Organic Prepper: Food Shortages Hit China

Adding to recent warnings about food shortages, here is an article from The Organic Prepper which discusses shortages in China. Food Shortages Hit China: There Is “not…enough fresh food to go around”

Over the past few weeks, I have been writing articles regarding a coming food shortage. I’ve been pointing out that the food shortage is going to hit the United States hard but that it is also going to hit the rest of the world.

A worldwide fit of hysteria over COVID, resulting in the shutdown of the world’s economy, interruption of the supply chain, and the destruction of food products, as well as international trade wars and natural disasters, are going to collide with one another and make this winter one of the toughest on record.

China is publicly acknowledging a coming food shortage.

But while many have dismissed my claims, I’d like to draw your attention to the fact that China is now publicly acknowledging a coming food shortage. (And as noted in this article, when they admit there’s a problem, it’s a BIG problem. ) In fact, China even has an anti-food-wasting campaign going on across the country right this minute encouraging people to eat half portions or at least make sure to finish their plates.

In an October 5, article for the New York Times entitled “China’s mealtime appeal amid food supply worries: Don’t take more than you can eat,” Eva Dou writes,

On the surface, China’s campaign to encourage mealtime thrift has been a cheerful affair, with soldiers, factory workers and schoolchildren shown polishing their plates clean of food.

But behind the drive is a harsh reality. China does not have enough fresh food to go around — and neither does much of the world.

The pandemic and extreme weather have disrupted agricultural supply chains, leaving food prices sharply higher in countries as diverse as YemenSudanMexico and South Korea. The United Nations warned in June that the world is on the brink of its worst food crisis in 50 years.

“It’s scary and it’s overwhelming,” Arif Husain, chief economist of the United Nations World Food Program, said in an interview. “I don’t think we have seen anything like this ever.”

Those are strong words, to say the least.

Right now, the food products in China that are facing the toughest situation are corn and pork. China’s pork industry was hit hard by African Swine Fever (at least we are told) and flooding ruined a large portion of China’s corn crops. But it’s not just those two products that are at risk. Fresh food of every kind is in short supply for the same reasons as the United States, i.e. insane shutdown policies.

China is claiming that it is not in a food crisis currently and it is attempting to reassure the population that it has enough wheat in reserve to feed everyone for a year. But the reality is different from the claims, as China’s pork prices rose 135 percent in February, and floods killed so many vegetable crops.

You may wonder how this shortage in China affects us.

Ironically, China is dependent on the United States to bridge its corn shortfall. Despite the fact that we are allegedly in a trade war with China and the fact that Americans will soon be facing a shortage of food of their own, it’s likely that the good ol’ USA will tell its citizens to take one for the team yet again and help stabilize the brutal Communist dictatorship that Americans built by shipping their jobs overseas with Free Trade.

Political unrest goes hand in hand with food insecurity.

And it’s true that China’s government may not view the food crisis as the biggest concern. Instead, it views political unrest as the biggest threat. Political unrest, unfortunately for the Chinese Communist Party, is a direct result, especially in China, of food insecurity.

Both of its major political disruptions – the 1950s and 1980s – came at a time when food was in scarce supply.

But, for now, China is attempting to convince its population to embrace austerity voluntarily and through social shaming (like America’s masks) in order to stave off the crisis a little longer. Dou describes the “Clean Plate’ push in her article by writing,

Beijing’s solution has been a sunny “Clean Plate Campaign” launched in August, with the aim of curbing food use without prompting public alarm. Like the American Victory Gardens of World War II, the campaign is as much about trying to unite the country around a patriotic mission in a time of hardship as it is about securing the food supply.

Restaurants across the nation are dishing out “half-servings” in line with the drive. Some, such as the upscale Peking duck chain Quanjude, have instructed servers to nag diners not to waste. Other restaurants are fining people for leaving too much on their plates.

At one elementary school in southern China, students must send teachers short videos of their dinner each night to verify they are cleaning their plates, according to the state-run People’s Daily. A number of university canteens are giving away fruit and other small gifts to students who finish their lunches.

Even billionaire Jack Ma, founder of the online retail giant Alibaba, has been filmed trying to save food. A recent viral video shows him asking for his unfinished crab and lobster to be boxed up to go.

“Pack it up, pack it up, pack it up!” he says in the video. “I will eat it on the plane.”

Government officials are, of course, forbidden from holding lavish banquets during this period.

This is a global problem.

World Food Program economists have already estimated that 270 million people globally are suffering from hunger this year. That’s more than twice last year’s amount. That number does not include China, the United States, and Europe as they are all considered food-secure countries.

Given what everyone can see with their own eyes on American shelves and the recent “clean plate” campaign in China, the term “food secure” is being used liberally these days.

While we may get lucky and dodge the bullet, we strongly encourage you to prep while you can.  Even if no major shortages occur, you’ll be hedging your bet against food prices that will almost certainly increase dramatically over the next few years.

American Mind: What Happens if No One Wins?

This article at The American Mind discusses what happens to the Presidency if no one clearly wins the election – What Happens if No One Wins?

The Constitution provides for election crises—and its provisions favor Trump.

*This article was co-written with Robert J. Delahunty, a law professor at St. Thomas University.

Conservatives and liberals agree on few things, but one of them is that the country may well see an election crisis this year. All of the ingredients seem to be present: a closely and bitterly divided electorate; the threat of violence and disruption on Election Day or after; and the unusual circumstances of the Covid-19 pandemic.

In this essay we provide a short roadmap through the main legal and constitutional issues that could arise if Election Day fails to result in a clear winner of the presidency, identify opportunities for political mischief, and explain why the weight of the constitutional structure favors President Donald Trump in a contested election.

Unusual Circumstances

A crucial fact in this year’s election is that, largely because of COVID, an unprecedented number of voters will vote by mail. According to the Washington Post, 84% of the electorate, or 198 million eligible voters, will be able to vote by mail this year. In the 2016 election, roughly 25% of the votes were cast by mail. This year, as many of half the ballots may be mailed in.

Republicans tend to prefer voting in person while Democrats tend to prefer absentee balloting. In the swing state of North Carolina, Democrats requested 53% of the absentee ballots and Republicans 15%. A July poll reported that 60% of the Democrats in Georgia, but only 28% of the Republicans, are likely to vote by mail.

Counting mailed votes could make a decisive difference on Election Day. In the 2012 election, Barack Obama bolstered his winning margins substantially in swing states like Florida, Michigan, Ohio and Pennsylvania through overtime votes. Hillary Clinton picked up tens of thousands of overtime votes in 2016, though not enough to win. Last April, over 79,000 Wisconsin ballots arrived after election day (and were counted by court order) in a state that Trump carried in 2016 by about 23,000 votes. In Michigan’s August primary, 6,405 ballots missed the deadline and were not counted; Trump carried that state by 10,000 votes.

In one plausible scenario, Trump appears to be the winner on the morning after Election Day, but a “blue wave” begins in the days and weeks after, and Biden claims a belated, overtime victory.

Both Democrats and Republicans have sought either to enlarge or restrict the opportunities for absentee voting. A massive amount of litigation is already taking place. At last count, 279 Covid-related election cases are currently underway in 45 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico—and that tally does not include other litigation over other election issues.

