TO MY READERS, I HAVE A REQUEST

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You know how much I respect your skills and talents. Today, I’m asking you to share them with me and your fellow readers.

Please send me your self-reliance tips (no politics, please!)

You all know by now that I am being harried off the internet for sharing conservative viewpoints from leading writers. While I will continue to do this, I am only going to respond to the effects of the damaging progressive policies being implemented in Washington D.C. To rail against the actual policies will exhaust and frustrate us all, as well as ensure that we are kicked off this hosting platform, lose the last of our advertisers and get blocked by the big email providers.

So, I am turning to you! You homemakers, gardeners, hobbyists, hunters, survivalists, car enthusiasts, parents, fisherfolk, experts, military experts, marksmen, inventors, bakers, heritage skill experts, — all of you with cool things to share.

I would like to ask you to send me your recipes, instructions, guides, photos, step-by-step instructions, and videos*. Please email them to me at selfreliancecentral@gmail.com . Remember NO POLITICS. This is my desperate attempt to get us back to our self-reliant roots and swamp the site with preparedness and quality of life improvements. Please know that I am the only person involved at SRC and I can’t pay but I would truly love to share your passions. (Please send only your original material. Copyright and intellectual property lawyers trawl these sites to sue people who use other people’s work.)

*If you make a video, I suggest you post it direct to rumble.com rather than on this site, as you can get paid when people view them. Let me know what you have posted and if I share it with my readers and viewers that means more eyeballs and more money earned for you!

Why a Trauma Kit is essential and what it should contain

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Tiny SquirrelGun shows are great places to meet kindred spirits and at the last one I went to I met David Dietrich who is co-owner of GetReady! Emergency Planning Center, getemergencyready.com. He was selling a fantastic range of Trauma items (although I admit he got my attention with a small pack on his stall labeled “Vasectomy Kit.”) Anyway, I asked him to come up with something that would really be of use to you guys and he produced a doozy. Check this list out. Thanks David, this is really useful. 

Most people likely think about equipment for trained specialists in Emergency Medical Services (EMS) when they hear “Trauma Kit.”  Other terms used are “Blow-Out Kit,” and “Individual First Aid Kit” (IFAK).  However, they would be wrong.  Such kits are instead designed to be used by the first responder, whether he is a police officer, infantryman, or just a Good Samaritan.

A Trauma Kit is a far cry from a typical First Aid Kit.  While the latter is designed to support minor injuries and medical issues, the former is essential for saving someone’s life in the next ten minutes.  That means such kits are focused on major bleeding from gunshots, stabbings, and amputations.  In addition, they address breathing obstructions from anaphylaxis or massive tissue damage.

For the purposes of post-disaster preparedness, a Trauma Kit provides coverage where there will likely be no medical services for some time.  That means we will be on our own.  We ourselves may be not only the first responder, but also the last.  So, acquiring and learning to use the components of such a kit is a critical capability.  This is one reason why so many military combatants have survived serious wounds in our recent wars.

One axiom is indisputable – all bleeding stops.  The question becomes, how it will stop?  Do you want to let it stop on its own, after the casualty has bled out, or do you want to play an active role, stopping the bleeding yourself in sufficient time for the casualty to become an asset once again?  The Trauma Kit provides a means to that end, through various included devices.

jbc-corporation-medical-assault-kit
Image: Pictured are the JBC Corporation Medical Assault Kit, costing over $200, and the GetReady! Field Trauma Kit, listing at $99.95.

So, what does a Trauma Kit look like?  First of all, it is relatively small, easily carried on a belt, armor plate, or in a backpack.  Secondly, it does not usually contain the items we expect to see in First Aid Kits.  Rather, they include tourniquets, pressure bandages, blood clotting agent, occlusive dressing, tension pneumothorax needle, and nasopharyngeal airway. There may be a few other odds and ends as well, but those are the basics.

 

Let’s take a look at components of a trauma kit, to better understand why they are used:

 

tourniquets
Image: Pictured are rubber tubing, RATS, SWAT-T, and CAT-T.  Others to consider are are SOF-TT, and TK-4.  They range in price from approximately $6 to $32 each.

Tourniquet.  There are many designs and brand available, from simple rubber tubing to complex windlass or ratcheting designs.  But, they all have one purpose – to constrict or eliminate blood flow to the bleeding extremity.  While these used to be a tool of last resort, military experience has proven their worth in saving lives as the tool of first choice.  If properly applied and combined with other devices, they can be safely removed later.

 

compression-bandages
Pictured are the H&H Medical H-Bandage and the ubiquitous “Israeli Bandage.”  They range in price from approximately $6 to $15 each.

Compression (Pressure) Bandage.  There are several commercial brands out there, typically based on the original Israeli Bandage.  As the tried and true method for staunching blood flow is pressure and elevation, their purpose is to maintain pressure at the injury site, as well as provide a clotting medium.  This is accomplished through an integrated dressing and pressure device.  The hands are then left free to perform other functions. Here are some examples of commercially available Pressure Bandages:

 

Pictured are the Celox Hemostatic Granules,  QuikClot Combat Gauze, and QuikClot Clotting Sponge.  They range in price from approximately $13 to $42 each.
Pictured are the Celox Hemostatic Granules,  QuikClot Combat Gauze, and QuikClot Clotting Sponge.  They range in price from approximately $13 to $42 each.

Hemostatic (Clotting) Agent.  There are mainly two commercial brands out there, found in three forms.  These are QuikClot and Celox, using sponges, gauze wraps, or poured granules.  The key component is either a clay mineral (kaolin), used in QuikClot, or a crustacean derivative (chitosan), used in Celox.  Both types interact with blood plasma to rapidly form clots.  They work independently of blood platelets or thinning drugs.

 

 

Pictured are the H&H Medical Wound Seal Kit and Compact Wound Seal.  Other companies also produce simple and valved options.  They range in price from approximately $15 to $30 each.
Pictured are the H&H Medical Wound Seal Kit and Compact Wound Seal.  Other companies also produce simple and valved options.  They range in price from approximately $15 to $30 each.

Occlusive Dressing (aka Chest Seal).  Several brands are used by the military and other agencies.  They are designed to block inhalation through the thoracic cavity, rather than normally, into the lungs.  If such a condition, known as a “sucking chest wound,” is allowed to continue, the lung on that side will likely collapse, putting pressure on the aorta and heart, resulting in painful breathing and associated circulatory problems.

 

 

 

Pictured are the BD Angiocath and the H&H Medical Tension Pneumothorax Needle.  Enhanced versions are also available.  They range in price from approximately $15 to $43 each.
Pictured are the BD Angiocath and the H&H Medical Tension Pneumothorax Needle.  Enhanced versions are also available.  They range in price from approximately $15 to $43 each.

Tension Pneumothorax Needle (TPN).  Several brands are used by the military and other agencies.  They are designed to release air and/or fluid pressure in the external thoracic cavity that may lead to the same conditions described under Occlusive Dressing above.  So, this device is for closed, versus open chest wounds.  The TPN is probably the most difficult of all the Trauma Kit devices to apply, and should by studied and practiced.

 

Naso-Pharyngeal Airway (NPA)

Pictured is the Rusch Robertazzi Nasopharyngeal Airway.  Packaged with water-soluble lubricant, they range in price from approximately $5 to $15 each.
Pictured is the Rusch Robertazzi Nasopharyngeal Airway.  Packaged with water-soluble lubricant, they range in price from approximately $5 to $15 each.

Numerous brands are used by the military and other agencies. They are used to maintain breathing in the event of an airway blockage due to anaphylaxis or tissue damage.  They are basically comprised of a stiffened rubber tube, beveled on one end and enlarged into a bell shape on the other.  Assisted by accompanying water-based lubricant, they are fully inserted into a nostril up to the bell.

compressed-gauzeCompressed Gauze.  Numerous brands are used by the military and other agencies.  They are used primarily to absorb and aid in the clotting of blood.  Almost always comprised of cotton, they are the most versatile Trauma Kit component.  And it cannot be overstated that you can never have enough gauze.  Additional uses include absorbing other bodily fluids, covering burns and lacerations, wrapping dressings, and securing splints.

 

Trauma Shears

Pictured are 3.5” and 5.5” light duty Trauma Sheers from Rescue Essentials and Ronson.  Other, more robust sheers are available.  They range in price from approximately $3 to $50 each.
Pictured are 3.5” and 5.5” light duty Trauma Sheers from Rescue Essentials and Ronson.  Other, more robust sheers are available.  They range in price from approximately $3 to $50 each.

Numerous brands are used by the military and other agencies.  They are used primarily to cut away clothing and other accessories (eg bra underwire) to quickly access the point of injury.  Their unique design provides a safe and easy method to cut through almost anything, including coins!  The major take-away regarding arterial bleeding is that saving clothing comes in a distant second to saving a life.

 

 

 

 Pictured are rolls from eGear and H&H Medical.  Also found among survival gear, they range in price from approximately $1 to $4 each.

Pictured are rolls from eGear and H&H Medical.  Also found among survival gear, they range in price from approximately $1 to $4 each.

Medical (Duct) Tape.  This ubiquitous resource really comes into its own in a medical kit.  Not only can it be used to secure bandages and dressings, but it also has applications for foot care (eg prevention and treatment of blisters), wrapping splints, making snow goggles, and repairing medical gear and other items.  Mini rolls, primarily for storage purposes, are the best configuration.  Don’t leave home without them!

 

 

Pictured are rolls from eGear and H&H Medical.  Also found among survival gear, they range in price from approximately $1 to $4 each.
Pictured are rolls from eGear and H&H Medical.  Also found among survival gear, they range in price from approximately $1 to $4 each.

Medical Gloves.  These are included in Trauma Kits primarily to protect the responder, not the patient.  Bodily fluids can carry many dangerous diseases, and having additional barriers during treatment may keep the responder from becoming a casualty.  In addition, they may preclude the need for further cleansing following treatment.  Simple glove removal and disposal may be sufficient action under tactical conditions.

Marking Pen

Pictured are mini Sharpies.  Full-sized versions can also be used.  They range in price from approximately $1 to $3 each.
Pictured are mini Sharpies.  Full-sized versions can also be used.  They range in price from approximately $1 to $3 each.

This is important not only for recording information on a Casualty Card, but also for marking other information, such as the date and time of a tourniquet application.  Such marking can be on the device itself, or even on the forehead of the patient.  There are other uses for such pens, such as taking notes on environmental conditions, and descriptions of agents (eg animals, plants, suspects) involved.

 

Pictured are the H&H Medical standard and Marine Combat Casualty Care Cards.  They range in price from approximately $2 to $4 each.
Pictured are the H&H Medical standard and Marine Combat Casualty Care Cards.  They range in price from approximately $2 to $4 each.

Casualty Response Documentation Tool (CRDT).

This is an event recording card, containing information describing patient and injury, treatment (including drugs) administered, mental state, circulation, respiration, mechanisms of injury (MOIs), medical conditions, and overall patient medical status, from routine to critical.  It’s always good to keep track of what’s happening in such cases, for reference prior to future treatment.

 

 Pictured are medical pouches from Eagle Industries and Maxpedition.  Another common brand is Rothco.  They range in price from approximately $15 to $45 each.

Pictured are medical pouches from Eagle Industries and Maxpedition.  Another common brand is Rothco.  They range in price from approximately $15 to $45 each.

Pouch.  Typical military kit dimensions are 8 inches long by 6 inches wide by four inches deep when full.  It uses the Pouch Attachment Ladder System (PALS) to fasten to Modular Lightweight Load-Carrying Equipment (MOLLE) configured backpacks.  Made of rugged Cordura nylon, this Pouch can be used under adverse environmental and tactical conditions.  It should be readily accessible for immediate use.

