"There is no doubt that our nation's security and defeating terrorism trump all other priorities."

Arlen Specter

Saturday, April 29, 2017

The three legs of the stool. President Trump in Atlanta. Movies.

I have noticed a lot of people getting impatient for President Trump to do everything he promised during the election.  If he were a dictator, he could do these things faster, but America is not a dictatorship. Sometimes, I wish it were, but then I remember that while there have been good dictators, like Vespasian and Diocletian, they were always followed by people like Nero or Caligula.

So, we have to have a little patience.  During my three year sojourn as a teacher, the social studies classes were used to indoctrinate students in liberal values, not so much to teach history or anything useful. I at least tried to sneak in a few lessons on how the government is set up, to the extent that I could without getting raked over the coals for "deviating from the approved curriculum."

The "Old Dead  White Guys" who set up our government knew what they were doing. They didn't care for dictatorship, whatever you called it. So they designed three distinct but interlocking branches of government. Those branches were called the "legs of the stool" because if you removed one, the stool would fall over.

The Executive branch provided leadership. The Judicial Branch resolved disputes over what the law actually said. And the Legislative branch was intended  to make law. That's a vast oversimplification but I'm thinking that people who read this blog already know all of this.



Over time, though, we've drifted away from that. The worst offenders are the judicial branch. The party in power selects the judges, and they select them for political reliability and not for sagacity or integrity. After 8 years of Obama, the federal courts are larded with extremist judges who are tools of the Democratic party. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals is the Gold Standard of this crowd.







The Democrats can always find a judge who will block any Executive Order the President issues. It was Obama who tried to rule the country with Executive Orders, bypassing the legislative branch. By and large, he got away with it because the Federal Court System, like the media, is a tool of the liberals.


Then there's the fact that the Republican Party is full of political hacks who hate President Trump. Their plan is to make sure he can't deliver on his promises, then hope that he won't run for a second term. Then they can pull strings and arrange one of their own to run for President in four years, exactly as they tried to do this time. Win or lose, it will be "back to business as usual" and that's what they want.  Some of these guys, like Paul Ryan, pretend to support the President but sabotage him at every step.  Others, like McCain and Graham, don't even pretend.







So, the President is trying to shift the nation from the disastrous course the Democrats have held it on for eight years.  He's doing it with no support from the judicial branch, and no support from the legislative branch. He's doing the best he can, but when all is said and done, it's a Herculean task.  I think he'll clean out the Augean Stables, but he won't do it in the first 100 days .






The Deep Forest is not a city park.


I watched a movie yesterday that I just happen to see was playing on the HBO channels. It was based on a true story, which is a shame because it didn't end happily.


In 2005, Jacqueline Perry and Mark Jordan went back packing in the Missinaiba Lake Provincial Park, in Ontario, Canada.

They were not experienced hikers, and had no woodcraft.

They were both in their thirties, and were  trying to hike to a lake Jordan had last visited in his High School days. Jordan told the Park Rangers he didn't need a map.

They took no weapons, no map, no compass, marginal food and water. Jacqueline thought she had her cell phone, but Mark took it out of her pack and left it in the car without telling her. He didn't want to be bothered with calls.

When you were a kid, did your mother read "If you go out in the woods today, you're in for a big surprise" to you? Well, these two got their surprise. They got lost, panicked, wandered blindly through the forest. A bear attacked their camp and ate Mark Jordan while his girlfriend watched. Everything you could possibly do wrong, these folks did.



The woods are not a park. Get far enough out, away from roads and people, and the woods aren't any different than they were when we lived in caves. There may not be dire wolves and saber tooth tigers, but there are plenty of animals who look cuddly in a zoo but a lot different in their natural habitat.

You can get lost really easily in the woods. Everything looks the same. There are generally not a lot of landmarks you can navigate by at ground level.  If you can read a topographic map and use a compass (not just to find north, but to shoot azimuths) you should be ok.  I don't go out in the woods much anymore, but when I did I used a hand held GPS system as a backup.  Never, ever as the primary navigational tool, but as a backup. Granted, the one I had was primitive by today's standards, but I'd stick with the map and compass as primary no matter how nice GPS is. The map and compass won't go down and leave you adrift.