Vote-counting problems—and the litigation they will generate—do not end once deadlines are decided. States must match signatures on ballots to those on voter rolls and verify that each ballot is valid. Although some key states permit pre-Election Day verification, others do not. Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Michigan were among the latter. “Real problems will emerge here,” Karl Rove has warned, “especially when there’s a big increase in mail-in ballots over 2016.”

In Pennsylvania, for example, 84,000 people voted by mail in the 2016 primaries; in 2020, 1.5 million did. In the best of circumstances, matching signatures on mail-in ballots to those on file with the state (from voter registration, ballot applications, or the DMV) is not, to the untrained eye, an easy task. Repeated and time-consuming challenges to the verification process will delay a final, official count.

The Electoral Count

Delayed election results could mean much more than the inconvenience of waking up on November 4 and not knowing who is President. They could trigger a constitutional crisis that would shake the country to its foundations.

An old federal statute, the Electoral Count Act of 1887, establishes deadlines for the states to report their official results and for the 538 members of the Electoral College to meet. The latter date this year is December 14, or 41 days after Election Day. The state deadline this year is December 8. The date is a safe harbor: if a state reports in time, Congress will accept its electors. The Act provides that if “any controversy or contest” remains after December 8, Congress will decide which electors—if any—may cast their state’s votes in the Electoral College.

Delays in counting the votes could well encroach on the December 8 deadline. State legislators and governors might come under mounting pressure to designate electors on their own if the popular vote remains incomplete, especially if there are allegations of fraud or abuse. Article II of the Constitution provides that “each state shall appoint, in such manner as the Legislature thereof may direct, a number of electors, equal to the whole number of Senators and Representatives to which the State may be entitled in the Congress.” The time when state legislatures directly appointed electors themselves are long gone: since the 19th century, states have delegated that power to their voters. But as the Supreme Court noted in Bush v. Gore, a state “can take back the power to appoint electors.”

The constitutional question is not whether but how a state legislature could reclaim the appointment of electors. States have provided by statute for the selection of their electors by their voters; therefore it one might argue they may only resume that power with a second, superseding statute. On the other hand, the Constitution specifically designates state legislatures, rather than the executives or a combination of the two, to choose the electors.  A state legislature might argue that a past legislature-and-governor cannot constrain its discretion to choose electors today.  Is it likely that state legislatures in battleground states could reclaim their constitutional power before the December 8 deadline looms? Probably not.

While Republicans control the state legislatures in six key battleground states, only two of those states also have Republican governors (Arizona and Florida). In four other contested states Republicans control the legislature, but Democrats control the executive: Michigan, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin. Only if the Constitution allows state legislatures, acting without the governor, to choose the electors, could those states cast electoral votes in a disputed popular election.

But there is another scenario in which the state legislatures could designate electors if litigation held up a definitive accounting of the popular vote. This requires a closer look at the Electoral Count Act.

The Act contemplates a post-election period in which states have the opportunity to resolve any “controversy or contest” in accordance with their pre-election law through “judicial or other methods or procedures.” Once this process has reached a definitive conclusion or “final ascertainment,” the governor is then to certify the electors. But the Act presupposes that all such controversies or contests have run their course before the governor submits the certified list of electors. What if December 8 is at hand and the controversies are still going on?

Another provision of the Act could come into play. If a State has held an election on November 3 “and has failed to make a choice” by the December 8 deadline, the Act declares that “the electors may be appointed on a subsequent day [after Nov. 3] in such a manner as the legislature of such State may direct.” That failure could arise from fraud, uncertainty, ongoing recounts or litigation. In those circumstances, a state could be said to have “failed” to make a choice, and its legislature could pick the electors.

That analysis presumes, however, that the Act is constitutional. The founders anticipated the possibility that the Electoral College would fail. In fact, they may not have foreseen political parties that would present the same presidential candidates in every state. Instead, several Founders seem to have thought that the states would often propose local favorites, that the Electoral College would reach no majority in the face of multiple candidates, and that the election would have to go to a backup procedure.

No candidate may win in the Electoral College for less noble reasons as well. Suppose states send electoral votes that—even if certified by the governor—remain under question, whether because of fraud in the vote, inability to count the ballots accurately under neutral rules, or a dispute between branches of a state government.

While the Electoral Count Act appears to create safe harbors for a state’s report of its Electoral College votes, the Act itself might prove unconstitutional. Under the 12th Amendment, “the President of the Senate [i.e., the Vice President] shall, in the Presence of the Senate and House of Representatives, open all the certificates [of the electoral votes of the states] and the votes shall then be counted.” Left unclear is who is to “count” the electors’ votes and how their validity is to be determined.

Over the decades, political figures and legal scholars have offered different answers to these constitutional questions. We suggest that the Vice President’s role is not the merely ministerial one of opening the ballots and then handing them over (to whom?) to be counted. Though the 12th Amendment describes the counting in the passive voice, the language seems to envisage a single, continuous process in which the Vice President both opens and counts the votes.

The check on error or fraud in the count is that the Vice President’s activities are to be done publicly, “in the presence” of Congress. And if “counting” the electors’ votes is the Vice President’s responsibility, then the inextricably intertwined responsibility for judging the validity of those votes must also be his.

If that reading is correct, then the Electoral Count Act is unconstitutional. Congress cannot use legislation to dictate how any individual branch of government is to perform its unique duties: Congress could not prescribe how future Senates should conduct an impeachment trial, for example. Similarly, we think the better reading is that Vice President Pence would decide between competing slates of electors chosen by state legislators and governors, or decide whether to count votes that remain in litigation.

The Role of the House

If the electoral count remains uncertain enough to deprive either Trump or Biden of a majority in the Electoral College, then the 12th Amendment orders that “the House of Representatives shall choose immediately, by ballot, the President.” Our nation barely avoided that outcome 20 years ago in the 2000 Florida recount and has only used twice it in our history (in 1800 and 1824). So if the disasters described above occur, then the Constitution gives the power to choose the President to the House.

So it seems like Nancy Pelosi and the Democrats would get to pick the winner. But not so fast, said the framers, who feared congressional control of the executive. Rather than allow a simple majority vote, the Constitution requires that the House choose the President by voting as state delegations. If the House decides the Presidency, Delaware would have the same number of votes as California.

This unusual process makes sense in light of the larger constitutional structure. The Framers rejected the idea that Congress should pick the President, which they believed would rob the Chief Executive of independence, responsibility, and energy. They wanted the people to have the primary hand in choosing the President, but mediated through the states, because they also feared direct democracy.

Thanks to Republican advantages among the states (rather than the cities) the current balance of state delegations in Congress favors Republicans by 26-23 (with Pennsylvania tied). If today’s House chose the president, voting by state delegations, Trump would win handily.

But there is another twist. The 20th Amendment to the Constitution seats a new Congress on January 3, but does not begin the term of a new president until noon on January 20. The new Congress chosen in the 2020 elections, rather than the current Congress, would choose the President. Even though Republicans currently have a majority of delegations, Democrats have narrowed the gap—after the 2016 elections, Republicans had held a 32-17 advantage in state congressional delegations. If Democrats can win one more congressional seat in Pennsylvania and then flip one more delegation, they could achieve a 25-25 tie in the House. Then the election would require political bargaining of the most extreme kind for the House to resolve a disputed presidential election.

First Constitutional Backup

Suppose the House cannot agree, which could well happen given the polarization of our politics. The Constitution even provides for this. If the House splits 25-25 between Trump and Biden, then the 20th Amendment elevates the Vice President-elect to the Presidency.

