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Sunday, November 24, 2013

Expanding Government Powers - A growing TSA?

A reader sent me this link on a possible expansion of powers for the Transportation Security Administration (TSA). The article is from a website called which is the first time I have seen this site.

Other relevant news concerning TSA is that in the wake of the LAX International Airport shooting is there are proposals to arm TSA agents. This is very problematic as just the training, initial and recurrent, to make these newly armed travel security guards safe with firearms - let alone competent - would be very costly. The Government already has armed agents at  airports from the Customs and Border Protection agency who have authorities at air ports.

Another potential change to the TSA is that there is talk to legislation to expand the TSA's authority to other transportation modes such as bus depots, train stations and sea ports.

I also called a former Homeland Security (DHS) who served in mid-upper management of a law enforcement agency within DHS and he said that he would be very concerned with arming TSA agents and expanding their powers.  He also reminded me that President Obama did promise to create a national law enforcement agency as powerful as the Army.  If TSA agents become armed, TSA would be the largest armed law enforcement agency in the country with 40,000 + personnel.  Executive orders could grant them additional enforcement and regulatory powers.  Scary to say the least.     

I don't know what the intent is.   Good idea or not, its hard to accept an additional expansion of governmental powers, especially if it limits or controls citizens' rights to travel.

TSA will now “pre-screen” your taxes, car registration, passport, employment history, and more

Travelers are now being subjected to even more invasive screening procedures by the infamous Transportation Security Administration (TSA). Before “allowing” people to travel, the TSA is performing unwarranted checks of a wide variety of personal documents, going further than ever before into the lives of innocent passengers. As expected, Americans will roll over for the new intrusions and accept that they are necessary to protect the Homeland.

The new pre-screening procedure is more exhaustive than a federal background check. The TSA will now be dramatically expanding their reach into the lives of every passenger, and scouring all of the following documents, according to the New York Times:

  • private employment information
  • vehicle registrations
  • travel history
  • property ownership records
  • physical characteristics
  • tax identification numbers
  • past travel itineraries
  • law enforcement information
  • “intelligence” information
  • passport numbers
  • frequent flier information
  • other “identifiers” linked to DHS databases

“I think the best way to look at it is as a pre-crime assessment every time you fly,” said Edward Hasbrouck to the New York Times. Hasbrouck is a consultant to the Identity Project, one of the groups that oppose the prescreening initiatives. “The default will be the highest, most intrusive level of search, and anything less will be conditioned on providing some additional information in some fashion.”

What gives the TSA this authority? The constitution does not even provide for the TSA’s existence. In fact, the constitution ensures that the federal government will not perform these kinds of searches without probable cause or a warrant. Yet all day, every day, the agency devotes itself to performing warrantless searches of travelers. Its existence is a travesty, and its mission-creep is alarming (and predictable).

And what will the TSA do with this information? Nobody is explaining what criteria the agency will be looking for to indicate whether a passenger will be denied the right to travel. How can job history and vehicle registration possibly be relevant to flight safety? What happens if you have criminal convictions on your record? More groping?

Is owing taxes going to prevent people from flying? Actually, the NYT reports that the TSA will be reporting their findings to “a debt collection agency for the purpose of debt collection.”

For fun, compare the government’s disparate efforts in invading travelers’ privacy versus ensuring fair and proper voter registration.

The process is meant to be onerous. The only alternative that travelers are left with is to join the TSA’s “PreCheck” program and become a “trusted traveler.” This program allows passengers to willingly submit their biometric fingerprint scans into a FBI database, submit to a criminal background check, and pay the TSA a fee of $85.00 for a five-year PreCheck membership. RT reports that the TSA may net $255 Million hustling travelers in 2013. This option is still highly invasive, and actually enriches the very entity that is violating our liberties, so it hardly seems like a viable alternative.

