US Banking, Currency and Economy!

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US Banking, Currency and Economy Host: Ray Becker… Audio player provided! My show was to be about the Economy and that’s where I should remain. I am going to do a long series of shows on Banking, Currency and Economy. My first priority is to continue the monitoring of the economy to try and determine … Continue reading US Banking, Currency and Economy!

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Knowledge & Exchange

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Knowledge & Exchange Ray Becker “This show” Audio player provided! I feel the need to change gears from what I’ve been covering to something that I believe is critical. Most of us were poorly educated and in fact, we were indoctrinated. This still goes on to this very day. When did this all go wrong? … Continue reading Knowledge & Exchange

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5 Year Anniversary of I Am Liberty

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5 Year Anniversary James Walton “I Am Liberty” Audio in player below! It’s been five years since I first raised the mic and began talking and prepping. I will never forget the moment I realized just how thin the line was between civility and chaos. It was like suddenly being transported to the icy plains … Continue reading 5 Year Anniversary of I Am Liberty

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Why Study History? Why Remember The Past?

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Why Study History? And Why Remember The Past?

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Historians with increasing and distressing frequency are openly admitting that history has no meaning

and shows little or no purpose or goals.

– C. Gregg Singer, “The Problem of Historical Interpretation” (1976)

One has to go back of the “facts” of history to a discussion of the meaning of history.

– Cornelius Van Til, The Psychology of Religion (1961)

 

Why Do We Study History?

Why do we study history?  And what’s the best way to go about it?  Most folks rarely have a good answer for the first question.  And, when pressed, they are likely to say, “So we can learn from the past.”  Or, “Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it.”  Of course, a lot of kids in this country don’t study history at all.  Instead, they attend classes called social studies, an orchestrated, highly secularized “stream of consciousness” that contains abstract “bits and pieces” of history, almost always out of sequence and always agenda-driven. Proof? You’ll never find social studies taught today with an ultimate frame of reference that reflects God as creator. Never.

Alright, what’s this “ultimate frame of reference” concept as it pertains to history, then?  Well, for starters, all “professional” historians have an ultimate frame of reference, despite what they may say.  They have a starting point. And when these secular historians speak of the reasons for studying history, they usually tell us that history helps us understand peoples and societies, that it provides material for moral contemplation, that it helps a people develop a sense of identity, or that it even makes for stories that are simply entertaining.  But here’s the dirty little secret:  These reasons or assumptions require some sort of overarching framework to be at all meaningful. That said, most historians today deny meaning for history.

Why Study History? And Why Remember The Past?

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But if history has no meaning and no purpose, what possible significance is there to succession laws of the French, the rites of the Aztec human sacrifices, or the funerary practices of the Egyptians?  If there is no moral law that applies to all peoples in all times, how in the world would anyone judge between imperialist and colonist, Marxist and Capitalist, or slaveholder and slave?  If there are no transcendent values, can we even call history an important story?  “A good story”?  Or any kind of story, for that matter?

How Do We Study History?

A failure to answer the first question is always going to leave you with little hope of answering the second:  How do we go about studying history?  The rejection of any true meaning for history necessarily leaves the secular historian with nothing but intellectual and moral relativism. He has no grounds or guidelines for inquiring into history or any reason to think the inquiry has any value whatsoever.

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And so these guys usually overrule source documents and then lecture with what the source documents should have said.  They generally ignore and deride any empirical evidence that threatens their ruling paradigm.  And, of course, they ignore the work of Christian scholars without hesitation.  They write off the Bible as a source of history and chronology simply because it is the Bible. 

The Foundations of Christian Scholarship 

Christian scholarship, on the other hand, rests on the solid rock of Scripture.  A biblical approach to history begins by presupposing all that Scripture says.  It can’t be developed out of one or two doctrines or three or four verses.  It is ingenuous if not downright dishonest for us to pronounce history “His Story,” and then go on to sequencing facts and narratives without further theological consideration.

It’s also important for the Christian historian to understand that what Scripture says about history is but one dimension of God’s total self-revelation in Scripture.  So, we may say something like, “God controls history,” but in the end, that, too, it is a meaningless statement until we confess clearly who this God is, what exactly it is that He controls, how and to what decree He effects that control.

If we are to have a biblical understanding of history, then, we’re going to have to speak of … and presuppose at all points … the doctrines of the self-contained, ontological Trinity.

Of God’s eternal decrees and all encompassing providence; of special creation in six days and of man’s creation in God’s image.

Of God’s plan for man’s dominion; of man’s ethical fall in Adam and the judicial and moral consequences that followed.

Of God’s gracious covenant with His people and the promise of the Gospel that lies at its heart.

Of the verbal inspiration and infallibility of Scripture and of its sufficiency; of the Incarnation (the hypostatic union of Christ’s two natures in one Person).

Of Christ’s substitutionary death for sinners and His literal, bodily resurrection and ascension to heaven; of His current reign in fulfillment of biblical prophecy.

Of the central role of the Church in history; of the restraining (“common”) grace whereby God advances His program of dominion even through the unconverted.

And of the literal, physical Second Coming of Jesus Christ at the end of history to raise the dead and judge the world.

Why Study History? And Why Remember The Past?

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In other words, if we are to understand and teach history, we must have a good understanding of all the great truths that appear in Scripture, many of which are summarized in the creeds and confessions of the Bible-believing Church.  (Remember that “creed” just means what you believe. And everybody believes something about God and Scripture. Everybody.) So “doctrine” becomes a pretty important tool when studying history.

The Bible as History

The Bible is the only reliable account we have of the first 4,000 years of Earth’s history.  In fact, it is virtually the only account we have at all for the first 2,000 years or so of that history.  The Bible tells us about man’s creation, his fall into sin, his first civilizations, and the great Flood and the waters God used to destroy and renew the Earth.  The Bible tells us the origin of marriage, writing, worship and sacrifice, division of labor, agriculture, animal husbandry, metallurgy, music, urbanization, capital punishment and linguistic diversity.

But its more than that.  The Bible gives us a consistent chronology that runs from creation through Abraham, from Abraham to the Exodus, from the Exodus to Solomon’s Temple, and then through the kings of Judah and Israel up to the Babylonian Captivity.  (Conservative theologians have generally argued that the prophecy of 70 Weeks in Daniel 9 continues the chronology up to the death of Christ in A.D. 30.)  Bible chronology is at odds with the currently accepted secular chronology of the ancient world, because historians have made the chronology of Egypt the touchstone for that of every other ancient people. The problem is … Egypt’s chronology has always been in kind of cloudy chaos … as we’ve seen earlier.

Of course, Scripture gives us the personal history of the patriarchs.  Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and Joseph.  And the history of Israel from the Exodus through the republic and monarchy to the Babylonian Captivity and the Restoration.  Though Scripture doesn’t speak out rightly of topics like social history or cultural anthropology, it’s accurate whenever it talks about such things and as such is a treasure trove for the cultural historian, the sociologist and the archaeologist.

The Ethics of History

Scripture also gives us the ethical standard by which we can evaluate the actions of men and nations.  Even a cursory reading of the prophets demonstrates that God regularly rebuked kings, nations and whole cultures in terms of His covenant law.

Christ and His apostles continued that tradition.  Jesus denounced King Herod, calling him “that fox,” and reminded the imperial governor Pilate of his personal responsibility as God’s servant (Luke 13:32; John 19:11).  Paul reasoned with the Roman governor Felix concerning “righteousness, temperance, and judgment to come” (Acts 24:25).  John described the Roman Empire under Nero’s rule as a monstrous Beast whose atrocities Christ would judge (Rev. 13; 17; 19).  And the writer of Hebrews told us that under the New Covenant God will shake all things, kingdoms and cultures included, until only the Kingdom of Jesus Christ remains (Heb. 12:25-29; cf. Hag. 2:6-7).

The Meaning and Goal of History

Why Study History? And Why Remember The Past?

Image source: Pixabay.com

Scripture also speaks plainly of the central theme and purpose of history.  It tells us God’s plan of redemption in Christ.  That plan has its origins in eternity, but its historical roots lie in the creation and fall of man.  God created man good and after His own image and appointed him steward and vicegerent over the whole creation (Gen. 1).  Man, “through the instigation of the devil and by willful disobedience,” fell from that high calling.  But God gave His people the promise of a Redeemer, one who would destroy the works of the devil and undo the work of the Fall (Gen. 3:15).

And so all of ancient history was preparation for the coming of Christ … for His incarnation, ministry, atoning death, resurrection and ascension to glory.  The goal of history then, is the spread of the Gospel, of Christ’s salvation and Kingdom to the ends of the earth (Matt. 28:18-20).  Paul writes of Christ’s certain victory in these terms:

For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet.  The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death (1 Cor. 15:25-26).

So Christ’s Kingdom, when viewed from the long lens of history, is supposed to grow and develop over time.  This Kingdom growth also involves a winnowing or “sorting out” process (Matt. 3:11-12).  New Covenant history, then, is marked by differentiation and distinction.  Jesus separates the wheat from the chaff.  The tares become, more obviously, tares …  the wheat becomes, more obviously, wheat (Matt. 13:24-30, 36-43).

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The difference or “antithesis” between light and darkness, truth and error, godly culture and satanic culture, becomes clearer and clearer as the centuries go by. God’s Kingdom matures in history.  His people, at least to the extent they are faithful and obedient, can even be covenantal blessed. (Lev. 26; Deut. 28).  In like fashion, Satan’s followers mature in their rebellion.  That is, they become more and more reprobate in their understanding, character and culture (cf. Rom. 1:28-32; 2 Tim. 3:13).

And, in the process, as we see in the case of secular historians, they become increasingly irrelevant.  Read their textbooks.  They posit a meaningless universe and so are disinherited by their own rebellion.  The meek (those harnessed for service) really do inherit the Earth (Matt. 5:5).

Conclusion

At some point determined by God … redemptive history ends.  Jesus returns.  Resurrection and judgment follow.  But here’s the cool part: The grace, the love, even the learning, that take place here, in this world, carry over into the next, into a renewed and transformed creation (Matt. 25:28-29; Rom. 8:19-23).

This means that everything we do here matters forever.  No good thing is forgotten before the Father; every cup of cold water has its reward (Matt. 10:42).  The ripples of history go on into eternity.  This makes history … studying and remembering the past …  a testimony to Gospel and its fruit.  An effort very much worth the time.

History Teacher Brings Civil War Replica Rifle To Class. It Ended With A Lockdown

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History Teacher Brings Civil War Replica Rifle To Class. It Ended With A Lockdown

Anti-gun hysteria found its way to East Manatee, Fla., on Thursday when a school was locked down because a history teacher brought a replica of a Civil War rifle — that does not work — to class.

Braden River Elementary School and Middle School locked down after somebody saw the teacher with a replica of a flintlock rifle and called 911, EAGNews reported. The gun cannot shoot and has a musket.

“All clear Braden River Middle School,” the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office tweeted after the incident. “Turned out to be a teacher with antique rifle for class. Kudos to public for see something say something.”

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Middle school principal Randy Petrilla said the incident was a misunderstanding.

“A teacher at our school brought in a Civil War era rifle for a demonstration in their class,” Petrilla told the Bradenton Herald newspaper. “This teacher had previously notified the school [resource officer] that he would be bringing the rifle to school. As he was bringing the rifle into the school this morning, someone saw him and reported it to law enforcement.”

Petrilla continued, “Law enforcement responded immediately and began searching the school and during that process it was established that the alleged threat was actually related to the teacher with the rifle.”

Parents were split on the incident. Some said that common sense was needed, while others said it’s better to be safe than sorry.

“In 1966 the Cadet Training Rifle was big,” Bill Gage wrote on Facebook. “Bolt action with wooden bullet. We’d bring our realistic looking wooden M1 to school and play ‘war’ at recess. Times have changed.”

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Patriot(s, s’,’s) Day.. or is it?

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There’s only a handful of holidays I get worked up over…Independence Day, my birthday, Valentine’s Day, Paratus, and one or two others. And then there’s Patriot’s Day…the moveable feast of the political right.

496e0b948c70c08529eb04cf32e01901

Maybe someone really said this. Maybe not. But the sentiment certainly seems apropos.

First, there’s a bit of ambiguity about the name..is it Patriot’s Day, Patriots Day, or Patriots’ Day? I go with Patriot’s Day. You can figure out which punctuation rings your (liberty) bell. It most certainly is notPatriot Day‘ which is, I think, a holiday in poor taste since  we already have a holiday with that name and ‘re-using’ it is patently disrespectful to the original holiday.

Then there’s the date. To me, Patriot’s Day is April 19. Why? Because that’s when the shooting started. The notion of making it the third Monday of April, regardless of date, for the purpose of creating a three day weekend is abhorrent to me. You make a holiday to remember and act upon a historical event. You don’t make it for the sake of getting a three-day weekend. *

Folks are calling today Patriot’s Day but I’m going to be a stickler….orthodox, if you will…and say that Patriot’s Day is April 19. Period.

* = Having said that, yes, Paratus is a moveable holiday. BUT..Paratus was designed from the get-go to be held on a Friday so you could have a weekend to play with your Paratus gifts. I do not find this inconsistent with my attitude about re-arranging historical holidays to fit modern demands for three-day weekends.

 

Gun control explored at Clark University program.

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Ms. Schwoerer said firearms were around in England since the late 13th century, but didn’t play an important role in society until the early 1500s, when Henry VIII ramped up production of guns with the hopes of proving his prowess on the battlefield by making war with France. He purchased artillery from elsewhere in Europe and encouraged gunmakers to set up shop in Britain. In addition to bolstering the military, the focus on production eventually put guns in the hands of people “up and down the social scale,” she said.

Guns helped people hunt more effectively, putting more protein on the table. There was an early interest in hunting for sport and protection, but early on, increased access to game meat was a major factor, she said. In a less practical sense, the gun was a novelty and carried with it an aura of power and authority.

Try making hardtack: A great, cheap addition to your survival gear

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Looking for a way to use up surplus flour, or make a cheap trail food or durable survival ration? One answer may be hardtack, a baked, unleavened wheat cracker. As a survival food, hardtack has a proven track record.

by Leon Pantenburg

Vicksburg, MS: My gray-clad brothers-in-arms and I  hunkered down to eat. In the morning, we would do battle with those “heathen Yankee horde” Civil War re-enactors at Champions Hill, between Jackson and Vicksburg,  Mississippi.

I was “under cover” on assignment for the Vicksburg Post to photograph the battle, one of the biggest re-enactments of the year. Except for the Nikon safely hidden  in my haversack, my gear, weapons and accouterments were authentic in every way.

Hardtack can have different ingredients to make it more flavorable.

Hardtack can have different ingredients to make it more flavorable.

Since I was working for the Post, I had to represent the home team and be a Confederate. (This probably caused a minor earth tremor in Ruthven, Iowa, as my great-great-grandfather, James Hallowell,  92th Illinois Infantry, rolled in his grave!)

My only excuse was that like most Confederate soldiers, I had been drafted, thought “The Cause” was illogical, had no choice about being there, and wanted to go home!

I ‘d learned a lot about being a Civil War infantryman in one short, sweltering afternoon: the food was absolutely awful; our wool uniforms were too hot, and felt like you were wearing a sweatsuit: the Kepi-style caps provided no sun protection and the canteens were too small.

The Sargent, sensing my discontent (because of  my constant whining and complaining) picked on me.  He proclaimed to all within hearing distance that I was a “slacker,” and called me a “baboon” when I dropped my canteen during drill. As darkness fell, the re-enactors would sleep under wool blankets, not to stay warm, but to fight off mosquitoes.

But the food was the worst. Dinner was a piece of hardtack, a fatty piece of bacon toasted on a bayonet over a campfire;  horrible boiled coffee brewed in my tin cup and a wormy-looking apple. After eating my meager meal, I was ready to either desert or form a raiding party to attack  the Yankees and get some real food!

A hardtack biscuit

A modern hardtack biscuit

Hardtack is one of the original trail and emergency foods, and it is worth considering if you are a prepper or are interested in wilderness or urban survival.

The advantage is that hardtack is easy to make, transports easily and will last a reasonably long time if stored in appropriate containers. The disadvantage is the bland taste, and traditional toughness.

Even after yeast was discovered by the Egyptians, there was a purpose for unleavened breads. It was easy to carry and durable, so it was standard fare for hunters and warriors.  Centuries later, Christopher Columbus took unleavened bread on his journeys.

Hardtack remained a staple in the New World. During the early settlement of North America, the exploration of the continent, the American Revolution, and on through the American

Hardtack was a durable, if bland-tasting, field ration.

Civil War, armies were kept alive with hardtack.  A basic concept in war is that the side that keeps its soldiers from going hungry will probably win.

Hardtack is also reasonably nutritious. Wheat flour is more than 10% protein and includes Vitamin B. During emergencies, people can live for quite a while on just bread and water.  Although raw flour is hard to digest, in the form of hard bread, it is edible.

No one has determined just when, or how, during the American Civil War, hard bread began to be referred to as hardtack. Apparently,  it was first called hardtack by the Union Army of the Potomac; although the name spread to other units, it was generally referred to as hard bread by the armies of the West.

Regardless of the time frame, if you’re a history buff, prepper or hard-core survivalist, you should consider including hardtack in your emergency food supplies or survival kit. A guaranteed conversation starter at any campfire, campout or outdoor event, hardtack can have a useful place  in today’s survival kit.

(It only takes a few additional ingredients to turbocharge  the nutritional value of hardtack. To each cup of flour in the recipe, add one tablespoon of soy flour, one teaspoon of wheat germ and one teaspoon of powdered milk. There is no difference in the taste, and these ingredients combine to make the bread a complete protein.)

There are many versions and varieties of hardtack recipes: Try some of these to start out.

Army Hardtack Recipe
  • 4 cups flour (preferably whole wheat)
  • 4 teaspoons salt
  • Water (about 2 cups)
  • Pre-heat oven to 375° F
  • Makes about 10 pieces

 

After cutting the squares, press a pattern of four rows of four holes into each square, using a nail or other such object. Do not punch through the dough.  The appearance you want is similar to that of a modern saltine cracker.  Turn each square over and do the same thing to the other side.

Place the squares on an ungreased cookie sheet in the oven and bake for 30 minutes. Turn each piece over and bake for another 30 minutes. The crackers should be slightly brown on both sides.

The fresh crackers are easily broken, but as they dry, they harden and assume the consistency of fired brick.

Swedish Hardtack

I cup water

3 tbsp. vegetable oil

3 tbsp. honey

3 cups rye flour (or 1 1/2 cups rye & 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour)

1  1/2 tbsp. brewer’s yeast (optional)

1/4 tsp. salt

Mix liquids together.  In a separate bowl, mix dry ingredients.  Combine the mixtures, stirring to moisten throughout.  Form a ball.  On a floured surface, flatten the dough, and roll out thinly. Cut into squares and prick each cracker with the tines of a fork a couple of times.  Transfer to lightly greased baking sheets. Bake at 425° F for around 8 minutes, checking to be sure not to over-brown.  It is best served warm.

Mix: two cups of all-purpose flour and a half teaspoon of salt.  Use more salt for authenticity. Mix by hand. Add a teaspoon of shortening and a half cup of water, stirred in a little at a time to form a very stiff dough.  Beat the dough to a half inch thickness with a clean top mallet or rifle butt.  Fold the sheet of dough into six layers. Continue to beat and to fold the dough a half dozen times until it is elastic. Roll the dough out to a half-inch thickness before cutting it with a floured biscuit cutter or bayonet. Bake for about a half hour in a 325° F oven.

The basic ingredients are flour, salt and water. General directions are also similar: Dissolve the salt in water and work it into flour using your hands.  The dough should be firm and pliable but not sticky or dry. Flatten the dough onto a cookie sheet to about 1/4 inch thick, and cut into squares 3 inches by 3 inches.  Pierce each square with 16 holes about ½ inch apart.  Bake in oven until edges are brown or dough is hard.

Preheat the oven to 400° F For each cup of flour add 1 teaspoon of salt. Mix salt and flour with just enough water to bind. Bake 20-25 minutes.  The longer you bake the hardtack, the more authentic it will appear.

A Sailor’s Diet

In a separate container, mix:

  • 1 1/2 cups buttermilk.
  • 3 tablespoons honey.
  • 1/2 cup melted bacon drippings or shortening.

Combine the two sets of ingredients. When the dough is thoroughly mixed, roll it out on a floured board to a thickness of about a quarter inch.  Cut out circles of dough with a large drinking glass dipped in flour and put them on a lightly greased cookie sheet.  Bake for about 5 1/2 minutes at 450° F.

Let the hardtack cool on a wire rack before serving with jam or jelly.