An Independent Film:




The movie "Collapse" is an independent, low budget film.  I don't think there is a single professional actor in it, which I found  to be refreshing. There are not many of the Hollywood crowd I have any interest in seeing, on screen or otherwise.  I ordered this DVD but I think some libraries can get it for you at no cost.

Essentially, it's the story of two brothers, and the people they meet as they try to get from the Pacific Northwest to relatives in Arizona after an economic collapse.  The movie shows common people in a positive light. Because the actors are not professionals, sometimes the acting is sketchy. Sometimes the plot is simplistic. But it's an uplifting show, and I enjoyed it.

If you are one of those folks who always sit behind me in theaters, and pick the movie to pieces as it plays, you probably won't like this one. But if you can take it for what it is, and cut the production a little slack, it's entertaining and you feel better about people in general after watching it.




President Addresses NRA Convention in Atlanta

If you didn't get to see the speech, here it is. It was a good speech. It's been a huge burden off the shoulders of gun owners not to have Barrack Hussein Obama, the liar who promised not to attack gun rights and then did all he could to do so, in office.



I flipped through all three Atlanta affiliates, and all they were showing were the clowns and flakes outside, with their stupid little signs. Everybody the media interviewed was from out of state as far as I could tell.  The "protesters" did a little drama where they all lay down on the grass and pretended to be dead. They said they "represented" people who had been killed by guns. They should go down to Spring Street and do their protests in "de hood". I'm sure they would be well received by "de brudda's"

Thought for the Day:



Money for Vote'n







And furthermore!



Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Who dat, say "who dat" when I say "who dat."!!! Thoughts on building a survival retreat or homestead.




We went to town today and picked up a paper.  On the front page was this guy who looked like he stepped out of a "slasher" movie.  Turned out there was a reason for that. He cut somebody up, then vanished. Our Sheriff thinks this  unsavory character is still in the county somewhere. It's a big county, lots of places to hide.

You never know when it will come in handy.

My wife is not happy about this. I told her that this fellow couldn't find us out here with a map. I told her if she heard anything tonight, not to wake me up, just to go out on the porch and say "who dat!". She did not find my sense of humor very amusing, but we really are safe. We are forted up all the time. This place was designed to be defensible. Too bad the camera system went down, but I doubt an escaped crazy would fare too well if he found his way to the top of the mountain anyway. The dogs would get him before I did.



I know several people are about to move from cities to the country, so I thought I would list some books that are useful in this endeavor. Those by Ragnar Benson, in my opinion, are the best.  I decided not to post a couple of titles on the subject, because  I haven't read them.  If anyone knows of other books that would be useful, let me know and I'll include them, with your thoughts.



Haven't read this one, but I was told by someone who had that it was useful. He knows his stuff,  so I'm listing it , unlike two other books I haven't read.


I have read virtually all of Ragnar Benson's books, and this one was useful to me in improving my own situation up here. You can hardly go wrong with this guy.  I know Ragnar Benson was his nom de plume, and I know he's dead, but it's still as viable as it was the day he published it.


This one would have saved me some time and money had I read it before moving to the property I bought. It's the best of the books I know of in terms of dealing with the nitty gritty of actually finding and buying a specific property for your retreat.


This guy was all the rage some years ago, but I haven't heard much about him recently.  He was running a popular survival blog when I first came across him.  The book wasn't bad but it was oriented towards living a bit more of a bare bones existence than I had in mind.




Rawles was, and may still be, the ultimate survival guru in America. He's a former U.S. Army officer, mostly known for his series of fictional accounts of collapse. He's also got some excellent non-fiction books, very useful.  I don't think this is still in print, but someone may prove me wrong on that. If not, there's always the used books listings at on line book sellers.

These are all generic in terms of locations, so whether you are headed for Colorado, Idaho, or some other site they will still be useful to you.

Let me just mention a couple of  Rawle's books that are not expensive and pretty useful. When the first one came out, I bought a bunch of copies and handed them out to family.  Don't know how much good it did, especially with the nieces and nephews, but I did try.





Everybody starts out with a plan.  What these books are good for, is honing the plan.  The survivalist lifestyle is about constantly improving your overall situation.  Before the internet,  people primarily did this through reading pertinent books and magazines.  Now, with so many survivalists and preppers out there, I think most ideas cross from person to person over the internet. But, if some calamity does befall us, the net will go away.  Print copies of information will be on the shelf for you to refer to when you need it.

