what you feel is right, not for the spot light. And keep your mouth shut about what you're doing.

When I started this blog 5 and a half years ago, I hoped to bring the rot of big government to people's attention. Things have only worsened in that period of time.

It is unrealistic to think this or any blog will "rally the troops". People will either see what's going on around them, or they won't. I cannot affect enough people to make a real difference, and my time can be better spend focusing on things that will.

So, I'm packing up my soapbox. I don't know if I'll convert it to a prepper's storage bin, or an ammo box. Probably both.

My prepper posts will continue elsewhere on my business' website. In fact, I'll probably poach most of my prepper posts from this site to the new one to help build some content quickly. I won't be publishing that URL here in an attempt to keep my business "persona" separate from my political beliefs.

I'll still drop by my favorite sites to rant and rave. My cranky ass will still be around, just not quite so visibly!

Many thanks to the couple of hundred people that stopped by here each day. Really - I cannot express my thanks enough.

Continue to stay educated on the issues, and do what it takes to get things turned around. Fight the good fight.
I predict future happiness for Americans if they can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people under the pretense of taking care of them.
--Thomas Jefferson

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Sunday, October 25, 2009

Green Casualties 

The whole (global warming) thing is created to destroy America's free enterprise system and our economic stability.
--Jerry Falwell

We all know we're going to see a lot more crap like this -
On October 31, 2009, the once largest aluminum plant in the world will shut down. With it goes another American industry and more American jobs. The Columbia Falls Aluminum Company in Montana will shut down its aluminum production because it cannot purchase the necessary electrical power to continue its operations.
Hmm. I wonder what's the reason for not being able to get electrical power. Surely, a place this big has made arrangements to take care of things like this.
Columbia Falls Aluminum negotiated a contract with Bonneville Power Administration in 2006 for Bonneville to supply electrical power until September 30, 2011.
See? American industry taking care of business. What could have possibly happened?
But, responding to lawsuits, the 9th US Circuit Court ruled the contract was invalid because it was incompatible with the Northwest Power Act. Therefore, the combination of the Northwest Power Act and a US Circuit Court were the final villains that caused the shutdown of Columbia Falls Aluminum.
Oh. What kind of anti-business, anti-American asshole would bring such a suit?
We need to look no further than the many environmental groups like the Sierra Club and to America's elected officials who turned their backs on American citizens and in essence themselves, for they too are citizens of this country. These officials bought into the green agenda promoted by the heavily funded environmental groups. Caving to pressure, they passed laws and the environmental groups filed lawsuits that began turning off the lights in America. The dominos stated to fall.
Read the rest of the article. You'll see how as early as 1988, the EPA was laying the groundwork for the CO2 horseshit.
I was the first to raise my hand to ask a question, "How can you defend your global warming hypothesis when you have omitted the effects of clouds which affect heat balance far more than carbon dioxide, and when your hypothesis contradicts the paper by Lee in the Journal of Applied Meteorology in 1972 that shows the atmosphere does not behave like a greenhouse?"

He answered me by saying, "You do not know what you are talking about. I know more about how the atmosphere works than you do."

Not being one to drop out of a fight, I responded, "I know many of the atmospheric scientists in this room, and many others who are not present but I do not know you. What is your background and what makes you know so much more than me?"

He answered, "I know more than you because I am a lawyer and I work for the EPA."
I hope you all have a way of providing for your own power, heat, and probably food. In the very near future, getting any of them commercially is going to be increasingly difficult and costly.

But it's for your own good, you silly, stupid citizen. Be thankful for the people we have showing us The Way.

I'm sure the 200 workers at the Columbia Falls plan are very thankful, indeed.

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Friday, October 23, 2009

Number 100 

The 100th bank to fail this year happened today -
Partners Bank, Naples, Florida, was closed today by the Office of Thrift Supervision, which appointed the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) as receiver. To protect the depositors, the FDIC entered into a purchase and assumption agreement with Stonegate Bank, Fort Lauderdale, Florida, to assume all of the deposits of Partners Bank.
More green sprouts for Florida, huh?

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Feel Good Nonsense 

Whoever is detected in a shameful fraud is ever after not believed even if they speak the truth.
--Phaedrus (Roman fabulist, 15-50 B.C.)