 

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Stonewall Jackson Black Sunday School

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Stonewall Jackson Black Sunday School

There was a lively discussion the other night and it ended with the knowledge of Stonewall Jackson Black Sunday School. One of my treasured friends is a Civil War buff and very intelligent about the subject. Another dear friend there is from the south. Imagine the surprise when he admitted he was not aware of the efforts by Thomas Jackson.

For those others that may not know. The background on Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson is a pretty good tale. The man came from very humble beginnings and his leadership traits should be emulated more often as we have talked about before. One of his core beliefs was in predestination.

Stonewall_Jackson_Stain_GlassOne wonders how someone could be a man of God and believe in slavery. Stonewall Jackson believes were that a slave was destined to be a slave. Only God could change that. There is little doubt that Mr. Jackson treated his slaves in a Christian way. He went further than others of his time.

Stonewall Jackson Black Sunday School was started at the Lexington Presbyterian Church sometime around the fall of 1855 and May 1866. Not only did he teach slaves and freed black men about the scriptures he also taught them how to read and write, which was a forbidden thing at that time, so they could understand their destiny.

Leave no doubt as a Godly man he also would have taught them about their role as slaves or freed men. He took this class upon his shoulders and engaged his wife. He was a large financial contributor to the Sunday School class. The joy in this effort was reflected in letters home while away at battle.

Many of his letters mention to his wife Anna mentioned the Sunday schools class and often included money to ensure that it kept going. This was standard procedure for something that Mr. Jackson cared for.

 

 

Three Lessons From Ruins

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kowloon_ruins_walled_city

Archaeologists and Historians study the past to derive valuable inferences from past civilizations. This exercise is a noble and kadychan_ruinsimportant one; after all, those who ignore history are doomed to repeat it. In the spirit of this thinking, I have written about a few examples of decay. If we aspire to be prepared for the worst, we need to look at people who have already experienced the worst. Fifty years ago, the places on this list were functioning, maintained, and inhabited. The existence of these ruins is evidence that bad things do happen.

By D-Ray a contributing author to SHTFBlog & Survival Cache

Contrary to what some people would like to suggest, civilization is a very fragile thing. In some instances, the only thing separating society from anarchy is the health of the economy and the strength of law enforcement.  With this in mind: here are a few times civilization failed.

3. The Abandoned City of Kadychan

At the peak of Kadychan’s existence in 1986, some 10,000 people lived in the Russian town. Today the town has a population of zero. In the span of a generation, the modestly successful town of Kadychan has become a ghost-town. Why? Kadychan is the casualty of poor state planning and a failed economy.

Patrick Coleman, an urban explorer, captured some haunting footage of the abandoned city. At one point, Patrick enters an abandoned hospital and finds photographs of a patient’s lungs. Although the city is thoroughly abandoned, it is littered with reminders of a more prosperous time. Look closely enough at the decay and it becomes evident the city was home to thousands.

Patrick’s video offers us a rare, first-person glimpse of urban ruins. As Patrick turns the corners of dimly-lit, derelict buildings, the viewer is left in suspense. A chance encounter with an opportunistic looter in Kadychan would certainly spell death. No police force can save you in the ruins of a remote, Russian ghost-town. An innocent explorer could be murdered in Kadychan and his disappearance would remain an unsolved mystery for eternity.

More frightening than the prospect of murderous looters is the reminder that civilization is a fragile and fickle thing. Had coal-mining in Eastern Russia been more robust, Kadychan would likely still exist. Even if Kadychan had developed a more diversified economy, the city would still be home to some inhabitants. One economic eventuality, unaccounted for by Soviet leaders, destroyed Kadychan.

To those who scoff at the concerns of preppers, look at Kadychan. In the mid 1980s, Soviets would never have thought Kadychan would fail. Fast-forward thirty years and Kadychan is a depressing collection of decaying buildings. Any city not equipped for economic disaster is one failure away from becoming the next Kadychan.

2. China’s Urban Cesspool: Kowloon Walled City

Like Kadychan, Kowloon Walled City is another example of state planning gone horribly wrong. As a result of poor negotiations between China and Great Britain, Kowloon City, a 6 acre enclave in Hong Kong, assumed odd legal status. Neither the British nor the Chinese could properly exert legal authority over the territory’s 33,000 residents. The densely populated city became a hotbed for criminal activities: gambling, prostitution, and drug production. urban_ruins_kowloon_walled_city

For most of its existence, Kowloon City was an urban jungle of unmitigated anarchy. Even murders blatantly committed within Kowloon were ignored by the surrounding Hong Kong Police. As the British were preparing to relinquish control of Hong Kong, administrators decided it would be best to demolish Kowloon City. The urban jungle was leveled and replaced with a city park.

While Kadychan is a sad story of a deserted town, Kowloon Walled City is an example of an urban environment with zero law and order. Kowloon of the mid 1980s made South Side Chicago look like a well-regulated suburb. What’s the lesson to be gained here? Law and order is important. Nobody wants a totalitarian police force but it is imperative the government exercise some control. If the police disappeared, our lives would get chaotic fast.

1. Belgian Ruins Along The Congo River

One of the greatest novels ever written, Heart of Darkness, details the horrors of the Congo River. As the Congo River snakes congo_riverdeeper into the jungle, it leads travelers into areas completely devoid of decency. The novel demonstrates that well-mannered people are easily divorced from precepts of civilization. Moreover, it proves the Congolese Jungle is an unconquerable hell; a region immune to the taming spirit of civilization.

More than a century after publication, the assertions of Heart of Darkness still stand true. Although the Belgians established some semblance of civilization in the mid-20th Century, conditions have deteriorated. A journey down the Congo River in 2016 is just as wild as it was in 1899. The banks of the Congo are littered with the abandoned ruins of Belgian Colonial Rule. Medical facilities, depots, and stations sit in disrepair. They are a testament to the idea that the Jungle is unconquerable. More importantly, they are a reminder of man’s primitive nature.

In geopolitical terms, the Democratic Republic of Congo is fairly inconsequential. The slow decay of the Congo has not had the same impact as our last two examples: the dissolution of the Soviet Union and the ascendency of China. No, the Congo River is worthy of such high consideration because of Joseph Conrad and his novel, Heart of Darkness. Using the Congo as his template, Conrad outlined the intrinsic savagery of mankind. If you haven’t read Heart of Darkness, do it.

Photos Courtesy Of:
Carpe Feline
Peter Gostelow 
Jidanni

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What Great Event In History Would You Witness If You Could Go Back In Time?

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Maybe for the sake of gaining knowledge or insight for your own preparedness, while there are plenty of books and documentaries having to do with historical times – what great event would you like to witness in history if you could go back in time? The time machine enables you to ‘witness only’ (no interaction […]

Connecting More Dots

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     Chaotic events in the world are beginning to happen at breakneck speed; like contractions during a birth.  Dallas … Nice, France … Turkey … Baton Rouge … all in less than two weeks.  And we are facing the Republican National Convention in Cleveland this week; God help us!  I fear that the New Living Translation of Matthew 24:8 is playing out: “But all this is only the first of the birth pains, with more to come.”  

     Saturday evening into Sunday morning I wrote the following post and think it is important enough to still run it this morning.  But I wanted all to know that I am not impervious to the tragedy that happened in Baton Rouge yesterday.  Sadly, it is a continuation of the rage that I believe is being orchestrated against all of us in the country, regardless of our race.  It is spiritual in nature, and regrettably, there are far too many people with hearts of stone who are only willing to listen to the devil’s lies, and those of his collaborators.  If you know nothing else to do, just get on your knees and pray.  (Click here for my suggestion, if you’re not sure how to pray). Ask the Creator of all men to change the hearts of wicked men.   Recognize Him as Jehovah Nissi, our banner or battle standard.  He is our forward Guard and our rear Guard.  As long as we are under his banner, our victory is always assured.  If we ever depart from it, our defeat is a certainty.  
     We need to face it — this Christian life is a picture of warfare.  Just as in ancient battles, we are to obey every command of our King, and run to His banner, which is the Cross, when the fight becomes too much for our flesh.  But we also need to realize that the battle is won in the spiritual realm, and we are to put on our full armor of God and get to the battlefront!  No matter what the news says today, or tomorrow, next week, or next year … trust in our Lord and Savior!  These birth pangs will soon give way to His justice and righteousness.  We are in the heat of the battle at the moment, and we need to keep drinking the Living Water that is Christ!

     Over the weekend, as I followed the events in Turkey, I couldn’t help but discern that God gave me a huge download of knowledge that connected more dots in the evolution of His cosmic chess match with the devil.  I’m still trying to fit all the pieces together, so I hope you’ll be patient with me, as I try to write this down as fast as I’m receiving it.  Hopefully, it will make some sense to you, or one of you can expand on what I’m presenting.
     My journey over the last few days began with receiving a book that my Spiritual Warfare mentor suggested I read, called Rulers of Evil, by F. Tupper Saussy.  At the expense of offending faithful Catholics, I must recommend this book as a fascinating book of the history of the Catholic Church and its influence on the world empires, as well as the founding of America.  Moreover, the author gives an intriguing account of the history of Biblical knowledge and how it interacts with the Roman Catholic papacy.  PLEASE, I am not recommending this book under the pretense of Catholic-bashing!  I am a lover of history and the author is able take a vast amount of historical information and present it in a chronological and coherent manner.  I had barely begun reading (page 24 to be exact) when I saw a link between what happened in history to what is unfolding in Turkey and here in the United States.  Let me start with the historical impetus for my “aha” moment….

     As a student of history, I have been aware that the reading of the Bible was largely limited to Kings and Church leaders until the invention of the Guttenberg Press made it accessible to the masses.  The control and domination by these rulers could be undermined if the general population ever learned that they had direct access to the Bible and God’s Word.  (That’s an over-simplification of all the intrigue that surrounds the maintaining of power among history’s ruling class, but it gives you a general view of how things work).
     As I was reading this fascinating book, it was inevitable that the conflict between Martin Luther and the Catholic Church would surface.  In case you’re unfamiliar with the background of this story, Luther was a Catholic monk who defied the edict of the Archbishop of Mainz against unauthorized Bible reading, and began reading the first edition of the Greek New Testament, printed by Renaissance theologian Desiderius Erasmus.  That led to Luther’s explosive document, Ninety-five Theses Upon Indulgences, which he promptly nailed to the door of the castle church of Wittenburg. (The historic idea of Indulgences was centered upon a grant by the pope of the remission of punishment in purgatory that was still due for sins, even after absolution. The unrestricted sale of indulgences by pardoners was a widespread abuse during the later Middle Ages … as an example, for the payment of four ducats, one could be forgiven for murdering one’s father; or Sorcery was pardoned for six ducats — you get the picture).  You can see how the ability for the common man to begin reading and understanding the Truth within the pages of the Bible could seriously erode the authority of those who claimed divine power.
     But it was more than these familiar historical facts that I was seeing; I suddenly saw the collusion between Pope Clement VII, Niccolo Machiavelli, the inventor of modern political science, and Cardinal Thomas Wolsey, Chancellor of England. These men determined that the printing press could now be used to their advantage — they, themselves, could produce literature that would ultimately confuse, diminish, and marginalize the influence of the Bible. Cardinal Wolsey characterized this project as putting “learning against learning”.  (Remember that phrase, because it is going to come back into focus as I connect the dots to what happened this weekend).  The result of this vast amount of printed material was the famed Medici Library– which opposed the Bible’s teaching that man could have eternal life simply by believing in Christ’s death and resurrection on our behalf, in favor of Gnostic teachings that man could achieve eternal life by doing good works (Christ-centered learning versus man-centered learning).  So extensive was this Library’s philosophical influence, that many scholars today consider it the cradle of Western civilization.
     Martin Luther, discerning that this learning against learning philosophy was the future of Christianity, prophetically wrote in 1520, “Though our children live in the midst of a Christian world, they faint and perish in misery because they lack the Gospel in which we should be training and exercising them all the time.  I advise no one to place his child where the Scriptures do not reign paramount [my emphasis].  Schools will become wide-open gates of hell if they do not diligently engrave the Holy Scriptures on young hearts.  Every institution where men are not increasingly occupied with the Word of God must become corrupt”.  (While I also have huge problems with Luther’s later opinions regarding the Jewish people, he hit a home run with this school of thought).

     So, now let me make a huge leap, by connecting this dot with one from this weekend.  As I awoke Saturday morning, I was curious to see what had happened in Turkey overnight.  As I often do, I took a look at what foreign news outlets were reporting; often finding them less restrained in their communication of facts.  The UK’s Daily Mail was showing astonishing pictures of the citizens who backed President Erdogan confronting and attacking the members of the Turkish military who had dared to try to overthrow the President.  One particular sentence jumped out at me:  “Erdogan has blamed his old scapegoat, Fethullah Gulen for orchestrating the uprising. Muslim cleric Gulen, the president’s rival who lives in self-imposed exile in Pennsylvania, as the head of a billion dollar religious movement, has often been blamed for political unrest in Turkey.”
     If you have been reading my blog for awhile, you might recognize the name of Fethullah Gulen.  I wrote posts here (2013) and here (earlier in 2016), regarding this imam’s influence in our American educational system.  Yes, you read that correctly … Trained as an imam, Fethullah Gulen gained notice in Turkey some 50 years ago, promoting a philosophy that blended a mystical form of Islam with staunch advocacy of democracy, education, science and interfaith dialogue.  Erdogan has long accused Gulen of plotting to overthrow the “officially secular government” from a gated 26-acre compound in Pennsylvania’s Pocono Mountains, which has a population of about 1,100. The President of Turkey is now asking for Gulen’s extradition, but Secretary of State John Kerry says our government is unlikely to comply.
     Why should the internal politics and history of political rivalry in Turkey be of particular interest to us here in the United States?  Because, as I have made mention in past blog posts, Fethullah Gulen and his Gulen Movement (his liberal Islamic transnational religious and social movement) runs the largest charter school network in our nation – the list is at 146 to be exact, with sad to say, 45 schools in my state of Texas!  How could this be, you ask?  Well, he is very clever … the name of these influential schools go by different names in each of the states.  In Texas, they are the Harmony Science Academy; in Ohio, the Horizon Science Academy; in California, the Magnolia Science Academy … you see what he’s doing, right?  Appealing to the ever-competitive nature of the American psyche, he promotes his schools as academies of higher learning to help Americans excel in math and science; so that students will get a higher level of education than they do at public schools.  And it is a multi-billion dollar business!
     And students get a higher “level” of learning alright!  While the schools are not overtly teaching Islamic philosophy and religion, I contend that Fethullah Gulen’s influence is predicated on eliminating and destroying Christianity’s influence among our nation’s youth.  That’s where the dots are connected!  Remember Luther’s concern over learning against learning?  Well, we are seeing it in action before our very eyes, and we are blinded.  I say that because Gulen’s influence has not only infiltrated our education system, but his tentacles reach into banks, newspapers, universities, charities, research institutes, and the halls of Congress, where according to an article by Ariel Cohen, and a USA TODAY investigation, over 200 trips for congressmen and congressional staff have been sponsored by Gülenist entities.
     All this being said, I have to admit that I sometimes feel like I’m shouting in the wilderness.  I have written several posts now on this man, and pointed to others who have done extensive research on him, and now the name of Fethullah Gulen pops up once again in the attempted coup in Turkey.  If you’re tired of me harping on this subject, I apologize, but the chance that I would receive this fascinating book, and read of the anti-Bible reference to learning against learning, at the exact moment that an influential Islamic businessman (deeply ensconced in our educational system) is suggested as influencing the attempted downfall of a sovereign nation … well, I could not ignore it.
     I will leave you by reporting the words of Martin Luther …  I advise no one to place his child where the Scriptures do not reign paramount.  Schools will become wide-open gates of hell if they do not diligently engrave the Holy Scriptures on young hearts.  Do you think that the mega-success of the Gulen Schools shows us that man-centered learning is surpassing Christ-centered learning in our culture?  And what happens when the Word of God is eliminated entirely, in favor of Islamic-flavored curriculum?  The fingerprints of satan have been on the knowledge of man from the beginning, and this is just another of his strategies.  We must be diligent in our discernment, and continue to connect the dots!

Colossians 2:8    “See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ.”

Are We Ripe For An End Times Revival?

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     This past weekend our nation celebrated 240 years of existence.  Depending on who you asked, we celebrated Liberty, Freedom, and a nation founded on Christian principles, OR … we are entering a new era where America’s past is disparaged and our nation’s true heritage is one based on genocide, imperialism, slavery, inequality and oppression.
     To be honest with you, I’m beginning to think that our true nature lies somewhere in the middle … we must take off the rose-colored glasses and see our founding in its true light of conflicting philosophies of government and religion, as well as acknowledging that we are not the total monsters of greed, military power, and self-serving authoritarian rule that anti-Americans would paint us.  We have done a lot of good in the world!

     But 240 years is a relatively small period of time in the history of the world, and all those opinions are primarily from a secular viewpoint.  But if we were to take a good hard look in the mirror, and give ourselves an honest appraisal — as of today, this very minute — well, it’s looking kind of bleak.  The rule of law seems to be whatever the powers-that-be say it is; violence and depravity seem to reign supreme in the top news stories; our society wants tolerance for all kinds of unnatural behavior and opinions, yet any display of Christian values is degraded and ridiculed.  Without a doubt, we fit the description of the End Times in 2 Timothy, Chapter 4:  we don’t want to have anything to do with sound teaching or accurate instruction; we will only tolerate those who will teach us what feeds our own passions; and we will turn completely away from listening to the Truth so we can chase after myths and lies that feed our fleshly appetites.
     So, how do you think we shape up spiritually after these 240 years, and where do we stand today when compared to nations throughout history?  How do we think God will deal with us?  Obviously, I am speaking to Christians; unbelievers could care less about what my LORD has to say about us.  In fact, a recent commenter on this blog wrote to inform me that, “[the Bible is] something that was made up to keep control of the ppl threw the church and scare ppl into submission saying that if u do anything wrong u are going to hell and only select ppl will go to the pearly gates and walk beside god in which I beleave that is bull shit there is no heaven nor hell when u die u become part of the universe not is some enchanted kingdom that all u religous fanatics beleave what it seems like to me is that u are in a fairy tell world I beleave in god but not how u ppl be leave”.  I sincerely apologize for subjecting you to this highly ungrammatical run-on sentence from a delusional non-believer, but I just want you to get an idea of just how far off the track some of our fellow citizens have fallen.
     But, are we really that different from the ancient nations of the Bible who lost their way?  Like them we have compromised our values, followed after false gods, established idols for profane worship, and became remiss and negligent in overcoming the temptations and whispers of the Enemy.  The Bible is full of passages that relate God’s justifiable discipline and chastisement for abandoning His covenant.  Both the nations of Israel and Judah experienced the firm hand of God, as did specific cities (Sodom and Gomorrah) and individual people (Saul, Moses, David, and Solomon, to just name a few).  However, we must remember that the purpose of chastising is not to destroy, but to lead to repentance, and to restore God’s blessing.
     We have seen this purpose in the Old Testament in the life of Jacob, a deceiver and liar; in the life of the Old Testament giant of prayer, Samuel, who interceded for the nation of Israel during their time of idolatrous worship; and in the life experiences of Elijah as he battles Baal worship and persecution by King Ahab and his wicked queen, Jezebel.  The Bible records several instances of restoration, renewal, and revival during the reigns of King Jehoshaphat, Hezekiah, and Josiah — times when the public worship of YHWH was recognized and re-established.  And of course, the greatest revival of worship of God was the birth of the Church in the New Testament.  As the late Evangelist David Wilkerson describes this time period: “There were signs, wonders, and miracles. The dead were raised.  Fearless evangelists went everywhere preaching the Word.  Jails could not hold them.  Storms could not drown them. When their possessions were seized, they continued to rejoice. When they were stoned, hanged, burned or crucified, they went out singing and praising God.  It was a triumphant church, unafraid of Satan, irreverent toward idols, unmoved by plagues or persecution.  It was a blood-washed church, living and dying in victory.”