 

Other Components.  A number of other items may be included in a Trauma Kit for various reasons.  For example, if the owner would like to access the kit for minor injuries, and not dip into important trauma components, then adhesive bandages may be included.  In addition, medications (eg aspirin) should be considered.  Sterile wipes and water for cleaning wounds, flashlight for nighttime, and CPR shield round out the list.

 Pictured are a CPR Shield, regular strength Aspirin, Moist Towelettes, Sterile Water, Penlight, Adhesive Bandages, and Gauze Pads.  They range in price from approximately $1 to $5 each.

Pictured are a CPR Shield, regular strength Aspirin, Moist Towelettes, Sterile Water, Penlight, Adhesive Bandages, and Gauze Pads.  They range in price from approximately $1 to $5 each.

_________________________________________________________________

 

David Dietrich is co-owner of GetReady! Emergency Planning Center, getemergencyready.com. He has been preparing for uncertainty since he was a youth, recognizing that backpacking is about smaller, lighter, and multi-capability.  His experiences in the Boy Scouts and military have given him an appreciation for the real meaning of the Scout Motto – “Be Prepared.”  Today, David runs a disaster preparedness business that is focused on the creed – helping you help yourself.  It is about delivering resources, training, education, and consulting in preparation for a failure of civility.  Prepared people are survivors.

 

 

 

 

What you didn’t learn in Conceal Carry Training. And how this information could change your life.

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Image: Target shooting, Kelly McCarthy. Now’s the time to think about the consequences of pulling the trigger in a defensive situation

Pulling that trigger is something you need to have thought about BEFORE you ever have to do it. Could you shoot a kid? No? Could you shoot a kid with a gun aimed at your wife? Maybe? Could you shoot a pregnant woman? Never? Could you shoot a pregnant woman with a gun to your kid’s head. Would you shoot a gunman threatening a clerk in a convenience store if you’re safely hiding at the back and in no immediate danger? Could you shoot your wife? Are you going to risk your life for a stranger? Are you willing to endure the court case? The massive hit to your finances? To even, possibly, have to move town because people won’t believe that what you did was necessary. So many ifs, right?

Here are the steps that COULD follow a defensive shooting:

  • Shots Fired
  • 911 Call
  • First Responders
  • Local law enforcement supervisors
  • Detectives – In some places the ADA will be dispatched
  • Investigation/Questioning
  • Prosecutor Determination
  • Trial Phase
  • Sentencing
  • Appeal Process
  • Civil Trial

See what I mean. Being the hero can get you in a whole world of trouble? That’s why I am probably only going to draw and shoot if I’m saving someone with the same last name as me.

Reporting a defensive shooting

So you pulled the trigger. You need to prepare for how you would report a defensive shooting. Rule No. 1. Don’t incriminate yourself. The 911 operator is not your friend but is trained to keep asking questions which are being recorded. Keep it simple.

  • Dial 911
  • Report there’s been a shooting.
  • Give them your name and the address you’re at
  • Tell them who is in the house/building. (Maybe send the kids next door if they are present.)
  • Describe any injuries and whether you need EMS
  • Describe yourself, your clothes. Put your weapon on the floor or in clear sight. (Unless you are using it to subdue a criminal.)
  • If you are insured with an organization that provides an attorney, call them. If you have an attorney call them.
  • Tell the police the bare minimum. Be cooperative but spare the details. Say only:
    • Officer, I was in fear of my life/my family member was threatened and at risk of losing their life. (You would not pull the trigger to save property. The fallout is NOT worth it for something insured or inanimate.)
    • I will sign the complaint.
    • Be helpful and show them what the assailant used to attack you.
    • Introduce any witnesses.
    • Tell them you are invoking the Fifth Amendment until you have had time to talk to your attorney and calm yourself down. You should say you’ll be back within 24 hours to talk to them. Be prepared to be arrested. And be prepared to spend a long time being questioned.
    • Remember to say: “If he/she survives I want to press charges.” Remind everyone that you’re not the aggressor here. 

NEVER MESS WITH THIS GIRLS PURSE

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Having fun with some of our favorite handguns.

S&W 317 22LR

S&W 29 44 MAG

RUGER LCP 380

Glock 19 9MM

KIMBER 1911

Biden’s Texas Response: Clueless or Cruel?

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By Frank McCaffrey

President Joe Biden’s delayed response to the Texas freeze which killed dozens of Americans after the power grid broke down, water pipes burst, people froze in their homes, had no food in their grocery stores, sat through gas lines and watched their crops get destroyed is inexcusable.

It’s been over a week and only now FEMA trucks start rolling!

President George W. Bush was criticized for a delayed Katrina response and for knowing that the levees may overflow in New Orleans.

Entertainment elites such as actor Mike Myers and musician Kanye West attacked Bush, with West famously declaring, “George Bush doesn’t care about black people.”

The world jumped on President Bush for his Katrina response. Yet the world seems to ignore Biden’s Texas freeze response. Meanwhile Biden is tucked up cozy in the White House by 7pm under the watchful gaze of his ever-present wife and minder.

Is there a reason for this? Chinese dissident Justin Yu of the Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association won’t go so far as to say it’s a tactic Biden is using to hold power over people. But he does say many leaders of the past have done so.

Justin Yu said “during the, they used the Ukraine famine to control the people in Ukraine. And when the Communist China took over China in 1953, man created disaster, man create famine to starve people in order to suppress people’s unhappiness about the regime. So 1933, they used it. 1953, they used it. 1957, they used it again. Because people started to resist their control. And, during the Cultural Revolution, they did it again. Using the same kind of technique of starving people, creating disasters in order to control.”

While Biden supporters work to come up with their justification for this disastrous disaster response, we at ALG look at those who voted for him and say — one more time — we told ya’ so!

Frank McCaffrey is Director of Americans for Limited Government News and a contributing editor to the Daily Torch.Original here. Reproduced with permission.

Texas Mayor Pleads with Biden to Stop This (Spoiler Alert: He won’t)

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Earlier this month, the Biden administration reinstated the “catch and release” policy by Executive Order (covered here), allowing detained migrants who are deemed “low risk” to be released into the United States pending court dates.

During the recent epic and unusual snowstorms, coupled with COVID, south Texas communities along the U.S.-Mexico border have disproportionately felt the effects of these aliens being released into their localities.

In the border town of Del Rio, the Democratic mayor, Bruno Lozano has posted a video pleading with Biden to stop releasing unlawful migrants into his city and the neighboring areas and voicing his deep concern over Biden’s misplaced immigration priorities stating that the city does not have the resources available to house and accommodate migrants.

Watch a Dramatic Use of a Gun in Self-Defense That Didn’t Make News

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By Amy Swearer

If a defensive use of a firearm goes unreported in the media and nobody hears about it, does it really count?

I’m happy to report that the answer is a resounding “yes,” and I have evidence to prove it.

A man who was patrolling his employer’s property to protect it from thieves, confronted by an apparent carjacker, drew his legally carried firearm and subdued the stranger as police officers arrived and arrested the man. 

A security camera captured it all, as you can see below.

I know about this only because the man who held the criminal suspect at gunpoint, a Daily Signal reader who holds a concealed carry permit, reached out to tell his story.

Every month, I write a Daily Signal article highlighting some of the incredible stories from around the nation of gun owners who successfully used their firearms to defend themselves or others. Every time, I note that we have good reason to believe that most defensive gun uses never are reported to law enforcement, much less are picked up and publicized by a media outlet.

Almost every major study on these issues has concluded that Americans use their guns in self-defense between 500,000 and 3 million times a year. Even two “outlier” studies have concluded it likely occurs around 100,000 times a year.

Yet we see a massive disparity between the numbers of self-reported defensive gun uses analyzed by these studies and the “confirmed” defensive gun uses found in media sources.

A Video to Back Up His Story

Of course, several reasonable explanations exist for these “unreported” defensive gun uses, as I’ll explain.

Despite such explanations, though, many gun control advocates continue to argue that the idea of “unreported” defensive gun uses is largely bunk. They insist that these self-reported but unverifiable incidents are mostly just figments of the imaginations of would-be “good guys with guns” who want to rationalize their gun ownership to others.

In other words, if someone’s defensive gun use didn’t make it into a news story, we ought to assume it didn’t really happen.

Except that, well, they do happen. And this is just one example.

When the reader first reached out to me, his story in some ways seemed too good to be true. He said his own defensive use of a gun was unreported, and he could prove it.

No, the incident didn’t make it onto the 6 o’clock news. No, the local papers didn’t report it. And no, the reader didn’t have access to an official police report on the events leading to the arrest, which he wasn’t sure would mention his defensive gun use anyway.

But he had something even better. He had the video. And he had a gripping story to go with it.

What Happened That Night

Let’s call him John Jones, because he asked that The Daily Signal not publish his real name out of concern for retaliation by the individual he subdued before police arrived. Jones works for a towing company in a large Virginia city, neither of which is being specified here for the same reason.

As one might imagine, angry car owners who don’t want their vehicles towed sometimes threaten to harm Jones for doing his job. In early 2020, he obtained a concealed carry permit to enable him to better protect himself while on the job by carrying a firearm.

He had the permit for less than a month, Jones says, before he needed to rely on it.

Jones says the towing company that employs him has had problems with the theft of parts from towed vehicles kept in a parking lot shared with several other businesses. Employees take turns driving around the lot to keep an eye out for would-be thieves.

On the night of April 13, while Jones was on patrol duty in the parking lot, a stranger in a white T-shirt walked up to his car and tried to open the passenger’s side door. Jones realized that the man was trying to carjack him.

Worse, Jones knew police had spent the night scouring the area to find a criminal suspect, and he surmised that this man might be him.

Concerned for his own safety, Jones got out of his vehicle and drew his firearm, prompting the would-be carjacker to raise his hands and lay down in surrender.

Here’s the video:

Within seconds, as the video shows, several city police cars raced into the parking lot with sirens blazing. Jones says his suspicions were confirmed—the man who had tried to jump into his car was in fact the subject of the police search.

At first, the video shows, a couple of the police officers drew their guns on Jones. Fortunately, Jones says, one of the officers recognized him from previous work with the towing company and it quickly became clear that he wasn’t the threat. 

Jones holstered his gun, and the officers turned their attention to the detained suspect.

Why Doesn’t Media Report Such Incidents?

The best part about this story is that we don’t just have to take John Jones’ word for it. The security camera at a neighboring business captured the entire incident, confirming Jones’ account and providing riveting visual evidence of just how quickly a routine night can escalate into a dangerous predicament.

Records show that police charged Jones’ assailant, identified as Thomas T. Turner, 23, with pointing or brandishing a firearm, misdemeanor assault, burglary, drug possession, and driving while his license was revoked

Jones says this wasn’t the first time he has used a firearm to defend himself or others.

Several years ago, while parked in a public lot, Jones says, he saw a man approach a car and demand the driver’s purse and phone at gunpoint. Jones jumped into action, drawing his own legally possessed “open carry” handgun and pointing it at the would-be robber, who promptly fled—without the driver’s belongings.

How is it, then, that neither of Jones’ dramatic defensive uses of a firearm made it into the local news? Well, it’s possible they never even made it into the police blotter in the first place.

Jones says that in both cases, the responding law enforcement officers were rather unconcerned with obtaining a statement. Once the officers were reassured that Jones wasn’t the suspect or a threat to their safety, they basically told him to go back about his business.

It is reasonable to suspect that many of these “minimal” defensive gun uses also receive minimal detail in police reports, so that even when they are made available to the public, they don’t garner much attention.

Moreover, in both incidents in which Jones used a firearm defensively, police were soon on the scene. But this isn’t always the case.