Under the 12th Amendment, when the Electoral College fails, the Senate chooses the Vice President. Unlike the House procedure, the Senators each have one vote, meaning that under the current balance in the upper chamber, 53 Republicans would choose Mike Pence to effectively become the next President. But, as with the House, it is the Senate chosen by the 2020 elections, rather than the 2018 elections, that will choose the Vice President. On November 4, we may well learn who will win the Presidency—because control of the Senate is also at stake.

Suppose that this November, Democrats take three Senate seats—those in Arizona, Maine, Colorado, and North Carolina, while losing Alabama—and the Senate divides 50-50. Could Pence, as the sitting President of the Senate on January 3, break a tie in the Senate in his favor to make him Vice President on January 20, 2021, and hence President due to the inability of the House to break its own deadlock? It appears that this is the case; Article I, Section 3 of the Constitution says the Vice President “shall have no Vote, unless [Senators] be equally divided.” It does not restrict the Vice President’s tie-breaking vote to some functions of the Senate but not others. In those extreme circumstances, Pence might recuse himself, but the Constitution would not require it.

Second Constitutional Backup

Suppose then the House, Senate, sitting President, and even Vice President Pence decide that he should not use that tie-breaking power. Then the Constitution’s backup system for the Electoral College will have failed.

That still leaves a second backup system. Article II of the Constitution states that in “the Case of Removal, Death, Resignation or Inability” of both the President and Vice President, Congress can declare “what Officer shall then act as President” until the disability ends or a new President is elected. Don’t forget that word, “Officer,” because it may make all the difference.

Under the current federal succession statute, Congress decided that congressional leaders should assume the Presidency. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi sits first in line, followed by the President pro tem of the Senate, currently Chuck Grassley. From there, the line of succession continues to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, and then the other cabinet members.

But, as Yale law professor Akhil Amar persuasively argued in 1995 (at the prospect of Newt Gingrich becoming President should Congress impeach Bill Clinton!), this part of the federal succession statute likely violates the Constitution. Notice that Article II requires that the Presidency pass down to an “Officer.” The Constitution generally—but not always—refers to “Officers” as members of the Executive Branch. Further, the Incompatibility Clause of the Constitution prohibits Members of Congress to hold executive office. Neither Nancy Pelosi nor Chuck Grassley can become President. Mike Pompeo would become President—an outcome so unusual, so unexpected, it just might fit our bizarre times.

Forward Observer: How the Low Intensity Conflict is Developing

Intelligence analyst Sam Culper at Forward Observer has How the Low Intensity Conflict is Developing.

About four years ago when I started this report, I began looking for indications of increasing capabilities among both armed and unarmed Leftist groups. Although it’s rather obvious in hindsight, I hypothesized that as operational support capabilities increased, so would the intensity and volume of their actions.

It was a slow few years, and then boom — George Floyd went viral at the end of May. And Leftist groups have likely made more progress in the past four months than they have in the past four years.

The development is actually impressive. It’s far more than what’s being developed by the Right.

Affinity groups and cellular compartmentalization have long been the preferred method of Leftist organizing, but what’s developed over the summer is far and above what was traditionally included in the doctrine.

One anarchist group in the Pacific Northwest provides the best illustration. In a recent missive, the group outlined how their personnel are organized.

In addition to 4x direct action cells, they had:

  • 1x logistics and transportation cell
  • 2x medical aid cells
  • 1x intelligence cell

This is operational support.

In order to keep direct action cells in the field, some level of support needs to be provided. The direct action cells need food, water, medical supplies, transportation, and information to continue their operations. Absent those, demonstrations become unsustainable and break down.

Historically, direct action cells have been forced into self-funding and self-supply. Over the summer, we’ve seen a concerted effort to develop support classes so that direct action cells can focus on their activities, while being supplied with food and water, medicine, real-time information, and other materials.

In the Army, this is what we called a “tooth to tail ratio”. In other words, how many support personnel are required for every trigger puller? Doctrinally, it’s something like 1:7, or seven support personnel required to field every one combat arms soldier. In Iraq and Afghanistan, it was as high as 1:20 or 1:30 (!).

Our team has observed both armed and unarmed Leftist groups develop their own tooth to tail ratio, which is now greater than 1:1. This signifies a boost in operational capacity because the more active support personnel they have, the higher they can push their operational tempo. Portland’s 100 days of rioting would not have happened without the development of operational support capability.

What we’re seeing happen with Leftist activist groups in metro areas across the country is similar to what the Portland insurgency has developed. These indicators are pointing to even more disruptive protests and additional political violence in many cities between November and January.

I just thought you should be aware.

Until next time, be well and stay out front.

 

Always Out Front,

Samuel Culper

International Man: The American Revolution—The Sequel

Jeff Thomas at International Man writes The American Revolution—The Sequel from his perspective outside of America.

The US is the most observed country in the world. Since it’s the world’s current empire (and since it is beginning its death throes as an empire), it’s fascinating to watch.

Those of us outside of the US watch it like Americans watch TV. It’s like a slow-motion car wreck that we observe almost daily, eager to see what’s going to happen next. We criticise the madness of it all, yet we can’t take our eyes off the unfolding drama. It has all the excitement of a blockbuster movie.

  • The national debt is, by far, the highest of any country in history.
  • The economic system is a house of cards, getting shakier every day.
  • The government has become mired in progress-numbing fascism and increasing collectivism.
  • The government is aggressively creating the world’s most organized police state.
  • The majority of the population have become wasteful, spendthrift consumers who apathetically hope that their government will somehow solve their problems.
  • The media consistently misrepresents international events, prodding the citizenry into accepting that the ongoing invasion of multiple other countries is essential.
  • The most popular candidates for president (both parties) are the candidates that are the most egotistical, out-of-control blowhards who preach provocative rhetoric rather than real solutions.

Still, most Americans retain the hope that, somehow, it will all work out.

Hope Is a Desire, Not a Plan

There are growing numbers of Americans who have accepted that the US is unravelling rapidly and is headed for a social, economic, and political collapse of one form or another.

Some talk of a new revolution (but hopefully a peaceful one, of the Tea Party sort). Some imagine that, if they can store enough guns and ammunition in their homes, they might be able to make a stand against government authorities. Others mull over the idea of organised secession by some of the states. A small, but growing, number are quietly leaving for more promising destinations.

Except for the last of these, most of the “hopes” are understandable, but any attempt at a “Second American Revolution” is unlikely to succeed.

Why? Well, just for a start,

  • The power of the US state is far greater than that of King George III in the late eighteenth century.
  • The present US state would be fighting on its own ground, not some continent thousands of miles across the ocean.
  • The US state is committed to the concept that it dealt definitively (and forever) with the concept of secession between 1861 and 1865.

But, for the sake of argument, let’s say that a breakup of the union, or complete removal and replacement of the government were possible in the US. What then?

Well, unfortunately, here comes the really bad news for those who hope that the US could start over as the free nation it was in its infancy:

  • In the late eighteenth century, America was a largely agrarian collection of colonies. Colonists had to work hard just to survive, so the work ethic and self-reliance were paramount in the colonists’ makeup. They were a brave people who were accustomed to providing for themselves and physically fighting off those who would challenge them.
  • Colonists received no significant largesse from the British or local governments. No welfare, no social security, no Medicare or Medicaid, no benefits of any kind.
  • Colonists made their own daily decisions. They had no government schools or media telling them what to think or what choices to make. They relied on common sense and self-determination to guide their decisions and actions.