     That was then.  Where are we now?  Can we hope to ever achieve that same status again, especially in America?  I don’t know about you, but I feel that the clock is nearing that midnight hour, and I’m wondering if the Body of Christ will make a last-minute turn back towards true worship of our God — or when the clock strikes midnight and the trumpet is sounded, will the Church be the fat, happy, prosperous, compromising, all-inclusive, self-serving, inward-looking, unfruitful monstrosity it is beginning to resemble?
     Or can the prayers of the faithful remnant, the True Body of Christ, move our LORD to intercede on our behalf, restoring and reviving us to meet the coming persecution with power, mighty prayer, and praise?  Can our unclean hands and impure hearts be cleansed in His blood so that the fire of the Holy Spirit will sweep across this land and burn away the dross (the garbage and junk) from our souls, leading this nation to a revival of righteousness?  Does God have it in His Character and Nature to allow one more great Revival before He gives Jesus the green light to exact Judgment upon the world?
     Let’s just say I believe in those same miracles that occurred at the birth of the New Testament Church. I know that God desires that all men be saved, and I know that His remnant on the earth, at this very moment, are powerful prayer warriors who are deluging Heaven with prayers of repentance and petitions for Grace and Mercy upon the faithful.  I believe that God is going to cleanse, heal, and embrace His Bride, and give the Church true leaders, children after His own heart.  I believe that what God spoke to the House of Israel, through the prophet Ezekiel, can be said to us today:  “And I will sanctify My great name, which was profaned among the heathen, which you have profaned in the midst of them; and the heathen shall know that I am the Lord, says the Lord God. When I shall be sanctified in you before their eyes.”
     So I believe that God can institute another great revival within His Church and within America; that the remnant who comprise the true Body of Christ will be sanctified in the Lord before the eyes of the wicked heathen … and they will know that He is the Lord God.  In our 240 years of existence this nation has experienced revivals that have transformed us mightily.  May we all partner with Jesus for the next one.  It will be the key to whether we survive history.

Psalm 85:6    “Will you not revive us again, that your people may rejoice in you?”

15 Vital Items The Pioneers Stockpiled For Hard Times

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15 Vital Items The Pioneers Stockpiled For Hard Times

We tend to think that stockpiling food and supplies for an emergency is a modern invention. But it’s not. It actually started thousands of years ago, with people stockpiling food for a snowy day. Those ancestors of ours knew something that most of us today have forgotten: the fact that winter comes every year and you can’t grow crops or hunt game very effectively when the freeze hits.

In fact, the earliest recorded instance of stockpiling is in Chapter 41 of Genesis, in the Bible. Joseph, a son of Abraham, correctly interpreted Pharaoh’s dream and instituted a system of stockpiling grain in preparation for the seven years of famine.

To the pioneers, stockpiling had to be a way of life. When Old Man Winter came to call, the only thing that would keep them alive was the food and fuel they had stored. If they were not ready, chances were that they wouldn’t make it through the winter.

Those who stockpile are returning back to the roots that our pioneering ancestors established, taking matters into their own hands.

So what sorts of things did the pioneers stockpile — and why did they stockpile them?

We can really break down the pioneer’s stockpiling into two categories — things that they bought and things that they raised, hunted, preserved or prepared themselves. The things from the store were precious to many of these people, as they didn’t have much cash money to spend. It was only when they sold a cash crop that they were actually able to pay off their account at the local general store and buy themselves a few new items.

Things the Pioneers Bought and Stockpiled

A trip to the general store was a big deal in those days and something that a pioneer might only do once a month, or less. It might be an all-day affair, which took time away from working the farm. Nevertheless, they had to make it to town once in a while for supplies, or they were stuck with living solely off the land.

1. Wheat flour and other grains

While many farmers raised grain, they usually didn’t eat their own. Their grain would be sold and then they’d turn around and buy flour and other ground grains from the general store. A few people would have their own hand-operated mills for grinding grains, but those were for grinding cornmeal, rather than flour.

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Going back in history, we find that grinding grain was a major part of a woman’s housework. In Medieval times, a woman might spend as many as six hours per day grinding grain so that she could make the bread of the day. Being able to buy ground wheat was one of the first true kitchen conveniences.

Bread was an important staple in the diet. It was a great source of carbohydrates, giving them the energy they needed to burn during the day. Of course, the breads they ate back then were very different than today’s, being much harder and heartier than our modern bread.

2. Baking soda

15 Vital Items The Pioneers Stockpiled For Hard Times

Artist: Jeremy Winborg

You couldn’t bake bread without baking soda, unless you happened to have yeast. Of course, many people made sourdough bread, always saving a bit of the dough to act as a starter for the next batch. But sourdough starter doesn’t work for biscuits, pies or bear sign (what they called donuts). So a stock of baking soda gave them much more variety in their diet.

3. Salt

Salt has always been highly valued. In fact, in the Roman Empire part of a soldier’s pay was given in salt. That became the root of the word “salary.” We need salt in our diets to survive, as well as to preserve meats. While some pioneers would harvest it themselves from salt licks, that only worked for those who had a natural salt lick on their property.

4. Sugar

While not an absolute necessity, sugar was an important item to stockpile. Not only is it used as part of the process of canning fruit, but even the toughest of cowboys and miners wanted a sweet treat every now and then.

5. Rice

Like grains, rice was an important staple for many people. But it wasn’t grown in many parts of the country, making it an item pioneers picked up at the general store.

6. Bacon

Bacon managed to become the default travel meat of choice in pioneering days. Cowboys would carry a chunk of bacon in their saddlebags, wagon trains carried it, and most families had a few slabs on hand. If you had bacon, you had meat to eat.

7. Coffee and tea

Who doesn’t like a good cup of coffee? Actually, coffee drinking in this country started with the Revolutionary War, in response to the Stamp Tax. Rather than pay the tax for British imported teas, many people switched over to coffee. Whereas before the revolution most people drank tea, after it the nation switched to coffee. By the time of the revolution, tea was mostly drunk only by the wealthy.

8. Dried beans

Just as it is for the average homesteader today, dried beans were a favorite staple for the pioneers. Chili con carne became a popular dish, starting in Texas and then moving north along the cow trails. Eventually, it was eaten all across the west.

Beans also could be eaten alone, or with tortillas. The Southwest culture had a strong Mexican influence, including the eating of refried beans as a staple. Many a meal was beans and biscuits or beans and bread. Even when they had meat, beans were often served on the side.

9. Dried and canned fruit

15 Vital Items The Pioneers Stockpiled For Hard Times Some people grew fruit. When they did, they’d can it or dry it. But not all kinds of fruit can be grown in all parts of the country. Besides that, not everyone was a farmer. The general store would stock dried and canned fruit, making it possible for people to buy these foods.

Since it kept well, dried fruit was another popular trail food, both for wagon trains and for drifting cowboys. It helped give variety to an otherwise dull diet, as well as providing them something sweet to eat.

Things the Pioneers Grew, Hunted, Preserved and Prepared

Many pioneers were involved in farming and ranching. Those who were grew as much of what they ate as they could. Since cash money was so rare, being able to hunt, gather or grow your own food was a real advantage. Even townspeople would have a garden patch behind their homes, growing their own vegetables and herbs.

10. Smoked meats

One of the signs that you’d “made it” was to have a smokehouse on your property. While the ability to smoke your own meats was incredibly useful, not everyone could afford the time or expense to build one. Those who could were usually well-established families who already had their homes and barns built. By then, they were producing enough that it was worthwhile to be able to smoke meats when it was time to slaughter a cow or pig.

11. Jerky

The pioneers learned how to make jerky from the Native Americans. While smoking was great, not everyone had a smokehouse. Plus, jerky lasts longer than smoked meats and is much more portable. Drifting cowboys and other travelers would often take jerky along just to ensure they had some meat to eat. A few strips of jerky and a couple of campfire biscuits made a pretty good lunch in the saddle.

12. Corn

Many pioneers grew their own corn, even if it was just enough for their family. They might grow wheat or some other grain for sale, but they’d put in a small patch of corn, as well. That corn was usually dried and kept for making cornmeal.

13. Vegetables

15 Vital Items The Pioneers Stockpiled For Hard TimesA vegetable garden alongside or behind the house was almost a requirement for pioneer families. Without it, their food would be bland and repetitive. Not only did they grow their own veggies, but their own herbs, as well.

Most vegetables were harvested and kept in a root cellar, not canned. Canning required owning a goodly supply of canning jars, something that most people didn’t have. It wasn’t until later, when towns were well-established and trade was more regular, that canning jars became common in the west.

14. Feed for the animals

Anyone who had animals had to consider their needs. Whether horses, cows or chickens, they were a valuable part of the homestead and needed to eat. Just like the family would stockpile food to get themselves through the winter, they’d stack hay and other feed for their farm animals.

Most hay was cut from wild grass growing near the farm. It would be cut by hand with a scythe and stacked in towering haystacks for the winter months. Some farmers who had larger barns with lofts would stack the hay in the loft. But that required hay bales, which meant having the equipment for baling hay. So that only happened in well-established areas on well-established farms.

15. Firewood

The only heat that most homes had was from the fireplace or wood-burning stove. That created the need for a wood pile, which was started in the spring so the wood could dry through the hot summer. In some places, they would stack their wood to act as a defensive breastwork for the home, giving themselves a good firing position for any attacks from Native Americans.

What items would you add to our list of what the pioneers stockpiled? Share what you know in the section below:

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155 years ago North Carolina seceded from the Union

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155 years ago North Carolina Seceded

Picture of flag from 155 years ago North Carolina SecededThe flag above was adopted in 1861 after the state of North Carolina seceded from the Union. This was a special day as 155 years ago North Carolina seceded. It shows two dates that are very important in North Carolina History. You can tell that May 20th is a big day in the history books of the Old North State.

The date reflected on the top is from the Mecklenburg Resolves. That is where the Committee of Safety declared all laws from the King or Parliament were null and void. This was a pretty big step and not one that was taken lightly.

The decision to secede from the Union and join the Confederate States of America was another big step. Once again North Carolina was rebelling against authority from outside the Old North State. This one was telling the Federal government was middling in matters that should be settled by the State.

This day marks 155 years ago North Carolina seceded. It is a big day and one that should be remembered. It seems like 155 years later we are still facing the same issue. It remains to be seen how the current crisis will be resolved.

North Carolina has shown in the past that it will make hard decisions. 155 years ago North Carolina seceded and joined in what was a losing cause. Even during that war you could tell the North Carolina troops as our boys were generally supported very well.

On this Friday we should remember the bravery and sacrifices that we have made in the past. Stay strong for our beliefs and values that we hold dear. Make sure we embrace our history and the flag pictured above depicts that.

The Lowly Garden Superfood You Can Survive On For 6-Plus Months

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The Lowly Gardening Superfood You Can Survive On For 6 Months

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The lowly potato. This dull tuber seldom ranks high on a list of superfoods. It won’t make headlines as the next “it” food. In fact, the most commonly known fact about potatoes is knowledge of the devastating Irish potato famine. Combine their blandness with recent diets that suggest eliminating carbohydrates is the silver bullet to weight loss, and the potato doesn’t stand a chance. Truth be told, potatoes may be the ultimate food source. Folks with a survival garden or looking to become self-sufficient should exploit their myriad of benefits.

Potatoes’ characteristics make them an ideal crop for self-sufficient gardens. For starters, potatoes grow well in a variety of soil types. Generally known for their success in sandy soils, potatoes also do well in other soils. The important thing to remember is to plant in any well-drained soil. Plant in waterlogged soil and you’re asking for problems with this root crop. Most productive garden plots have acceptable soil for potatoes.

The second major benefit of potatoes is they are possibly the easiest crop to save and replant. Anyone with experience in seed-saving will validate this statement. Other seeds must be separated from the fruit, cleansed of plant gunk, dried and then packaged for storage. Saving potatoes for seed is a much simpler process. Of course, you also can simply plant the potato itself to grow more potatoes. The ease of storing and growing potatoes is a huge benefit for someone in a survival situation. They simply save work.

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Finally, and this is essential, spuds are an absolutely excellent food source. Potatoes provide vitamins and minerals like potassium, fiber, B6, and vitamin C, just to name a few. The fact is potatoes are so nutritious you can live on them exclusively for months with no problems. Don’t believe it? In 1927, a study was performed by researchers at the school of hygiene in Poland to understand the benefits of potatoes. During the experiment two individuals, a man and woman both in their 20s, committed themselves to an all-potato diet for six months. Throughout the experiment the duo only ate potatoes for every single meal, although at some point they began cooking the potatoes in oil. Researchers realized the pair was burning more calories than they consumed and needed more energy. Fat from the oil added a bonus energy source but did not contribute any other nutritional value.

The Lowly Gardening Superfood You Can Survive On For 6 Months

Image source: Pixabay.com

At the end of the six-month experiment, the pair were reported to be in great physical shape and fully nourished. Most shocking, the test subjects did not report any desire to add other foods to their diet. The study reported, “They did not tire of the uniform potato diet and there was no craving for change.” In their conclusion, the researchers summarized the study as “an experiment … in which two adults, a man and a woman, lived over a period of 167 days in nitrogen equilibrium and in good health on a diet in which the nitrogen was practically solely derived from the potato.”

In his book The New Self-Sufficient Gardener, John Seymour advises self-sufficient gardeners to invest heavily in potatoes. He advises planting potatoes in at least one-third of a garden. This is by far the largest proportion of any crop. In his rationale, he cites the nutritional value of potatoes and their outstanding ability to keep people alive.

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History also displays the effectiveness of the potato. In South America, the Inca in the 1400s and 1500s were able to build the largest and most powerful nation in the Western Hemisphere using the potato as their staple crop. Upon the back of the lowly potato, they built thousands of miles of stone roads, conquered countless neighboring tribes, and constructed impressive temples. When you take into consideration the strenuous mountain lifestyle of these people, their potato-fueled exploits are that much more impressive.

For anyone serious about taking control of their food supply, the first step is to get your hands on some seed potatoes. Not all seed potatoes are created equal, and there is one major pitfall to avoid. Seed potatoes for a survival garden should always be certified disease-free. By investing in disease-free seed potatoes, you can help avoid a disaster like what befell the Irish. Obviously, this is important, especially for long-term survival.

All total, it is hard to deny the effectiveness of potatoes, especially in a survival garden. Their exceptional nutrition, combined with their ease of growth and storage, make them invaluable to someone who grows their own food. Not only are they promoted by some of the top self-sufficiency experts today, but the ultimate test of history proves their effectiveness as well. Whether it is potatoes for survival, or potatoes simply to take control of your food supply, it is hard to deny the power of the super spud.

What advice would you add for growing potatoes for survival? Share your thoughts in the section below:

Every Spring, Gardeners Make This Avoidable Mistake — But You Don’t Have To. Read More Here.

We Will Take The Small Victory — But Stay On your Guard!

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     Thanks to a faithful reader who commented on a post, I learned that the replica of the destroyed Arch from the Temple of Baal has been cancelled for New York City and London!  Before I made it public on this blog, I wanted to be certain … and sure enough, it was confirmed by several reliable sources on the internet.
     As far as I can tell, no replica arch will be constructed in Times Square, but London is going ahead with a reproduction of the Arch of Triumph, which the Romans originally built in Palmyra and that has nothing to do with Baal, the pagan god.  As you may or may not know, the United Nations (and UNESCO) wanted to construct these 3-D replicas as an “act of defiance” against ISIS, who destroyed the entrance to the Temple of Baal in Palmyra, Syria last year.
     I, for one, do not underestimate the importance of Christians across this country praying against the installation of such a pagan symbol in the city that represents this nation’s economic prosperity.  And, in case you are unaware of this spiritual significance, I will let columnist Matt Barber explain it in clear and precise language:  “Baal worship involved burning infants alive, and ritualistic Baal worship, in sum, looked a little like this: Adults would gather around the altar of Baal. Infants would then be burned alive as a sacrificial offering to the deity. Amid horrific screams and the stench of charred human flesh, congregants – men and women alike – would engage in bisexual orgies… The ritual of convenience (of getting rid of the unwanted consequences of the orgies) was intended to produce economic prosperity by prompting Baal to bring rain for the fertility of ‘mother earth’. “
     Do you see the connection between New York City/Wall Street and the worship of Baal to produce economic prosperity?  And do you also see the similarity between the ancient pagan “rituals” and our practices of abortion and sexual immorality?  By our prayers and repentance, did we convince God to delay His judgment for just a little longer, so that we might bring about a nationwide repentance?  I would like to think so… but for now, I am just thanking Him for His grace and mercy!

The real Arch of Triumph in Palmyra,
before its destruction by ISIS

     So, I’m here to tell you that we’re not out of the woods by a long shot! We must remain on our guard and be vigilant.  We must not think the Enemy will give up this easily.  And, so I wanted to know the historical and spiritual significance of this alternate Arch that will be constructed in London; Trafalgar Square, to be exact.  What are the underlying implications of it’s construction and what clues could I find in regard to the Enemy’s next attack?
     To begin with, the Arch of Triumph in Palmyra, Syria, is also known as the Monument Arch, or the Arch of Septimius Severus, a Roman emperor who ruled from 193 AD to 211 AD.  After conquering his rivals for Emperor, he consolidated his rule over the Western provinces, and defeated the Parthian Empire in the East, which consisted of the political and cultural power in ancient Iran and Iraq.  Late in his reign, he actually travelled to Britain, strengthening Roman power in that region and invading Scotland.  But he fell fatally ill in late 210 AD, and died in early 2011, in what is now York, England.  His sons succeeded him as Emperor; and ultimately, Severus founded the Severan dynasty, the last dynasty of the empire before what became known as the “Crisis of the Third Century.”.  This period was also known as the “Military Anarchy” or the “Imperial Crisis”, (AD 235–284) in which the Roman Empire nearly collapsed under the combined pressures of invasion, civil war, plague, and economic depression.
     Are you starting to connect the dots yet?  Nothing … and I mean nothing … is really new in the history of the world.  It has always been about the same thing since the Garden of Eden.  Lucifer, the Enemy of God and His Chosen, is trying to convince the peoples of the earth to be disobedient to God’s commandments; to place themselves as equals to the Creator; by tempting them to become like him:  a lover of self, rebellious, prideful, boastful, arrogant, and unholy.
     These Arches are monuments to empires ruled by pagan men who could not afford the division that Christianity versus paganism caused in their domains.  Although Severus was called both a persecutor and an apologist by early Church historians, he felt the need to promote religious harmony by promoting syncretism, and by possibly issuing an edict that punished conversion to Judaism and Christianity.  According to Wikipedia, Syncretism is “the combining of different, often contradictory beliefs, while blending practices of various schools of thought. Syncretism involves the merger and analogizing of several originally discrete traditions, especially in the theology and mythology of religion, thus asserting an underlying unity and allowing for an inclusive approach to other faiths.” [My emphasis].
      Can you see where I’m coming from?  Do you think it is simply coincidence that the monument to a Roman Emperor, who promoted synchronization of different faiths is being constructed in one of the capitals of Europe?  Do you find it interesting that this monument, which was originally built in the heart of the Parthian Empire (a province that this Roman Emperor defeated in war), will now be built in the heart of modern-day western Europe?  Do you not think that this has mega-significance in the spiritual realm?  We must not lose sight of the fact that the early Roman acceptance of other cultures’ religions into their own made it easy for them to integrate the newly encountered religions they found as a result of their expansion.  Could the Enemy be turning that historical fact on its ear, and could the building of this monument in London play into the current scenario of Islamic migrants and refugees flooding into Europe?
     Remember that Emperor Severus, for whom this Arch of Triumph was built, was part of the last dynasty before “the Roman Empire nearly collapsed (in the Third Century) under the combined pressures of invasion, civil war, plague, and economic depression.”  Will we, in the 21st Century, see our own period of “Anarchy” or “Crisis” from invasion, civil war, plague, and economic depression?  Is this Arch meant to prophesy that coming doom?  Is it a symbol of the impending collapse of Europe?
     Here is what I want to leave you with … While we can breath a sigh of relief that the entrance to the Temple of Baal will not be reproduced in New York City, there is no guarantee that this Arch of Triumph will not eventually be installed in Times Square.  The Institute of Digital Archeology (IDA), creators of the new monument, made this statement:  “There will be no simultaneous unveiling in New York – they may transport the London arch there later, or build another one…”.  So, you can see, this may just be a brief respite before the Enemy tries another attack against our spiritual armor.  I would tell you to keep praying, repent of the sins of this nation, and ask God to forgive us.  Ask for a Holy Fire to sweep our land and renew us; ask that we not be led into temptation [to follow after our own desires and knowledge], but be delivered from Evil.  One more day of Grace means one more day to help save a soul.

Ecclesiastes 1:9   “What has been is what will be, and what has been done is what will be done; there is nothing new under the sun.”

   

Could ISIS Be Anointed By God?

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     Now, before you think I’ve gone completely off my rocker, give me a chance to explain my train of thought.  I’ve recently written about the Temple of Baal (or Bel) that will soon be replicated in Times Square, the heart of New York City, and in London.  I spared no words in recounting its significance in regards to idol worship in the ancient world.  I also related that this ancient temple was destroyed by ISIS last summer.  The most recent news in the last few days is that Syrian forces have liberated the ancient city of Palmyra and recaptured it, with plans to rebuild much of the ancient artifacts and archeological sites.