What the Reality Is

Now, as a lawyer who researches and writes on gun policy, I know that the best rule of thumb is to call police any time you take any defensive action with your firearm, no matter how minimal it may seem.

The reality is, however, that many Americans often choose not to call police afterward, especially if they didn’t actually fire their weapon. They simply don’t see the need to involve law enforcement over what they consider non-incidents.

This is particularly likely to be true of gun owners in states that take a less-than-friendly view of the Second Amendment. Why call the police over a “non-incident” when it could very well mean that you—as a gun owner—get arrested over some legal technicality?

On top of all this, just because a defensive gun use is reported to police doesn’t mean that a news reporter will notice it or think it’s significant enough to write a story about it.

Quite clearly, plenty of pieces have to fall into place before a defensive gun use becomes a “reported” defensive gun use that can be picked up readily in an online search. As Jones’ account shows, it’s easy for those pieces not to fall into place.

But just like the proverbial tree falling in a forest makes a sound even if no one is there to hear it, “unreported” defensive uses of guns happen even if they aren’t in the newspaper or on the nightly TV news.

And sometimes, we can see the video evidence.

Amy Swearer is a legal fellow in the Edwin Meese Center for Legal and Judicial Studies at The Heritage Foundation. Reproduced with permission. Original here.

CONSERVATIVES HAD BETTER UP THEIR GAME IN DEFENSE OF THE 2ND AMENDMENT

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by Bob Barr

As I wrote last week, the Biden administration is just getting warmed up when it comes to attacks on the Second Amendment. In fact, Biden will test the Second Amendment like never before in U.S. history; both in the ferocity of attacks, and in finding new ways and methods to undermine its place in American culture. Making matters worse, conservatives are woefully underprepared to properly defend it.

This is the central thesis of my report on firearms published this month at The Heritage Foundation. In it, I assert the current “needs-based” defense of the Second Amendment not only is inadequate to withstand today’s onslaught by Democrats but also fundamentally misinterprets the spirit of the Amendment. Instead, conservatives must learn to defend the Second Amendment as their natural right; one that is far beyond the reach of gun-grabbers at all levels of government.

Consider what is the most common response from liberals when arguing whether a particular firearm or accessory is covered by the Second Amendment’s guarantee. It is almost always some version of, “nobody needs that;” as if there is some unwritten, but obvious list indicating which specific items are protected by the Amendment and which are not.

The 1994 Federal Assault Weapons Ban was based on the argument that citizens did not “need” modern sporting rifles; a sentiment that persists to this day, long after the legislation expired a decade later. Bans on high-capacity magazines and certain types of ammunition, monthly limits on purchases of firearms, and similar legislative efforts are all premised on the same justification of a perceived lack of “need” by law-abiding citizens.

Kevin Drum, a contributor to Mother Jones, encapsulated the extremes to which this mentality is applied when responding to calls to ban all semiautomatic weapons – leaving just revolvers, pump-action shotguns, and bolt- or lever-action rifles available to citizens – by saying, “that’s plenty for self-defense and for hunting…no one outside of the military or law enforcement really needs the high-speed shooting of a semiautomatic” (emphasis added). There is no limit to how, why, and when liberals use this “need” standard, and conservatives attempting to defend on the liberals’ playing field only play into their hands.

Take, for example, when in 2019 a Twitter user responded to singer Jason Isbell’s ignorant comments about the “need” for “assault weapons,” with a question about how otherwise he was to “kill the 30-50 feral hogs that run into [his] yard within 3-5 mins while [his] small kids play?” To Midwesterners or Southerners for whom this is a very real problem, it was a legitimate question; but to progressives who just saw it as “gun nut” craziness, it quickly became pop culture fodder to mock and ridicule. This is precisely how liberals have constantly won through the years, by nibbling away at what people “need” or don’t “need.”

It is not only what Democrats have taken away using a needs-based argument against the Second Amendment, but also how they use it to manipulate Republicans. For instance, in spite of the objective health and safety benefits of firearm suppressors, Republicans for years have failed to pass the Hearing Protection Act – even when they had majorities in Congress and controlled the White House – because they did not know how to counter Democrats’ claims that citizens do not really “need” such devices.

Then there was the “bump stock” controversy following the 2017 mass shooting at an outdoor concert on the Las Vegas Strip. Because such a device was used by the assailant during his rampage, President Donald Trump directed that the Department of Justice ban them by regulatory fiat (which it did), because such devices were deemed not “needed.”

Clearly, defending against this “needs-based” gun control strategy is not working for defenders of the Second Amendment, and it will continue to fail with disastrous consequences as gun control advocates up their game with the anti-Second Amendment Biden now in the White House – such as going after pistol braces. It is time for a change in strategy, and next week I will outline why a natural rights defense of gun rights is the approach conservatives should adopt if they want to preserve gun rights in America.

Bob Barr represented Georgia’s Seventh District in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1995 to 2003. He served as the United States Attorney in Atlanta from 1986 to 1990 and was an official with the CIA in the 1970s. He now practices law in Atlanta, Georgia and serves as head of Liberty Guard. Reproduced with permission. Original here.

8 Things You Must Know About Deeply Flawed COVID-19 Package

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By David Ditch

Some worthy causes but are they worth the pain to the economy and taxpayers.

Later this week, the House of Representatives is expected to consider a massive legislative package that is being sold as another relief measure for the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the legislation is stuffed with provisions that have nothing to do with the disease or economic hardship, and in many cases would actually slow the economic rebound and destroy jobs.

Here are crucial facts about the package that Americans should be aware of:

1. It Adds Over $14,000 Per Household to the National Debt

The pandemic, coupled with its effects on the economy, led to an unprecedented amount of federal spending. In fiscal year 2020, it was over $50,000 per household. This year we can already expect another $45,000 per household.

Despite the fact that the unemployment rate is 6.3%—which is not ideal, but not a crisis—and despite the fact that COVID-19 hospitalizations are plunging, Democrats in Congress and the Biden administration are pushing for a package that would send spending well above last year’s record.

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The total national debt has risen to $27.9 trillion, or more than $215,000 per household. Adding trillions more to the debt adds risks for the future.

Since we are unlikely to see a balanced budget any time soon, every penny of debt on the books today will need to be refinanced. Even though interest rates are now low, we have no way of knowing what credit markets will demand in years to come.

Just as a responsible middle-class household would carefully consider whether to add $14,000 in debt, Congress must be cautious rather than reckless with the nation’s finances.

2. It Is a COVID-19 Bill That Treats COVID-19 as an Afterthought

While combating the pandemic ought to be the centerpiece of legislation referred to as “COVID-19 relief,” public health represents less than 10% of spending in the package. 

The legislation throws massive amounts of taxpayer dollars at causes that are barely or entirely unrelated to the pandemic, yet neglects some potentially crucial approaches to bringing the disease under control.

For example, rapid tests for COVID-19 could be deployed for a fraction of the cost of the package, yet would provide a vital tool for individuals and the medical community in preventing unnecessary disease transmission. 

Unfortunately, the Food and Drug Administration is dragging its feet, having only approved one type of rapid test that will be available in limited quantities later this year.

>>> What’s the best way for America to reopen and return to business? The National Coronavirus Recovery Commission, a project of The Heritage Foundation, assembled America’s top thinkers to figure that out. So far, it has made more than 260 recommendations. Learn more here. 

Operation Warp Speed helped ensure that multiple vaccines were available, meaning multiple manufacturers making as many doses as possible. A similar approach is needed for rapid tests, and leaders should prioritize this public health need above favors for political allies.

3. Its Massive Education Spending Won’t Actually Reopen Schools

The package spends $170 billion on education, which supporters say is meant to reopen schools faster. However, the details show something else entirely.

First, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office reveals that only about a third of the education funds would be spent between now and September 2022, and that more would be spent in 2026 than 2021. That’s utterly absurd given the urgency of getting children back in classrooms.

Second, about $50 billion in funds for reopening schools have yet to go out the door, most of which was just passed in December. Considering that youths are at the lowest risk from the disease, and that teachers are receiving preferential treatment on vaccinations, $50 billion should be more than enough.

In reality, the additional $170 billion is a de facto pay-off to teachers unions, many of which are currently issuing unreasonable demands for reopening schools. Providing the extra funding would reward this counterproductive behavior and should be vehemently opposed.

4. It Opens the Door for Taxpayer-Funded Abortions

While previous COVID-19 legislation contained standard provisions that prevent federal funding for abortions, those provisions are missing from the new legislation. 

This means “family planning” money for Planned Parenthood, subsidies for health plans that cover abortions, and even international funding without pro-life protections.

It should be unconscionable that legislation supposedly justified as a way to preserve human life would do the opposite, but this is where we are.

5. Its Unprecedented Minimum Wage Increase Would Kill Jobs and Businesses

While lawmakers should pass pro-investment and pro-jobs legislation during a recession, Congress is doing the opposite: attempting to staple a minimum wage increase to $15 an hour onto a package that is supposedly about the pandemic.

Even though the increase would be phased in over four years, it would have an immediate impact on investment decisions. Some businesses would spend more on automation to reduce their number of employees. Others would choose not to invest in opening or expanding, and many struggling to stay afloat would give up and close their doors for good.

All of these outcomes would reduce opportunities for low-skill and inexperienced workers because jobs lost to a $15 minimum wage won’t be coming back. Rural areas and low-cost states would be disproportionately affected, as would small businesses that don’t have the capital to adjust and automate low-wage jobs.

Consumers would also face higher prices in labor-intensive areas, such as an average 21% increase in the already expensive cost of child care.

Bottom line: Such a huge minimum wage increase would destroy jobs and serve as an anchor on the economy rather than a life preserver.

6. It Includes Opportunistic Welfare Expansions That Create Perverse Incentives

The legislation includes benefit increases and expansions for a variety of “safety net” programs, including unemployment insurance, Affordable Care Act subsidies, the earned income tax credit, cash welfare payments, and more.

All of this ignores the fact that federal and state governments already provide an expansive safety net for unemployed and low-wage households at a tremendous cost to taxpayers. 

The economy is struggling, but is in much better shape than it was during the Great Recession, so there is no meaningful justification for expanding the welfare state.

Worse, expanding the benefits will reduce incentives to find work, marry, or increase earnings, each of which can reduce what the federal government provides to an individual.

Another danger is that these welfare expansions could become permanent, which would harm the nation’s finances and cement anti-work incentives in place.

7. It Will Give Huge Handouts to Special Interests

The bill includes more than $1,000 per person in funds for state and local governments, despite the fact that federal aid last year dwarfed any localized revenue reductions.

At least $90 billion will be given from the general public to pad out pension plans for private-sector workers, overwhelmingly benefitting Big Labor. The “at least” is because this bailout could balloon to more than twice that amount.

On top of that, $57 billion will go toward the transportation sector in a way that privileges unionized workers.

These three items alone amount to nearly $500 billion that will create far more in political benefits than public benefit.

8. Its $1,400 Checks Would Have Minimal Economic Effect, Maximum Debt Impact

The biggest item in the bill, $1,400 per person “recovery rebate” checks, is expected to cost over $400 billion. We have plenty of evidence to know that this would be a poor way to stimulate the economy.

First, the vast majority of working-age Americans are employed, and those who are out of work are eligible for boosted unemployment benefits. There is no inherent economic need for nearly universal checks.

Second, Americans increased savings and debt repayment in the wake of last year’s federal checks. While this was the responsible thing for many households to do, it is an irresponsible policy choice at a time of high deficits.

Third, analysis from previous stimulus checks shows that they provide only a small short-term boost to the economy and jobs. Since they add to our mountainous national debt, they will ultimately slow the economy in the long run.