Ask yourself: Is this how free people travel? Every trip is now turned into a personal investigation by the federal government. This might be reasonable research to do on inmates transferring between maximum security prisons, but not for people trying to travel between American cities.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

New Survival Items for the Modern Day Bug Out Bag

GoGen. Small portable generator.

Maybe I'm a bit behind the times being a desk-jockey now, but hadn't seen this before and thought it was a cool idea. It's a small portable generator. It's called the GoGen and is advertised as being able to charge or run a cellphone, notebook, laptop, multi volt adapters, small water heaters, rechargeable lanterns, and all other 12 volt and smaller voltage appliances and devices through the USB port or inverter directly.

GoGEN packages are available with complete accessories including a carrying back pack, 75 watt AC/DC inverter with USB port, flex light, fire starter, powerful internal 7.25 /12 volt battery, external battery hookup, 10 watt 12 volt solar panel and 1 year limited warranty.

This small 5 lb portable generator is the most versatile bang for your buck!


GOGEN- 8 1/4" high x 6" deep x 6" wide.

Weight - 7 lbs. with internal battery.

Solar panel: 14" x 11" x 1" Weight 5 lbs.

It looks like something you could put in your bug out bag.

Biolite Stove. Great little stove and uses natural fuel to boil water and even create a charge for a cell phone or other device. The heat from the fire generates electricity via a thermoelectric generator to power a fan creating airflow for improved combustion. Surplus electricity is sent to the USB port for charging devices. The Biolite stove is about the same size as a Nalgene Bottle and the specs are:

Packed Size Height 8.25 inches x Width 5 inches

Weight 33 oz (935 grams)

Fuel Renewable biomass (twigs, pinecones, wood pellets, etc.)

Fire Power Output Peak: 3.4 kW (LO), 5.5 kW (HI)

USB Power Output Max continuous: 2W @5V, Peak: 4W @5V

Compatible Devices Powers most USB-chargeable devices including smartphones.

Charging Time iPhone 4S (2G): 20 minutes of charging provides 60 minutes of talk time. Charging times vary by device and by strength of fire.

Boil Time 4.5 minutes to boil 1 liter of water. Varies based on strength of fire.

Watch the video to see it in action - another great tool for the modern Bug Out bag.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Need a Anti-Vehicle Survival Rifle?

Jared wrote and asked my opinion on a big bore rifle having a place in a survive the collapse arsenal.

"I am thinking about buying a large caliber rifle capable of stopping vehicles. The Savage .338 lapua is an affordable piece, but a Barret .50 caliber semi-auto may be a better choice. If I was living in the swamp I wouldn't think about one but in Arizona where I plan to be I can see for miles and it may come in handy stopping people from getting too close to me. what are your thoughts? Jared."

Wow, wish I could afford a heavy rifle like a Barrett. But I just have too many priorities right now. I could be convinced to buy one under given circumstances like long observation distances (which you talk about) and a need to engage threats at that far out. But the costs just may it impossible especially when compared to other needs.

A Savage .338 Lapua bolt gun, with a decent scope and an adequate amount of ammunition will run you $3,000. A Barrett .50 caliber semi-auto double that. The .50 cal Browning round is much preferred to the .338 Lapua for stopping threat vehicles. .50 caliber is usually a little more expensive but probably more easily available given military surplus and the fact that it is not an uncommon cartridge limited to the military anymore.

.50 Caliber Ballistics
661 grain bullet
Barrett Model 82A1 29 inch barrel produces 2,750 feet per second muzzle velocity.
Barrett Model 82A1CQ 20 inch barrel produces 2,500 feet per second.
10 rounds of Barrett M33 ball will cost your $49, while 10 rds of Match grade ammunition from 50 BMG Ammo Supply would cost you $59.95.

.338 Lapua Ballistics
250 grain bullet
2,900 feet per second out of 26 inch barrelled rifle.
20 rds of Hornady Match will costs you $90.