Pond Scum is going to save the world! The eco-freaks are talking up algae as a way to suck up evil CO2 from the air AND provide a fuel source. It's a miracle!
Driven by fluctuations in oil prices, and seduced by the prospect of easing climate change, experts are ramping up efforts to squeeze fuel out of a promising new organism: pond scum.
Yeah. There are a couple of problems, though. First off, there's the whole "great CO2 suckers" thing. After the algae eats up the CO2, then what? If you burn it to produce heat, the CO2 is returned to the atmosphere. If you somehow squeeze the fat out of the algae, what do you do with the now CO2-riddled fat-less algae sludge? Bury it (like evil nuclear waste)? Feed it to cattle (only to be farted out as methane, and even scarier Green House Gas)?

And then there's the whole "cost" thing -
Even though algae grows like gangbusters, it currently costs up to 100 dollars to make a gallon of algal fuel-- hardly a savings.
Hey, price is no object when you're saving the world, right?

These pinheads need to do some significant research into the term, "unintended consequences". When you start dicking around trying to force-feed a solution, shit happens. Just off the top of my head, they'll need to figure out what land to set aside for this, where will they get the fresh water for the scum to live in, and how much will our taxes be increased to pay for this (see: Ethanol from corn for supporting documentation).

Hey, I'll help the cause. I nominate DC as the land mass to be used. Plenty of pond scum is already in place (sorry, that was too easy to pass up!).

Talk about, "Passing The Buck" -
The Federal Reserve would police banks' pay policies to ensure they don't encourage employees to take reckless gambles like those that contributed to the financial crisis, according to a proposal unveiled Thursday.
So the government in general, and the Federal Reserve in particular were major, MAJOR drivers of the policies that put us in the current national financial crisis. What does any good political body do? It attempts to divert attention from its culpability, and blame someone else. In this case, it's the Evil Banks.

The Fed and their Bank Regulator bretheren were responsible for monitoring and REGULATING the business activities of the banking system. The system has gone to hell in a hand-basket, WHILE THEY WERE IN CHARGE, but they had nothing to do with the problems? Right.

It's like a parent who tells their kid not to smoke pot, but who gives them money to score some weed. As long as the kid brings mom and dad a little reefer for their troubles, things are good.

When the kid gets busted for selling the pot, the parents protest to the judge that they tried their best to raise good kids, but the little rascals just wouldn't listen. They're going to immediately add more house rules, and their weekly allowance is going to be cut in half.

A wise judge would throw the book at the parents for providing an environment that encouraged reckless behavior and lawlessness. Instead, the judge - the American people - will applaud the "decisive actions" of the parents. But the money will still flow and the drugs will still be bought, and after a time, things will be back to normal.

A nice, dysfunctional American family.

Got Threat?
"The danger to progressive causes and the institution of journalism [ed. - Insert chortle] has become too significant to ignore," says the introduction to a memo by Media Matters founder David Brock. "At Media Matters, we believe it is of paramount importance that progressive leaders have the information necessary to understand exactly what Fox News has become. We hope this brief memorandum will assist you in reaching your own decision on how best to engage this threat."
Forget that whole, "First Amendment" thing. Forget media objectivity. Forget vigorous debate.

If you're not parading with the Obama Marching Band and Smothering Debt Society, you are an insect that must be crushed.

Tune up those instruments and play along! It feels sooooo good! Enjoy yourself now - we'll send you the bill later...

Got Home?
Nationally, sales of existing homes jumped almost 8 percent from September last year, without adjusting for seasonal factors.
Woo Hoo! Life is good, things are peachy-keen and Viagra is no longer needed in America!

What? There's a sub-text?
Real estate agents and economists attributed the brisk sales to a temporary federal tax credit. First-time homebuyers can receive a credit of 10 percent of the sales price, up to $8,000.
Oh. Nanny, once again, was standing on the street corner handing out $100 bills and people actually accepted them?! Shocking.

It's funny, but as a taxpayer, I've now bought banks, car companies, insurance companies, private automobiles and private homes. I have yet to receive my stock certificates, car title or property title. I get the liabilities but not the assets.

What up wit dat?

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Wednesday, October 21, 2009

TVP Test 

I didn't fight my way to the top of the food chain to be a vegetarian.

When searching for dehydrated or freeze-dried foods for our preps, I kept running into Textured Vegetable Protein, or TVP. It is a dried soy product designed to act as a vegetarian meat substitute. Most of us have eaten TVP and not realized it. Many "bacon bits" are actually flavored TVP.

The stuff I saw was either beef or chicken flavored, or plain. I noticed that my grocery store was selling the plain stuff in the bulk section, so I picked up a couple of pounds to test out.

TVP is very healthy food. If I'm doing my math right, it has about half the protein as an equal portion (by weight after re-hydration) but twice the value, as chicken breast.

[Snap to! Pay attention here!]