Lawmakers who want to speed up the economic recovery should focus their efforts on reducing the multitude of barriers to work and investment, which would improve the nation’s financial health rather than worsening it.

There Are Better Ways to Respond to the Pandemic

Lawmakers responding to the COVID-19 pandemic should work together to enact temporary and targeted measures that will help bring the disease under control and allow the economy to continue improving.

However, this $1.9 trillion package represents a jarring leftward lurch to enact long-standing progressive priorities that have nothing to do with the pandemic. It is riddled with poor economic reasoning, political favoritism, and would needlessly add to the national debt.

Legislators should go back to the drawing board rather than rush to pass this bloated bill.

David Ditch is a research associate specializing in budget and transportation policy in the Grover M. Hermann Center for the Federal Budget at The Heritage Foundation.


Standout items from openthebooks.com include:

      • $1.5 million earmarked for the Seaway International Bridge which connects New York to Canada. (Senate Leader Chuck Schumer hails from New York)

      • $50 million for “family planning” – going to non-profits i.e. Planned Parenthood, or public entities, including for “services for adolescents[.]”

     • $470 million — yes, a half billion dollars —for arts and museum agencies – doubling their annual budgets to swish elite establishments like the Kennedy Center!

  • $200 million in the bill to The Institute of Museum and Library Services (FY2019 budget: $230 million). This agency is so small that it doesn’t even employ an inspector general. 
  • $270 million funds the National Endowment of the Arts and the Humanities (FY2019 budget: $253 million) – In 2017, our study showed eighty-percent of all non-profit grant making flowed to well-heeled organizations with over $1 million in assets.

Russia flies nuclear capable bombers as US deploys in area

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So, the Russians are wagging their tail feathers at Biden. Just as the US decides to deploy four non-nuclear bombers to Norway for the first time, the Russians put a couple of two nuclear-capable Tu-160 Blackjack bombers in the air above the Barents, Greenland, and Norwegian Seas. Blackjacks have nuclear capabilities and are very fast, and these birds were in the air for over 12 hours. Quite the display, Vlad!

The strategic bombers flew out to the Barents Sea from the Kola Peninsula before the route continued further north and west outside Norway. Then, according to the Twitter user “Hunters Note”, who tracks military aviation signals, the aircraft flew west in the Greenland Sea near Jan Mayen before heading north of Svalbard, across Franz Josef Land towards Novaya Zemlya where another pair of MiG-31 from Rogachevo Air Base escorted the strategic bombers over the Kara Sea en route south. 

 thebarentsobserver

Translation: Two strategic missile carriers Tu-160 (board RF-94111, call sign 28851 and board RF-94112, call sign 28852) performed a planned flight in airspace over neutral waters of the Barents, Greenland and Norwegian seas.

Was this the reason? Do the bombers in the region make them nervous or was this just Putin showing Bide who’s boss. The Blackjacks apparently came from RuAF Engels Airforce Base in southwestern Russia.

According to American Defense News, the Russians planes were tracked by NATO and intercepted by two Norwegian F-16 fighters on Quick Reaction Alert (QRA) based at Bodø Air Base. Their bomber mission occurred on the same day as the major Norwegian defense exercise Arctic Hawk 21, which involved all of the country’s military branches: Navy, Army, Home Guard, Air Force and Cyber Defense.

Amazing! Engineer With No Fingers Builds His Own Bionic Hand

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After Ian lost four of his fingers, he decided to build himself an incredible bionic hand – wait until you see all the attachments! 

Administration blocks energy request from Texas on environmental grounds

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A week before the deadly snow storms, Texas begged for help and asked for the DOE to suspend federal regulations and allow them to exceed their federally mandated energy output.

An Emergency Order from the Biden administration’s Department of Energy shows Texas energy grid operator ERCOT was instructed to stay within green energy standards by purchasing energy from outside the state at a higher cost, throttling power output throughout the state ahead of a catastrophic polar vortex. We all know what happened.

It’s all here on the Department of Energy website or you can download it below.

There’s a very good step-by-step of the request and denial process here.

Starlink – bringing internet connectivity to every place on Earth

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Space X and Elon Musk have been busy launching satellites to complete a long-held dream of communication experts – a ring of communications satellites around the Earth to facilitate better internet connection.

Starlink is Musk’s satellite internet constellation being constructed by SpaceX to provide satellite internet access. The constellation will consist of thousands of mass-produced small satellites in low Earth orbit, working in combination with ground transceivers

It’s called Starlink Beta as it’s currently in the very early stages of development. (Funny, I recall editing an article on this very dream back in 1994 when it seemed as far-fetched as having a phone that would take a photo so you could check you were buying exactly what your wife has sent you out for!)

During the beta stage, users can expect to see data speeds vary from 50Mb/s to 150Mb/s and latency from 20ms to 40ms in most locations. . There will also be brief periods of no connectivity at all.

As Starlink launches more satellites, install more ground stations and improve the networking software, data speed, latency and uptime will improve dramatically.

Go here to see if your address is currently eligible. I pumped in an address and the cost was around $600. Online reports state $99 so I’m not sure if it varies by area. Starlink is available to a limited number of users per coverage area at this time. Orders will be fulfilled on a first-come, first-served basis. Users in the US in remote places were the first to be offered the service and many are ecstatic!

Starlink Kit includes everything you need to connect to the internet including your Starlink, wifi router, power supply, cables and mounting tripod. The mounting tripod is designed for ground level installation, or to support a quick start setup to test your internet connection. For users that require a roof install, roof mounts are available by signing into your account.

If you could see the connection between a Starlink satellite and your Starlink dish, it would look like a single beam between the two objects. As the satellite moves, the beam also moves.

The area within which this beam moves is the “field of view”. If any object such as a tree, chimney, pole, etc. interrupts the path of the beam, even briefly, your internet service will be interrupted.

In early service, the required clear field of view is a 100-degree cone around the center of the dish (after tilting) with a 25 degree elevation minimum. Some obstructions are worse than others. Obstructions low in the sky will cause more outages because satellites are in this area of the sky more frequently.

The best guidance they give is to install your Starlink at the highest elevation possible where it is safe to do so, with a clear view of the sky. Users who live in areas with lots of tall trees, buildings, etc. may not be good candidates for early use of Starlink. However as more satellites are launched, the field of view constraints will decrease, enabling a wider variety of users.

The Epic Failure of the Government Gas Can

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Good luck trying to pour gas out of one of these monstrous devices!

Part of living on Earth is mowing its grass and performing outdoor chores. Last International Earth Day, while the Globe held hands and celebrated Gaia and executive climate change agreements, I was monkeying with my several gas cans in the storage shed. Why several? I’d watched all the folks after 2012’s Hurricane Sandy lining up for blocks, not for personal wind turbines or solar power packs, but fighting over a gallon or two of gasoline.

So, back then I got my basic prepper supplies, without going excessively overboard of course, along with my several five-gallon gas cans. I filled them up and added fuel stabilizer so they’d keep a while, and made plans to rotate the fuel a time or two a year.

But back when I first tried to use these new gas cans a few months after purchase I was shocked at their new spring-loaded, Mousetrap game style Environmental Protection Agency-engineered spouts.

Image: The author’s “water” can, Earth Day 2016.

I quickly learned what many, particularly outraged boat and outdoor forum folks, already knew. You need three hands to operate today’s gas can spouts. You’ll start each project spilling more gas than you get into the mower, motorcycle, car or whichever. In other words, you will create more vapor emissions than you ever would have otherwise.

What the heck happened? The EPA banned normal gas cans in 2009, following the pioneers at the California Air Resources Board, which intones:

The Portable Fuel Container (PFC) regulations are an important concept in our efforts to improve California’s air quality. PFCs, also known as gas cans…

“Also known as gas cans”: Wow, so you see the mentality just from the ridiculous government acronym and paternalistic, condescending language.

Nobody would make such a device without a vent except “under duress.”

No gas cans available for sale anymore have vents on the opposite top-side either, so when trying to pour you get a sloshing, heaving mess, burping gasoline eruptions leaking from the complex yet flimsy spout that easily breaks. Go see for yourself at Ace or Home Depot. It’s like a giant joke, a societal dribble-glass prank imposed on the entire population.

What was EPA thinking? You can barely pour a simple 14-oz. can of evaporated milk without popping a notch in the opposite side, let alone a heavy five-gallon container.

Googling this weekend to figure out more about what happened to American normalcy, I found Jeffrey Tucker’s “How Government Wrecked the Gas Can,” topping the search results. He observed that nobody would make such a device without a vent except “under duress.” That’s for sure. I recall filling anything and everything with gas for my mini-bike and lawn mower as a kid, like milk jugs. We’d pour with a funnel and not spill since we didn’t have enough spare cash to waste gasoline. Come to think of it, we’d ride to the gas station from my grandparents’ tobacco farm, sitting on the lip of the pickup truck bed, which I can’t do anymore either. At least we can still pour a pack of Tom’s Peanuts into a bottle of Coke and drink that.

Tucker observed that, naturally, most of us buy gas cans only a time or two in our lives, and new generations won’t know any better, but it’s another signature example of a string of once normal things that work worse thanks to geniuses in the federal bureaucracy:

Soap doesn’t work. Toilets don’t flush. Clothes washers don’t clean. Light bulbs don’t illuminate. Refrigerators break too soon. Paint discolors. Lawnmowers have to be hacked. It’s all caused by idiotic government regulations that are wrecking our lives one consumer product at a time, all in ways we hardly notice. 

I do an annual roundup of federal regulations, and even I hadn’t paid much attention to the gas spouts issue until I got stuck with them. I had noticed there’s no good toy surprise in Cracker Jacks anymore, though, or in cereal boxes either. I should have asked some Consumer Product Safety Commission directors about that recently when we were discussing with them the disappearance of chemistry sets that were actual chemistry sets.

Anyway, in order to harm the Earth less with a normal, non-polluting spout, I was wondering about workarounds for the inhumane, vapor-spewing trick spouts the environmentally unfriendly EPA forces you to buy to increase pollution. With a bit of searching, I found so-called EZ Pour “water” jugs.

Note: You and I cannot use these alternatives to pour gasoline into vehicles or equipment, since that is an illegal non-EPA bureaucrat-approved hack, but they can be used to pour “liquid,” however.

Pictured above is one of my “water” jugs (yea… that’s the ticket) equipped with a brand new EZ Pour spout of the type formerly generic and universal. You can see the green-collared EPA pollution emitter on the floor beside it for contrast. There’s also a vent that I haven’t installed yet (just need to drill a hole) so “water” doesn’t slosh around when I pour with it.

Remember, this is for informational purposes only. This is not a gas can.

I think I’m going out now to grill some steaks before EPA gets ahold of charcoal grills after spending nearly $1 million of your tax dollars studying flare-up reduction “technology.”

A version of this article first appeared at Forbes.

Clyde Wayne Crews
Clyde Wayne Crews

Wayne Crews is vice president for policy and director of technology studies at the Competitive Enterprise Institute.

This article was originally published on FEE.org. Read the original article.

Mattress Mack Helps Texans – Again

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This furniture store owner opened up two of his locations as shelter for Texans who lost power amid the state’s severe winter weather last week. You may remember him from 2017 when he opened the doors of his showrooms to people stranded by the floods of Hurricane Harvey.

The pandemic’s progress is changing more than you think – or are being told

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Amid the dire Covid warnings, one crucial fact has been largely ignored: Cases are down 77% over the past six weeks. If a medication slashed cases by 77%, we’d call it a miracle pill. Why is the number of cases plummeting much faster than experts predicted?

In large part because natural immunity from prior infection is far more common than can be measured by testing. Testing has been capturing only from 10% to 25% of infections, depending on when during the pandemic someone got the virus. Applying a time-weighted case capture average of 1 in 6.5 to the cumulative 28 million confirmed cases would mean about 55% of Americans have natural immunity.