Palmyra prior to ISIS

     I suspect much of the world will hail this as a victory and in the best interests of man’s archeological heritage.  But is it?  I want to expand on some thoughts that have occurred to me since July of last year, and just keep pricking my spirit.  I can’t help but look at this situation through the lens of my Biblical worldview.  And to do that, I need to take some time to share a specific perspective with you; it’s a fascinating story from the Old Testament, and one that I think casts valuable insight on God’s purpose in all things.
     Remember the story of Cyrus, King of Persia, who conquered Babylon and allowed the Jews to return from captivity to their homeland and rebuild the Temple in Jerusalem?  Well, as fantastic as this sounds, apparently it was not out of the ordinary for Cyrus.  An excellent post on Cyrus, found at a website called ChurchOfTheGreatGod.org, reports that King Cyrus, as was his policy, allowed his vassal states to retain their cultural and religious identities. He advanced funds for the repair or restoration of public buildings, particularly temples and shrines, and he reversed the Babylonian policy of forced relocation of conquered peoples, allowing their descendants to return to their ancestral homelands.
     What you might find utterly amazing is that God used King Cyrus, a Muslim, to move forward his plan in history.  In fact, God calls Cyrus, His “anointed”.  Yes, you read that correctly!  He explicitly says in Isaiah 45:1-3:  “Thus says the LORD to His anointed, to Cyrus, whose right hand I have held—to subdue nations before him and loose the armor of kings, to open before him the double doors, so that the gates will not be shut: ‘I will go before you and make the crooked places straight; I will break in pieces the gates of bronze and cut the bars of iron. I will give you the treasures of darkness and hidden riches of secret places. . . . I have raised him up in righteousness, and I will direct all his ways; He shall build My city and let My exiles go free, not for price nor reward,’ says the LORD of hosts.”
     I can hear shocked Christians right now, exclaiming, “But how can a Muslim be God’s anointed?  First of all, we need to broaden our understanding of what the word anointed means.  The Hebrew word is mashiah, which has come down to us as “messiah” and translated as christos in Greek. Because we now use this term exclusively for Jesus Christ, the Messiah, many of us Christians fail to see its broader application.  Mashiah simply means “anointed” or “anointed one.”  At its most basic, mashiah indicates a person God authorizes and sets apart for His service…. regardless of their faith, ethnicity, or background. And the type of service an anointed one might render can vary. Besides being in the service of God, he might fulfill more than one role in his service; but his primary function is to cause deliverance.  You can see how Jesus fulfilled all three of those facets of an anointed one.
     So the question becomes “Why did God raise up a Messiah, or Anointed One, like Cyrus?  The answer is found in the continuing verses of Isaiah, Chapter 45:  “[God will work through you, Cyrus,] that you may know that I, the LORD, who call you by your name, am the God of Israel. For Jacob My servant’s sake, and Israel My elect, I have even called you by your name; I have named you, though you have not known Me. I am the LORD, and there is no other; there is no God besides Me. I will gird you, though you have not known Me. I am the LORD, and there is no other; I form the light and create darkness, I make peace and create calamity; I, the LORD, do all these things” (verses 3-7).  Very simply, God raised Cyrus up to do His bidding to prove to him and all the world who is the true God! God went before Cyrus, paving the way for his victories and policies so that His will and His plan would move forward.

Palmyra, after ISIS

       So, now I return to my original question, posed in the title of this blog post … Could ISIS be anointed by God? If we use the criteria that the Bible lays forth regarding the prerequisites for an anointed one, I would say, in one sense, YES!
     (OBVIOUS CAVEAT:  The atrocities and barbaric acts of murder against Christians and non-Muslims is obviously not an act of service to God.  But remember, God is Sovereign, and He is capable of using even evil people to carry out one or more of His purposes.  In this instance, I am only looking at ISIS’s acts of destroying ancient temples to idols.)
     And here’s how I got there …. As I have pointed out in past blog posts, Palmyra was the site of some of the world’s most valuable Roman-style ruins, including 2,000-year-old towers and temples; among them the Temple of Baal (or Bel), which was the name of the supreme god worshiped in ancient Canaan and Phoenicia, and the Temple of Baalshamin, dedicated to the Canaanite sky deity Baalshamin.
     But last year, in its takeover of the city, ISIS blew up both structures, along with the famed Arch of Triumph, which was constructed under Roman rule during the late second century, calling them monuments to idolatry — which they were!  In case you need convincing, here is some interesting information about the Temple of Baal:  It was known as the temple to the Sun God.  And if you are a student of Biblical and ancient history, then you know that there were many names for the Sun God throughout the pagan cultures.  Some of them are Ra, the sun god of the ancient Egyptians; Apollo, the sun god of the ancient Romans; Helios, the sun god of the Greeks; Mithras, the Iranian and Persian sun god … and I contend that they are all names for the same spirit of rebellion that existed in the man Nimrod.
     The great-grandson of Noah, Nimrod is the prototype of a rebellious people, his name being interpreted in Hebrew as “he who made all the people rebellious against God”.  As you can see by the various cultures and ethnic groups who worshiped the Sun God in his name, he led many peoples into rebellion against the One True God and into idol worship.
     Now, the modern world is lamenting the destruction of the ancient Temple of Baal, the temple of Sun God worship, in Palmyra, Syria.  And I’d like you to get a picture of what worshipping there must have been like to the pagans, as described by Amr Al Azm, a professor at Shawnee State University who served as the director of the Center of Archeological Research at the University of Damascus from 2003 to 2006:  “You would attempt to go and visit the temple at dawn [before it was damaged]. And on the east face, as the sun rises, it would eventually reach that point where, even though it was dark around you — you were surrounded by stone walls — the sun would touch a particular point on the window, and it was like someone switched on a thousand lights. The whole building would light up instantaneously.”  He goes on to say, “Unfortunately, we will never be able to experience that again. That’s how significant the loss is, as far as I’m concerned.”
     But might I suggest that ISIS got it right?  That it is actually a “monument to idolatry”.  And might I further propose that by destroying it, the Muslim jihadis were actually in service to YHWH, liberating that area of the ancient Middle East from a centuries-long fascination and reverence to a false god?  Remember, as in the case of Cyrus, (whom God makes it very clear, did not know Him), God can use whomever He desires to move along his plan in history.  Perhaps God is tired of our interest and preoccupation in preserving these ancient temples of idolatry, and so He put ISIS, who certainly does not know Him, into service to destroy their very foundations.
     And what does the world plan to do?  To rebuild them, of course!  Or, at least in the instance of the Temple Baal, erect duplicates of them in New York City, London, and another 1,000 cities around the world — all in the name of defiance to ISIS.  But, can you clearly see that, in reality, it is in defiance to YHWH?

The destruction of pagan statues

     And there is another aspect that I want to briefly touch upon before I end my hypothesis.  I will admit that the connecting dots are still a little fuzzy in my spirit, but I can’t help but feel there is something here that we need to pay attention to.  The “recapture” of the ancient city of Palmyra from ISIS was conducted by Syrian forces, assisted by Russian troops and airstrikes.  And now the world is incensed by the destruction of the temples and the looting of the artifacts, and archeologists from around the world are rushing to the site to help reconstruct the ancient city.  Is this part of the multiple roles that ISIS could be playing in their service as God’s anointed?  Could they be drawing the nations of the world to this area to preserve the treasures of idolatrous worship?
     The world’s elite mourned when ISIS ransacked and burned the Mosul Public Library, destroying more than 8,000 ancient and rare books and manuscripts, calling it “cultural genocide”; an attempt to destroy an ethnic or religious group’s customs, including its languages, traditional practices and ways, religious institutions and objects, and clergy members, academics, and intellectuals.  I admit that it is difficult to see God wanting the history of whole peoples wiped out.  But what if those histories, and art, and traditions, and religious practices honor gods and ways that are not of Him?  Could we then see the possibility that God could authorize ISIS to serve Him by destroying what He considers idolatry?  Even if they declare a hatred for Him and those who follow Him?
     I know!  It is hard to wrap your head around it, but throughout the Bible God used unbelievers to execute His plan for the world.  All we have to do is look at how He used Pharaoh to liberate His people from their bondage in Egypt; how He used Nebuchadnezzar to take the Jews into captivity in Babylon because of their continued disobedience, yet placed Daniel in their midst to prophecy of the return of His remnant; and how He used the Persian King Artaxerxes to allow Nehemiah to reintroduce His law to the Jews returning to Jerusalem.  And in the New Testament, the Apostle Paul often worked through unbelievers to carry out God’s will and purpose.
     We must remember that He is Sovereign and Immutable … He never changes and it is often His way to use unbelievers to execute His will.  It is not up to us to question or reason why.  I am not here to suggest that I know God’s mind or that my hypothesis is even plausible.  All I’m saying is that I see idolatrous temples being destroyed and the world’s desire to rebuild them.  Can we truly say it is all out of a sense of preserving cultural history?  Or is there something more diabolical happening underneath it all?  Keep your spiritual radar turned on and up!

 Isaiah 45:9-10    “Woe to the one who argues with his Maker—
one clay pot among many.  Does clay say to the one forming it, ‘What are you making?’ Or does your work say, ‘He has no hands’? How absurd is the one who says to his father, ‘What are you fathering?’ or to his mother, ‘What are you giving birth to?’ ”

Little-Noticed Survival Lessons From History’s Hobos And Vagabonds

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Little-Noticed Survival Lessons From History’s Hobos And Vagabonds

As long as man has organized into society, there have been those on the fringe. These were people who, for one reason or another, just didn’t fit into polite society.

Such were the hobos of our nation’s past. We tend to think of hobos as bums who stole rides on trains and lived in shanty towns. But in some cases, they were traveling workers who would go where there was work and move on when the job was done.

Building this country required a huge amount of manpower, especially when you consider that much was built by human hands rather than power equipment. Projects like the Transcontinental Railroad and the Hoover Dam required workforces numbering in the thousands, and hard-working men who came and went with the job. They lived in shanty towns, because that’s all there was at the end of the tracks and they carried little with them, because they knew they’d be moving on.

These were tough men, accustomed to backbreaking work and long hours. They survived and endured, becoming a forgotten part of our country’s history. Yet the work that they did has often survived and become part of making our country what it is today.

This Cool-To-The-Touch Lantern Provides 100,000 Hours Of Emergency Backup Lighting

Looking back at the lives of these men we can see that their lifestyle was built around the need to survive. Basically, everything they did was based on that one need.

There are quite a few lessons we can learn from them:

1. Be tough

Physical toughness is essential for surviving in adverse circumstances. A lot of us in the survival  movement aren’t as physically fit as we need to be (me included). But toughness goes beyond just being physically fit. A boxer learns to take blows, just as he learns how to give them. Strength and agility allow him to give them, but toughness allows him to take them. If you’re not tough, you’re not going to be able to take the blows that life gives you; you’ll fold and just wait to die.

There are two types of toughness: physical and mental. Of the two, mental toughness can be harder to develop than physical. If your mind can’t take the blows and bounce back, you are at a disadvantage. Your mind has to be able to accept the changing reality of a crisis situation or a disaster, quickly overcome the grief, and move into survival mode.

This is all about training. The better trained you are, the better you can adapt. Training also gives you confidence, so that you know you’re able to survive.

2. Learn a variety of useful kills

Little-Noticed Survival Lessons From History’s Hobos And VagabondsHobos did whatever the job called for. While they may not have been experts in any one trade, they were capable of working in a number of them. One month they might be busting broncos and the next swinging a double jack in a mine.

Today’s society has become so specialized that in some cases one engineer can only work on one part of a project. He’s lost when he looks at the rest. But in Henry Ford’s day, the guy who designed the engine could also design the body.

In a survival situation, you need to have a wide variety of skills. If your home is damaged by a hurricane and you need to make it safe to sleep in, you don’t have to be a master carpenter. But you will probably need to be able to cut boards and nail them together. You’re probably also going to need to know a little plumbing and electrical work.

3. Develop a minimalist lifestyle

When you’re on the go, you can’t take a lot of extra baggage with you. You’ve got to cut things down to what you really need. Our modern lifestyle is so cluttered with stuff that we’d need a backpack the size of a semi-trailer to bug out.

Learn what you need and then cut down to that point. If you’ve got stuff in your house that you never use, then why do you have it? Really, if you haven’t used it in a year or two, you probably won’t. So, pass it on to someone who can use it and make room in your life for what you need.

I remember the nine years my wife and I lived in our motorhome, with our three kids. We couldn’t accumulate a lot of stuff, because there really wasn’t anywhere to keep it. We had to limit ourselves to what was important, and if something wasn’t important, we had to let it go.

4. Community is important for survival

Hobos typically gathered together in communities, wherever they were working. That way they could help each other out. Cooking for 10 people is easier than cooking for one, and by doing so, everyone doesn’t have to carry a pot around with them. One would bring the pot and the others would bring the ingredients.

When you’re part of a community you also tend to watch out for each other. If you’re by yourself, you might not see what’s happening to you. For example, hypothermia can set in in such a subtle way that you freeze to death, without even realizing what’s happening to you. But if other people are around, they’ll likely notice you’re not well and help.

5. Learn to live off the land

Little-Noticed Survival Lessons From History’s Hobos And VagabondsMost hobos could recognize edible plants and those which could serve as medicines. While they bought food, they augmented what they bought with what they found. Knowing what you can eat can mean the difference between a full belly and starving to death. Knowing what you can use for medicine can also save your life.

God has provided a wide range of foods and medicines in nature around us. But you’ve got to know what to use and how to use it. When you’re living that minimalist lifestyle, you really need that knowledge.

6. Nothing is beneath you

Throughout history, there have been people out of jobs because they wouldn’t take one that’s beneath them. While I can understand that to some extent, that pride can be deadly. When things go bad, such as in a financial collapse, we’re all going to have to do whatever we can, no matter how much education we have or what we did before.

New Survival Energy Product Makes Every Window A Powerful Solar Charger

There’s no room for pride when it comes to surviving a crisis.7. Quit Worrying and Do What You Can

7. Quit worrying and do what you can

Part of the reason that hobos are seen as lazy and shiftless is that they weren’t worriers. They did what they could and left the rest up to divine providence. We could all learn from that. Yes, there is always a part that we are to do. If we don’t work, we’re not going to eat. But on the other hand, worrying never added a day to anyone’s life. When you’ve done what you can, just hope and pray it’s enough. The rest is beyond your capability.

Worry causes incredible health problems. High blood pressure is caused more by worry, than by any other reason. Why do you think they call it “hypertension?” That literally means, “too much tension” or “too much stress.” Quit stressing out and get to work. Do your part and then follow the example of the hobos, putting the rest in God’s hands.

What survival lessons would you add to this list? Share your ideas in the section below:

Are You Prepared For Blackouts This Winter? Read More Here.

Historically Speaking!

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Historically Speaking
DJ Cooper “Surviving Dystopia

Historically Speaking‘Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.’ – George Santayana

This week on Surviving Dystopia stop into the chat and share your thoughts as we touch on a few factors in the past and examine how they relate to our future. Have you ever thought about a person who continually does the same things over and over again and seems to never get why the outcome is always the same? If we want a different outcome then we must walk a different path.

History is an often underrated teacher, it is said we can’t change the past. That is correct but we can examine what the cause and effect can teach us about a number of scenarios. How each specific event affected those it touched.

Historically Speaking depressionThe great depression can teach the prepper a great deal about making good choices in bad markets, about who it affected most and least and how to maximize your chances for survival.

Other historically spoken events include droughts or famine, weather events, war and yes even political policies that could endanger our way of life. Thinking on history also reminds us that forgotten history can also lead to inaccurate history. I’d also like to talk about the ways a few iconic quotes or symbols have become associated with things that are often opposite of what was their original symbolism. We can learn much about who we are by taking time to relate what can be seen in a great book The Lessons of History to our current time.

3-16-16 bookThis week there are a few specific events to discuss and many to consider. Ways we can remember what the history teaches us and apply it to our own lives and preparations. What should it teach us so we can seek in it ways to better our chances in the future.

There is much to be found in our past to aid us in an uncertain future, learning from traditions passed down like in the foxfire series.
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US Navy SEAL Ethos/Creed

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The U.S. Navy SEALs were established by President John F. Kennedy in 1962 as a small, elite maritime military force to conduct Unconventional Warfare. They carry out the types of clandestine, small-unit, high-impact missions that large forces with high-profile platforms (such as ships, tanks, jets and submarines) cannot. SEALs also conduct essential on-the-ground Special Reconnaissance of critical targets for imminent strikes by larger conventional forces.*

Although the SEALs always had an unspoken creed of honor, it wasn’t until 2005 that they formally adopted the following creed.**

SEAL Ethos/Creed

In times of war or uncertainty there is a special breed of warrior ready to answer our Nation’s call. A common man with uncommon desire to succeed. Forged by adversity, he stands alongside America’s finest special operations forces to serve his country, the American people, and protect their way of life. I am that man.

My Trident is a symbol of honor and heritage. Bestowed upon me by the heroes that have gone before, it embodies the trust of those I have sworn to protect. By wearing the Trident I accept the responsibility of my chosen profession and way of life. It is a privilege that I must earn every day.

My loyalty to Country and Team is beyond reproach. I humbly serve as a guardian to my fellow Americans always ready to defend those who are unable to defend themselves. I do not advertise the nature of my work, nor seek recognition for my actions. I voluntarily accept the inherent hazards of my profession, placing the welfare and security of others before my own.

I serve with honor on and off the battlefield. The ability to control my emotions and my actions, regardless of circumstance, sets me apart from other men. Uncompromising integrity is my standard. My character and honor are steadfast. My word is my bond.

We expect to lead and be led. In the absence of orders I will take charge, lead my teammates and accomplish the mission. I lead by example in all situations.

I will never quit. I persevere and thrive on adversity. My Nation expects me to be physically harder and mentally stronger than my enemies. If knocked down, I will get back up, every time. I will draw on every remaining ounce of strength to protect my teammates and to accomplish our mission. I am never out of the fight.

We demand discipline. We expect innovation. The lives of my teammates and the success of our mission depend on me – my technical skill, tactical proficiency, and attention to detail. My training is never complete.

We train for war and fight to win. I stand ready to bring the full spectrum of combat power to bear in order to achieve my mission and the goals established by my country. The execution of my duties will be swift and violent when required yet guided by the very principles that I serve to defend.

Brave men have fought and died building the proud tradition and feared reputation that I am bound to uphold. In the worst of conditions, the legacy of my teammates steadies my resolve and silently guides my every deed. I will not fail.
———-

*from Navy Seal History at http://navyseals.com/nsw/navy-seal-history/
**as presented on the Naval Warfare Command Website webpage: http://www.public.navy.mil/nsw/Pages/EthosCreed.aspx

Time to retire the New Hampshire State Motto

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As another presidential primary ended in New Hampshire yesterday I can only look at the results and say it is time to retire the New Hampshire State Motto. Officially it is Live Free or Die, however based on the last several cycles that does not apply to the candidates that are winning.

I am not sure anyone that truly believes in the state motto can say Donald Trump or Senator Bernie Sanders fits that bill. Oh well on to the next big thing this time in South Carolina. There is certain a different element in this years cycle.

If you are not familiar with Senator Bernie Sanders all that needs to be said is that he is a self admitted Socialist. That does not exactly live up to the New Hampshire state motto. Time to man up next time New Hampshire.

At least with the business mogul Donald Trump you can get behind the free part. He is going to encourage that the government gets out of our way and is going to make American great again!

Beware the newest formulation coming to a state near you. Iowa and New Hampshire are safe for now. Evidently the 2016 version echoes that is it time to retire the New Hampshire state motto!

Book Review: FOXFIRE

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Book Review: FOXFIRE
DJ Cooper “Surviving Dystopia

Foxfire bookI’ve been having guests on the show to talk about their books and have talked about mine but I want to talk about a favorite series of books.  The Fox Fire Books… I currently have volumes 1-6 and every time I open the pages of this wonderful walk into history I am amazed at how it came about and what it really represents.

Foxfire came about as a classroom experiment…Yep, you got it right students did this!

What strikes me right out of the gate is the dedication in the very first volume…

” This book is dedicated to the people of these mountains in the hope

that, through it, some portion of their wisdom, ingenuity and individuality

will remain long after them to touch us all.”

1-27-16 artRayConnorI have often mused on the show about things I learned from my grandmother and mother, how I could sit for hours and listen to the stories that “gramma” would tell and soak up every bit of information she would share and now do the same with my mother and share with my daughter.  It is a great circle of information and too often it is lost.