Lets get back to needing a heavy rifle,..........I suppose if I had all my other firearms requirements met, a couple AR-15's, several semi-auto handguns, a goods hunting bolt gun in a medium caliber, or two 12 gauge shotguns, a couple of .22 LR's guns, AND is my other preps were sufficient then I may consider a heavy caliber gun like a Barrett. I don't think I'd consider a .338 Lapua or other calibers in that category. My .300 Win Mag can come pretty close or close enough to make a .338 Lapua redundant.

When thinking on being able to stop vehicles that may be bringing people with bad intent close to my survvial position, I would be more concerned with good observation points; good defensible positions with over lapping fields of fire; using obstacles to deny vehicles getting too close where an assault could overwhelm my group. These obstacles could help channelize attackers to points where they could be dealt with more easily.

As far as what points on the vehicle to shoot,...the driver is always a good place to start. Also flat tires don't move several thousand pounds of steel very well through sand or heavy gravel, or through serpentine obstacles.

Interdicting the radiator, while disabling that vehicle for the long run won't immediatley stop it. Likewise hitting the engine block and creating fluid leaks. Other critical components would be a hit and miss (no pun intended) affair as they are small and protected from your direct vision by the vehicle body. Anyway my point is that trying to immmediatley stop a vehicle without explosives or explosive munitions would be pretty hard.

But then again I know from personal experience not to get between a man and his focus on buying a particular gun.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Advice from Survival Podcast

This was sent to me by a reader asking for commentary. This is the first time I have seen The Survival Podcast. I have not went through their site yet, but the first article on the landing page link I was sent lead me to what The Survival Podcast calls the 12 guiding principles of permaculture. My comments are in Italics underneath each guiding principle which I think are unique but not necessarily what I would use as my principles.

1.  Observe and Interact – or – Be a Part of Things

Observe to gathers the facts,....observe to recognize potential threats,....observe peoples reactions to decisions,....observe to see what motivates or de-motivates them, interaction is vital to build a cohesive team - everyone has to feel valued.  

2.  Catch and Store Energy – or – Be an Ant not a Grasshopper

3.  Obtain a Yield – or – Get an ROI on Your Efforts

4.  Apply Self Regulation and Accept Feedback – or – Don’t Kill the Golden Goose

People are best motivated when they know they have input into effort.  Making people, or your survival team, believe they are valued for their opinions and their skills is much preferable to distancing these individuals.    

5.  Use and Value Resources and Services – or -Be Efficient to Become Independent

Be Independent,.......I suppose you could draw a parallel to the preppers who stock food, guns and ammunition, but little else. 

6.  Produce No Waste – or – Make Use of Everything

7.  Design from Patterns to Details – or -Be an Artist and Step Back for a Longer View

This can apply to planning.  From the concept of the operation to planning the details including contingency plans.  Anticipate the problems and plan for immediate solutions to be immediately implemented.

8.  Integrate Rather than Segregate – or -Understand the Power of Teams

To me this means team building and using people's skills for the groups advantage.  This is not contrary to what you rugged individuals believe, this simply recognizing the fact the survival is best achieved in a team.   

9.  Use Small and Slow Solutions – or – Focus On What You Can Do First

10.  Use and Value Diversity – or – Practice Risk Reduction

11.  Use Edges and Value the Marginal – or – Seek Alliances Not Conflicts

12.  Use Creativity and Adapt to Change – or – Improvise, Adapt and Overcome

Really is should be "Improvise, Adapt, Overcome OR Perish."  But I get the point. 

Survival Podcast is asking for input with the request to "Remember to comment, chime in and tell us your thoughts, this podcast is one man’s opinion, not a lecture or sermon. Also please enter our listener appreciation contest and help spread the word about our show. Also remember you can call in your questions and comments to 866-65-THINK (866-658-4465) and you might hear yourself on the air." This good survival planning and preparation asset also has what they call their "Expert Council" that readers can address callas to. If you do this you should email Jack right after your call at with expert council call in the subject line. In the body of your email tell Jack that you just called in a question for the council and what number you called in from. Jack will then give the call priority when he screen calls. Survival Podcast Expert Council:

Kerry Davis – Dark Angel Medical – Emergency Medicine and Life Saving Care

Bryan Black – ITS Tactical – All Things Tactical, E&E, Lock Picking, etc.