Now add people getting vaccinated. As of this week, 15% of Americans have received the vaccine, and the figure is rising fast. Former Food and Drug Commissioner Scott Gottlieb estimates 250 million doses will have been delivered to some 150 million people by the end of March.

There is reason to think the country is racing toward an extremely low level of infection. As more people have been infected, most of whom have mild or no symptoms, there are fewer Americans left to be infected. At the current trajectory, I expect Covid will be mostly gone by April, allowing Americans to resume normal life.

From: We’ll Have Herd Immunity by April, Dr. Marty Makary, a professor at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and Bloomberg School of Public Health.

Meanwhile over in the statist control center Fauci is saying we’ll still be wearing face diapers in 2022.

THE STRANGE PRIORITIES OF BIDEN’S DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE

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by Bob Barr

Image: Chelsea Manning by Tim Travers Hawkins, CC BY-SA 4.0 via Wikimedia Commons

Although our Founders correctly recognized that the overriding responsibility of the president is to secure our liberties by “protect[ing] and defend[ing] the Constitution,” in this modern era most Americans likely would consider that the most important job of the president is to serve as “commander-in-chief” of the armed forces, and thereby protect the nation’s security. If so, the new Biden administration is establishing a rather odd vision for how the Department of Defense will meet its responsibilities in this regard.

The national defense priorities of this administration, as revealed in public documents issued already by the president and his chosen Secretary of Defense, retired Army Gen. Lloyd Austin, reflect a sharp departure from his recent predecessors and from historic norms.

In one of his first executive orders, Biden chose to exercise his power as commander-in-chief not to affirm or reaffirm the need for a strong military defense against our nation’s adversaries or to announce an important national security initiative as a way to send a message to a particular adversary. No, the most important national security issue on the mind of the new president, insofar as official public pronouncements reveal, is protection of transgenderism in the military. This was affirmed in presidential Executive Order No.14004 signed just five days after he assumed office.

At the Pentagon, the first publicly revealed priorities regarding the operation of the world’s most powerful military under the Biden Administration were similarly unusual.

On Jan. 29, four days after Biden’s transgender executive order, Secretary Austin followed with a military-wide order that all restrictions on transgenderism would be lifted, at least pending a thorough review of this issue which he and his boss obviously consider crucial to America’s national security. The secretary’s memo reflected the view that such a move was an essential step to reverse limitations placed on transgender personnel by the previous administration. Public analysis of and reporting on the Secretary’s memo affirmed such partisan purposes.

The following week, Austin continued his focus on domestic policy matters, issuing another services-wide memorandum ordering a “stand-down” across all branches of the armed forces in order to address “extremism” in the ranks.

While links within military ranks to white supremacy groups is a valid concern and should be addressed, it remains unclear whether the stand-down order will extend more comprehensively to encompass ties by military personnel to non-traditional groups such as Black Lives Matter, with its clear socialist agenda and Marxist underpinnings and its involvement with last year’s riots in cities across the country.

The announcement of the highly unusual step of ordering such a broad “stand-down” reflected obvious and appropriate concerns over involvement in the Jan. 6 violence at the U.S. Capitol by current military personnel and veterans, but raises fundamental questions about Defense Department priorities. Most notably, there is the obvious question of whether these domestic-oriented policy priorities by both the president and the defense secretary, come at the expense of focusing on the numerous and serious external threats facing our country.

Neither Biden nor Austin have issued major public policy statements relating to how they intend to deal with China, which in recent years has been identified consistently by national security and intelligence experts as the Number One security threat to the United States. China’s continuing, if not accelerating, bellicosity toward our ally Taiwan, would seem to merit at least some priority attention ahead of transgenderism and what Austin himself has indicated is a “small” number of examples of domestic extremism in the military.

The list of continuing external national security threats, whether from China, North Korea, Iran, Russia, terrorist organizations in the Middle East and elsewhere, is exceptionally long as adversaries probe U.S. strengths and weaknesses for advantage. The fact that the Biden administration appears fixated at least publicly on domestic military concerns, could very well embolden foreign troublemakers with potentially serious consequences.

Bob Barr represented Georgia’s Seventh District in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1995 to 2003. He served as the United States Attorney in Atlanta from 1986 to 1990 and was an official with the CIA in the 1970s. He now practices law in Atlanta, Georgia and serves as head of Liberty Guard. Originally published in Daily Caller

Petty move in latest Exec Order hurts apprentices

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In 2017, Trump signed Executive Order 13801, Industry-Recognized Apprenticeship Programs (IRAPs). The policy allowed “trade and industry groups, companies, non-profit organizations, unions, and joint labor-management organizations” to create their own apprenticeship programs that would help workers obtain the skills that the economy needed but that universities are not providing, or are providing at a cost that is unaffordable for many Americans.

As then-Labor Secretary Alex Acosta explained during the American Trucking Associations Management Conference & Exhibition in 2017.

“You are in the best position to define what your industry needs and react to those needs…. Barriers that stood the way of apprenticeship programs are ready to come down.”

Last week Biden, demonstrating the contempt most leftists actually have for the working class they say they represent, revoked IRAPs, instead announcing plans to expand the Labor Department’s registered apprenticeship programs favored by organized labor.

Busy day for SCOTUS

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They took their sweet time over these decisions but in the end the Supreme Court of the United States of America rejected the Trump lawyers and issued a one-sentence denial. Both sides in a vicious battle had returned to the nine justices in October to argue a dispute over Cyrus Vance Jr.’s, the New York District Attorney of York County NY, subpoenas for Donald Trump’s tax records. The Manhattan DA wants them as part of a broader investigation he is prosecuting, while Trump insists that the investigation is politically motivated and the subpoenas were issued in “bad faith.”

For nearly four months, the Supreme Court had refused to act on emergency filings related to the grand jury’s subpoena of Trump tax returns, effectively thwarting part of the investigation, which can now get underway. The Supreme Court’s months’ long deliberation on this issue marks a departure from its usual practice of speedy responses when the justices are asked to block a lower court decision on an emergency basis.

Their denial paves the way for the New York prosecutors to receive eight years of former President Donald Trump’s tax returns and other financial records as part of an ongoing investigation into possible tax, insurance and bank fraud in Trump’s business empire which the Trump family and the Trump organization have denied. The allegations appear to have been based on testimony from former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen who is currently under house arrest having been returned there from federal prison when COVID struck.

Image: SCOTUS Court Orders for Feb 22 2021

In a separate blow to Trump, SCOTUS also announced that it’s rejected the ex-president’s challenge to Pennsylvania’s election, saying it will not review the extension of a mail-in ballot deadline.

Cue immediate crowing from the Left:

Nam Vet kills home intruder who attacked his wife

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61-year-old Harold Runnel is now dead. He had entered the home of Herbert Parrish, 82, and Lois Parrish, 79, who were both injured when the disturbed man forced his way into their South Carolina home pretending to be looking for a chihuahua.

Runnel slashed the wife in the head with a knife and the Vietnam War veteran husband reached for a shotgun on the wall and beat him down with the butt end.

The couple were injured but later released from hospital. They will not be charged.

Freedom or Free-for-all?

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Imagine playing a game—baseball, cards, “Monopoly,” or whatever—in which there was only one rule: anything goes.

You could discard the “instruction book” from the start and make things up as you go. If it “works,” do it. If it “feels good,” why not? If opposing players have a disagreement (an obvious inevitability)—well, you can just figure that out later.

What kind of a game would this be? Chaotic, frustrating, unpredictable, impossible. Sooner or later, the whole thing would degenerate into a mad free-for-all. Somebody would have to knock heads together and bring order to the mess.

Simple games would be intolerable played this way, but for many deadly serious things humans engage in, from driving on the highways to waging war, the consequences of throwing away the instruction book can be almost too frightful to imagine.

The business of government is one of those deadly serious things, and like a game run amok, it’s showing signs that the players don’t care much for the rules any more, if they even know them at all.

Don’t think for a moment that by use of the term “players” I’m pointing fingers at politicians and somehow absolving everyone else of responsibility. In a sense, all of us are players; it’s just that some are more actively so than others, and of those who are active, some are more destructively so than the rest. At the very least, every citizen has a stake in the outcome.

The most profound political and philosophical trend of our time is a serious erosion of any consensus about what government is supposed to do and what it’s not supposed to do. The “instruction books” on this matter are America’s founding documents, namely the Declaration of Independence and the original Constitution with its Bill of Rights. In the spirit of those great works, most Americans once shared a common view of the proper role of government—the protection of life and property.

Jefferson himself phrased it with typical eloquence: “Still one thing more, fellow citizens—a wise and frugal Government, which shall restrain men from injuring one another, shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned. This is the sum of good government.”

Today, there is no common view of the proper role of government or, if there is one, it is light-years from Jefferson’s. Far too many people think that government exists to do anything for anybody any time they ask for it, from day care for their children to handouts for artists.

Former Texas Congressman Ron Paul used to blow the whistle whenever a bill was proposed that violated the spirit or the letter of the Constitution. How were his appeals received by the great majority of other members of Congress? “Like water off a duck’s back,” Paul once told me.

In a series of lectures to high-school classes one day last October, I asked the students (most of whom were seniors) what they thought the responsibilities of government were. I heard “Provide jobs” far more often than I heard “Guarantee our freedoms.” (In fact, I think the only time I heard the latter was when I said it myself.)

An organization called the Communitarian Network made news recently when it called for government to make organ donations mandatory, so that each citizen’s body after death could be “harvested” for the benefit of sick people. A good cause, for sure, but is it really a duty of government to take your kidneys?

Americans once understood and appreciated the concept of individual rights and entertained very little of this nonsense. But there is no consensus today even on what a right is, let alone which ones we as free citizens should be free to exercise.

When the Reagan administration proposed abolishing subsidies to Amtrak, the nationalized passenger-rail service, I was struck by a dissenter who phrased her objection on national television this way: “I don’t know how those people in Washington expect us to get around out here. We have a right to this service.”

When Congress voted to stop funding the printing of Playboy magazine in Braille, the American Council of the Blind filed suit in federal court, charging that the congressional action constituted censorship and the denial of a basic right.

The Cheapening of Rights

The lofty notion that individuals possess certain rights—definable, inalienable, and sacred—has been cheapened and mongrelized beyond anything our Founders would recognize. When those gifted individuals asserted rights to “freedom of speech” or “freedom of the press” or “freedom of assembly,” they did not mean to say that one has a right to be given a microphone, a printing press, a lecture hall, or a Playboy magazine at someone else’s expense.

Indeed, the Founders’ concept of rights did not require the initiation of force against others, or the elevation of any “want” to a lawful lien on the life or property of any other citizen. Each individual was deemed a unique and sovereign being, requiring only that others either deal with him voluntarily or not at all. It was this notion of rights that became an important theme of America’s founding documents. It is the only notion of rights that does not degenerate into a strife-ridden mob in which every person has his hands in every other person’s pockets.

Millions of Americans today believe that as long as the cause is “good,” it’s a duty of government. They look upon government as a fountain of happiness and material goods. They have forgotten George Washington’s warning, “Government is not reason; it is not eloquence. It is force. And like fire, it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master.”

Wisdom like that prompted Washington and our other Founders to write a Constitution that contained a Bill of Rights, separation of powers, checks and balances, and dozens of “thou shalt nots” directed at government itself. They knew, unlike many Americans today, that a government without rules or boundaries, that does anything for anybody, that confuses rights with wants, will yield intolerable tyranny.

We have tossed away the instruction book and until we find it and give it life and meaning in our public lives, we will drift from one intractable crisis to the next. Something more important than any handout from the State—namely, our liberty—hangs in the balance.