Today, of course, the opposite is true. Less than 2% of Americans are involved in agriculture. A mere 9% are actually employed in the production of goods. They are rarely directly involved in their own physical protection (Most, if not all, combat is overseas and fought by defence contractors or those who voluntarily serve the military).

Most Americans receive benefits of one type or another from their government. Most recipients regard these benefits as “essential” and could not get by without them.

Most Americans receive their opinions from the media. Although this is not apparent to many Americans, it’s glaringly clear to those outside the US who can only shake their heads at the misinformation proffered by the US media and the wholesale acceptance of this “alternate reality” by so many Americans.

But what bearing does this have on what the future would be for Americans if they were to become determined enough to either remove their entire government or, alternatively, for some states to secede?

There have been many revolutions in the history of the world, both peaceful and otherwise. In the case of the American Revolution of 1776, the colonists themselves were largely self-contained as a people and possessed the ideal ethos to succeed as a productive country.

But this has rarely been true in history. Whenever a people have been heavily dependent on the State in one way or another, they had become accustomed to receiving largesse at the expense of others. This is a major, major factor. Such a group is unlikely in the extreme to either produce or elect a Washington or a Jefferson. They almost always choose, instead, to fall in behind someone who promises largesse from the State. In choosing such leaders, the people are more likely to receive a Robespierre or a Lenin. Out of the frying pan and into the fire.

The pervasive difficulty here lies in the erroneous concept that there can be a return to freedom whilst maintaining the dependency upon largesse from the State. The two are mutually exclusive. Those who seek a return to greater freedom must also accept that “freedom for all” means an end to the State being empowered to steal from one person in order to give to another.

Or, as stated by Frédéric Bastiat in the mid-nineteenth century, “Government is the great fiction, through which everybody endeavours to live at the expense of everybody else.”

Whether the US continues on its present downward progression, or if it breaks free in a bid for greater freedom, the eventual outcome is likely to have more to do with the collectivist mindset of the majority than with the libertarian vision of a few.

Editor’s Note: Right now, the US is the most polarized it has been since the Civil War.

If you’re wondering what comes next, then you’re not alone.

The political, economic, and social implications of the 2020 vote will impact all of us.

Imprimis: Facing Up to the China Threat

Imprimis has published an adapted speech by Brian Kennedy, president of the American Strategy Group, titled Facing Up to the China Threat.

We are at risk of losing a war today because too few of us know that we are engaged with an enemy, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), that means to destroy us. The forces of globalism that have dominated our government (until recently) and our media for the better part of half a century have blinded too many Americans to the threat we face. If we do not wake up to the danger soon, we will find ourselves helpless.

That is a worst-case scenario. I do not think we Americans will let that happen. But the forces arrayed against us are many. We need to understand what we are up against and what steps must be taken to ensure our victory.

Our modern understanding of Communist China begins during the Cold War, with President Nixon’s strategic belief that China could serve as a counterweight to the Soviet Union. This belief seemed to carry with it two great benefits. First, the U.S. wouldn’t have to take on the Soviet Union by itself: Communist China was a populous country that bordered the Soviet Union and shared our interest, or so we thought, in checking its global ambitions. Second, by engaging with China—especially in terms of trade, but also by helping it develop technologically—we would help to end communism as a guiding force in China. This second notion might be called the China dream: economic liberalism would lead to political liberalism, and China’s communist dictatorship would fade away.

At the end of the Cold War, pursuing the China dream appeared a safe course of action, given that the U.S. was then the world’s preeminent military power. The 9/11 Islamic terrorist attacks reinforced the notion that superpower conflict was a thing of the past—that our major enemy was now radical Islam, widely diffused but centered in the Middle East. Later that same year, China was granted “Most Favored Nation” trading status and membership in the World Trade Organization. Little changed when the Bush administration gave way to the Obama administration. The latter’s “pivot to Asia” was mostly rhetorical—a justification to degrade our military capabilities vis-à-vis China, integrate even further the U.S. and Chinese economies, and prioritize the Middle East above all else.

Under both administrations, the U.S. failed to build a military that could challenge Communist China’s aggression in the Pacific—specifically its building of a modern navy and its construction of military installations on artificial islands in the South China Sea—and acquiesced in the export of much of the U.S. manufacturing base to China and elsewhere.

History will record that America’s China policy from the 1970s until recently was very costly because it involved a great deal of self-deception about the nature of the Chinese regime and the men who were running it.

Communist China Today

The People’s Republic of China (PRC) has a population of 1.4 billion. They are governed by the Chinese Communist Party, which has 90 million members, and by an elite class of approximately 300 million additional Chinese who are deeply invested in the regime’s success. Not all of them may believe in every aspect of what the party calls “socialism with Chinese characteristics”—an admixture of Maoist, Marxist, and Leninist communism—but they actively support the regime. The system benefits these elites, whose businesses, mostly state-owned enterprises, are privately run with active participation by the CCP. Once a business reaches a certain size, it will take on board a cadre of party members who serve as a direct liaison between the business and the government.

However inefficient this may sound, understand that the CCP operates a massive global intelligence network through its Ministry of State Security. This network does its part to assist Chinese business and industry through industrial espionage, cyber warfare, and economic coercion. This type of state capitalism or neo-mercantilism has led to the creation of a modern economy that rivals that of the U.S. We might like to believe that communism in China cannot be sustained and will lead to the collapse of the regime. And it well may someday. But the CCP has proven extremely capable in building an empire that can govern 1.4 billion people. This required the conquest of a large number of peoples who were not willingly subjugated, as well as the physical mastery of a territory not easily managed. Doing this in such a short period of time and in such a ruthless and determined way is an achievement unparalleled in the known history of the world.

Today the PRC has a military of two million men, including the world’s largest navy. This military may not be qualitatively on par with the U.S. military, but quantity has a quality of its own. In the last five years of U.S. naval war game simulations, in which the U.S. is pitted against China, the U.S. has failed to come out victorious. We do not have enough ships and munitions to defeat China’s navy absent the use of nuclear weapons. And while it is often said that the Chinese do not have a nuclear arsenal to challenge the U.S., the fact is we don’t know what the Chinese possess. We know they are capable of building nuclear weapons and advanced missiles and rocketry. We know they stole or otherwise obtained advanced U.S. technology involving warhead miniaturization and guidance systems and that they have had the industrial capacity to build these for nearly two decades.

On our side, we know that the U.S. has not tested a nuclear warhead since 1992 and has not built the kind of advanced arsenal that might be required to deter China. And we know that Chinese President and CCP General Secretary Xi Jinping adheres to the beliefs of Mao Tse-tung, who held that the U.S. was a “paper tiger” that possessed nuclear weapons but would not use them. There is also the rather disturbing belief, also a favorite of Mao, that even if we did use our nuclear weapons, we could not kill all of them. Such is the way a nation at war thinks.

As for China’s air force, it possesses and is building today advanced fighter aircraft that rival anything the U.S has built. They may not yet have the quantity, but that will come with time. As for proficiency in war fighting, that is something that likewise can be acquired. For all of our nation’s military superiority, we have not been in combat with a peer competitor for half a century. As good as we may be, history contains many examples of militarily inferior nations developing military superiority. If we think that this is not what Communist China is seeking to do today, we are mistaken.