If I were doing this all over again, what would I do differently.



I wouldn't build a multi-level house.  My land is really steep, and building what amounted to a three story house back into the mountainside was the cheapest, most practical way to do it.  But now, I'd stay with a single story home, even if I had to pay more to have more building sites carved out of the mountain.



I would not have blown off a small fortune on installing a complete solar power/generator system up here for Y2K.  Not enough sun here , especially in winter, but the guys from Spartanburg, South Carolina who sold me the system and installed it did not mention the fact.  I could have, and should have, done my own homework, and not relied on "duty experts" who had a vested interest in selling me something.






I would have spent the money to put in actual buildings to park in, instead of concrete parking pads. Starting a vehicle here when it's been sitting outside in sub zero weather a few days is more of a challenge than I need.



I should have had them bulldoze out a meadow all the way around the house. Instead, to save money, I just had 180 degrees cleared around the buildings. That means the forest comes right up to the house on the other 180 degrees. Not good for security, and damnably dangerous in terms of forest fires.

I should not have put a shake roof on my buildings. Looks nice, and metal wasn't really an option back then unless you wanted a  "tin" roof that was aluminum colored. But shakes have cost me a fortune in increased insurance premiums, and in repairs.



I should have put a lot fewer windows in the main house. Yes, the view is nice. But from the standpoint of security they are a bad idea, and keeping the house cool or warm is harder because of the windows, even if they are double paned.

I should have taken the wrap around porch all the way around the house. Instead, I built a front porch, and back porch, and connected them on one side with a walk way.  That means the side of the house with no walk way is not accessible to me at night unless I go along at ground level in the woods.



One of my biggest mistakes was to use railroad ties in retaining walls. Railroad ties were the be all and the end all in 1986, and they did look good. Unfortunately, 31 years later they have largely rotted out and I am having to replace them with other materials, slowly and painfully.



Here are some things I did right.
All of my buildings are cedar log, on a heavy field stone foundation.  You couldn't do it today, the ocst of cedar wood is beyond belief. But in 1986 we could still get Canadian cedar.  Cedar log will last forever. You just have to spray the outside every few years to keep the wood in shape, and to keep bugs out of the wood.  Oak is good too,  there is a cabin in my part of the county that was built in 1847, and it's in good shape. But I went with cedar and have no regrets about that.



I chose property that was difficult to access. When I then built a way up to the building site, I put a gate up that couldn't be bypassed. Big ravine with a creek in it on one side, steep cliff face on the other. Since I had national forest behind me, I didn't have to worry about easements. NEVER buy a property with easements, and never  give anyone an easement through your property.







I built special purpose buildings. I have storage rooms in the main building, big ones.






 I have a shop , and a barn.



 I also built an apartment over the shop, fully equipped with kitchen, bath, etc. It's proven handy when something failed in the main house, and we used the apartment as a back up til I could effect repairs.






I chose land with National Forest on three sides, and I bought the land down slope. Nobody can encroach on me.




I have been careful over the years to try to maintain operational security in terms of my location. I have not always been successful, but I have to the extent that in 31 years I've only had a handful of problems related to that issue.  It's my opinion that it's very unwise to broadcast your location to all and sundry. Not everybody on the internet is sane and not everyone is pleasant.

I have three water sources here, two of which are natural.



I did have a good sized meadow bulldozed out of the forest. I've used it for animals, for gardening, and just because I like to see something besides trees all the time.

I did have concrete parking pads poured for three vehicles. Parking on red Georgia clay, on a steep hillside, in winter or during summer rains, is unwise.






I did have a big Tennessee field stone fireplace built, and I put a fully functional Victorian era wood burning kitchen stove in our kitchen. I also have a wood burning stove in the lowest level of the house.








I set the buildings up for propane heat. None of the controls are electric. If the power goes out, and the generator fails, I can still heat the house. Our kitchen stove is a Kenmore propane model, and has worked flawlessly all these years. We can cook while we have propane.



My propane tanks and diesel tanks are adequate to keep me in propane and diesel for a long time in the event of a disruption.


So, I've done some things right, and some things I could have done much better. Hind sight, as they say, is always 100%. Overall, I'm satisfied with the place and how it's worked out.


Thought for the Day.

They're out there.