Lawrence W. Reed

Lawrence W. Reed is FEE’s President Emeritus, Humphreys Family Senior Fellow, and Ron Manners Global Ambassador for Liberty, having served for nearly 11 years as FEE’s president (2008-2019). He is author of the 2020 book, Was Jesus a Socialist? as well as Real Heroes: Incredible True Stories of Courage, Character, and Conviction and Excuse Me, Professor: Challenging the Myths of Progressivism. Follow on LinkedIn and Parler and Like his public figure page on Facebook. His website is www.lawrencewreed.com.

This article was originally published on FEE.org. Read the original article.

How Sam Colt became an American firearms legend

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Born on July 19, 1814, in Hartford, Connecticut, Samuel Colt played a vital role in American culture and folklore. The inventor and creator of the first handheld revolver, Sam Colt made it possible to have a handgun that could fire rapidly without needing to be reloaded after every shot. Known as the great equalizer, it’s been said that “Abe Lincoln may have freed all men, but Sam Colt made them equal.”

Colt’s knack for inventing and his passion for firearms paved the way for the American fascination with guns. Some would argue that it’s because of Samuel Colt (and his shrewd business and advertising sense) that Colt became a household name, both during his lifetime and now, 200 years after his birth.

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Sam Colt: From Tinkerer to Inventor

From the time he was a boy, Sam Colt liked to tinker with mechanics. He’d take things apart just to learn how they’d work. After studying the mechanics, he’d attempt to rebuild them. Sometimes it would work and sometimes it wouldn’t.

But young Sam had perseverance and he wasn’t one to be discouraged by a little failure, a trait that would suit him well throughout his life. Although his interest in mechanics was soon coupled with explosives, Sam joined his father’s textile company at 15, but he didn’t last long. After exploding a raft during a Fourth of July party, his father sent him away to boarding school, where Sam studied navigation.

During the following year, in 1830, Colt was expelled, again over a Fourth of July incident. This time, the young man demonstrated self-made explosives for his classmates, much to the dismay of the school’s administrators.

At his wit’s end, Sam’s father decided to give him a real lesson in navigation and sent him to become a seaman. It was this decision that led to the revolver and forever changed not only Sam’s life, but also the culture of America.

The Revolver: An Idea Discovered at Sea

It was while sailing to Calcutta that Colt was inspired by the ship’s wheel and began to design what would eventually become the world’s first rotation-style firearm. It intrigued him that no matter what direction the wheel moved, the spokes were aligned to the clutch in such a way that certain positions would allow the wheel to spin freely or lock it in place.

While still at sea, Sam carved a wooden prototype of his idea, which would allow a gun to house multiple bullets for firing, without risk of igniting them all at once.

Upon returning to the States in 1832, Sam petitioned his father, who sponsored the production of both a rifle and a pistol, each featuring Colt’s revolving chamber. Unfortunately, his father was not impressed with Sam’s design and refused to monetarily back either weapon.

But the 20-year-old Colt would not be discouraged. He spent the next two years travelling the country as “the Celebrated Dr. Coult of New York, London, and Calcutta,” entertaining and educating audiences about nitrous oxide and its effects. It was his profits from this tour that would build his next attempt at a pistol with a revolving chamber.

How Sam Colt Became a Gun Manufacturing Tycoon

In 1835, Samuel Colt received his first European patent for a revolving-chamber pistol. The following year, in 1836, he received one from the U.S. It was this same year, at the age of 22, that he built his first manufacturing plant in Paterson, New Jersey – Colt’s Patent Arms Manufacturing Company – which produced the Colt Paterson pistol. The original five-cylinder revolver came chambered in both .28 and .36 caliber, and had about as much power as a modern .380 ACP round.

The Paterson pistol allowed shooters to fire five shots in rapid succession. Before this revolutionary revolver, each shot required about 20 seconds to reload. Colt made an estimated 2,800 of these handguns and, although they were used in Florida during the Second Seminole War, the U.S. military decided the precision caps were too modern and untrustworthy for battle.

The Republic of Texas bought 180 of Colt’s new firearms to assist in arming the sovereign’s new Navy. When the surplus eventually fell to the hands of the Texas Rangers, they quickly came to appreciate the weapon’s efficiency and speed. During the Battle of Bandera Pass, where the Rangers were able to shoot 10 shots with two revolvers, the Colt Paterson had a significant influence in turning the tide of the Texas-Indian Wars.

Although these guns were showing their strength in the Old West with the Texas Rangers, many gun carriers were leary about the new firearm and preferred their trusted muskets. Without military support for Colt’s revolving gun, the company lost money and temporarily closed in 1842.

But Sam Colt wasn’t someone who gave up. And by 1845, word was getting around that front-line soldiers were seeing massive success with the innovative firearm and that these guns played critical roles in the victories that were starting to occur against the Native Americans.

With the dawning of the Mexican-American War in 1846, Colt was commissioned to arm the U.S. military. The Colt Manufacturing Company became the first private company to mass produce firearms, and from 1836 to 1861, they built an average of 1,000 guns a year. By 1865, Colt was the largest gun supplier to the Union Army, providing 386,417 revolvers throughout the Civil War.

Sam Colt: Shrewd Businessman and Marketing Genius

Sam Colt had a product he knew he could sell and in 1836, he started his first advertising campaign. He intentionally targeted America’s growing middle class, a group of people who suddenly had surplus time and funds. Following the British aristocrats, many of early America’s middle class turned to hunting for sport and Colt used that to his advantage, offering a gun that makes the process easier and much more effective.

Colt’s tactics went beyond strategic newspaper advertising and product placement. He ran ads depicting masculine men using Colt revolvers to protect their families. He commissioned artists to create paintings featuring Colt guns, putting them in exciting places and exotic territories.

And since few knew how to handle and care for firearms, he added simple instructions for gun maintenance on a provided cleaning cloth with every revolver, showing that all could learn to use a firearm and realize the benefits of gun ownership.

What’s more, Sam Colt was known to be extravagant, especially when it came to wining and dining. He’d treat top businessmen and members of Congress to dinner and drinks. He also gave lavish revolvers, often ornamented with engravings and gold, to military officials, European royalty, and Russian Czars. He even gave President Andrew Jackson a custom Colt handgun.

And then something happened – gun ownership in America began to grow. From 1830 through 1850 alone, wills mentioning gun ownership rose 50 percent. And in 1855, Sam Colt had incorporated offices in Hartford, New York City, and London, and was producing 150 guns a day. By the dawning of the Civil War, his Connecticut plant employed over 1,000 people. By the time of his death on January 10, 1862, at the age of 47, it’s estimated that the Colt company had produced over 400,000 firearms.

Sam Colt: The Legend and His Legacy

Sam Colt’s name is attached to many of America’s most iconic revolvers, partially because he held a manufacturing monopoly on them for decades. Perhaps the most revered of firearms designed and manufactured by Colt himself, is the 1873 Peacemaker, coined the most popular gun in the West.

Then there are the other esteemed firearms manufactured by the Colt company, including:

Sam Colt changed the firearm industry almost more than any other individual, but he did more than that. As an inventor, his creations weren’t limited to gunpower and steel. Colt is responsible for leading America in the interchangeable parts system of manufacturing. He built the first remote naval mine explosive, and created the waterproof cables that allowed Samuel Morse to run telegraph lines beneath the sea.

At his death at the age of 47, Sam left behind his wife, Elizabeth Jarvis, who he married five years beforehand in 1856. Of their five children, only Caldwell Hart Colt survived past infancy. His wife and son were left well taken care of with their mansion, Armsmear, and an estate worth $15 million, which is estimated to be around $350 million today. Even more astounding, the value of Colt’s estate was, at the time, 1/1,000 of the country’s total GNP. Today, that makes his fortune equivalent to about $17 billion.

A Farewell to Be Remembered

When the man whose name became synonymous with revolver (the French word for revolver is Le Colt) died, the town of Hartford, Connecticut, mourned for their loss and celebrated his life. It’s said that Colt’s funeral rivaled the last act of a great opera. Fifteen hundred of his employees showed up to show their final respect, each with a black band tied around their arms.

Sam’s casket was visited by Company A, 12th Regiment, Connecticut Volunteers, a guard that he had personally armed. They were followed by the Putnam Phalanx, the Connecticut honor guard, and then thousands of people from Hartford watched as Colt’s remains were carried to a private graveyard on his estate.

In 1894, when Colt’s only surviving child died, Elizabeth had Sam’s body, along with the remains of their other four children, moved to Cedar Hill Cemetery. Today, the public can visit Sam’s grave, along with the rest of the Colt family.

Sam Colt: The Forgotten History of America’s Legendary Firearms Inventor and Manufacturer” originally appeared in The Resistance Library at Ammo.com, written by Molly Carter.

Hate listening to people eat? There’s a word for that!

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Do you or someone you know react very badly to the sounds of other people eating? Well there’s a word for it and it’s not just cranky!

Misophonia, meaning “hatred of sound”, is a proposed neurological condition in which certain sounds trigger emotional or physiological responses others may deem unreasonable.

Reactions to trigger sounds range from anger and annoyance to activating a fight-or-flight response. The condition is sometimes called selective sound sensitivity syndrome. Common triggers include oral sounds (e.g., loud breathing, chewing, swallowing), clicking sounds (e.g., keyboard tapping, finger tapping, windshield wipers), and sounds associated with movement (e.g., fidgeting). Oftentimes, hated sounds are repetitive in nature.

Although the condition was first proposed in 2000, it has yet to be considered a diagnosable condition. Misophonia is not classified as an auditory or psychiatric condition, and so is different from phonophobia (fear of sound); there are no standard diagnostic criteria, and there is little research on how common it is or the treatment.

GOP Attorneys General Set to Check Biden, Liberals

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By Fred Lucas 

As President Joe Biden issued more than 40 executive actions with less than a month in office and Democrats took control of Congress, Republican attorneys general in the states appear poised to be the strongest check on overreach by the federal government.

“Everything is fair game. We are going to defend the Constitution of the United States and look out for the best interests of our states,” Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr, chairman of the Republican Attorneys General Association, told The Daily Signal. 

“It’s not just lawsuits, but also working with members of Congress,” Carr said. “And we will try to work with the administration.”

Montana Attorney General Austin Knudsen led 13 other attorneys general Tuesday in calling on Biden to reconsider his first-day revocation of a permit to construct the Keystone XL oil pipeline from Canada to Nebraska. 

Knudsen advised the president that states are reviewing legal options to “protect our residents and sovereign interests.”

Your decision will result in devastating damage to many of our states and local communities. Even those states outside the path of the Keystone XL pipeline—indeed all Americans—will suffer serious, detrimental consequences,”Knudsen and the other attorneys general write to Biden, adding:

In Montana, for instance, killing Keystone XL will likely cost the state approximately $58 million in annual tax revenue. Montana will lose the benefits of future easements and leases, and several local counties will lose their single-biggest property taxpayer. The loss of Keystone XL’s economic activity and tax revenues are especially devastating as five of the six impacted counties are designated high-poverty areas.

Also signing the letter are the attorneys general of Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, North Dakota, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, and West Virginia.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton last month scored an early win against the Biden administration by halting the 100-day “pause” in deportation of illegal immigrants. Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich sued last week to permanently upend Biden’s halt of deportations.

Biden also signed executive orders to change other aspects of immigration policy, including stopping construction of the border wall. An executive order itself isn’t grounds for litigation until the government implements the action. 

Pressuring the federal government to enforce its own laws will be one goal for the Republican Attorneys General Association, said Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt, vice chairman of the group.