1-27-16 F1“Daily our grandparents are moving out of our lives, taking with

them, irreparably, the kind of information contained in this book.

They are taking it, not because they want to, but because they think we don’t care.”

-Excerpt from Foxfire I

There are twelve volumes in the Foxfire series of books, and these are actually a compilation of articles that were published in the Foxfire magazine beginning in 1966.  We talk about surviving dystopia on this show and the examples in these books tell of a life that the everyday way of doing things is what we nowadays might consider that “Dystopia.”

1-27-15 IMG_7226This series is close to my heart as in my writing I have a book that is taking forever to compile that is much the same, in this book I seek stories of the past to share with readers the thoughts and ponderings of the elderly.  Seeking to not lose the knowledge of our grandparents and save it for future generations to marvel at, much as I did as a wide eyed girl hanging on Gramma’s every word.

Join me as I share with you some of the favorite parts of this wonderful series that every prepper should have.  In just the first volume alone we talk about Hog dressing, building a log cabin, recipes, home remedies and more.

Get your own copy of the Foxfire books and other great publications HERE!

Join us for Surviving Dystopia “LIVE SHOW” every Wednesday 9:00/Et 8:00Ct 6:00/Pt Go To Listen and Chat

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The Founding of America: What Is The Truth?

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     In yesterday’s post I broached the subject of the founding of this nation and our Christian roots.  Today I will attempt to put forth my personal opinion that, from the beginning, there was a battle between God and the Devil; between Christianity and false gods, for control of the destiny of this nation.

    Before I present my views, I have to admit that I have always unabashedly believed that America was a Christian nation from the beginning.  I can remember studying American history in school and learning how nearly all of the colonies were founded for religious reasons; by people seeking to worship the Christian God without interference from kings or governments.  
     Yet, as I have studied this phenomenon throughout the years, it has not escaped my notice that, at their formation, all of the 13 colonies had some form of state-supported religion, while only 8 of the 13 had an official religion.  If one takes the time to study this deeper, I think it is fair to say that we should understand this to mean that religion played a very important role in the founding of this nation.  Faith in God was seen as a positive and valuable commodity for the foundation of a successful society.  We, of a certain age, remember our history lessons of the Puritans and Pilgrims, who wanted to base the laws of their respective colonies on the laws of God.
     You can study the various charters of the original colonies and get a good idea of how important they felt Christianity was for the future of their citizens.  And the importance of worshipping the Christian God was always at the forefront.  In its Declaration of Rights, the colony of Virginia stated:  “That religion, or the duty which we owe to our Creator and the manner of discharging it, can be directed by reason and conviction, not by force or violence; and therefore, all men are equally entitled to the free exercise of religion, according to the dictates of conscience; and that it is the mutual duty of all to practice Christian forbearance, love, and charity towards each other.”
     The 1683 New York Charter of Liberties and Privileges stated:  “THAT Noe person or persons which professe ffaith in God by Jesus Christ Shall at any time be any wayes molested punished disquieted or called in Question for any Difference in opinion or Matter of Religious Concernment”.  
     The 1776 Delaware State Constitution required the following oath from anyone serving in the legislature:  “I _______, do profess faith in God the Father, and in Jesus Christ His only Son, and in the Holy Ghost, One God, blessed for evermore; and I do acknowledge the holy scriptures of the Old Testament and New Testament to be given by Divine Inspiration.”  I could go and on, but you get the picture.  If you’d like a closer inspection of the original colonies and their charters, click here.  
    But before I leave this portion of my argument, I just want you to see that early colonial laws and constitutions such as the Mayflower Compact, the Fundamental Orders of Connecticut, and the Massachusetts Body of Liberties are filled with such language—and in some cases, they incorporate biblical texts without apology.  Perhaps more surprisingly, tolerant, Quaker Pennsylvania was more similar to Puritan New England than many realize. The Charter of Liberties and Frame of Government of the Province of Pennsylvania (1681) begins by making it clear that God has ordained government, and it even quotes Romans 13 to this effect.  (In all fairness, it is important to note that while the founding documents of each colony point to state-supported religion, the requirement that states support particular religions, or mandate participation in religious practices, was discontinued after 1850.  This does not mean that they opposed religion, but rather left it to the conscience of the individual, instead of being required by law).
     And that old familiar argument that the Founding Fathers were Deists, rather than Christians doesn’t really hold up under closer inspection.  History tells us that only a handful of the Founders —  Benjamin Franklin, Ethan Allen, Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, and (if we count him as an American) Thomas Paine — might have actually embraced this viewpoint.  But one cannot deny that they were heavily influenced by Christian doctrine and ideas.  That is not to discount the influence of the Scottish Enlightenment, which asserted the fundamental importance of human reason combined with a rejection of any authority that could not be justified by reason; or John Locke’s “Natural Rights Philosophy” which stressed the rights of the individual to life, liberty and property.  There is strong evidence that the Founding Father’s were greatly influenced by these philosophies some 150 years after Jamestown and Plymouth.  But there is equally strong evidence that they still believed in Massachusetts Governor John Winthrop’s vision of “a shining city upon a hill” (a reference to Matthew 5:14). Like the Puritans, the Founders separated church and state, but they clearly thought the two institutions should work in tandem to support, protect, and promote true Christianity.
     I understand that if you are not Christian, and do not want to see our country as a “Christian nation”, then nothing I can say will convince you.  And most likely, any mention that there was a competing force for the spiritual allegiance of America will fall on deaf ears, too.  But I would like you to consider the following…
     Is it possible that there is a very real paradox in regards to the founding of this nation?  Is it possible that our Founding Fathers were patriotic Christians while simultaneously pledging Masonic oaths?  It is certainly something that I cannot deny.  In fact, in the late 1950’s and early ‘60’s, the Masonic Service Association published a series of documents highlighting Freemasonry’s connection with the early history of the United States, and these are among the numbers they reported:  
•  Signers of the Declaration of Independence: 8 confirmed Masons, 24 possible, 24 with no affiliation.
•  Signers of the Constitution: 13 confirmed Masons, 7 possible, 19 with no affiliation.
•  General Officers of the Continental Army: 33 confirmed Masons, 15 possible, 26 with no affiliation.
     In a 2012 article, written by Jamie Brendan for Endtime Magazine, titled, Founding Fathers: Christians or Masons … or Both? the author writes, “Not unlike many Masons today, it’s very likely that a number of the founding fathers who were members of the Lodge failed to understand the spiritual significance of Freemasonry – principally that the Lodge is a universal melting pot of religions and mystical concepts. In fact, of all the accusations made against Freemasonry, this is one which the Lodge gladly promotes—religious universalism.”  
     And I contend that it is in fact, this very universalism, that the Bible predicts will overtake mankind as part of the New World Order, and a One World Religion.  Just read what the Masonic Service Association has to say:  “Masonry is not Christian; nor is it Mohammedan nor Jewish nor to be classified by the name of any other sect. The power which has held it together, the chemical which has caused its growth, the central doctrine which makes it unique, is the opportunity it affords men of every faith, happily to kneel together at the same Altar, each in worship of the God he reveres, under the universal name of the Great Architect of the Universe.”
     So, for those who have insisted to me that their fathers and grandfathers were Masons, and it is not a religious organization, but rather just “a union, of sorts; founded on the history of bricklayers, etc.”, I would like to ask the following question:  who are they kneeling to at the Altar?  It certainly is not YHWH, the One True God!  And I do not disagree that those who are at the lower levels of Masonry do not have any idea of the true purpose of the Lodge.  They will consistently proclaim that it is to do charitable work and to provide needed services to the poor.  But believe me, I have read the oaths taken at the highest levels and they are blasphemous to my God!  

      And it does not give me any solace that, as Jamie Brendan writes, “the one place where historical Freemasonry is most evident is in Washington DC.  It’s at this vital governmental hub that Masonry has left an indelible mark on the nation’s fabric. The Capitol Building, the White House, and many other federal buildings were either designed by Masons or dedicated by a Masonic ceremony of “corn, wine, and oil.”  In fact, the entire city of Washington DC – including large sections of its street layout – is liberally laced with the fingerprints of Freemasonry and astrological symbolism.  Moreover, Washington Monument, the tallest structure in the capital city, is an openly recognized Masonic edifice, with a meaning directly connected to ancient Egyptian belief systems [so too are many other obelisks scattered across the United States].”

     I’m sorry that I am unable to explore this paradox to the extent that it deserves… it would take several days of research and posting to do it justice.  But suffice it to say that the paradox is real, and both sides of the argument have merit.  America does have a Christian heritage.  The earliest Americans recognized the importance of Christian morals, church life, and a degree of common sense based on God’s Word [the Ten Commandments, for example].  Also, our history of thousands of immigrants who fled to America because of the persecution they experienced while standing for Christ in their homeland proves that America was a beacon of Christian hope.  And I do not think we can deny that there were real, faithful men of Christ among those who forged our new nation.  
     But it is not the whole story.  While the founding of America was based on Christian values, we also must admit that America has been guided by men who belonged to secret societies (not only the Masons, but the more modern Skull and Bones Society, comes to mind).  We need to realize that America, along with Europe is experiencing a clash of our historic roots; that is what we are seeing today.  We Christians need to stop focusing on the past and denying that our influences have changed, and that outside forces are attempting to transform us.  As much as it hurts me to say this, we need to face who we are becoming as a nation.  We Christians have no intention of changing, but there are those spiritual forces who are combining with those who embrace secret societies in order to force us to change.  Yes, I am still prepared to say that we were founded as a Christian nation… As I said yesterday, God intended for this nation to be dedicated to Him — but the devil was not going to let that happen, if he could help it.  As noted above, freemasons had influence on our Declaration of Independence and our Constitution.  
      The truth is, there has been a battle over America since its founding.  Our Christian roots are real and they are solid.  We are the heirs of our forefather’s commitment and obedience to Jehovah.  But we need to realize that there is a battle for the soul and spirit of America, and the Enemy’s forces have been organizing and following their plan for nearly 240 years.  We need to get on board with God’s battle plan if we are to save this nation.  Our Founding is in the past.  We need to let go of the romantic vision and come together to defeat the Enemy.  His forces are marching toward globalism, ecumenicalism, and his New World Order.  Maybe we need to concentrate less on preserving the sentimental image of the United States of America, and join forces with the angelic hosts to bring in the Kingdom of God.

Job 12:23-24    He makes nations great, and He destroys them; He enlarges nations [and then straightens and shrinks them again], and leads them [away captive].  He takes away understanding from the leaders of the people of the land and of the earth, and causes them to wander in a wilderness where there is no path.

Anti-Federalist Paper 1: General Introduction

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The Anti-Federalist Papers is the name given to the collective writings and speeches of over 50 Americans who opposed, or were critical of, the proposed new United States Constitution, for various reasons, during the ratification process from 1787 to 1789. Most of the essays were written under pseudonyms. 

Unlike the Federalist Papers (which had only three authors coordinating their efforts), the anti-federalist papers were not an organized effort. Scholars do not all agree on any one list of papers or authors.

Anti-Federalist No. 1

General Introduction: A Dangerous Plan of Benefit Only to The “Aristocratick Combination.”

I am pleased to see a spirit of inquiry burst the band of constraint upon the subject of the NEW PLAN for consolidating the governments of the United States, as recommended by the late Convention. If it is suitable to the GENIUS and HABITS of the citizens of these states, it will bear the strictest scrutiny. The PEOPLE are the grand inquest who have a RIGHT to judge of its merits.

The hideous daemon of Aristocracy has hitherto had so much influence as to bar the channels of investigation, preclude the people from inquiry and extinguish every spark of liberal information of its qualities. At length the luminary of intelligence begins to beam its effulgent rays upon this important production; the deceptive mists cast before the eyes of the people by the delusive machinations of its INTERESTED advocates begins to dissipate, as darkness flies before the burning taper; and I dare venture to predict, that in spite of those mercenary dectaimers, the plan will have a candid and complete examination.

Those furious zealots who are for cramming it down the throats of the people, without allowing them either time or opportunity to scan or weigh it in the balance of their understandings, bear the same marks in their features as those who have been long wishing to erect an aristocracy in THIS COMMONWEALTH [of Massachusetts]. Their menacing cry is for a RIGID government, it matters little to them of what kind, provided it answers THAT description. As the plan now offered comes something near their wishes, and is the most consonant to their views of any they can hope for, they come boldly forward and DEMAND its adoption.

They brand with infamy every man who is not as determined and zealous in its favor as themselves. They cry aloud the whole must be swallowed or none at all, thinking thereby to preclude any amendment; they are afraid of having it abated of its present RIGID aspect. They have strived to overawe or seduce printers to stifle and obstruct a free discussion, and have endeavored to hasten it to a decision before the people can duty reflect upon its properties. In order to deceive them, they incessantly declare that none can discover any defect in the system but bankrupts who wish no government, and officers of the present government who fear to lose a part of their power. These zealous partisans may injure their own cause, and endanger the public tranquility by impeding a proper inquiry; the people may suspect the WHOLE to be a dangerous plan, from such COVERED and DESIGNING schemes to enforce it upon them.

Compulsive or treacherous measures to establish any government whatever, will always excite jealousy among a free people: better remain single and alone, than blindly adopt whatever a few individuals shall demand, be they ever so wise. I had rather be a free citizen of the small republic of Massachusetts, than an oppressed subject of the great American empire. Let all act understandingly or not at all. If we can confederate upon terms that wilt secure to us our liberties, it is an object highly desirable, because of its additional security to the whole. If the proposed plan proves such an one, I hope it will be adopted, but if it will endanger our liberties as it stands, let it be amended; in order to which it must and ought to be open to inspection and free inquiry.

The inundation of abuse that has been thrown out upon the heads of those who have had any doubts of its universal good qualities, have been so redundant, that it may not be improper to scan the characters of its most strenuous advocates. It will first be allowed that many undesigning citizens may wish its adoption from the best motives, but these are modest and silent, when compared to the greater number, who endeavor to suppress all attempts for investigation. These violent partisans are for having the people gulp down the gilded pill blindfolded, whole, and without any qualification whatever.

These consist generally, of the NOBLE order of C[incinnatu]s, holders of public securities, men of great wealth and expectations of public office, Bankers and Lawyers: these with their train of dependents form the Aristocratick combination. The Lawyers in particular, keep up an incessant declamation for its adoption; like greedy gudgeons they long to satiate their voracious stomachs with the golden bait. The numerous tribunals to be erected by the new plan of consolidated empire, will find employment for ten times their present numbers; these are the LOAVES AND FISHES for which they hunger. They will probably find it suited to THEIR HABITS, if not to the HABITS OF THE PEOPLE. There may be reasons for having but few of them in the State Convention, lest THEIR OWN INTEREST should be too strongly considered. The time draws near for the choice of Delegates. I hope my fellow-citizens will look well to the characters of their preference, and remember the Old Patriots of 75; they have never led them astray, nor need they fear to try them on this momentous occasion.

A FEDERALIST

Federalist 3: Concerning Dangers from Foreign Force and Influence (continued)

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The following is the text of the third Federalist paper, published on November 3, 1787, under the name Publius (the pseudonym used by Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and John Jay). Federalist 3 was written by John Jay. In this essay, Jay continues to argue in favor of uniting the states under one national government, rather than remaining completely separate and independent states, as a union would better protect the states from foreign influence and meddling.  

Federalist No. 3

The Same Subject Continued (Concerning Dangers From Foreign Force and Influence)

To the People of the State of New York:

IT IS not a new observation that the people of any country (if, like the Americans, intelligent and wellinformed) seldom adopt and steadily persevere for many years in an erroneous opinion respecting their interests. That consideration naturally tends to create great respect for the high opinion which the people of America have so long and uniformly entertained of the importance of their continuing firmly united under one federal government, vested with sufficient powers for all general and national purposes.

The more attentively I consider and investigate the reasons which appear to have given birth to this opinion, the more I become convinced that they are cogent and conclusive.

Among the many objects to which a wise and free people find it necessary to direct their attention, that of providing for their SAFETY seems to be the first. The SAFETY of the people doubtless has relation to a great variety of circumstances and considerations, and consequently affords great latitude to those who wish to define it precisely and comprehensively.

At present I mean only to consider it as it respects security for the preservation of peace and tranquillity, as well as against dangers from FOREIGN ARMS AND INFLUENCE, as from dangers of the LIKE KIND arising from domestic causes. As the former of these comes first in order, it is proper it should be the first discussed. Let us therefore proceed to examine whether the people are not right in their opinion that a cordial Union, under an efficient national government, affords them the best security that can be devised against HOSTILITIES from abroad.

The number of wars which have happened or will happen in the world will always be found to be in proportion to the number and weight of the causes, whether REAL or PRETENDED, which PROVOKE or INVITE them. If this remark be just, it becomes useful to inquire whether so many JUST causes of war are likely to be given by UNITED AMERICA as by DISUNITED America; for if it should turn out that United America will probably give the fewest, then it will follow that in this respect the Union tends most to preserve the people in a state of peace with other nations.

The JUST causes of war, for the most part, arise either from violation of treaties or from direct violence. America has already formed treaties with no less than six foreign nations, and all of them, except Prussia, are maritime, and therefore able to annoy and injure us. She has also extensive commerce with Portugal, Spain, and Britain, and, with respect to the two latter, has, in addition, the circumstance of neighborhood to attend to.

It is of high importance to the peace of America that she observe the laws of nations towards all these powers, and to me it appears evident that this will be more perfectly and punctually done by one national government than it could be either by thirteen separate States or by three or four distinct confederacies.

Because when once an efficient national government is established, the best men in the country will not only consent to serve, but also will generally be appointed to manage it; for, although town or country, or other contracted influence, may place men in State assemblies, or senates, or courts of justice, or executive departments, yet more general and extensive reputation for talents and other qualifications will be necessary to recommend men to offices under the national government,–especially as it will have the widest field for choice, and never experience that want of proper persons which is not uncommon in some of the States. Hence, it will result that the administration, the political counsels, and the judicial decisions of the national government will be more wise, systematical, and judicious than those of individual States, and consequently more satisfactory with respect to other nations, as well as more SAFE with respect to us.

Because, under the national government, treaties and articles of treaties, as well as the laws of nations, will always be expounded in one sense and executed in the same manner,–whereas, adjudications on the same points and questions, in thirteen States, or in three or four confederacies, will not always accord or be consistent; and that, as well from the variety of independent courts and judges appointed by different and independent governments, as from the different local laws and interests which may affect and influence them. The wisdom of the convention, in committing such questions to the jurisdiction and judgment of courts appointed by and responsible only to one national government, cannot be too much commended.

Because the prospect of present loss or advantage may often tempt the governing party in one or two States to swerve from good faith and justice; but those temptations, not reaching the other States, and consequently having little or no influence on the national government, the temptation will be fruitless, and good faith and justice be preserved. The case of the treaty of peace with Britain adds great weight to this reasoning.

Because, even if the governing party in a State should be disposed to resist such temptations, yet as such temptations may, and commonly do, result from circumstances peculiar to the State, and may affect a great number of the inhabitants, the governing party may not always be able, if willing, to prevent the injustice meditated, or to punish the aggressors. But the national government, not being affected by those local circumstances, will neither be induced to commit the wrong themselves, nor want power or inclination to prevent or punish its commission by others.

So far, therefore, as either designed or accidental violations of treaties and the laws of nations afford JUST causes of war, they are less to be apprehended under one general government than under several lesser ones, and in that respect the former most favors the SAFETY of the people.

As to those just causes of war which proceed from direct and unlawful violence, it appears equally clear to me that one good national government affords vastly more security against dangers of that sort than can be derived from any other quarter.

Because such violences are more frequently caused by the passions and interests of a part than of the whole; of one or two States than of the Union. Not a single Indian war has yet been occasioned by aggressions of the present federal government, feeble as it is; but there are several instances of Indian hostilities having been provoked by the improper conduct of individual States, who, either unable or unwilling to restrain or punish offenses, have given occasion to the slaughter of many innocent inhabitants.

The neighborhood of Spanish and British territories, bordering on some States and not on others, naturally confines the causes of quarrel more immediately to the borderers. The bordering States, if any, will be those who, under the impulse of sudden irritation, and a quick sense of apparent interest or injury, will be most likely, by direct violence, to excite war with these nations; and nothing can so effectually obviate that danger as a national government, whose wisdom and prudence will not be diminished by the passions which actuate the parties immediately interested.

But not only fewer just causes of war will be given by the national government, but it will also be more in their power to accommodate and settle them amicably. They will be more temperate and cool, and in that respect, as well as in others, will be more in capacity to act advisedly than the offending State. The pride of states, as well as of men, naturally disposes them to justify all their actions, and opposes their acknowledging, correcting, or repairing their errors and offenses. The national government, in such cases, will not be affected by this pride, but will proceed with moderation and candor to consider and decide on the means most proper to extricate them from the difficulties which threaten them.