Unrestricted Warfare

There is a famous book, Unrestricted Warfare, written in 1999 by two People’s Liberation Army colonels. It argues that war between the PRC and the U.S. is inevitable, and that when it occurs China must be prepared to use whatever means are necessary to achieve victory. This includes economic warfare, cyber warfare, information warfare, political warfare, terrorism, and biological warfare, in addition to conventional and nuclear warfare. The book’s purpose was not only to shape Chinese policy, but also to plant the idea in the minds of U.S. policymakers that China will consider nothing out of bounds. The book itself is an act of information warfare. Understanding the lengths to which the PRC is willing to go, might the U.S. prefer some kind of accommodation in lieu of building a military capable of challenging China’s strategic designs?

In thinking about the implications of the word unrestricted, it is useful to look at the CCP’s treatment of its own people.

Estimates put the number of those killed at the hands of the CCP—whether through war, starvation, or execution—at roughly 100 million. The mass murder committed by the party and its Red Guards during the Great Leap Forward (1958-1962) and the Cultural Revolution (1966-1976) alone resulted in some 70 million dead. And these numbers do not even take into account the forced abortions stemming from China’s one-child policy. That number is conservatively estimated to be 500 million—500 million children murdered in the womb.

The Chinese government today is perfecting a system of social credit scoring that relies on constant monitoring of its people using the tools of social media, with the aim of grading each individual based on his or her support of the regime. This exerts a chilling effect on the people, who seem to have decided to go along with their communist masters lest they be excluded from whatever benefits they might enjoy from China’s economic modernization.

Many of us have heard of the CCP’s imprisonment in concentration camps of one to two million Muslim Uyghurs in Xinjiang province. Fewer of us are aware of how the Chinese government facilitates the abduction of Uyghur women for sexual use by Chinese soldiers—or even worse, if that were possible, how the government harvests the organs of the Uyghur population for sale both in China and abroad. This latter atrocity has become a multi-billion dollar industry: the Uyghur organs, since they are uncorrupted by alcohol or pork, are especially desirable to wealthy Muslims in the Middle East and elsewhere.

The ability of Westerners to avert their eyes from such abject horrors is clearly illustrated by the new Disney movie Mulan, parts of which were filmed mere miles from some of these camps. Disney went so far as to thank the Turpan Municipal Bureau of Public Security, responsible for imprisoning the Uyghurs, for its help during filming.

As an indication of the CCP’s treatment of Christianity, Chinese school textbooks are now promoting a false account of Christianity and of Jesus’s life and teaching. In the Chinese version of the story from the Gospel of John about the adulteress threatened with stoning, for example, Jesus explains that he too is a sinner and then stones the woman to death after the crowd disperses. Despite this and the CCP’s long history of persecuting Christians, Pope Francis will be renewing his agreement with the CCP that gives it effective control over how the Catholic Church, or what passes for it, is run in China.

The CCP operates a vast intelligence network in the U.S as well. It is made up not merely of intelligence operatives working for the Ministry of State Security, but also a myriad of business and industry officials, Chinese scholar associations, Confucius Institutes operating on American campuses, and 370,000 Chinese students attending American universities. Every one of these Chinese citizens is subject to Article 7 of the PRC’s National Intelligence Law of 2017, which requires that “any organization or citizen shall support, assist, and cooperate with state intelligence work.” Students and others must report to handlers in Chinese consulates and embassies about who they meet, the research they’re working on, and whatever else is demanded.

It should not be surprising that a combination of the efforts of this network and of China-based cyber criminals yields $500 to $600 billion of intellectual property theft annually. Also aiding the effort is China’s Thousand Talents Program, which seeks to recruit the brightest Chinese and American professionals to support Chinese science and industry. This has proved to be a real problem for the U.S.—consider the recent arrest of Harvard chemist Charles Lieber for not disclosing his ties to the Chinese government and the firing of the Chinese-American CIO of the California Public Employees’ Retirement System, who had invested CalPERS funds in Chinese corporations tied to the People’s Liberation Army.

Perhaps the greatest threat to the U.S. posed by the CCP is its corruption of America’s business and financial elites, who view the economic benefits of dealing with China as more important than America’s national interests. If there is a single group committed to the globalist project and the delusory China dream, it is Wall Street. Our great investment banks are now selling trillions of dollars in debt and equity in Chinese corporations to American investors and retirees. They are literally betting on the success of China at the expense of the U.S.

The People’s War

Over the past decade alone, the PRC has stolen almost $6 trillion of U.S. intellectual property, including tech innovations coming out of Silicon Valley and Seattle, entertainment coming out of Hollywood, and medical research and development coming out of New England and elsewhere. Properly understood, this is China stealing the wealth and future wealth of the American people. It is only recently that our government began trying to combat this theft in a serious way. At the same time, the U.S. has begun a strategic military buildup—including the creation of a new branch of our armed services, the U.S. Space Force, sending a signal that the U.S. would not cede the strategic high ground of space to China, which is already active in militarizing space.

In response, on May 13, 2019, the PRC, through the Xinhua News Agency—which is controlled by the CCP—declared a “People’s War” against the U.S. This was specifically in response to U.S. tariffs on Chinese goods, which themselves were a response to restrictions of access to Chinese markets and China’s failure to negotiate in good faith on the theft of intellectual property.

What was meant by this declaration of a People’s War? Was the phrase essentially rhetorical or did it signal a fundamental shift or escalation in Chinese thinking?

I would not go so far as to say that the COVID-19 virus that originated in the Wuhan Institute of Virology was part of this People’s War. But the virus did set into motion a radical reorientation of American society that had grave economic and political consequences...(continues)

Practical Self Reliance: Storing Fresh Eggs in Limewater (Keeps 12+ Months)

Ashley Adamant at Practical Self Reliance has a good article on preserving fresh eggs – Storing Fresh Eggs in Limewater (Keeps 12+ Months)

The practice of storing eggs in lime water goes back centuries, and it’s still one of the best ways to preserve eggs without refrigeration.

Anyone whose kept chickens knows that egg production doesn’t always line up with demand.

In the spring months, you’ll be buried in fresh eggs, right when you’re excited to be outdoors planting the garden and couldn’t care less about baking.  Production stays strong all summer when it’s too hot to run the oven and you’re too worn out in the evenings to bother anyway.

Then in the fall, right as cozy weather starts, production starts to slip.  By winter, when the days are short and you’re ready for some comfort food baking, they may have stopped laying altogether.

These days, industrial chicken operations turn on banks of lights to keep the ladies cranking out eggs year-round (and just replace the chickens at 2 years old as they wear out from laying nonstop).  That’s a relatively new thing though, and the option of a steady year-round egg supply has only really existed for the past few decades.

Historically, how did people preserve eggs to ensure a steady winter supply?

The answer is, they had literally dozens of methods to preserve eggs.  They stored them in wood ash, wheat bran, and straw, or coated them with butter or lard, or kneaded them into homemade pasta that was hung to dry.

Most of the methods rely on a few simple principles:

  1. Start with clean, fresh eggs.
  2. Don’t wash the eggs at all.  That removes their natural “bloom” that prevents bacteria from entering through pores in the shell.
  3. Keep the eggs cool, but not too cold.  An egg is a living thing, and it’ll stay fresh best unwashed and at around 50 degrees (root cellar cool).
  4. If possible, seal the pores off further to prevent contamination within the egg.  Oil, ash, and lime are the most popular choices.