“He’s not enforcing immigration laws,” Schmitt said of Biden in an interview with The Daily Signal. “Their idea is to make it easier to come here illegally. The policy of not enforcing the law, we have a hard time wrapping our minds around that.” 

Attorneys general from West Virginia, Arkansas, Indiana, Mississippi, Montana, and Texas already have issued a formal warning to the president, making it clear they intend to defend the First and Second Amendments to the Constitution. 

“The growing and dangerous hostility to the free exercise of religion in recent years … is appalling,” says the letter to Biden from six Republican attorneys general, led by West Virginia’s Patrick Morrisey. “As president and as a man of faith, we hope that you will ensure your administration accommodates and respects the free exercise of religion and complies with both the Constitution and the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.”

The letter adds:

The Second Amendment guarantees the right to keep and bear arms is part of the Constitution that your oath requires you to preserve, protect and defend. We are dismayed at your stated intentions to impose numerous limits and burdens on ownership of firearms. You can expect strenuous opposition from us against any such efforts.

Republican attorneys general came of age as a national force during the Obama administration where Biden served as vice president, banding together to challenge policies such as the Affordable Care Act. 

Although the Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of the law creating Obamacare, the attorneys general helped topple certain aspects such as requiring all employers to cover contraception and abortion-inducing drugs, even if they objected on religious grounds. 

They also filed lawsuits and gained victories against the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan, its Waters of the United States rule, and its overtime rule; protected state right-to-work laws; and defended private property rights from Critical Habitat Designations. 

Similarly, during the Trump administration, Democratic attorneys general routinely sued the federal government over policies such as immigration and health care. 

“I would expect Republican attorneys general to take action against the Biden administration, just as they did against the Obama administration and as Democratic attorneys general took action against the Trump administration,” John Malcolm, director of the Meese Center for Legal and Judicial Studies at The Heritage Foundation, told The Daily Signal. “We’ve already seen [Texas] Attorney General Paxton take action against the Department of Homeland Security.”

Energy issues under Biden are emerging as a major focus for attorneys general, Georgia’s Carr said. 

“The energy executive orders the president has issued are moving America away from energy independence,” Carr said. “The supply increase was driving down the cost of fuel. He is undoing those pro-growth policies and hitting people in the pocket. … The Keystone pipeline is of great interest to me as not only an attorney general but as a former commissioner of economic development.”

Attorneys general plan to send a letter to the Biden administration regarding its cancellation of the Keystone XL pipeline that killed more than 11,000 American jobs—including 8,000 union jobs. It also affected $1.6 billion in U.S. wages. Litigation likely will follow the president’s action. 

On another front, Biden’s executive action to reenter the Paris Agreement on climate change is estimated to cost millions of U.S. jobs over the next decade. 

Biden also signed an executive order to “pause” oil and natural gas extraction from federal lands and waters.

“The Biden administration needs an education on what federalism really means,” Missouri’s Schmitt told The Daily Signal, adding:

America really achieved energy independence in the heartland.  His actions on energy don’t just affect jobs. It will make it more expensive to build roads and heat homes. … He wants to curb [carbon] emissions in the United States, but is not interested in holding anyone else accountable, including China.

Last week, Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost led a group of 20 attorneys general in a legal brief asking the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia to continue considering a lawsuit challenging California’s fuel economy waiver under the Clean Air Act.  

The Biden administration has requested that the litigation be halted. 

Reproduced with permission from The Daily Signal. Fred Lucas is the White House correspondent for The Daily Signal and co-host of “The Right Side of History” podcast. Send an email to Fred. Lucas is also the author of “Tainted by Suspicion: The Secret Deals and Electoral Chaos of Disputed Presidential Elections.” Reproduced with permission. Original here.

Mars Landing Success! Let’s now find out whether there’s Life on Mars

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Members of NASA’s Perseverance Mars rover team watch in mission control as the first images arrive moments after the spacecraft successfully touched down on Mars, Thursday, Feb. 18, 2021, at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. A key objective for Perseverance’s mission on Mars is astrobiology, including the search for signs of ancient microbial life. The rover will characterize the planet’s geology and past climate, pave the way for human exploration of the Red Planet, and be the first mission to collect and cache Martian rock and regolith. Photo Credit: (NASA/Bill Ingalls)

Editor’s note: This release was updated shortly after issuing to update the quotes following landing.

The largest, most advanced rover NASA has sent to another world touched down on Mars Thursday, after a 203-day journey traversing 293 million miles (472 million kilometers). Confirmation of the successful touchdown was announced in mission control at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California at 3:55 p.m. EST (12:55 p.m. PST).

“This landing is one of those pivotal moments for NASA, the United States, and space exploration globally – when we know we are on the cusp of discovery and sharpening our pencils, so to speak, to rewrite the textbooks,” said acting NASA Administrator Steve Jurczyk. “The Mars 2020 Perseverance mission embodies our nation’s spirit of persevering even in the most challenging of situations, inspiring, and advancing science and exploration. The mission itself personifies the human ideal of persevering toward the future and will help us prepare for human exploration of the Red Planet.”

About the size of a car, the 2,263-pound (1,026-kilogram) robotic geologist and astrobiologist will undergo several weeks of testing before it begins its two-year science investigation of Mars’ Jezero Crater. While the rover will investigate the rock and sediment of Jezero’s ancient lakebed and river delta to characterize the region’s geology and past climate, a fundamental part of its mission is astrobiology, including the search for signs of ancient microbial life. To that end, the Mars Sample Return campaign, being planned by NASA and ESA (European Space Agency), will allow scientists on Earth to study samples collected by Perseverance to search for definitive signs of past life using instruments too large and complex to send to the Red Planet.

“Because of today’s exciting events, the first pristine samples from carefully documented locations on another planet are another step closer to being returned to Earth,” said Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator for science at NASA. “Perseverance is the first step in bringing back rock and regolith from Mars. We don’t know what these pristine samples from Mars will tell us. But what they could tell us is monumental – including that life might have once existed beyond Earth.”

Some 28 miles (45 kilometers) wide, Jezero Crater sits on the western edge of Isidis Planitia, a giant impact basin just north of the Martian equator. Scientists have determined that 3.5 billion years ago the crater had its own river delta and was filled with water.

The power system that provides electricity and heat for Perseverance through its exploration of Jezero Crater is a Multi-Mission Radioisotope Thermoelectric Generator, or MMRTG. The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) provided it to NASA through an ongoing partnership to develop power systems for civil space applications.

Equipped with seven primary science instruments, the most cameras ever sent to Mars, and its exquisitely complex sample caching system – the first of its kind sent into space – Perseverance will scour the Jezero region for fossilized remains of ancient microscopic Martian life, taking samples along the way.  

“Perseverance is the most sophisticated robotic geologist ever made, but verifying that microscopic life once existed carries an enormous burden of proof,” said Lori Glaze, director of NASA’s Planetary Science Division. “While we’ll learn a lot with the great instruments we have aboard the rover, it may very well require the far more capable laboratories and instruments back here on Earth to tell us whether our samples carry evidence that Mars once harbored life.”

Paving the Way for Human Missions

“Landing on Mars is always an incredibly difficult task and we are proud to continue building on our past success,” said JPL Director Michael Watkins. “But, while Perseverance advances that success, this rover is also blazing its own path and daring new challenges in the surface mission. We built the rover not just to land but to find and collect the best scientific samples for return to Earth, and its incredibly complex sampling system and autonomy not only enable that mission, they set the stage for future robotic and crewed missions.”

The Mars Entry, Descent, and Landing Instrumentation 2 (MEDLI2) sensor suite collected data about Mars’ atmosphere during entry, and the Terrain-Relative Navigation system autonomously guided the spacecraft during final descent. The data from both are expected to help future human missions land on other worlds more safely and with larger payloads.

On the surface of Mars, Perseverance’s science instruments will have an opportunity to scientifically shine. Mastcam-Z is a pair of zoomable science cameras on Perseverance’s remote sensing mast, or head, that creates high-resolution, color 3D panoramas of the Martian landscape. Also located on the mast, the SuperCam uses a pulsed laser to study the chemistry of rocks and sediment and has its own microphone to help scientists better understand the property of the rocks, including their hardness.

Located on a turret at the end of the rover’s robotic arm, the Planetary Instrument for X-ray Lithochemistry (PIXL) and the Scanning Habitable Environments with Raman & Luminescence for Organics & Chemicals (SHERLOC) instruments will work together to collect data on Mars’ geology close-up. PIXL will use an X-ray beam and suite of sensors to delve into a rock’s elemental chemistry. SHERLOC’s ultraviolet laser and spectrometer, along with its Wide Angle Topographic Sensor for Operations and eNgineering (WATSON) imager, will study rock surfaces, mapping out the presence of certain minerals and organic molecules, which are the carbon-based building blocks of life on Earth.

The rover chassis is home to three science instruments, as well. The Radar Imager for Mars’ Subsurface Experiment (RIMFAX) is the first ground-penetrating radar on the surface of Mars and will be used to determine how different layers of the Martian surface formed over time. The data could help pave the way for future sensors that hunt for subsurface water ice deposits.

Also with an eye on future Red Planet explorations, the Mars Oxygen In-Situ Resource Utilization Experiment (MOXIE) technology demonstration will attempt to manufacture oxygen out of thin air – the Red Planet’s tenuous and mostly carbon dioxide atmosphere. The rover’s Mars Environmental Dynamics Analyzer (MEDA) instrument, which has sensors on the mast and chassis, will provide key information about present-day Mars weather, climate, and dust.

Currently attached to the belly of Perseverance, the diminutive Ingenuity Mars Helicopter is a technology demonstration that will attempt the first powered, controlled flight on another planet.

Project engineers and scientists will now put Perseverance through its paces, testing every instrument, subsystem, and subroutine over the next month or two. Only then will they deploy the helicopter to the surface for the flight test phase. If successful, Ingenuity could add an aerial dimension to exploration of the Red Planet in which such helicopters serve as a scouts or make deliveries for future astronauts away from their base.

Once Ingenuity’s test flights are complete, the rover’s search for evidence of ancient microbial life will begin in earnest.

“Perseverance is more than a rover, and more than this amazing collection of men and women that built it and got us here,” said John McNamee, project manager of the Mars 2020 Perseverance rover mission at JPL. “It is even more than the 10.9 million people who signed up to be part of our mission. This mission is about what humans can achieve when they persevere. We made it this far. Now, watch us go.”

More About the Mission

A primary objective for Perseverance’s mission on Mars is astrobiology research, including the search for signs of ancient microbial life. The rover will characterize the planet’s geology and past climate and be the first mission to collect and cache Martian rock and regolith, paving the way for human exploration of the Red Planet.

Subsequent NASA missions, in cooperation with ESA, will send spacecraft to Mars to collect these cached samples from the surface and return them to Earth for in-depth analysis.

The Mars 2020 Perseverance mission is part of NASA’s Moon to Mars exploration approach, which includes Artemis missions to the Moon that will help prepare for human exploration of the Red Planet.

JPL, a division of Caltech in Pasadena, California, manages the Mars 2020 Perseverance mission and the Ingenuity Mars Helicopter technology demonstration for NASA.

Imagine our surprise!

Bill to Force Maricopa County Election Audit Passes AZ Senate

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From Electionwiz.com

PHOENIX — Sen. Warren Petersen (R) introduced a bill yesterday granting the express authority to the Arizona legislature to subpoena ballots, election equipment and information from counties – all amid a battle between Republican leaders and Maricopa County Board of Supervisors, over an audit of the county’s receipts relating to the 2020 election.