Frank Sharp Jr. – Fortress Defense Consultants – Weapons, Tactics and Security

Darby Simpson – – Livestock and Farm Management/ Homestead Consulting

Ben Falk – Whole Systems Design – Permaculture (Specializing in North Eastern Climates)

Paul Wheaton – – Permaculture (Specializing in North Western Climates)

Tim Glance – Old Grouch’s Military Surplus – Bug Out Vehicles, Military Surplus and Communications

Stephen Harris – Solar1234 – All things Energy

Chef Keith Snow – Harvest Eating – Cooking

Friday, November 1, 2013

Purging the Military In Preparation for Martial Law?

I have not been one to see a conspiracy behind every bush. But when there is an unprecedented firing of senior military officers, AND, people from my old life telling me that they believe a purge of non-loyalist military officers is a deliberate plan to setup the military with loyalist commanders who will have no problem with the suspension of the Constitution or implementing martial law inside the United States,...well, I sit up and take notice. The first part of this post is from The Blaze, listing the senior Military Officers that have been fired or forced to retire, be it for legitimate or illegitimate reasons, who knows for sure.

Nine senior commanding generals have been fired by the Obama administration this year, leading to speculation by active and retired members of the military that a purge of its commanders is underway.

Retired generals and current senior commanders that have spoken with TheBlaze say the administration is not only purging the military of commanders they don’t agree with, but is striking fear in the hearts of those still serving.

The timing comes as the five branches of the U.S. armed forces are reducing staff due to budget cuts, and as U.S. troops are expected to withdraw from Afghanistan next year.

“I think they’re using the opportunity of the shrinkage of the military to get rid of people that don’t agree with them or not tow the party line. Remember, as (former White House chief of staff) Rahm Emanuel said, never waste a crisis,” a senior retired general told TheBlaze on the condition of anonymity because he still provide services to the government and fears possible retribution.

“Even as a retired general, it’s still possible for the administration to make life miserable for us. If we’re working with the government or have contracts, they can just rip that out from under us,” he said.

Retired U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Paul Vallely, an outspoken critic of the Obama administration, said the White House fails to take action or investigate its own, but finds it easy to fire military commanders “who have given their lives for their country.”

“Obama will not purge a civilian or political appointee because they have bought into Obama’s ideology,” Vallely said. “The White House protects their own. That’s why they stalled on the investigation into fast and furious, Benghazi and Obamacare. He’s intentionally weakening and gutting our military, Pentagon and reducing us as a superpower, and anyone in the ranks who disagrees or speaks out is being purged.”

A Pentagon official who asked to remain nameless because they were not authorized to speak on the matter said even “young officers, down through the ranks have been told not to talk about Obama or the politics of the White House. They are purging everyone and if you want to keep your job — just keep your mouth shut.

The Nine Military Commanders Fired This Year by the Obama Administration

Gen. Carter Ham, Army. Served as head of the United States African Command during the bloodshed in Benghazi, Libya when four American citizens, including Ambassador Christopher Stevens and two retired Navy Seals, were murdered by militants on Sept. 11, 2012. Senior military officials told TheBlaze Hamm was extremely critical of the Obama administration, including when reinforcements were not sent to help the U.S. citizens under attack in Benghazi. Hamm “resigned and retired” in April 2013.

Rear Adm. Charles Gaouette, Navy. Commander of Carrier Strike Group Three. He recently served as deputy commander of the U.S. Naval Forces, U.S. Central Command. He was in charge of Air Craft Carriers in the Mediterranean Sea the night of the Benghazi assault on Sept. 11, 2012. Under testimony, he told Congress there may not have been time to get the flight crews to Benghazi, but left the door open when he told Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) under cross-examination that he could have launched aircraft to the destination. He was later accused of using profanity in a public setting and making at least two racially insensitive comments. While he was cleared of any criminal violations under the Uniform Code of Military Justice, he still faced administrative penalties that have ended his career.

