"Barack Obama began 2014 vowing to act without Congress if need be to get things done. This week, the White House proudly heralded more than 80 executive actions taken during the year, some of biggest taking place after his party took a beating in the November midterms. Here’s a sampling of the unilateral actions the White House boasted about, and a few that weren’t mentioned:"
"How would you feel about being taxed for every mile you drive? With gas tax revenues falling, at least 18 states have given some consideration to taxing motorists by how far they drive. And next year a pilot program in Oregon will help measure the feasibility of such a tax. Interest in the new tax has blossomed as states see their revenues shrinking from gasoline taxes -- usually used for road maintenance. The decline results from new cars with better gas mileage and thus less gasoline sold to be taxed. And this trend is sure to continue, since federal regulations require automakers to keep boosting the gas mileage of new cars, SUVs and pickups. In addition, the spread of all-electric cars and gas-electric hybrids has further lowered gas tax revenues."
"In case you missed the announcement, Cyprus-style bail-ins are coming to a bank near you. On November 16, leaders of the G20 Group of Nations – the 20 largest economies – made an important decision. The world’s megabanks now have official permission to pledge depositor accounts as collateral to make leveraged derivative bets. And if they lose a bet, the counterparty to the contract has first dibs on your money. The governments of these 20 countries are now supposed to put these arrangements into law. Most, including the US, have already done so. But this proposal profoundly changes the rules for banking globally, and not in a good way. Deposits in banks that are “too big to fail” will be “promptly recapitalized” with their “unsecured debt.” This avoids those nasty taxpayer-funded bailouts that proved so politically unpopular during the 2008-2009 financial crisis. And the largest chunk of unsecured debt is your bank deposits. Insolvent banks will recapitalize themselves by converting your deposits – checking accounts, but also money market accounts and CDs – into stock. Thus, when you deposit money in a bank, you’re taking the same risk as someone buying a stock. Or, for that matter, betting on a horse named “Falling Star” at the local racetrack. Because, in effect, that’s what banks are doing with your money."
"MINNESOTASTAN: Designated terrorist organization CAIR (Council on American Islamic Relations) demanded and got the U.S. Justice Department to overturn a near unanimous decision to reject a mosque proposal in St. Anthony Village."
"No one really knows how many preppers exist in the world but it is safe to say that there are three to four million in the United states alone. Even though at first blush this sounds like a huge segment of the population, in round numbers that is still only slightly more than 1% of the total US populace. When you think about it, that is pretty shocking. Who is going to take care of the remaining 99% percent of the population when a major disruptive event occurs? My guess is that most folks believe that the government will step in. Yeah right. Just like they did with Katrina and Superstorm Sandy."
"When a major crisis strikes, there will be a great need to grow food if your bug out group is to survive and flourish. There will be many problems that must be worked out because the bug out plan is only a guide, and it may need to change based on necessity. Protecting new garden plots and harvest storage areas literally means the difference between life and death for the group."
"I found the online game Spent last night and must say it is a very eye opening game. The premise of the game is that you’ve lost your job and house and are down to your last $1,000. Can you to survive on $1,000 for a month? As you play the game, you need to find a job, a place to live, buy food, and deal with everything else life throws at you. The game only takes 5-10 minutes to play, so I highly suggest you try it out. Simply click on the image below to play the game. When you are done, you can read my experience below."
"Recently I received information that Congress passed a bill, before leaving on their 2014 Christmas recess, which gives federal law enforcement the legal authority to have unlimited access to every means of communication that American citizens conduct. I immediately recognized that this appeared to be a violation of the fourth (4) amendment of the U. S. Constitution. How can Congress pass a law that circumvents the U. S. Constitution? I thought it took a two thirds, 2/3, majority vote of Congress to make a change to the U. S. Constitution."
"Last June SeattleBackPackersMagazine posted a short article on tracking barometric pressure with a GPS; barometric pressure. Recently my son reminded me of a little known theorem that helps the hiker’s situational awareness. This theorem is called Buys-Ballot’s Law. In 1857 Dutch professor Christopher Buys Ballot postulated that there was a relationship between wind direction and air pressure. Buys-Ballot’s law provides a rough approximation of the location and direction of the low pressure system as it tracks through a region."