1 1/4 cups of dried TVP combined with 1 1/4 cups of boiling water will roughly give you a pound of TVP "meat".

The TVP costs approximately $2.50 a pound, dry. The 1 1/4 cups of dry TVP weighs approximately 4 ounces (or a quarter pound). To get a pound of TVP "meat" costs $0.63 ($2.50/4). You get 60 grams of protein in that pound (12 grams per quarter cup dry, times 5, one-quarter cup portions), at a cost of about a penny per gram.

Raw, boneless chicken breast costs approximately $2 per pound. You get 108 grams of protein in that pound (27 grams per quarter pound portion), at about two pennies per gram.

Soooooo, TVP is about twice as protein-rich on a penny-for-penny basis when compared to chicken breast.

[OK, you can nod off again...]

So, it appears to be a good value, but if it tastes like crap, who cares? It has to be something you'll eat and use to actually have value.

Here's what the stuff looks like before being re-hydrated -

It's kind of a dry, crunchy breakfast cereal texture. You add equal volumes of boiling water, cover it and let it sit for 10 minutes before using. It puffs up in volume by about 75%. A cup and a quarter of the stuff puffed up to about 2 and a quarter cups of "meat".

The smell and taste of the re-hydrated stuff was OK. I can't tell you what it was like, but it wasn't unpleasant. Perhaps along the lines of cooked, unflavored chicken breast - pretty non-descript.

I took the re-hydrated TVP, added one egg, a tablespoon of flour and a teaspoon of beef bullion and made up a "burger" patty. I wanted to see what the stuff tasted like with just a bit of seasoning.

It browned up pretty well, though it was a little "crumbly" in texture -

Not bad in taste, but nothing to write home about.

Most of the 100% vegetarian recipes I had viewed were heavy on the spices and herbs. I took the remaining "meat" and added a bunch of Mexican-food spices - cumin, red pepper flakes, a bit of chile powder, onion powder, salt and pepper.

I decided to pan fry it to resemble diced meat for tacos or burritos -

It was much tastier than the patty, although the texture would not fool anyone into thinking it was ground beef or chicken. It looked, smelled and tasted very good.

The vast majority of recipes I found for TVP used them as a meat extender. The recipes called for anywhere from 1/4 to 1/2 addition of TVP. I decided to make up some Italian sausage using 2 pounds of pork and 1 pound (re-hydrated weight) of TVP.

I added approximately a tablespoon each of fennel seed, dehydrated diced garlic, dehydrated diced onion, and dehydrated parsley, two teaspoons of salt, plus a teaspoon each of red pepper flakes, black pepper and onion powder.

I made up a patty to check for flavor -

It was moist, tender and friggin' delicious! The only "give-away" was that the crust was a bit more crunchy than a normal sausage patty.

Emboldened by my success, I made up a couple dozen meatballs for dinner -

They were absolutely indistinguishable from "regular" meatballs.

Since I added the TVP, I didn't add any bread crumbs to the normal recipe. They were incredibly moist and flavorful.

Most importantly, they got Two-Thumbs-Up from my family.

TVP will absolutely, positively be added to our preps. It's a great high protein, low weight, low cost addition.

I also definitely see it being added to our regular food menus in things like sausage or anything that needs ground meat such as tacos, meat sauces, lasagna and the like. It will simply be used as an extender of real meat, but probably not be used by itself.

TVP - It's not just for bacon bits anymore!

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Tuesday, October 20, 2009

New Sheriff In Town 

It will be of little avail to the people that the laws are made by men of their own choice if the laws be so voluminous that they cannot be read, or so incoherent that they cannot be understood.
--James Madison

I live in a Northern Californian county called Contra Costa. We are the third largest county in the SF Bay Area. With nearly 1 million residents (of the 6.7 million in the Bay Area) we're one of the Big Dogs on the block.

Our current Sheriff is retiring. This guy is a piece of work - at least regarding 2A rights. Basically, the only way you can get a Concealed Carry Permit is to be a part of the Sheriff's Posse. Even then, it's not guaranteed, even if you meet all of the other state standards.

There is at least one person who has officially thrown his hat into the ring for the job. David Livingston is the current Chief of Police of our county's largest city. There looks like there will be at least one other candidate - a current Lieutenant of the Sheriff's department.

I just sent Livingston this letter seeking his views on basic 2A rights:
Mr. Livingston,

I am a long-time resident of Contra Costa County, having lived here for 35 years, including the past 21 in Eastern Contra Costa. I am an NRA Certified Pistol Instructor, and Second Amendment rights are very important to me.