Maj. Gen. Ralph Baker, Army. Major General Baker served as commander of the Joint Task Force-Horn at Camp Lamar in Djibouti, Africa. According to several military officials who spoke to TheBlaze, he was also involved in some aspect with the Benghazi incident Sept. 11, 2012. He was relieved of command and fired for allegedly groping a civilian, but no assault charges or sexual misconduct charges were filed with military JAG officials.

Brigadier Gen. Bryan Roberts, Army. General Roberts took command of Fort Jackson in 2011. He was considered a rising star in his field and served in Iraq during his service as the commanding officer of the 2nd Brigade Combat Team. He was the deputy commanding general of the United States Army Recruiting Command at Fort Knox, Ky. He was relieved of duty and fired for adultery — still on the books in the United States Code of Military Justice but rarely since President Bill Clinton’s indiscretions.

Maj. Gen. Gregg A. Sturdevant, Marine Corps. Director of Strategic Planning and Policy for the U.S. Pacific Command and commander of the aviation wing at Camp Bastion, Afghanistan. He was a highly-decorated Marine with two Naval and Marine Commendations, two Naval and Marine Good Conduct medals, as well as the Air Medal with a gold star. He was one of two commanding officers suddenly relieved of command and fired from the military for failure to use proper force protection at the camp after 15 Taliban fighters attacked Camp Bastion on Sept. 14, 2012, resulting in the deaths of Lt. Col. Christopher K. Raible, 40, and Sgt. Bradley W. Atwell, 27.

Maj. Gen. Charles M.M. Gurganus, Marine Corps. Regional commander in the Southwest and I Marine Expeditionary Force in Afghanistan. Highly decorated with a Defense Superior Service Medal, two Legion of Merit with Valor, and three Meritorious Service Commendations. According to several military officials, Gurganus questioned having to use Afghan security patrols alongside American patrols after two officers were executed at their desk and a platoon was lead into an ambush on the front lines.

Lt. Gen. David Holmes Huntoon Jr, Army. Served as the 58th Superintendent of the United States Military Academy at West Point, N.Y. He graduated from the same academy in 1973 and had served in Senior Planning and Education Services through the majority of his career. He was “censored” for “an investigation” into an “improper relationship” according to the Department of Defense. Nothing was released to the nature of the improper relationship. Nothing was even mentioned if an actual investigation even took place.

Vice Adm. Tim Giardina, Navy. Deputy Commander of the United States Strategic Command. He was commander of the Submarine Group Trident, Submarine Group 9 and Submarine Group 10, where every single one of the 18 Nuclear Submarines with Nuclear Trident Missiles of those three groups were in his command. This commander earned six Legions of Merit, Two Meritorious Service Medals, two Joint Service Commendation Medals, and several other medals and ribbons. He is under criminal investigation for the alleged use of counterfeit gambling chips, while playing a poker game at a western Iowa casino.

Major Gen. Michael Carey, Air Force. Commander 20th Air Force in charge of 9,600 people and 450 Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles at three operational wings and served in both Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom. Carry was fired October 11, 2013, for “personal misbehavior,” according to ABC News. Pentagon and Air Force senior officials have remained relatively tight-lipped about Carry’s firing.

The Second article is from Selwyn Duke, by way of an old friend of mine. The title is: Is Obama Creating a Martial-law-ready Military?

What kind of leader wants a military more loyal to himself than to the rule of law?

And why?

These are two questions to ponder when considering the strange happenings in the armed forces since Barack Obama took office.

Let's start with a hypothetical. Let's say you were a hard-left-wing commander in chief who wanted the military firmly in your corner. You'd certainly note that our armed forces have been a bastion of conservatism and Christian faith, and you'd know that its members generally weren't very fond of you. So how would you go about changing this?