Simply storing fresh, unwashed eggs in a cool environment (around 50 degrees) will buy you a lot of time.  We’ve taken our fresh eggs and stored them in the basement dependably for up to 4 months, and occasionally as long as 6 months, no treatment required (so long as they’re not washed).

If you’d like to dependably store eggs for longer than 4 months, like if you’re trying to store an overabundance of spring eggs for the next winter’s baking, you’ll need a bit of help to get them to keep that long.

While many different methods work, most have drawbacks.  Storing in ash, for example, makes the eggs taste a bit musty and smokey.  Storing in salt draws water out of the egg, and makes them taste a bit salty.

Storing eggs in sodium silicate, known as “Waterglassing” was really popular for a time.  Incredibly dependable, the eggs didn’t spoil for years…but they changed.

Sodium silicate is used for sealing tile these days, and it softened the shells and penetrated the eggs…changing their flavor, and even their structure.  Waterglassed eggs whites won’t whip, and there’s never really been any testing on the impacts of eating a boatload of sodium silicate for breakfast.

So what does work?  Storing eggs in a food-safe lime solution made with pickling lime (calcium hydroxide).

The calcium solution seals the eggshells and effectively preserves the eggs for a year or more.

Though it’s called “pickling lime” it doesn’t make pickled eggs.  The process keeps the eggs in their same state, and once you pull them out of the solution they can be used just like a fresh egg.  They fry up beautifully, and the white still whip to stiff peaks.

It’s called “pickling lime” because it’s used to firm up veggies before pickling, namely dill pickles, and old fashioned watermelon rind pickles.  It works the same way to firm up the eggshells and seal them at the same time.

Don’t believe me?  Here’s someone cooking with eggs after a full year in lime water:

How to Preserve Eggs in Lime Water

Preserving eggs in lime water starts with making a lime/water solution.  The ratio is one ounce of lime powder (by weight) to one quart of water.

(That’s about 28 grams per quart of water or about 2 heaping tablespoons.)

Lime for Preserving Eggs

I’ll measure out the solution in a quart mason jar, and one quart of the solution is just about right for filling a half-gallon mason jar once the eggs have been added.

Give the jar a shake, and you’ll have a milky white liquid.  Much of the lime will settle out to the bottom over time (that’s normal), but what you’re doing here is making a saturated lime solution.

Some sources say that as little as 1 part lime to 700 parts water creates a saturated solution, but other sources say that the lime may not be completely pure and you need to use a bit more to be sure.  Still, others recommend as much as 1 part lime to 2 parts water.

At a rate of one ounce to a quart, there’s a lot that settles out of solution, and it’s a good middle ground that ensures that the solution is saturated (without wasting a boatload of lime in the process).

lime water solution

Carefully select eggs that are super fresh and clean, without cracks or issues, pulled from clean nesting boxes that day.

Fill a clean jar with the eggs, and then pour the lime-water solution over the eggs.  Be sure that the eggs are completely submerged and then cap up the jar.

Pouring lime solution over fresh eggs

Cap up the jar, and store in a cool place, like a basement, pantry, or cool closet on the north side of the house.

A half-gallon mason jar will hold roughly 14 to 18 eggs, depending on size.  You can also use something like these one-gallon glass jars, which will hold about 3 dozen eggs.

Historically, they would have been stored in wooden barrels or ceramic crocks (like this one that I use to make sauerkraut a gallon at a time).  Alternately, a food-safe plastic bucket will work if you want to store them in bulk.

We keep our jars of eggs in the basement, right next to my home-canned goods and root cellared apples.

Once you’re ready to use the eggs, simply remove them from the solution and give them a rinse before cracking.  Rinsing ensures that the lime solution doesn’t get into the egg as it’s cracked, which will impact the flavor.

Then, just cook with the eggs as you otherwise would…(continues)

See also:

Practical Self Reliance: 30+ Ways to Preserve Eggs

and this video from Homesteading Family

Multiple Calls to Prepare for Food Shortages

Recently there has been a spate of calls to prepare for food shortages from a variety of fronts. These videos are 3-4 weeks old, but the news articles after are all within the last week and don’t include all the news about potential famines in several African nations and N. Korea.

WSOC TV: Local food banks prep as nationwide food shortage looms

Bloomberg: Tesco Chairman Warns Brits May Face Food Shortages After Brexit

Bloomberg: The World Is Bracing for More Pressure on Food Needs

Winnegpeg Free Press: Pandemic Gardens – Fears over food shortages, rising prices lead first-timers to get growing

American Partisan: Surveillance Detection Routes

NC Scout at American Partisan has a post on Surveillance Detection Routes, with his comments on a video from The Kilo 23 Group. Kilo 23 interviews people from the intelligence community, the defense industry and also does gear reviews and some espionage related tradecraft. NC Scout is a former infantry scout in a US Army reconnaissance unit.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hl6HwYAaKFE

Surveillance Detection Routes (the OTHER SDR) is a critical personal protection skill and a good practice to make a habit of- whether you’re politically active, involved in a covert group or just an average joe looking to enhance your own security, its a good idea to take some notes. A few of my own rules:

  1. Never, ever be in a hurry. When we’re in a hurry, we turn the blinders on to the rest of the world and we make mistakes.
  2. Always be early and back into parking spots. Observation of an area is critical and often enough this begins in the parking lot of a place. Backing in allows us to do two things: observe and make a hasty exit.
  3. Make random stops in open, highly trafficked places while traveling and take mental notes of who’s around. Who belongs and who doesn’t?

Mises Institute: Rand Paul Is Right about the Nazis and Socialism

Rand Paul recently pointed out that the Nazis were socialists in a book released last year. I mean, it’s in the name (National Socialists – Nationalsozialist), but then they’d be leftists, right? Some have taken Rand Paul to task for pointing this out. In this article from Mises Institute, David Gordon says Rand Paul Is Right about the Nazis and Socialism.

In “No, the Nazis Were Not Socialists,” which appeared online in Jacobin, the philosopher Scott Sehon makes a surprising claim. In the course of criticizing some remarks by Senator Rand Paul, Sehon says,

Paul seems to quote the mid-century economist Ludwig von Mises:

Under national socialism there was, as Mises put it, “a superficial system of private ownership…[sic] but the Nazis exerted unlimited, central control of all economic decisions.” With profit and production dictated by the state, industry worked the same as if the government had confiscated all the means of production, making economic prediction and calculation impossible.…

It turns out that Paul’s most clear assertion about Nazi control of the economy was, apparently, just something that the senator made up and falsely attributed to Ludwig von Mises. (blockquote ellipses and brackets in Sehon)

Had Sehon looked into Mises’s views more carefully, he would have found that Mises did indeed believe that Nazism was a form of socialism, marked by state direction of the economy rather than collective ownership. In Omnipotent Government (p. 56), Mises says,

The German and the Russian systems of socialism have in common the fact that the government has full control of the means of production. It decides what shall be produced and how. It allots to each individual a share of consumer’s goods for his consumption….The German pattern differs from the Russian one in that it (seemingly and nominally) maintains private ownership of the means of production and keeps the appearance of ordinary prices, wages, and markets. There are, however, no longer entrepreneurs but only shop managers (Betriebsführer)….The government, not the consumers, directs production. This is socialism in the outward guise of capitalism. Some labels of capitalistic market economy are retained but they mean something entirely different from what they mean in a genuine market economy.