"Directed by Boyce Richardson and Tony Ianzelo, this is an anthropological documentary about a band of Cree hunters from Mistassini, Quebec who travel to live and hunt on their traditional hunting grounds. It’s a sympathetic film made during a time when these people’s traditional lands were under thread from hydro-electric development and the associated infrastructure. It puts across the Cree point of view about their traditional way of life and philosophy. For the student of northern forest bushcraft, this is a treasure-trove of techniques, skills and knowledge. In almost every scene there is some nugget or take-away. As such it is one of my favourite films of its type. In my opinion it’s one of the most useful bushcraft-related documentaries ever made."
"Am I raising my children in a way that will empower them to make the world a little less cruel and heartless?” This philosophy is the basis of what I’ve taught my children all their lives and is one that I believe can serve many adults as well. When confronted with a bully… when targeted for persecution… when attacked in any malicious manner… Walk away if you can. If the attack is just words then let them be ignored. “Sticks and stones…” and all that. If the person targeting you refuses to settle for words and enacts or insists on pushing a physical confrontation, talk your way out of it if you can. I can honestly say I talked more people into handcuffs that I fought into handcuffs because it was a LOT easier. For my children and others, when confronted by someone who seemed to want a physical confrontation I’d reiterate the WALK away option if you can; if you can’t WALK away, then see if you can TALK your way out of it… see if you can TALK the person out of wanting it. But if you can’t WALK away and TALKing doesn’t work…
WIN. If there has to be a physical confrontation, then do what you have to not only to survive it but to be victorious. If someone decides that they are going to make a victim of you, refuse to be a willing victim."
(Sgt Trainer: Concur! 100% concur! There is ALWAYS someone that feels that he can do whatever he wants...to whomever he wants...without having to suffer the consequences. I found out early on that the only way to counteract a bully is to stand up to him and show that you are not afraid to protect yourself or someone else and that you are willing to deal with the consequences.)
"In fact, the poles are "much more stable" than climate scientists once predicted and could even be much thicker than previously thought. For years, scientists have suggested that both poles are melting at an alarming rate because of warming temperatures - dangerously raising the Earth's sea levels while threatening the homes of Arctic and Antarctic animals. But the uncertainty surrounding climate change and the polar ice caps reached a new level this month when research suggested the ice in the Antarctic is actually growing. And there could even be evidence to suggest the polar bear population is not under threat."
"Most of us depend on our cars for our work commutes. Or for trips to the grocery store/pharmacy/big box retailer, which themselves depend on just-in-time supply chains often thousands of miles long. Many worry that their jobs, even their entire industries, may become irrelevant in the coming future. Anxiety over how to cover cost of living in the wake of a job loss is one of the top concerns we hear of. And socially, many look around at their family members, friends and neighbors and lament at the lack of resilience. Or at a higher level, the lack of interest in developing any. So it's no wonder that most of us at one time or another have asked ourselves: If I could uproot and move to a more sustainable place, where would I go? For some asking this, the idea of a sustainable community has a powerful allure. Imagine a resource-rich property mapped out with a plan for sustainable self-sufficiency, populated with a community of like-minded folks that already "get" the importance of cultivating resilience.... Sounds pretty good, right? But what exactly is a "sustainable community" anyways? How do you find one? What's it like to live there? How do you know if it's all going to work out in the long run?"
"As nitrates seep into aquifers in California's Salinas Valley, local scientists are working to improve water quality."
"When it comes to old holistic medicine, ginger is a frequent go-to. I can absolutely attest to its abilities when it comes to settling the stomach and helping with digestion. Ginger has been used for thousands of years in China to treat nausea, arthritis, and heart disease. But let’s get into how we make our own “ginger ale” for nausea and pain. Ginger has been shown to ease muscle pain, as well as back pain. In addition, it has been shown to reduce inflammation. Women have been able to find relief from menstrual pain. Relief from the pain of migraines has also been experienced. Many studies have shown that ginger appears to have anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties. Modern scientific research has revealed that ginger is able to inhibit the formation of inflammatory compounds, and direct anti-inflammatory effects."
"In 1985, two British climbers, Joe Simpson and Simon Yates, became the first to ascend the west face of Siula Grande, a 21,000-foot peak in the Peruvian Andes. What happened next is one of the most remarkable and inspiring survival stories ever. It's also an extraordinary example of self-reliance, decision-making under duress, and force of will."