Some years ago I met a very young, all-American looking white fellow who had just exited the military. His reason was that he hadn't been advanced the way he believed he should have been, and he wasn't going to remain in the armed forces if it provided no future. Now, one interpretation here is that he was a millennial with an inflated opinion of himself (he didn't strike me that way, though). Yet there is another interpretation.

The Obama administration has given affirmative action in the military a dose of steroids, promoting minorities and women -- and, I believe, homosexuals and lesbians -- at the expense of white men. By the way, is this yet another reason why Obama wanted homosexuals to be able to serve openly? After all, you can't target them for special treatment if you don't know who they are.

But the point is this: if I were that hypothetical hard-left-wing leader, I'd know that one way to change the military's political climate is the same way you do it in the nation at large.

Demographic manipulation.

White men generally vote Republican, white military men even more so, and white military men who are practicing Christians, well, that's a recipe for a left-behind left. Minorities, women, atheists and the LGBT* crowd, however, are reliable liberal constituencies. So what would I do if I were that hard leftist?

I'd create a military climate friendly toward groups that are my constituencies and hostile toward those that aren't.

And I'd do more than subordinate white men to other groups in the promotion process. I'd clamp down on Christian expression -- which had often been robust in the military -- and punish servicemen who transgressed against my separation-of-church-and-everything policy. I'd let the world know that as far as homosexuality goes, the armed services are open for monkey business. I'd also force military personnel to be politically correct not just about sexuality, but also Islam, so that they were confronted with the choice of saying things they don't believe or career damage. After all, good people might rather leave the service than live a lie. And I'd issue instructional materials characterizing traditionalists as a threat, so that the low-information servicemen may believe it and the more savvy would feel further alienated.

The goal here is to create a situation in which traditionalists will be encouraged to leave the military or not enlist in the first place. Of course, this method can't bleed out all the red-blooded, but it can shift the balance. It can ensure a few things:

• The number of leftist fellow travelers in the armed forces will be as great as possible.

• As many of the rest as possible will be apolitical, mind-numbed types who wouldn't question unconstitutional orders.

• The remaining traditionalists would be outnumbered by the first two groups and in a don't ask-don't tell predicament. And having been denied promotions, they'd have little institutional power.

At the same time that I was transforming the body, I'd also have to gain control of the head. To this end I would look to replace as many generals as possible with those I believed would do my bidding. For once I owned the military head, body and soul, I could really dream that impossible dream.

Anyway, that's what I would do were I that hypothetical hard-left-wing leader.

Incidentally, they're all things Barack Obama has already done.

As for the generals, note that the two-star general who oversaw our arsenal of intercontinental missiles, Major General Michael Carey, was just fired, becoming "the latest in a string of recent high-profile firings of top U.S. generals," as Reuters puts it. Talk-show-host Michael Savage discussed this on his Friday program and was very suspicious about the Air Force's reluctance to provide a reason for canning the man who oversaw our nuclear weapons -- the service only said that the general was terminated for undisclosed "personal misbehavior." As for me, I'll just repeat my opening questions:

What kind of leader wants a military more loyal to himself than to the rule of law?

And why?

Whatever your conclusions, there is of course a mundane explanation for all of this. Leftists truly believe in their insane diversity dogma and quite reflexively try to socially re-engineer whatever they can sink their claws into, be they universities, neighborhoods, businesses or even the entities charged with protecting their compassionate selves. And in this age of increasing corruption and decadence, it wouldn't be surprising to find generals transgressing against military code. Yet given that Barack Obama is a shadowy figure with a penchant for hiding his past (college records, etc.); that he has had avowed communists in his administration (Van Jones, Anita Dunn); that he seemed to belong to Chicago's socialist New Party in the 1990s; and that, according to former Occidental College acquaintance and ex-Marxist John Drew, Obama was a flat-out "Marxist Leninist" who believed in old-style communist revolution, well, one's imagination can conjure up some interesting scenarios.