I would appreciate a response to the following questions:

1. Concealed Carry Permits allow law-abiding citizens to legally carry a handgun to defend themselves, their family and others in the community in the event a criminal chooses to harm or kill others. As you are no doubt aware, the state of California gives the Sheriff the ability to grant these Permits. Many counties in the state are considered, "Shall Issue" counties - as long as the applicant meets the requirements (demonstrate firearms proficiency, not a felon, etc.), they are granted a Permit.

Three parts: (A) If you are elected Sheriff, under what conditions will you issue Concealed Carry Permits? (B) Assuming an applicant meets all other applicable standards, will you consider, "Self Defense" as "Good cause" for granting a Permit? (C) Do you support laws similar to the AB 357 which would have made California a "Shall Issue" state?

2. The California Legislature recently passed AB 962 which will require, among other things, that law abiding citizens submit to registration and finger printing whenever they wish to purchase ammunition in this state. As with any law, the criminals affected by it will disregard it. They're criminals. California already has myriad laws addressing penalties for criminals buying or possessing ammunition. AB 962 will ONLY be followed by law abiding citizens. Since they are allowed to purchase and possess ammunition, it is a pointless intrusion into our lives and an invasion of our privacy.

Two parts: (A) What are your views on AB 962? (B) Will you support the NRA's and other Second Amendment Rights organizations in working to overturn this law before it goes into effect?

The same questions will be posed to anyone else that decides to run for the position of Sheriff. I will share your responses with my 1,400 fellow members of the Diablo Rod and Gun Club.

Thank you for your time.

The Other Mike S.
I'll pass along any responses. I'm not hopeful. His current city is as liberal as they come in Contra Costa.

Plus, I probably just put myself on an Enemies List. Oh well, now is not the time to go quietly into the night...

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Monday, October 19, 2009

Head Shakin' Crap 

The headline:
Homebuilder Confidence in U.S. Unexpectedly Decreases
Huh? Unexpected by whom? US banks hold literally MILLIONS of foreclosed and other non-performing homes on their books, waiting for the market to turn, and new home builders are surprised no one wants their high-priced stuff? Really?!
The National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo confidence index declined to 18 from a reading of 19 in September that was the highest in more than a year, the Washington-based association said today. Figures less than 50 mean most respondents view conditions as poor.
Oh. So the home builders have a pretty damned pessimistic view of the market - a realistic view. Who, then, is fanning the Happy News flames?
The builder confidence index was forecast to rise to 20 this month, according to the median of 44 estimates of economists surveyed by Bloomberg News. Projections ranged from 18 to 21. The gauge, which was first published in January 1985, averaged 16 last year.
Ahhh. Green eyeshaded "intellectuals" in conjunction with a news organization are the ones who are surprised. Who would have ever guessed THAT?

Idiots and propagandists.

Is the White House starting to believe its own propaganda? Who is the brain surgeon that decided it was a good idea to personalize their distaste of Fox News?

They're all using the Talking Points memo that told them to question whether or not Fox News was a news organization.
And White House political guru David Axelrod, who had coffee a few weeks ago in New York with Fox News founder Roger Ailes, told ABC that Fox News is "really not news. ... Other news organizations like yours ought not to treat them that way. We're not going to treat them that way."
You know you've seriously stepped on your own dick when even your stalwart propaganda outlets like the LA Times are questioning the sanity of your actions.
But some are wondering if this is smart politics. Given that Fox News boasts a far larger audience than cable competitors CNN and MSNBC, and given that most elections are decided by independents who might occasionally watch FNC, the strategy could backfire.

“It's a very risky strategy,” perennial presidential advisor David Gergen said recently on CNN. “It's not one I would advocate.”
Ya think? Me, I strongly recommend they continue. The more they injure themselves, the less we have to do.

I've got an upcoming test of TVP - Textured Vegetable Protein. For some reason recently, I been seeing all kinds of articles on the stuff. My local grocery store sells it in bulk, so I'll play Lab Rat for (most of) you guys.

If it's even marginally tasty, I'll add some to my preps as it looks to be a great high-protein product that stores very well.

If I get ambitious, I'll make up some Wheat Meat (meat-like gluten from wheat) and compare the two. Go here to take a look at the test I already did with the wheat gluten.

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Sunday, October 18, 2009

OMG! We win!

Jamarcus sux. Can the D hold?

13-9 with 6mins left. Nailbiter.

C-bass got us 3 more - 13-6

Still ten-6 after 3. Still hope.

Phillys placekicker is as bad as Jamarcus.

Ten-6 Raiders @ the half. Despite Jamarcus. Cool.

7-3 Raiders after one qtr. WTF?


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