Sehon says that this view is false and cites an article I have not yet been able to gain access to that argues that business under the Nazis retained a large degree of autonomy. But in his well-received book The Wages of Destruction (2007), the historian Adam Tooze says this: “The German economy, like any modern economy, could not do without imports of food and raw materials. To pay for these it needed to export. And if this flow of goods was obstructed by protectionism and beggar-my-neighbour devaluations, this left Germany no option but to resort to ever greater state control of imports and exports, which in turn necessitated a range of other interventions” (p. 113). This is exactly Mises’s point. Interventionist measures in the free market such as price control fail to achieve their purpose. This leads the government to add more interventionist measures in an effort to remedy the situation, and continuing this process can quickly lead to socialism.

This is what happened under the Nazis. Businesses that were reluctant to follow the plans of the new order had to be forced into line. One law allowed the government to impose compulsory cartels. By 1936, the Four Year Plan, headed by Hermann Goering, had changed the nature of the German economy. “On 18 October [1936] Goering was given Hitler’s formal authorization as general plenipotentiary for the Four Year Plan. On the following days he presented decrees empowering him to take responsibility for virtually every aspect of economic policy, including control of the business media” (Tooze 2007, pp. 223–24).

Sehon says that there were socialists in the Nazi party, principally Gregor Strasser and his brother Otto, but that their influence ended when Hitler purged this wing of the party in the Night of the Long Knives in 1934. (By the way, Otto was more of a socialist than his brother Gregor, and the latter repudiated his brother’s views as too radical.) This is not entirely accurate. What it ignores is that Josef Goebbels, the influential minister of propaganda, held strongly socialist views despite his personal enmity for Strasser.

According to George Watson,

On 16 June 1941, five days before Hitler attacked the Soviet Union, Goebbels exulted, in the privacy of his diary, in the victory over Bolshevism that he believed would quickly follow. There would be no restoration of the tsars, he remarked to himself, after Russia had been conquered. But Jewish Bolshevism would be uprooted in Russia and “real socialism” planted in its place – “Der echte Sozialismus“. Goebbels was a liar, to be sure, but no one can explain why he would lie to his diaries. And to the end of his days he believed that socialism was what National Socialism was about.

In his article, Sehon criticizes Watson extensively for relying on a book by Otto Wagener, a Nazi who was removed from his position of authority in 1932, but he does not mention Watson’s quotation from Goebbels’s diary.

Goebbels was by no means alone among the Nazis holding power in his radical opinions. Ferdinand Zimmerman, who worked as an important economic planner for the Nazis, had been before their rise to power a contributor under the pen name Ferdinand Fried to the journal Die Tat, edited by Hans Zehrer, and a leading member of a group of nationalist intellectuals known as the Tatkreis. Fried strongly opposed capitalism, analyzing it in almost Marxist terms.

Wilhelm Roepke wrote a devastating contemporary criticism of Fried, now available in translation in his Against the Tide (Regnery, 1969). One of the best scholarly accounts of Fried’s views, which includes some discussion of his activities under the Nazi regime, is in Walter Struve’s Elites against Democracy: Leadership Ideals in Bourgeois Political Thought in Germany, 1890–1933  (Princeton University Press, 1973).

Sehon makes another misleading point in his article. He says,

Paul’s argument here goes from the undeniable premise that the Nazis had “socialist” as part of their name to the conclusion that the Nazis were, in fact, socialists. For that inference to work, Paul needs an intermediate premise like the following: If an organization has an adjective in their name, then the organization is correctly described by that adjective.

But if Senator Paul really believed this, then he would be forced to conclude that communist East Germany and present-day North Korea count as democracies, for the German Democratic Republic and the Democratic People’s Republic of North Korea both have the adjective “Democratic” as part of their name.

Sehon is right that the word “socialist” does not by itself tell us much, but unfortunately it does not occur to him to investigate what the Nazis meant by this word and why they used it.

American Partisan: Matt Bracken Review of Jack Lawson’s “Civil Defense Manual”

Matt Bracken at American Partisan reviews the recently released Civil Defense Manual by Jack Lawson – the co-author of A Failure of Civility. Matt Bracken was commissioned as a naval officer in 1979. Later in that year he graduated from Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL training, and in 1983 he led a Naval Special Warfare detachment to Beirut, Lebanon. Since then he’s been a welder, boat builder, charter captain, ocean sailor, essayist and novelist.

A Review of Jack Lawson’s Civil Defense Manual:

How to Prepare and Protect Your Neighborhood from Disaster, Riot and Civil Unrest

If you are reading this, chances are good that you consider yourself a liberty-loving patriotic American. You might also consider yourself, as I certainly do, a “prepper,” that is, an all-around survival and preparedness advocate. As preppers, we’ve long been anticipating crises ranging from financial collapse, to violent insurrection, to natural or even man-made disasters that could extinguish our electrical grid in a flash. Now, deep into 2020, the year of the Chinese Coronavirus pandemic and widespread Marxist-inspired riots, it appears that we may at last be on the doorstep of the long-anticipated SHTF scenario. Revolutionary Communists, (currently wearing the Antifa and BLM brands, and with the tacit support of today’s far-left Democrat Party), have declared that under no circumstances will they accept a Trump election victory. Instead, they promise to take their revolution to the streets, in violent nationwide riots beyond any yet seen in American history.

Across the political spectrum, the number of Americans who believe that a second Civil War is imminent is at an all-time high. This heightened concern is why, for example, it costs three to four times more to rent a truck to move household goods from a liberal to a conservative state than vice versa. This is also why common rifle and pistol ammunition is at unprecedented scarcity, and when it can be found, it can only be purchased at exorbitant cost. A hundred rounds of standard 5.56 or 7.62X39 rifle ammo can easily fit into your jacket pocket, and today they might cost you a hundred dollars — a buck a bullet — if you can find them. The reason for their shortage at this moment in history is that millions of Americans have come to the bitter realization that they might actually need them to defend their lives, families and property.

By comparison to the extra cartridges, what value would you place on obtaining the equivalent of a master’s degree in surviving through a period of violent insurrection, or even civil war? I’d imagine much more than the hundred or so dollars you might spend for a similar number of extra rounds for your rifle or carbine.

So, what is it about Jack Lawson’s Civil Defense Manual that makes it so valuable? First of all, it’s nearly a thousand pages long, making it too big to fit inside one book cover. Instead, it’s broken into two volumes that are sold as a set. And the two volumes are large in size, measuring 11 X 8.5 inches, typeset in a generous 14-point font. In the end, the CDM is meant to be readable even by candlelight, post SHTF. And it’s written so that ordinary people can understand it, completely free of esoteric military or technical jargon, with key sentences bolded to stand out.

The CDM is not just another long list of expensive survival gear and equipment, nor is it advice to move to a remote mountain in Montana. The CDM is much more practical than that. In fact, Lawson’s most essential idea, the Neighborhood Protection Plan, or NPP, can be adapted to any location and situation, from the urban high-rise, to apartment complexes, to single-family homes in the suburbs, and to rural areas. The critical concept behind the NPP is that the inhabitants of an individual home, townhouse or apartment building cannot stand alone and successfully defend themselves against determined attacks by roving gangs of armed predatory thugs. It will be too late to defend your single domicile when your neighbors’ homes are going up in flames.