Besides, it is well known that acknowledgments, explanations, and compensations are often accepted as satisfactory from a strong united nation, which would be rejected as unsatisfactory if offered by a State or confederacy of little consideration or power.

In the year 1685, the state of Genoa having offended Louis XIV., endeavored to appease him. He demanded that they should send their Doge, or chief magistrate, accompanied by four of their senators, to FRANCE, to ask his pardon and receive his terms. They were obliged to submit to it for the sake of peace. Would he on any occasion either have demanded or have received the like humiliation from Spain, or Britain, or any other POWERFUL nation?

PUBLIUS

Dean Alfange’s “An American’s Creed”

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[Not to be confused with The American’s Creed, by William Tyler Page.]

Dean Alfange (1897-1989) was an American politician who never won elective office, losing elections for both the House of Representatives and Governor of New York. However, Alfange held numerous appointed positions during his career. He is best known for his statement known as “An American’s Creed” which stressed the importance self-reliance and individual & economic freedoms to the American spirit. Alfange won an award from The Freedoms Foundation at Valley Forge, in 1952, for his creed.

This creed is often misattributed to Thomas Paine, from his pamphlet “Common Sense,” and is wrongly called the “Entrepreneur’s Creed.” It does not appear in Common Sense. Thomas Paine did not write it, nor did Paine write anything called the Entrepreneur’s Creed.

An American’s Creed

“I do not choose to be a common man. It is my right to be uncommon—if I can. I seek opportunity—not security. I do not wish to be a kept citizen, humbled and dulled by having the state look after me. I want to take the calculated risk; to dream and to build, to fail and to succeed. I refuse to barter incentive for a dole. I prefer the challenges of life to the guaranteed existence; the thrill of fulfillment to the stale calm of utopia. I will not trade freedom for beneficence nor my dignity for a handout. I will never cower before any master nor bend to any threat. It is my heritage to stand erect, proud and unafraid; to think and act for myself, enjoy the benefit of my creations, and to face the world boldly and say, this I have done. All this is what it means to be an American.” –Dean Alfange, 1952

Federalist 2: Concerning Dangers from Foreign Force and Influence

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The following is the text of the second Federalist paper, published on October 31, 1787, under the name Publius (the pseudonym used by Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and John Jay). Federalist 2 was written by John Jay. In this essay, Jay argues in favor of uniting the states under one national government, rather than remaining completely separate and independent states. 

Federalist No. 2

Concerning Dangers from Foreign Force and Influence

To the People of the State of New York:

WHEN the people of America reflect that they are now called upon to decide a question, which, in its consequences, must prove one of the most important that ever engaged their attention, the propriety of their taking a very comprehensive, as well as a very serious, view of it, will be evident.

Nothing is more certain than the indispensable necessity of government, and it is equally undeniable, that whenever and however it is instituted, the people must cede to it some of their natural rights in order to vest it with requisite powers. It is well worthy of consideration therefore, whether it would conduce more to the interest of the people of America that they should, to all general purposes, be one nation, under one federal government, or that they should divide themselves into separate confederacies, and give to the head of each the same kind of powers which they are advised to place in one national government.

It has until lately been a received and uncontradicted opinion that the prosperity of the people of America depended on their continuing firmly united, and the wishes, prayers, and efforts of our best and wisest citizens have been constantly directed to that object. But politicians now appear, who insist that this opinion is erroneous, and that instead of looking for safety and happiness in union, we ought to seek it in a division of the States into distinct confederacies or sovereignties. However extraordinary this new doctrine may appear, it nevertheless has its advocates; and certain characters who were much opposed to it formerly, are at present of the number. Whatever may be the arguments or inducements which have wrought this change in the sentiments and declarations of these gentlemen, it certainly would not be wise in the people at large to adopt these new political tenets without being fully convinced that they are founded in truth and sound policy.

It has often given me pleasure to observe that independent America was not composed of detached and distant territories, but that one connected, fertile, wide-spreading country was the portion of our western sons of liberty. Providence has in a particular manner blessed it with a variety of soils and productions, and watered it with innumerable streams, for the delight and accommodation of its inhabitants. A succession of navigable waters forms a kind of chain round its borders, as if to bind it together; while the most noble rivers in the world, running at convenient distances, present them with highways for the easy communication of friendly aids, and the mutual transportation and exchange of their various commodities.

With equal pleasure I have as often taken notice that Providence has been pleased to give this one connected country to one united people–a people descended from the same ancestors, speaking the same language, professing the same religion, attached to the same principles of government, very similar in their manners and customs, and who, by their joint counsels, arms, and efforts, fighting side by side throughout a long and bloody war, have nobly established general liberty and independence.

This country and this people seem to have been made for each other, and it appears as if it was the design of Providence, that an inheritance so proper and convenient for a band of brethren, united to each other by the strongest ties, should never be split into a number of unsocial, jealous, and alien sovereignties.

Similar sentiments have hitherto prevailed among all orders and denominations of men among us. To all general purposes we have uniformly been one people each individual citizen everywhere enjoying the same national rights, privileges, and protection. As a nation we have made peace and war; as a nation we have vanquished our common enemies; as a nation we have formed alliances, and made treaties, and entered into various compacts and conventions with foreign states.

A strong sense of the value and blessings of union induced the people, at a very early period, to institute a federal government to preserve and perpetuate it. They formed it almost as soon as they had a political existence; nay, at a time when their habitations were in flames, when many of their citizens were bleeding, and when the progress of hostility and desolation left little room for those calm and mature inquiries and reflections which must ever precede the formation of a wise and well-balanced government for a free people. It is not to be wondered at, that a government instituted in times so inauspicious, should on experiment be found greatly deficient and inadequate to the purpose it was intended to answer.

This intelligent people perceived and regretted these defects. Still continuing no less attached to union than enamored of liberty, they observed the danger which immediately threatened the former and more remotely the latter; and being persuaded that ample security for both could only be found in a national government more wisely framed, they as with one voice, convened the late convention at Philadelphia, to take that important subject under consideration.

This convention composed of men who possessed the confidence of the people, and many of whom had become highly distinguished by their patriotism, virtue and wisdom, in times which tried the minds and hearts of men, undertook the arduous task. In the mild season of peace, with minds unoccupied by other subjects, they passed many months in cool, uninterrupted, and daily consultation; and finally, without having been awed by power, or influenced by any passions except love for their country, they presented and recommended to the people the plan produced by their joint and very unanimous councils.

Admit, for so is the fact, that this plan is only RECOMMENDED, not imposed, yet let it be remembered that it is neither recommended to BLIND approbation, nor to BLIND reprobation; but to that sedate and candid consideration which the magnitude and importance of the subject demand, and which it certainly ought to receive. But this (as was remarked in the foregoing number of this paper) is more to be wished than expected, that it may be so considered and examined. Experience on a former occasion teaches us not to be too sanguine in such hopes. It is not yet forgotten that well-grounded apprehensions of imminent danger induced the people of America to form the memorable Congress of 1774. That body recommended certain measures to their constituents, and the event proved their wisdom; yet it is fresh in our memories how soon the press began to teem with pamphlets and weekly papers against those very measures. Not only many of the officers of government, who obeyed the dictates of personal interest, but others, from a mistaken estimate of consequences, or the undue influence of former attachments, or whose ambition aimed at objects which did not correspond with the public good, were indefatigable in their efforts to persuade the people to reject the advice of that patriotic Congress. Many, indeed, were deceived and deluded, but the great majority of the people reasoned and decided judiciously; and happy they are in reflecting that they did so.

They considered that the Congress was composed of many wise and experienced men. That, being convened from different parts of the country, they brought with them and communicated to each other a variety of useful information. That, in the course of the time they passed together in inquiring into and discussing the true interests of their country, they must have acquired very accurate knowledge on that head. That they were individually interested in the public liberty and prosperity, and therefore that it was not less their inclination than their duty to recommend only such measures as, after the most mature deliberation, they really thought prudent and advisable.

These and similar considerations then induced the people to rely greatly on the judgment and integrity of the Congress; and they took their advice, notwithstanding the various arts and endeavors used to deter them from it. But if the people at large had reason to confide in the men of that Congress, few of whom had been fully tried or generally known, still greater reason have they now to respect the judgment and advice of the convention, for it is well known that some of the most distinguished members of that Congress, who have been since tried and justly approved for patriotism and abilities, and who have grown old in acquiring political information, were also members of this convention, and carried into it their accumulated knowledge and experience.

It is worthy of remark that not only the first, but every succeeding Congress, as well as the late convention, have invariably joined with the people in thinking that the prosperity of America depended on its Union. To preserve and perpetuate it was the great object of the people in forming that convention, and it is also the great object of the plan which the convention has advised them to adopt. With what propriety, therefore, or for what good purposes, are attempts at this particular period made by some men to depreciate the importance of the Union? Or why is it suggested that three or four confederacies would be better than one? I am persuaded in my own mind that the people have always thought right on this subject, and that their universal and uniform attachment to the cause of the Union rests on great and weighty reasons, which I shall endeavor to develop and explain in some ensuing papers. They who promote the idea of substituting a number of distinct confederacies in the room of the plan of the convention, seem clearly to foresee that the rejection of it would put the continuance of the Union in the utmost jeopardy. That certainly would be the case, and I sincerely wish that it may be as clearly foreseen by every good citizen, that whenever the dissolution of the Union arrives, America will have reason to exclaim, in the words of the poet: “FAREWELL! A LONG FAREWELL TO ALL MY GREATNESS.”

PUBLIUS

Crossbow… The Bow Pt 3

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Crossbow… The Bow Part 3
Highlander “Survival & Tech Preps

crossbow 617r0Ss08rL._SL1181_In the past couple of shows I talked about the long bow, the recurve bow, and the compound bow, and touched on the cross bow, this episode will be all about the crossbow, whether it is a formidable weapon in today’s standards, or is it a toy?

I will talk about the history of the crossbow, the types that existed in the past and modern day, and the uses for modern day crossbows. We will look at the power they produce, and whether or not we should be prepping them. Who in the world still uses them (you will be surprised).

12-14-15 51-XmId2P2L._AC_UL115_What kind of crossbow should you look for and what kind should you stay away from, along with the maintenance and care will be discussed. We will also take a look at the various style of bolts (arrows) used in them, and what you should get. From my preps I’ll talk about what I personally use and what I prep for using them, how I maintain my own, and how I practice.

We will also go over the rules and regulations in various states and the pricing of the bows. I will go over the age group and the ability for those that cannot pull the bow back and a resolution to fix this. I will talk about the modern day advancements, materials and which you should have.

Practice makes perfect, how to shoot, and the learning curve are important to know and will keep you on track not wanting to give up. How about the optics needed and where to find them, locally, and on the internet? We will go over that and the parts of the bow itself. What makes a crossbow a crossbow and not a standard bow? The differences and similarities between the two. All this and more.

Join us for Survival & Tech Preps “LIVE SHOW” every Monday 9:00/Et 8:00Ct 6:00/Pt Go To Listen and Chat

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Pearl Harbor Day

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It’s Pearl Harbor Day.  A day that should remind everyone that the sneak attacks that mess up your life can happen anytime…and from any source.

The day after Pearl Harbor was attacked, this nation set itself onto a war footing. This would lead to rationing, scrap drives, concentration camps for certain ethnic/racial groups, Victory gardens, shortages of staples like rubber, butter, meat, fuel, etc. In short, you went to bed on December 6 in a world that you were familiar with and one week later you were knee-deep in one of the 20th century’s most defining events.

The lesson? “It” can happen anytime. It can be Japanese torpedo bombers, a pink slip from your boss, a spot on your chest x-ray, a process server on your doorstep, that little stick turning blue, or a sudden sharp pain in your chest. The Pearl Harbor that catches you off guard and forever changes your life can look like a lot of different things. Might be a good idea to have some of your ducks in a row so that when it does happen (And it will, be assured) you’re not down for the count with just one punch.

Of course, if you are prepared, you can sometimes give back as good as you got…and then some.

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The Legacy of Pearl Harbor

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     Seventy-four years ago this morning, at 7:55 a.m., the first modern attack against our nation took place.  As President Franklin Delano Roosevelt said, the Japanese attack on the naval base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii would “live in infamy.”  There are very few survivors left, but their memories of that frightening day are being kept alive by their children; themselves on the far side of middle age.  “What happened was so unfathomable — and not to downplay anything that goes on today — but can you imagine seeing the pilots’ eyes and everyone running around to grab their rifles, man their guns and fight back?” said James Laud Sr., Indiana chairman of the Sons and Daughters of Pearl Harbor Survivors.

      That attack resulted in 2,400 deaths and 1,000 wounded at the Hawaii base, and pushed the United States into World War II.  The survivors of the local Indiana chapter have all died, said Laud, but they have left it to their children to carry forward their message of “Remember Pearl Harbor — Keep America Alert.”  That was the legacy that they wanted to leave their children and succeeding generations — so that this nation would never again be caught unawares of an impending attack, or suffer such devastating losses.
     We were able to do that for almost 60 years — until September 11, 2001.  That was 14 years ago, and the number of Pearl Harbor survivors was far greater than it is today.  In fact, my father, a WW11 veteran was 76 years old on 9/11 and I know how that horrific day affected him.  But for those who actually experienced the sight of the red circles (on the Japanese planes) and the dropping of bombs, it was a particularly distressing day.
     One of the youngest survivors of the attack, Machinist Mate 2nd Class Raymond Joseph Crane, enlisted in the Navy at the age of 15, after convincing his mother to sign his enlistment papers.  The dentist who examined him saw he didn’t even have his molars yet!
     Crane was stationed aboard the USS Maryland, and although the ship was present on Battleship Row that fateful day, it was only slightly damaged by the Japanese bombs, and Crane came home to the heartland to live his life and raise a family.  However, his daughter reports that he had a strong reaction to the attacks on 9/11.  “First of all, dad couldn’t believe it happened. He couldn’t believe the country failed to be on alert. He was very disturbed somebody was able to invade our country that way.”
     That became the central focus of the Pearl Harbor survivors, and now their children… to keep this nation alert and vigilant.  Both Pearl Harbor and 9/11 have defined us as a nation.  Both were unwarranted and surprise attacks that devastated our country and set us on the path to war.  And in both these acts of aggression, the primary goal was expansion …. for Japan, expansion of their imperial empire; for al Qaeda, an expansion of their holy war against those they saw as supporting attacks against Muslims. In the ensuing 14 years, that goal has grown to incorporate various jihadi groups across the globe; all intent on subjugating the infidels.  In recent weeks and days, we have seen increasingly brazen attacks across Europe, and now on our West Coast (although I will maintain that the attack on Fort Hood, the Washington Navy Yard shooting, the Boston Marathon bombing, and many others all fall under this heading).
     From December 7, 1941 to December 2, 2015 all of our enemies have had one thing in common… the determination to weaken the resolve and the will of the American People.  It didn’t happen.  We answered the call in 1941, and again after 9/11.  Sadly, like the Pearl Harbor survivors, I am concerned that efforts have been made to downplay those aspirations and lull us into passivity — if not outright denial — that we face a real enemy.
     Seventy-four years ago, the patriots of this nation rose to the occasion and swore that they would educate succeeding generations to stay watchful and observant; to quickly notice potentially dangerous circumstances.  Now, we are being told that we are reactionaries, racists, or bigots; that we must be tolerant and accepting of foreign ideologies.  It’s time to resist the false narrative and to be honest and unwavering in our vigilance.  It’s time to reclaim our heritage.  And it’s time to honor the legacy of those brave Pearl Harbor survivors.  May God bless their service to our nation!

1 Corinthians 16:13    “Be on the alert, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong.”
   
   

65 Pieces of Survival Wisdom From the Great Depression

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survival wisdom great depression

It was the best of times, it was the very worst of times. America’s Great Depression of the 1930s was a time of starvation and subsistence survival for many families. Decades later, many survivors of those years hold on to the survival lessons they learned, from hoarding pieces of aluminum foil to eating lettuce leaves with a sprinkle of sugar. Frugality meant survival.

Today, most of us aren’t living quite the same bare-bones lifestyle of the Great Depression, and photos from that era are difficult to comprehend. In a photo from my own great-grandparents, I see a family group wearing tattered clothing, standing on the porch of a dwelling that can hardly be considered something as sturdy as a house.

Yet, those people went on to ultimately live productive lives with an inner strength gained from having lived through the worst.

Survival wisdom, Great Depression

I spent some time earlier this year researching the Great Depression years and was most interested in even the smallest life lessons to be gained from those “worst hard times.” Here are 65 of them.

  1. Families traveled to wherever the work happened to be. They stuck together as much as possible.
  2. Life insurance policies were cashed in to try and survive for just a few months longer in their “normal” worlds.
  3. If possible, homes were very often refinanced in an effort to save the family residence.
  4. Clothing had to last as long as possible and women (mostly) became expert seamstresses, especially at alterations. One creative woman used the fabric from the inside of a casket to sew beautiful holiday dresses for her children.
  5. In areas of the Dust Bowl, cattle were fed tumbleweed and moms learned how to can tumbleweed to feed their families. Some had to find food wherever possible to keep from starving.
  6. During heat waves, people slept on their lawns or in parks.
  7. Many stores allowed people to buy on credit and they just kept track of what was owed. Sometimes they were repaid, sometimes not. Some store owners ultimately lost their businesses.
  8. It wasn’t unusual for people to live out of their cars and trucks.
  9. When there was no cash, payment was made with eggs, fresh milk, or produce.
  10. A family with a cow and a garden was considered “rich”. Those two advantages alone meant the difference between a well-fed family and one that was near starvation.
  11. Many Americans were too proud to accept charity or government help.
  12. It was important to maintain appearances. Individuals still had a lot of pride, regardless of their circumstances. Mothers still wanted their children to look their very best.
  13. When the soles of shoes were worn through, pieces of rubber tires were used as replacements.
  14. Thousands and thousands of entire families were displaced. Very often, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins ended up living in one house, or one vehicle, as the case may be.
  15. Desperate people would sometimes beg outside of restaurants, and yes, there were those who could still afford a restaurant meal.
  16. Many kindhearted farmers kept workers on payroll as long as they possibly could, even if meant paying them with produce.
  17. Some families ended up living in tents or lean-to’s.
  18. Many became migrant farm workers, traveling from harvest to harvest in order to stay alive.
  19. Anything that could be freely collected and sold, was. Driftwood was collected, split and sold as firewood.
  20. Many men joined one of the government programs that were part of the New Deal. One group, the Civil Conservation Corps, built dams, roads, campgrounds, and were trained in fire fighting in national forests.
  21. Banks closed quickly and without giving any notice. You never knew ahead of time when your own bank would close its doors.
  22. Back in those days, banks were revered. It never occurred to anyone that a bank could close and their money would be gone forever.
  23. Most people were willing to do any type of work. My own relatives became moonshiners!
  24. Just about everyone had a garden and most gardens were enormous. Since 20% of the population still lived on farms, even those in cities still had country roots and gardening know-how.
  25. Neighbors and family members were supportive of each other, donating meals and money whenever possible.
  26. Missions were there to feed people but many of those missions eventually ran out of money.
  27. All food was made from scratch.
  28. To what extent any individual or family was affected by the Great Depression depended on large part where they lived. Not all areas were affected in the same way.
  29. Hunting and fishing were major ways in which families were fed.
  30. Everyone, including the kids, found ways to earn money. There was a team mentality that brought everyone together for a common goal.
  31. Unfortunately, loss of income wasn’t a good enough excuse to not pay rent or the mortgage, although some landlords, in particular, were willing to extend credit.
  32. There was virtually no sense of entitlement. Everyone knew they would only survive if they worked hard to do so.
  33. At this time there was no such thing as “retirement”. Everyone worked until they became physically unable to continue.
  34. Some towns had “welfare budgets”. Money was loaned from the town to individuals, but there was a strict keeping of books. Some towns even published in their newspapers how much each person owed and repayment was expected.
  35. There was a sense of dignity in even the lowliest of jobs. One woman tells the story of a notions salesman who visited their home every few months. He looked very dapper and wore expensive looking clothing, even as a door to door salesman.
  36. The Great Depression affected people in all walks of life. Only the most elite were immune from its effects.
  37. When banks closed, you were left with, literally, only the cash in your pockets or hidden away at home. Everything else was GONE.
  38. Many discovered strength through optimism and looked at their disadvantages as personal challenges that could be overcome with ingenuity and hard work.
  39. Foods that would normally have not been eaten became commonplace at the kitchen table, such as bean sandwiches and codfish gravy.
  40. Many mothers learned to “not be hungry” as they gave larger portions to their husbands and kids.
  41. Food prices at that time were fairly high when compared with wages. For example, a general laborer made $2 per day. The WPA paid $1 per day. But bread was 10 cents a loaf, milk 8 cents a quart, and eggs 7 cents/dozen.
  42. Meals were simpler than those we eat today and, therefore, cheaper. There were virtually no prepared foods at grocery stores.
  43. Families learned to shop at the very last minute on a Saturday night to get bargains on fresh produce that would go bad over the weekend. (Stores were closed on Sundays.)
  44. Learning how to forage and find edible plants helped many families fill their dinner plates. Things like nuts and wild asparagus were treats and often entire families would grab a pile of gunny sacks and head to the good foraging areas for the day.
  45. Housewives were judged by how many jars she had “put up” during harvest season. Women would show off their full pantries with pride.
  46. To add different types of food to their meals, families swapped produce with each other.
  47. The seasons determined what you ate.
  48. For many, there was no electricity or a refrigerator, so you just cooked only what could be eaten at that one meal.
  49. In some communities, there were group gardens on empty lots. Everyone had their own small plot and could grow whatever they wanted.
  50. Many worked multiple part-time jobs, waking up before dawn and falling asleep long after dark.
  51. Those with just a little bit more than others found odd jobs around their homes or property to provide employment to others.
  52. “Depression Soup” was a real thing! It contained anything and everything you might have in the kitchen or was donated by others. To this day, some say it was the best soup they ever tasted.
  53. Some enterprising women would wake in the early morning hours and prepare dozens of meals to sell to workers from their vehicles.
  54. Fabric feed sacks were recycled and became “feed sack dresses.” For some, it was an embarrassment, an obvious sign of poverty, but others wore them with pride. A family with many chickens, and therefore plenty of feed sacks, might be the best dressed in the neighborhood!
  55. Hanging wet sheets over doorways was a way to cool down a room or house during the summer. Hot air was slightly cooled as it passed through the wet fabric.
  56. Walls were covered with everything from mud/clay, scrap pieces of wallpaper, newspapers, and tar paper.
  57. Homemakers still took pride in their homes, keeping them as clean as possible, even those who lived in areas affected by the Dust Bowl. One mom made a couch from old bedsprings and stuffed homemade cushions with unginned cotton.
  58. Many spent their days walking the streets looking for work, anything at all that could bring in a few dollars or cents for their families. Often a “job” was just an individual task, payment was made when the task was completed, and the worker went on to look for the next job.
  59. Some communities organized “surprise parties”, in which everyone would pull together a large amount of food and other necessities, including cash. One by one, each family was selected to be the recipient of the surprise party.
  60. People were grateful. Grateful for any kindness, any blessing. That attitude carried many of them through the Great Depression years and they now look back on them with fondness.
  61. A jack-of-all-trades could often find work when others couldn’t. It paid to know a bit about plumbing, carpentry, painting, and home repairs.
  62. The hardened end of a slab of bacon was sold for almost nothing and could be used to season just about everything in the kitchen!
  63. There actually were government inspectors of different types during the Great Depression years. They had the authority to shut down many different types of home businesses. Some did, some didn’t.
  64. The Sears Roebuck catalog was truly the book of dreams for many people — not just kids!
  65. Stories from the Great Depression years are filled with incidents that illustrate one act of kindness after another. In spite of incredible hardships, people could still find ways to encourage others with words of blessing or unexpected help.