The county hired outside auditors to tryto show the county’s election was fair, but many who have doubts about its integrity are calling the effort a charade, even before the findings are announced. (USA Today)

Earlier this week, State GOP Rep. Mark Finchem told OANN, “The Maricopa County Board of Supervisors has done everything they can to stall, delay, [and] obfuscate. They claim they were negotiating in good faith when indeed they weren’t.

Last week, the Senate fell one vote short of finding the county in contempt, just days after the county board asked a judge to quash the subpoenas. The Bill is described as “an insurance policy,” which would ensure the senate could enforce the subpoenas just in case a judge rules otherwise.

Senate Republicans want to do their own audit, including a hand count of about 26% of mail-in ballots — something that the county’s new audit does not do.

The senators nearly held the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors in contempt earlier this month — raising the possibility of one group of elected officials arresting another group of elected officials — for not providing the ballots in response to a Senate-issued subpoena.

Parler is back online but the fight against online censorship has just begun

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By Robert Romano

Parler.com has successfully moved to its new server after being deplatformed by Amazon Web Services last month, as well as being removed from the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store, following the riot at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6.

Parler was unfortunately blamed for the riot, leading to it temporarily being taken off the internet. But, the more we discover about the attack on the Capitol, according to Justice Department filings, some of those facing charges were pre-planning the attack as early as Jan. 1 on Facebook, not Parler.

The FBI also revealed via a wanted poster that the two bombs placed outside the Republican National Committee and the Democratic National Committee set to go off on Jan.6 were planted the night before on Jan. 5. That appears to have nothing to do with Parler, either.

Mark Meckler, interim CEO at Parler, announced the app’s relaunch: “When Parler was taken offline in January by those who desire to silence tens of millions of Americans, our team came together, determined to keep our promise to our highly engaged community that we would return stronger than ever. We’re thrilled to welcome everyone back.”

Meckler added, “Parler is being run by an experienced team and is here to stay. We will thrive as the premier social media platform dedicated to free speech, privacy and civil dialogue.”

That is certainly great news. But the battle against online censorship is only beginning.

All Amazon, Apple and Google accomplished was making it so that voices like Americans for Limited Government, which immediately denounced the political violence at the U.S. Capitol and urged calm, were not heard on Parler by our more than 88,000 followers for more than a month.

Meaning, even if you thought Parler was somehow worse than Facebook, Twitter or YouTube — it’s isn’t with but a fraction of their collective user base of hundreds of millions and now we know it was on other platforms the planning occurred — then you would want voices on there that were opposed to violence and embracing peace and the civil society to continue sending their messages.

Instead, in the name of silencing “violence,” Big Tech censored those who were urging for cooler heads to prevail. Good work.

The real danger here is that this purge will drive more and more people to darker and darker corners of the web, becoming itself a radicalizing element and making it more likely that the civil society will continue to collapse as individuals give up on believing that our system works at all.

Fortunately, with Parler back up and running, there is once again an alternative to Big Tech.

USA Today Feb 3 2021

But the hardest task will be letting users know that it’s okay to come back. Parler.com is available on the internet from your desktop computer, but if you had downloaded it on your Apple or Android phone prior to the app being removed, you should still be able to log in on there, too.

Americans for Limited Government President Rick Manning reacted to Parler’s relaunch, stating, “This is a great step toward providing a counterbalance to the Silicon Valley techno-fascists who are intent on stopping any speech that they don’t like. Over the many weeks since Parler was taken down by a combination of Apple, Google and Amazon to the applause of Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, America has witnessed a brazen collaboration by tech giants to stop mainstream voices from objecting to their radical, extremist agenda.”

Manning added, concluding, “Parler allows all sides to be heard and doesn’t block those who follow a group like Americans for Limited Government (@limitgov) from seeing our content. This allows people to decide what voices they want to read and not some anonymous, Silicon Valley twit.  The Internet is a better place with free and open conversations and discussions, and Parler’s return is good news indeed for America.”

As John Stuart Mill wrote in On Liberty in 1859, “[W]hen society is itself the tyrant — society collectively over the separate individuals who compose it — its means of tyrannising are not restricted to the acts which it may do by the hands of its political functionaries. Society can and does execute its own mandates; and if it issues wrong mandates instead of right, or any mandates at all in things with which it ought not to meddle, it practices a social tyranny more formidable than many kinds of political oppression, since, though not usually upheld by such extreme penalties, it leaves fewer means of escape, penetrating much more deeply into the details of life, and enslaving the soul itself.”

To keep our liberty and our freedoms intact not only from the government, but also from corporate censorship, We must avoid that fate, and the social tyranny Mill warned about — before it is too late.

Robert Romano is the Vice President of Public Policy at Americans for Limited Government. Reproduced with permission. Original here.

I have been trying to log on to Parler but can’t. I guess they’re busy.

Raised Right By Rush Limbaugh

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By Megan Marzzacco

For as long as I can remember, my mom always had Rush Limbaugh’s EIB Network radio show blasting in our kitchen, sometimes at a slightly too loud volume. Although as a young child, I lacked the comprehension skills to understand the details of Rush’s talking points, I was always drawn to the passion and power behind his voice and words. 

When I became an adolescent, I began to understand and believe in the conservative principles Rush espoused. I learned the government is not the answer to my problems. In fact the government often causes more problems than it solves. Too much government regulation stymies businesses and economic growth. I learned that we all have God given rights and freedoms, and it is our responsibility to use those freedoms to work hard and live with virtue. Rush taught me that America is truly an exceptional nation where anyone can achieve the American dream if they are willing to work hard and persevere. 

He’s the reason I joined the conservative movement, and continue to persevere in an increasingly polarized political climate. I’m not alone, there are plenty of other ‘Rush babies’ out there, many of whom are in the conservative movement as well. 

Former Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany was a ‘Rush baby’.

Author and columnist Kimberly Strassel also tweeted about how she was a ‘Rush baby’.

Rush Limbaugh raised an entire generation of young conservatives, just like me. He inspired millions of freedom-loving patriots. Together, we must raise our voices, and continue to peacefully fight for the prosperity of our country. 

Although taken too soon, I’m grateful for Rush’s tremendous service to our country, and I know his legacy will live on. So long, radio dad.

Megan Marzzacco is a contributing editor for Americans for Limited Government. Reproduced with permission. Original here.

So where CAN’T you catch Covid? Here, apparently

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The British public are very fed up. Their lockdowns have been much more limiting than ours with very few opportunities for meeting up with friends and families or going to restaurants.

So when this professor, a leading epidemiologist who sits on the Scientific Pandemic Influenza Group on Behaviours, spoke up, the words fell on receptive ears.

Professor Mark Woolhouse, professor of infectious disease epidemiology at the University of Edinburgh and an adviser to the government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage), who is advising the government on infectious diseases has said the lockdown was a ‘monumental mistake on a global scale’, in an explosive interview with the Daily Express.

He went further. When asked about the herds of people flocking to beaches in the summer he said: “There were no outbreaks linked to crowded beaches. There has never been a COVID-19 outbreak linked to a beach ever anywhere in the world to the best of my knowledge.” So there you have it! We’re off to the beach – just as soon as the ice storm is over!

ICYMI: California police sergeant risks his career to speak out against Newsom

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Sgt. Adam Garcia joined ‘Tucker Carlson Tonight’ to discuss publicly calling out Gov. Gavin Newsom and the Democrat’s dangerous crime policies that disproportionally affect poor people unable to defend themselves against gangs, a protected group under Gov. Newsom.

Rest in Peace ~ Rush Limbaugh 1951 – 2021

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The Master of Talk Radio

Rush Hudson Limbaugh III  January 12, 1951 – February 17, 2021) passed away today of lung cancer.

He was an American radio personality, conservative political commentator, author and former television show host. He was best known as the host of his radio show The Rush Limbaugh Show, which has been in national syndication on AM and FM radio stations.

Limbaugh hosted a national television show from 1992 to 1996. He wrote seven books; his first two, The Way Things Ought to Be (1992) and See, I Told You So (1993), made The New York Times Best Seller list. In December 2019, Talkers Magazine estimated that Limbaugh’s show attracted a cumulative weekly audience of 15.5 million listeners to become the most-listened-to radio show in the United States.[4]

Limbaugh was the premiere voice of the conservative movement. He was inducted into the National Radio Hall of Fame and the National Association of Broadcasters Hall of Fame. During the 2020 State of the Union Address, President Donald Trump awarded him the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

The conservative movement will forever be grateful to his leadership and constancy. Obviously, we will see an obnoxious outpouring of delight from the Left for which he was a massive pain in their collective asses. We shall rise above it as he would.

Rest in Peace, Rush. We Dittoheads will never forget you.

And here it comes…sh*t running downhill

Iran tests Biden

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A rocket attack near a base housing American forces in northern Iraq killed a US-led coalition contractor and wounded at least eight other people on Monday night. A US service member and two civilians were among the injured in the 9:30 p.m. strike in between the Irbil international airport in the semi-autonomous Kurdish-run territory and the base, authorities said. (NY Post)

According to the UK’s Daily Mail:

A rocket strike on a US base in Iraq by a group believed to have links to Iran has wounded several Americans and killed a foreign contractor. More than a dozen 107mm rockets were last night fired at the military complex in Erbil airport that has hosted troops deployed as part of the international alliance fighting ISIS since 2014. The bombardment was claimed by a shadowy group calling itself ‘Guardians of Blood,’ which US forces believe is one of many which have sprung up in Iraq as fronts for pro-Iranian factions. 

Rocket attacks have frequently targeted the US presence in Baghdad, but slowed down late last year. This strike was openly dedicated to Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, the former head of Iranian proxy Kata’ib Hezbollah, and Qassem Suleimani, the most powerful Iranian in Iraq for more than a decade until both were killed in a Trump-authorised airstrike 13 months ago. It is assumed the emboldened terrorists are testing Biden. President Trump was swift and emphatic but not consistent so the Iranian groups were always unsure of his response. Biden’s more pedestrian responses, following Obama-era diplomacy methods, are emboldening Iranian forces.

Never-Trumpers flounder in sick mess

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The Lincoln Project was launched in late 2019 by a group of high-profile Republicans with the mission to defeat Donald Trump. It went on to raise nearly $90 million for the effort, more than half of which flowed to firms controlled by its various founders, says USA Today. Its sole mission was to story Trump and his followers.

Although according to its website it’s here to save us:

The Lincoln Project was founded to combat political forces who seek to undermine our democracy. We revolutionized how political action committees operate and spent $81 million last cycle to create and place more than 300 advertisements, host national town halls, conduct voter outreach, and launch a podcast and streaming video network that engaged millions of voters. Eighty percent of our funds went to voter contact and content production. Our historic results speak for themselves.

This grandiose bunch of neo-cons and establishment hacks is imploding. Its co-founder Jennifer Horn just resigned, allegedly because of the behavior of one of the Project Lincoln staffer who was accused of sexually harassing around 20 young men, but maybe because she’s greedy:

“Horn had requested a “signing bonus” payment of $250,000 and a $40,000-per-month consulting contract, the Lincoln Project alleged in a statement. The request followed previous demands around Christmas, when Horn requested a board seat on the Lincoln Project, a television show, a podcast hosting assignment, and a staff to help her with the endeavors, the organization said.”

It would appear that everyone knew about Weaver’s predilections as early as last March but covered it up.

The group’s other co-founders are media consultant Rick Wilson, George Conway (yes, Kelly-Anne’s ghastly husband), and strategist Steve Schmidt who resigned dramatically over Weaver’s behavior.

So who supports an anti-Trump venture that calls itself conservative? Guess.

Click here to read more at the National Pulse and see the full list of backers which includes hard-left backers and faux conservatives. The list includes Hollywood types, hedge fund managers, alleged fraudsters, and Mitt Romney’s life-long firm, Bain Capital and China-linked Sequoia Capital.

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