More wisdom and advice from the Great Depression years

survival wisdom great depression

Real History Book List

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History, more than any other subset – with the possible exception of economics – has been so purposely watered-down by political correctness and corrupted by leftist ideology. Real History is no longer taught in schools. Yet, a correct and accurate understanding of history is essential. Here is a list of books that do teach Real History, without leftist ideology or political correctness.

A Patriot’s History of the United States – Over the past decade, A Patriot’s History of the United States has become the definitive conservative history of our country, correcting the biases of historians and other intellectuals who downplay the greatness of America’s patriots. Professors Schweikart and Allen have now revised, updated, and expanded their book, which covers America’s long history with an appreciation for the values that made this nation uniquely successful.

The Patriot’s History Reader: Essential Documents for Every American – The Patriot’s History Reader goes back to the original sources-the documents, speeches, and legal decisions that shaped our country into what it is today. The authors explore both oft-cited documents-the Declaration of Independence, Emancipation Proclamation, and Roe v. Wade–as well as those that are less famous. Among these are George Washington’s letter to Alexander Hamilton, which essentially outline America’s military strategy for the next 150 years, and Herbert Hoover’s speech on business ethics, which examines the government’s role in regulating private enterprise.

I’ve been looking for a good, accurate history of the Crusades for a long time. I wanted a book that gives the #RealHistory of the Crusades, not tainted leftist historical revisionism. It hasn’t been an easy task, but in Dr. Thomas Madden’s book, A Concise History of the Crusades, I finally found such a book. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED for those folks who want to understand the reality of the Crusades without the anti-Western, anti-Christian bias that marks much of the academic world over the last 50+ years. Dr. Thomas F. Madden is Professor of History and Director of the Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies at Saint Louis University.

Our Constitution ROCKS! & Our Presidents ROCK! are excellent for middle school & high school ages, but even adults will learn from them. I’ve written full reviews of both, which you can find by clicking the titles above, or click the pictures to go straight to their pages on Amazon.

America, The Last Best Hope (V. 1 – From the Age of Discovery to a World at War and V. II – From a World at War to the Triumph of Freedom) is a two-volume history of America by Dr. William J. Bennett, who writes patriotic history that reflects his deep respect for America’s traditions and founding values. Intended as American history text books for private high schools & homeschools.


The Path to Tyranny: A History of Free Society’s Descent into Tyranny by Michael E. Newman does an excellent job of proving that free societies throughout history lose their freedoms and end in tyranny once their populations realize they can utilize the power of government to give themselves benefits at the expense of others. Well written for the general reader, with in-depth footnotes for scholars, this is an excellent survey of the world history of freedom and tyranny. 

In Angry Mobs and Founding Fathers: The Fight for Control of the American Revolution, Michael E. Newman argues that the American Revolution was fought and won by two groups working together- angry mobs and founding fathers. The resulting nation (really a loose confederation of independent states) was “anarchic and chaotic” and a dismal failure, until the founding fathers disposed of the angry mob and their Confederation, creating instead the world’s most successful Republic ever, through the Constitution and Bill of Rights. Wonderful, and often overlooked, history of America’s founding.


Setting the Record Straight: American History in Black & White, by David Barton, tells the stories of many forgotten black heroes of American history. Forgotten largely because their stories are not politically correct, and therefore don’t fit modern progressive narratives regarding race relations. This is real history that the educational establishment refuses to teach, and that you will never hear on a Black History Month public service announcement.

Original Intent: The Courts, the Constitution, & Religion, by David Barton, takes on one of the most covered-up aspects of American history – the role religion played in our nation’s founding and the actual intent of our founders regarding Freedom of Religion, as well as the role they intended for the judicial system. Heavy on facts and actual documentation, this book is a must have for Christians wishing to defend the Freedom of Religion they enjoy.

The Federalist Papers, by Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, & John Jay, and the Anti-Federalist Papers, by Patrick Henry & others, were the embodiment of the debate over establishing the new Constitution, and lead directly to the Bill of Rights. This is primary source material for understanding one of the most pivotal points in American history.

Legends and Lies: The Real West is a fascinating history of many of the legendary characters of the Old West, including Kit Carson, Jesse James, Doc Holiday, Buffalo Bill, Annie Oakley, and the man who was the real Lone Ranger, among many others. This history looks past the legends, revealing the real people behind them.


The American Patriot’s Bible, available in both the KJV and NKJV, contains 48 long articles (4-pages w/pictures), along with hundreds of shorter articles, notes, and quotes connecting the Bible with America’s religious founding and heritage, something that is not only completely ignored in our public schools, but in fact is treated as criminal. The hardcover edition is not only nice enough to serve as a family bible, complete with pages for genealogy and family history, but is a great resource for learning the religious heritage of America that you were not taught in school.

George Washington’s Sacred Fire is a fantastic biography of George Washington, which firmly settles any doubts over the depth and importance of Washington’s Christian faith and values (progressives have long tried to deny this aspect of Washington). Extremely well-researched with extensive footnotes, this is also a highly readable and enjoyable biography.

 Other Recommended Biographies of America’s Founders
(click on the picture to go to the corresponding Amazon page for more details)

Abraham Lincoln’s Thanksgiving Proclamation

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On October 3, 1863, President Abraham Lincoln issued the following Proclamation declaring the last Thursday in November as a day of thanksgiving, and ordering all federal offices closed on that day. Prior to this proclamation, Thanksgiving was not an official national holiday, but was celebrated by individual states and localities on various dates of their choosing. Lincoln’s Proclamation codified the last Thursday in November as the federally recognized holiday of Thanksgiving.

By the President of the United States of America.  A Proclamation.

The year that is drawing towards its close, has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature, that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever watchful providence of Almighty God. In the midst of a civil war of unequaled magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to foreign States to invite and to provoke their aggression, peace has been preserved with all nations, order has been maintained, the laws have been respected and obeyed, and harmony has prevailed everywhere except in the theatre of military conflict; while that theatre has been greatly contracted by the advancing armies and navies of the Union. Needful diversions of wealth and of strength from the fields of peaceful industry to the national defence, have not arrested the plough, the shuttle or the ship; the axe has enlarged the borders of our settlements, and the mines, as well of iron and coal as of the precious metals, have yielded even more abundantly than heretofore.

Population has steadily increased, notwithstanding the waste that has been made in the camp, the siege and the battle-field; and the country, rejoicing in the consiousness of augmented strength and vigor, is permitted to expect continuance of years with large increase of freedom. No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy. It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and one voice by the whole American People.

I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens. And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to His tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquillity and Union.

In testimony whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the Seal of the United States to be affixed.

Done at the City of Washington, this Third day of October, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, and of the Independence of the Unites States the Eighty-eighth.

By the President: Abraham Lincoln

William H. Seward,
Secretary of State

A House Divided

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     I recently ran across an archived article from Hillsdale College, written by its President, Larry P. Arnn.  Hillsdale is a Liberal Arts College, founded on two principles: academic excellence and institutional independence. The College does not accept federal or state taxpayer subsidies for any of its operations.
     Hillsdale is an exceptional institution of learning as one can attest by reading its mission statement:  Founded in 1844 by men and women “grateful to God for the inestimable blessings” resulting from civil and religious liberty and “believing that the diffusion of learning is essential to the perpetuity of these blessings”, it pursues the stated object of the founders: “to furnish all persons who wish, irrespective of nation, color, or sex, a literary and scientific education” [that is] outstanding among American colleges “and to combine with this such moral and social instruction as will best develop the minds and improve the hearts of its pupils.”
     The College considers itself a trustee of modern man’s intellectual and spiritual inheritance from the Judeo-Christian faith and Greco-Roman culture, a heritage finding its clearest expression in the American experiment of self-government under law.  Hillsdale College prepares students to become leaders worthy of that legacy, and by publicly defending that legacy, it enlists the aid of other friends of free civilization and thus secures the conditions of its own survival and independence.
     As you can see, this College seeks to teach this nation’s founding principles of freedom, self-government, and the pursuit of virtuous leadership — without relying on partisan funding.  Needless to say, its goals are not shared by too many other college across the land.
     But it was the December 2012 interview with Hillsdale’s President Arnn that sparked some interesting historical comparisons of our nation’s history.  The title of the article was Time To Give Up, Or Time To Fight On?  It was written right as the nation was coming to terms with the results of the 2012 Presidential election.  At the time, it was quite clear that the nation was becoming divided; especially in terms of political ideologies.  The gap between Conservative and Liberal, Right and Left, Socialist and Capitalist, Big-Government entitlement programs and Small-Government policies  never seemed greater.  The ensuing years have done nothing to alleviate that chasm.  (And now the latest news is that there seems to be a real fight within the Republican party to determine if the House of Representatives is going to really represent the people of America, or continue with “business as usual”.)  Is it possible that we might actually be seeing the dawn of a new era, and a return to our true national roots as a republic?
     Yet the warning that President Arnn issued back in 2012 against those who might be looking to retreat from the political arena still holds true today.  He cautioned against those who might think we have passed the point of no return.  He pointed out then — and it is ever more vital today — “that the cost of [retreating] is overwhelming. If you don’t live under good laws, life becomes shortened and less happy, injustice becomes customary, civilization is compromised. And one cannot acquiesce to that. One has to be involved. And since politics is natural to us—man is essentially political, as Aristotle says—and since we do live in the greatest modern country—founded that way at least—we owe it a lot. And many of the people who have seen the republic through to where we are today have gone through things that are worse than this.”
     Of course, we in modern Babylon — we spoiled, soft, and selfish Americans in the 21st Century — are likely to think that no one has had it as tough as us.  But if we could quit thinking about ourselves for just a moment and focus on the future of our nation, we might realize that we need to stay in the fight.
     Because it was what he said just a few short paragraphs later that has got me to thinking:  “The country is still a house divided against itself, and that’s dangerous. But it doesn’t mean that there’s been a resolution. It means, in fact, the opposite: there is not a resolution. That resolution still has to be made, and the making of it lies ahead of us, and not behind us.”  He said that in 2012!  How much more relevant is it today, just three short years later?  We have seen new divisions that were merely hinted at when the last election was decided… division between the races; a division between the faithful and the secular; between Christians and Muslims; between the rich and poor; and a widening gap between the middle class and the elites.  But does it spell the end of the republic?  Are we past the point of no return?

     Surely, at the founding of this nation, the division between the independence-minded colonists and the ruling class in Britain spelled sure defeat for the growing American spirit.  And as Dr. Arnn points out, the crisis that President Lincoln faced definitely threatened to divide the nation and destroy it.  The nation had to decide between two polar opposite philosophies … either slavery was the right direction to take the nation, or complete freedom for all men was the right path.  Lincoln clearly understood the Bible’s warning that a house divided against itself, will be unable to stand.  So, which of these conflicting ideologies was violating America’s principles?  A devastating war was fought to resolve that issue.  As Dr. Arnn writes, “There’s almost an exact parallel today, because the people who founded our country believed and wrote—and established a Constitution to provide—that there must never be unlimited rule by any man or group of men over other men. And our government is getting to a place where it threatens to become limitless.”  Remember, that was written three years ago.
     So, I guess the question becomes this: will this generation of Americans [who face this century’s threat against our inherent belief in individual rights and limited government], be up to the challenge or not?  Will we retreat and submit to what looks like an insurmountable opponent, or will we remember that this nation has survived other attempts by enemies, both physical and spiritual, to conquer and divide us?  And, perhaps an equally relevant question is, will our leadership rise to the occasion and the growing demand for change and accountability?  Will they even give us a reason to vote?
     I think we would do well to consider what Dr. Arnn proffers as a valuable historic lesson from Winston Churchill.  When Great Britain appeared to stand alone against the onslaught of Hitler’s evil Nazi regime, Prime Minister Churchill still believed he could win.  In fact, he believed free men were morally obliged to believe they could defeat evil, and to go down fighting, if necessary.  Do we still “hold that truth to be self-evident” within our American DNA?  They did at Bunker Hill and Concord; and on the battlefields at Gettysburg, Vicksburg, Shiloh, and Antietam.  Those Americans felt this republic was worth fighting for.  Now, we find ourselves on the world stage in our hour of crisis.  What will it be?  Retreat and let this nation further divide — or fight to maintain our original purpose, and rely on the Providence of Almighty God to bring forth a worthy leader to keep this land a little longer for His Glory?  It’s time to make your decision.
   

Psalm 77:11   “But then I recall all you have done, O LORD;  I remember your wonderful deeds of long ago.”
   
   

The Star-Spangled Banner

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The national anthem of the United States of America, The Star-Spangled Banner, is from a poem by Francis Scott Key entitled Defence of Fort M’Henry. Key wrote the poem in 1814, after witnessing the bombardment of Fort McHenry, on Baltimore Harbor in Chesapeake Bay, by the British Royal Navy during the War of 1812. The poem was later set to the music of English composer John Stafford Smith, and renamed The Star-Spangled Banner. The poem has four stanzas, although only the first is most commonly sung today. It quickly became a very popular patriotic song. In 1889, the US Navy began officially using it in Naval ceremonies. In 1931, it was named the official National Anthem of the United States by a congressional resolution signed by President Herbert Hoover.

The Star-Spangled Banner

O say can you see, by the dawn’s early light,
What so proudly we hailed at the twilight’s last gleaming,
Whose broad stripes and bright stars through the perilous fight,
O’er the ramparts we watched, were so gallantly streaming?
And the rockets’ red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there;
O say does that star-spangled banner yet wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave?

On the shore dimly seen through the mists of the deep,
Where the foe’s haughty host in dread silence reposes,
What is that which the breeze, o’er the towering steep,
As it fitfully blows, half conceals, half discloses?
Now it catches the gleam of the morning’s first beam,
In full glory reflected now shines in the stream:
‘Tis the star-spangled banner, O! long may it wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.

And where is that band who so vauntingly swore
That the havoc of war and the battle’s confusion,
A home and a country, should leave us no more?
Their blood has washed out their foul footsteps’ pollution.
No refuge could save the hireling and slave
From the terror of flight, or the gloom of the grave:
And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave,
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.

O thus be it ever, when freemen shall stand
Between their loved homes and the war’s desolation.
Blest with vict’ry and peace, may the Heav’n rescued land
Praise the Power that hath made and preserved us a nation!
Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,
And this be our motto: “In God is our trust.”
And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

Steve the Balladeer sings the first and fourth verses of The Star-Spangled Banner:

Steve the Balladeer on the Internet

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The Pine Tree Riot of 1772

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If you’ve studied American history, you’ve probably heard about the Boston Tea Party. But have you heard about the Pine Tree Riot?

Though not as well known as the Boston Tea Party, the Pine Tree Riot of 1772 was one of the more important, and earliest, acts of resistance by the American colonists leading up to the Revolutionary War. Like the Boston Tea Party, the Pine Tree Riot was resisting a form of taxation that the colonists considered unjust. In the case of the Pine Tree Riot, the tax was placed on certain pine trees that the colonists wanted to harvest.

Important Concept: The American colonists realized that it is not possible to have political and personal freedom without also having economic freedom. This is why they kept resisting unjust taxes. 

During the colonial period, white pines (which often grew over 150 feet tall) were used to construct ship masts. This quickly became an important export for the colonists. England realized the importance of these pines  and claimed ownership of all white pines of 24-inch & greater diameter in the colonies (the Mast Preservation Clause in the Massachusetts Charter in 1691). Over time, additional acts were passed reinforcing their claim, and in some areas even reducing the size of the claimed pines to as little as 12-inches in diameter.

A Surveyor of the King’s Woods, and his deputies, worked for the Crown identifying and marking, by carving a special arrow symbol into the pine, those pines claimed by the Crown. In order to harvest those pines, the colonists had to purchase a special Royal license, even if the pines were on property owned by the colonists. This created resentment among the colonists, who often would harvest the pines without the license.

Important Concept: Not only was the tax on these pines a form of taxation without representation, the American colonists also considered it a violation of their private property rights. 

In New Hampshire, in 1772, the English tried to enforce this tax on mill owners who refused to pay for the Royal license. Several Mill owners, joined by local townsmen (all with their faces blackened with soot), assaulted the Sheriff and Deputy sent to arrest one of the Mill owners, giving them one lash for every tree being contested, and running them out of town through a jeering crowd.

The Sheriff later returned with reinforcements, and eventually eight men were charged with rioting, disturbing the peace, and assault. They were found guilty and fined 20 schillings apiece, plus court costs.

Several of the rioters (Timothy Worthley, Jonathan Worthley, and William Dustin) later fought for the American side in the Revolutionary War, and the Sheriff (Benjamin Whiting) fought for the British side.

Importance: The Pine Tree Riot was one of the earliest acts of physical resistance against the British by the American colonists, and is considered by many historians as inspiring the Boston Tea Party almost two years later.

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Remember NATO

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Remember NATO

As some people like to joke that anything related to the Cold War is like jumping back to the 1980’s, however does anyone remember NATO. For those that are not familiar with the North Atlantic Treaty Organization also known as NATO. The agreement to start NATO was signed April 4, 1949 and while NATO stood up the the Bear many people forget that it remains in effect.

Remember NATOGiven the recent events in the Ukraine we should make it clear that we stand with NATO. An attack on one member brings the rest into the fray. This is vital many people need to remember NATO. There is some concern from some of our newer members that joined in 2004 such as Estonia, Bulgaria, and Romania that if something happened we may not be a reliable partner.

This is an understandable stance as those countries were decimated by the Soviet Union and many people were brain washed to believe Communism was a way to a good life. Fortunately the Socialist tide was turned and they now enjoy many of the same freedoms that we have here in America. Let it be known that we remember NATO and stand with all countries.

I wonder when we may see a statesman that will make that claim. I am sick of tucking our tail and being the World’s Wimp. We should be very hesitant to make ware anywhere, however remember NATO and make it absolute that an attack on one member is an attack on all. That is what is needed to confront the same old bully.

 

Benjamin Netanyahu’s 2015 Speech to the US Congress

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On March 3, 2015, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu gave a speech to a joint meeting of Congress warning about the dangers of allowing Iran to gain nuclear arms. This was a response to the Obama administration’s determination to achieve a deal with Iran, seemingly at all costs. Many people, including Netanyahu, think such a deal will guarantee that Iran eventually becomes a nuclear power. The following is the transcript of the speech, followed by a video of the speech:

Benjamin Netanyahu’s 2015 Speech to the US Congress

Thank you. Thank you…

Speaker of the House John Boehner, President Pro Tem Senator Orrin Hatch, Senator Minority — Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, and House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy. I also want to acknowledge Senator, Democratic Leader HarryReid. Harry, it’s good to see you back on your feet.

I guess it’s true what they say, you can’t keep a good man down.

My friends, I’m deeply humbled by the opportunity to speak for a third time before the most important legislative body in the world, the U.S. Congress.

I want to thank you all for being here today. I know that my speech has been the subject of much controversy. I deeply regret that some perceive my being here as political. That was never my intention. I want to thank you, Democrats and Republicans, for your common support for Israel, year after year, decade after decade.

I know that no matter on which side of the aisle you sit, you stand with Israel.

The remarkable alliance between Israel and the United States has always been above politics. It must always remain above politics.

Because America and Israel, we share a common destiny, the destiny of promised lands that cherish freedom and offer hope. Israel is grateful for the support of American — of America’s people and of America’s presidents, from Harry Truman to Barack Obama.

We appreciate all that President Obama has done for Israel. Now, some of that is widely known.

Some of that is widely known, like strengthening security cooperation and intelligence sharing, opposing anti-Israel resolutions at the U.N. Some of what the president has done for Israel is less well- known.

I called him in 2010 when we had the Carmel forest fire, and he immediately agreed to respond to my request for urgent aid. In 2011, we had our embassy in Cairo under siege, and again, he provided vital assistance at the crucial moment. Or his support for more missile interceptors during our operation last summer when we took on Hamas terrorists.

In each of those moments, I called the president, and he was there. And some of what the president has done for Israel might never be known, because it touches on some of the most sensitive and strategic issues that arise between an American president and an Israeli prime minister. But I know it, and I will always be grateful to President Obama for that support.

And Israel is grateful to you, the American Congress, for your support, for supporting us in so many ways, especially in generous military assistance and missile defense, including Iron Dome.

Last summer, millions of Israelis were protected from thousands of Hamas rockets because this capital dome helped build our Iron Dome.

Thank you, America. Thank you for everything you’ve done for Israel. My friends, I’ve come here today because, as prime minister of Israel, I feel a profound obligation to speak to you about an issue that could well threaten the survival of my country and the future of my people: Iran’s quest for nuclear weapons. We’re an ancient people. In our nearly 4,000 years of history, many have tried repeatedly to destroy the Jewish people. Tomorrow night, on the Jewish holiday of Purim, we’ll read the Book of Esther. We’ll read of a powerful Persian viceroy named Haman, who plotted to destroy the Jewish people some 2,500 years ago. But a courageous Jewish woman, Queen Esther, exposed the plot and gave for the Jewish people the right to defend themselves against their enemies.

The plot was foiled. Our people were saved. Today the Jewish people face another attempt by yet another Persian potentate to destroy us. Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei spews the oldest hatred, the oldest hatred of anti-Semitism with the newest technology. He tweets that Israel must be annihilated — he tweets. You know, in Iran, there isn’t exactly free Internet. But he tweets in English that Israel must be destroyed. For those who believe that Iran threatens the Jewish state, but not the Jewish people, listen to Hassan Nasrallah, the leader of Hezbollah, Iran’s chief terrorist proxy. He said: If all the Jews gather in Israel, it will save us the trouble of chasing them down around the world.

But Iran’s regime is not merely a Jewish problem, any more than the Nazi regime was merely a Jewish problem. The 6 million Jews murdered by the Nazis were but a fraction of the 60 million people killed in World War II. So, too, Iran’s regime poses a grave threat, not only to Israel, but also the peace of the entire world. To understand just how dangerous Iran would be with nuclear weapons, we must fully understand the nature of the regime.

The people of Iran are very talented people. They’re heirs to one of the world’s great civilizations. But in 1979, they were hijacked by religious zealots — religious zealots who imposed on them immediately a dark and brutal dictatorship.

That year, the zealots drafted a constitution, a new one for Iran. It directed the revolutionary guards not only to protect Iran’s borders, but also to fulfill the ideological mission of jihad. The regime’s founder, Ayatollah Khomeini, exhorted his followers to “export the revolution throughout the world.”

I’m standing here in Washington, D.C. and the difference is so stark. America’s founding document promises life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Iran’s founding document pledges death, tyranny, and the pursuit of jihad. And as states are collapsing across the Middle East, Iran is charging into the void to do just that. Iran’s goons in Gaza, its lackeys in Lebanon, its revolutionary guards on the Golan Heights are clutching Israel with three tentacles of terror. Backed by Iran, Assad is slaughtering Syrians. Back by Iran, Shiite militias are rampaging through Iraq. Back by Iran, Houthis are seizing control of Yemen, threatening the strategic straits at the mouth of the Red Sea. Along with the Straits of Hormuz, that would give Iran a second choke-point on the world’s oil supply.

Just last week, near Hormuz, Iran carried out a military exercise blowing up a mock U.S. aircraft carrier. That’s just last week, while they’re having nuclear talks with the United States. But unfortunately, for the last 36 years, Iran’s attacks against the United States have been anything but mock. And the targets have been all too real. Iran took dozens of Americans hostage in Tehran, murdered hundreds of American soldiers, Marines, in Beirut, and was responsible for killing and maiming thousands of American service men and women in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Beyond the Middle East, Iran attacks America and its allies through its global terror network. It blew up the Jewish community center and the Israeli embassy in Buenos Aires. It helped Al Qaeda bomb U.S. embassies in Africa. It even attempted to assassinate the Saudi ambassador, right here in Washington, D.C. In the Middle East, Iran now dominates four Arab capitals, Baghdad, Damascus, Beirut and Sanaa. And if Iran’s aggression is left unchecked, more will surely follow. So, at a time when many hope that Iran will join the community of nations, Iran is busy gobbling up the nations.

We must all stand together to stop Iran’s march of conquest, subjugation and terror.

Now, two years ago, we were told to give President Rouhani and Foreign Minister Zarif a chance to bring change and moderation to Iran. Some change! Some moderation!

Rouhani’s government hangs gays, persecutes Christians, jails journalists and executes even more prisoners than before. Last year, the same Zarif who charms Western diplomats laid a wreath at the grave of Imad Mughniyeh. Imad Mughniyeh is the terrorist mastermind who spilled more American blood than any other terrorist besides Osama bin Laden. I’d like to see someone ask him a question about that. Iran’s regime is as radical as ever, its cries of “Death to America,” that same America that it calls the “Great Satan,” as loud as ever. Now, this shouldn’t be surprising, because the ideology of Iran’s revolutionary regime is deeply rooted in militant Islam, and that’s why this regime will always be an enemy of America. Don’t be fooled. The battle between Iran and ISIS doesn’t turn Iran into a friend of America.

Iran and ISIS are competing for the crown of militant Islam. One calls itself the Islamic Republic. The other calls itself the Islamic State. Both want to impose a militant Islamic empire first on the region and then on the entire world. They just disagree among themselves who will be the ruler of that empire. In this deadly game of thrones, there’s no place for America or for Israel, no peace for Christians, Jews or Muslims who don’t share the Islamist medieval creed, no rights for women, no freedom for anyone. So when it comes to Iran and ISIS, the enemy of your enemy is your enemy.

The difference is that ISIS is armed with butcher knives, captured weapons and YouTube, whereas Iran could soon be armed with intercontinental ballistic missiles and nuclear bombs. We must always remember — I’ll say it one more time — the greatest dangers facing our world is the marriage of militant Islam with nuclear weapons. To defeat ISIS and let Iran get nuclear weapons would be to win the battle, but lose the war. We can’t let that happen.

But that, my friends, is exactly what could happen, if the deal now being negotiated is accepted by Iran. That deal will not prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons. It would all but guarantee that Iran gets those weapons, lots of them. Let me explain why. While the final deal has not yet been signed, certain elements of any potential deal are now a matter of public record. You don’t need intelligence agencies and secret information to know this. You can Google it. Absent a dramatic change, we know for sure that any deal with Iran will include two major concessions to Iran. The first major concession would leave Iran with a vast nuclear infrastructure, providing it with a short break-out time to the bomb. Break-out time is the time it takes to amass enough weapons-grade uranium or plutonium for a nuclear bomb.

According to the deal, not a single nuclear facility would be demolished. Thousands of centrifuges used to enrich uranium would be left spinning. Thousands more would be temporarily disconnected, but not destroyed. Because Iran’s nuclear program would be left largely intact, Iran’s break-out time would be very short — about a year by U.S. assessment, even shorter by Israel’s. And if — if Iran’s work on advanced centrifuges, faster and faster centrifuges, is not stopped, that break-out time could still be shorter, a lot shorter. True, certain restrictions would be imposed on Iran’s nuclear program and Iran’s adherence to those restrictions would be supervised by international inspectors. But here’s the problem. You see, inspectors document violations; they don’t stop them.

Inspectors knew when North Korea broke to the bomb, but that didn’t stop anything. North Korea turned off the cameras, kicked out the inspectors. Within a few years, it got the bomb. Now, we’re warned that within five years North Korea could have an arsenal of 100 nuclear bombs. Like North Korea, Iran, too, has defied international inspectors. It’s done that on at least three separate occasions — 2005, 2006, 2010. Like North Korea, Iran broke the locks, shut off the cameras.

Now, I know this is not gonna come a shock — as a shock to any of you, but Iran not only defies inspectors, it also plays a pretty good game of hide-and-cheat with them. The U.N.’s nuclear watchdog agency, the IAEA, said again yesterday that Iran still refuses to come clean about its military nuclear program. Iran was also caught — caught twice, not once, twice — operating secret nuclear facilities in Natanz and Qom, facilities that inspectors didn’t even know existed. Right now, Iran could be hiding nuclear facilities that we don’t know about, the U.S. and Israel. As the former head of inspections for the IAEA said in 2013, he said, “If there’s no undeclared installation today in Iran, it will be the first time in 20 years that it doesn’t have one.” Iran has proven time and again that it cannot be trusted. And that’s why the first major concession is a source of great concern. It leaves Iran with a vast nuclear infrastructure and relies on inspectors to prevent a breakout. That concession creates a real danger that Iran could get to the bomb by violating the deal.

But the second major concession creates an even greater danger that Iran could get to the bomb by keeping the deal. Because virtually all the restrictions on Iran’s nuclear program will automatically expire in about a decade.

Now, a decade may seem like a long time in political life, but it’s the blink of an eye in the life of a nation. It’s a blink of an eye in the life of our children. We all have a responsibility to consider what will happen when Iran’s nuclear capabilities are virtually unrestricted and all the sanctions will have been lifted. Iran would then be free to build a huge nuclear capacity that could product many, many nuclear bombs. Iran’s Supreme Leader says that openly. He says, Iran plans to have 190,000 centrifuges, not 6,000 or even the 19,000 that Iran has today, but 10 times that amount — 190,000 centrifuges enriching uranium. With this massive capacity, Iran could make the fuel for an entire nuclear arsenal and this in a matter of weeks, once it makes that decision.

My long-time friend, John Kerry, Secretary of State, confirmed last week that Iran could legitimately possess that massive centrifuge capacity when the deal expires. Now I want you to think about that. The foremost sponsor of global terrorism could be weeks away from having enough enriched uranium for an entire arsenal of nuclear weapons and this with full international legitimacy. And by the way, if Iran’s Intercontinental Ballistic Missile program is not part of the deal, and so far, Iran refuses to even put it on the negotiating table. Well, Iran could have the means to deliver that nuclear arsenal to the far-reach corners of the earth, including to every part of the United States.

So you see, my friends, this deal has two major concessions: one, leaving Iran with a vast nuclear program and two, lifting the restrictions on that program in about a decade. That’s why this deal is so bad. It doesn’t block Iran’s path to the bomb; it paves Iran’s path to the bomb. So why would anyone make this deal? Because they hope that Iran will change for the better in the coming years, or they believe that the alternative to this deal is worse?

Well, I disagree. I don’t believe that Iran’s radical regime will change for the better after this deal. This regime has been in power for 36 years, and its voracious appetite for aggression grows with each passing year. This deal would wet appetite — would only wet Iran’s appetite for more. Would Iran be less aggressive when sanctions are removed and its economy is stronger? If Iran is gobbling up four countries right now while it’s under sanctions, how many more countries will Iran devour when sanctions are lifted? Would Iran fund less terrorism when it has mountains of cash with which to fund more terrorism? Why should Iran’s radical regime change for the better when it can enjoy the best of both world’s: aggression abroad, prosperity at home?

This is a question that everyone asks in our region. Israel’s neighbors — Iran’s neighbors know that Iran will become even more aggressive and sponsor even more terrorism when its economy is unshackled and it’s been given a clear path to the bomb. And many of these neighbors say they’ll respond by racing to get nuclear weapons of their own. So this deal won’t change Iran for the better; it will only change the Middle East for the worse. A deal that’s supposed to prevent nuclear proliferation would instead spark a nuclear arms race in the most dangerous part of the planet. This deal won’t be a farewell to arms. It would be a farewell to arms control. And the Middle East would soon be crisscrossed by nuclear tripwires. A region where small skirmishes can trigger big wars would turn into a nuclear tinderbox.

If anyone thinks — if anyone thinks this deal kicks the can down the road, think again. When we get down that road, we’ll face a much more dangerous Iran, a Middle East littered with nuclear bombs and a countdown to a potential nuclear nightmare.

Ladies and gentlemen, I’ve come here today to tell you we don’t have to bet the security of the world on the hope that Iran will change for the better. We don’t have to gamble with our future and with our children’s future. We can insist that restrictions on Iran’s nuclear program not be lifted for as long as Iran continues its aggression in the region and in the world.

Before lifting those restrictions, the world should demand that Iran do three things. First, stop its aggression against its neighbors in the Middle East. Second… Second, stop supporting terrorism around the world. And third, stop threatening to annihilate my country, Israel, the one and only Jewish state. Thank you.

If the world powers are not prepared to insist that Iran change its behavior before a deal is signed, at the very least they should insist that Iran change its behavior before a deal expires. If Iran changes its behavior, the restrictions would be lifted. If Iran doesn’t change its behavior, the restrictions should not be lifted. If Iran wants to be treated like a normal country, let it act like a normal country.

My friends, what about the argument that there’s no alternative to this deal, that Iran’s nuclear know-how cannot be erased, that its nuclear program is so advanced that the best we can do is delay the inevitable, which is essentially what the proposed deal seeks to do? Well, nuclear know-how without nuclear infrastructure doesn’t get you very much. A racecar driver without a car can’t drive. A pilot without a plan can’t fly. Without thousands of centrifuges, tons of enriched uranium or heavy water facilities, Iran can’t make nuclear weapons.

Iran’s nuclear program can be rolled back well-beyond the current proposal by insisting on a better deal and keeping up the pressure on a very vulnerable regime, especially given the recent collapse in the price of oil.

Now, if Iran threatens to walk away from the table — and this often happens in a Persian bazaar — call their bluff. They’ll be back, because they need the deal a lot more than you do.

And by maintaining the pressure on Iran and on those who do business with Iran, you have the power to make them need it even more. My friends, for over a year, we’ve been told that no deal is better than a bad deal. Well, this is a bad deal. It’s a very bad deal. We’re better off without it.

Now we’re being told that the only alternative to this bad deal is war. That’s just not true. The alternative to this bad deal is a much better deal. A better deal that doesn’t leave Iran with a vast nuclear infrastructure and such a short break-out time. A better deal that keeps the restrictions on Iran’s nuclear program in place until Iran’s aggression ends.

A better deal that won’t give Iran an easy path to the bomb. A better deal that Israel and its neighbors may not like, but with which we could live, literally. And no country… … no country has a greater stake — no country has a greater stake than Israel in a good deal that peacefully removes this threat.

Ladies and gentlemen, history has placed us at a fateful crossroads. We must now choose between two paths. One path leads to a bad deal that will at best curtail Iran’s nuclear ambitions for a while, but it will inexorably lead to a nuclear-armed Iran whose unbridled aggression will inevitably lead to war.

The second path, however difficult, could lead to a much better deal, that would prevent a nuclear-armed Iran, a nuclearized Middle East and the horrific consequences of both to all of humanity.

You don’t have to read Robert Frost to know. You have to live life to know that the difficult path is usually the one less traveled, but it will make all the difference for the future of my country, the security of the Middle East and the peace of the world, the peace, we all desire.

My friend, standing up to Iran is not easy. Standing up to dark and murderous regimes never is. With us today is Holocaust survivor and Nobel Prize winner Elie Wiesel.

Elie, your life and work inspires to give meaning to the words, “never again.” And I wish I could promise you, Elie, that the lessons of history have been learned. I can only urge the leaders of the world not to repeat the mistakes of the past.

Not to sacrifice the future for the present; not to ignore aggression in the hopes of gaining an illusory peace. But I can guarantee you this, the days when the Jewish people remained passive in the face of genocidal enemies, those days are over.

We are no longer scattered among the nations, powerless to defend ourselves. We restored our sovereignty in our ancient home. And the soldiers who defend our home have boundless courage. For the first time in 100 generations, we, the Jewish people, can defend ourselves.

This is why — this is why, as a prime minister of Israel, I can promise you one more thing: Even if Israel has to stand alone, Israel will stand. But I know that Israel does not stand alone. I know that America stands with Israel. I know that you stand with Israel. You stand with Israel, because you know that the story of Israel is not only the story of the Jewish people but of the human spirit that refuses again and again to succumb to history’s horrors.

Facing me right up there in the gallery, overlooking all of us in this (inaudible) chamber is the image of Moses. Moses led our people from slavery to the gates of the Promised Land. And before the people of Israel entered the land of Israel, Moses gave us a message that has steeled our resolve for thousands of years. I leave you with his message today, (SPEAKING IN HEBREW), “Be strong and resolute, neither fear nor dread them.” My friends, may Israel and America always stand together, strong and resolute. May we neither fear nor dread the challenges ahead. May we face the future with confidence, strength and hope. May God bless the state of Israel and may God bless the United States of America.

Thank you. Thank you very much. Thank you all.  You’re wonderful. Thank you, America. Thank you. Thank you.

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Speech starts shortly after the 26-minute mark.
Speech starts shortly after the 26-minute mark.

Pirate Bear

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Pirate Bear

There are great representatives in New Bern that are now deployed throughout the city. You know it would not take long for the Pirate Bear to make an appearance. Many cities have adopted animals or at animals that have been identified with the cities. The first one I can remember is Atlanta with their fiberglass cows that businesses paid for and artists decorated. It made a memorable visit for many to see the cows.

Other cities have seen the benefit and as a family traveling we try to find the one that we like and take a picture. It usually revolves around Pirates. What can I say other than real Pirates used to ply the coastal waters of North Carolina. There also is  large contingent across the state that support the East Carolina University Pirates.

the pirate bear by himself You can see in the picture that while in New Bern we managed to find the Pirate Bear. The kids loved seeing it an taking a picture with it. It is fun to see the children grow up and still have fun taking pictures.

the pirate bear with some crewThe beautiful thing about New Bern is that in the modern day it is a gorgeous city at the confluence of two rivers. I am certain it was not as pleasant when John Lawson was surveying it back when the Tuscarora Indians lived there. The simplest reason is the lack of mosquito control.

water front in search of pirate bearI am sure that will leave you with a fitting picture of a blend of the 18th century transportation and the 21st century. No matter how much it changes hearing the soothing water and the vistas displayed it is worth the trip. We wish you well in your search for the pirate bear!