Neighborhood Protection Plan is not a glorified Neighborhood Watch, which is a passive arrangement whereby neighbors communicate with existing local Law Enforcement. Nor is an NPP a “militia” or any other kind of independent paramilitary force. In the first case, the activation of an NPP is predicated upon the inability or even the unwillingness of local LE to protect a neighborhood or other area during a crisis. In the second case, forming a militia or other paramilitary force implies that this group is planning to undertake proactive operations extending beyond the defense of a neighborhood and its immediate surrounding area. The Civil Defense Manual does cover the entire range of defensive options from existing Neighborhood Watch programs, through Neighborhood Protection Plans, and ultimately to coordination between separate NPPs for the mutual protection of wider regions, with the ultimate goal of restoring pre-SHTF civility, public safety, and restarting any disrupted infrastructure.

Lawson provides a sample command structure for his NPP concept, as well as methods to organize the NPP well in advance of a catastrophic series of events that might require a self-defense force to be stood up in days or even hours, instead of in weeks.

In the author’s vision, the elected Primary Leader of the local NPP is given overall command authority during emergency situations, but tellingly, the Secondary NPP Leader in Lawson’s suggested hierarchy is also the Fire Chief. During a breakdown of civil order, and the collapse of local infrastructure, when existing fire departments might be unable to respond, the protection of homes within the NPP against the risk of fire becomes second in importance only to protection against armed gangs, gangs which might be using Molotov cocktail firebombs as terror weapons to elicit surrender. It should also be recognized that during a period when the normal infrastructure might be disrupted, and running water and electricity are unavailable, the threat to structures from open-flame cooking and heating fires, and even candles, will be extremely high.

Just below the Fire Chief in Lawson’s suggested hierarchy comes the Third Section, the Watch Center Leader, overseeing a constantly manned Watch Center. These are followed by the Communications and Intel Section, the Supply Section and the Medical Section. The roles and responsibilities of each section are covered in detail.

This is not to say that Lawson has designed the perfect one-size-fits-all organizational structure to cover every post-SHTF neighborhood self-defense requirement, but what he has done is to conceptualize and provide a practical template that will serve well during a time of escalating crisis. When your neighborhood is undergoing a period of unprecedented stress, a viable pre-existing Neighborhood Protection Plan will be a Godsend. Your particular organizational structure can later be adapted to your unique local circumstances.

Every neighborhood self-defense force or NPP will require a small cadre of individuals that Lawson refers to as “self-starters.” If you are contemplating the purchase of the Civil Defense Manual, then that initial self-starter is you. For the Neighborhood Protection Plan to move from concept to reality, you will need to find and recruit a small nucleus of interested volunteers. Until someone more suited to the task of primary leader emerges during the formation of your NPP, that initial leader is you. The CDM will guide you through the tricky process of germinating the idea of the NPP within your neighborhood, to organizing its first small meetings, until your NPP’s final culmination as an effective volunteer community defense force.

If you purchase the CDM, I strongly suggest that you read it now, from front to back. Don’t wait, because it will take some time to get an NPP up and running. The two volumes of the CDM blend hard data and information, contributions by subject-matter experts, short fiction and non-fiction survival vignettes, and Jack Lawson’s own African combat experiences and survival philosophy. In this review, I have only touched on a few key concepts found in this truly encyclopedic work. After you have read and digested the complete Civil Defense Manual, you will be miles ahead of the “herd” in the coming survival derby. You will not only learn how to protect your own home, but how to defend your entire neighborhood by pooling all of its combined talents and resources for the common defense through “strength in numbers.” By doing so, you will be maintaining vital pockets of civil society amidst a roiling sea of violence and barbarism.

Just the chapter on post-SHTF radio communication, written by the acknowledged subject-matter expert NC Scout, aka Brushbeater, is worth more than the entire cost of the two-volume CDM. Most folks, even preppers, do not sufficiently appreciate the critical importance of maintaining secure communications across a spread-out community during a prolonged crisis. The immeasurable force-multiplier effect of strength in numbers does not come into effect unless the entire NPP can communicate. (While we’re on the subject, go ahead and buy some inexpensive yet invaluable Baofeng UV-5R handheld VHF-UHF radios — while you can. You can thank me, NC Scout and Jack Lawson for the tip later on.)

So instead of buying yet another box of bullets, I strongly recommend that you invest in Jack Lawson’s Civil Defense Manual, and earn yourself a master’s degree in post-SHTF neighborhood self-defense and community survival. What you learn from the CDM will be worth a thousand times more than another extra hundred cartridges to stack on top of your already existing prepper stockpile.

ARRL: Comment Deadline Set For Proposed FCC Amateur License Fees NPRM

From the ARRL NW Division Director:

In my September 2020 Northwest Division Newsletter we discussed newly
proposed FCC mandated fees for amateur radio licenses and other
transactions.

A refresher: Under the proposed fee structure amateur radio licensees
would pay a $50 fee for each amateur radio license transaction.
Included in the FCC’s fee proposal are applications for new licenses,
renewal and upgrades to existing licenses, vanity call sign requests,
and even for official copies of amateur licenses. Excluded are
applications for administrative updates, such as changes of address. The
FCC proposal is contained in a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) in
MD Docket 20-270, which was adopted to implement portions of the
“Repack Airwaves Yielding Better Access for Users of Modern Services
Act” of 2018 — the so-called “Ray Baum’s Act.”

The Act requires that the FCC switch from a Congressionally-mandated fee
structure to a cost-based system of assessment. In its NPRM, the FCC
proposed application fees for a broad range of services that use the
FCC’s Universal Licensing System (ULS), including the Amateur Radio
Service that had been excluded by an earlier statute. The 2018 statute
excludes the Amateur Service from annual regulatory fees, but not from
application fees.

The ARRL has been notified that the NRPM was formally published in
yesterday morning’s Federal Register (https://tinyurl.com/yyk8f2yp).
The Register notes the deadline for comments on the NPRM is November 16,
and the Reply comment deadline is November 30.

I would highly recommend that all amateurs submit comments to the FCC
regarding this repressive NRPM. Not only our wallets, but the possible
long term viability of this wonderful hobby depends on it!  If you would
like to submit a comment on this proceeding, the official FCC website
address is: https://www.fcc.gov/ecfs/filings.  Where it asks for:
Proceeding(s), type in: 20-270.

ARRL FCC Counsel, David Siddall, K3ZJ has provided us all information
and suggestions that would be very helpful for those submitting
comments:

“Arguments against FCC Fees for Radio Amateurs:

Amateurs contribute to the public good. In many areas they provide an
emergency communications backbone capability at no taxpayer cost.
Consistently we have witnessed storms and natural disasters completely
wipe out internet, cellular, and other means of communication.  Radio
amateurs often fill that void on an unmatched, flexible basis when
needed.  One recent example is the California wildfires.

Unlike operators in other FCC licensed services, Amateur Radio operators
by law – domestic and international — must eschew using their license
for any pecuniary interest.  Amateurs are prohibited from earning or
charging any money for any communications activity.  The expenses for
their equipment and activities come out of their own pockets, with no
opportunity for reimbursement or payment of any kind.

The United States is experiencing a severe lack of RF engineers and
expertise at the very time it is needed by the burgeoning wireless
industries.    Amateur radio is helping to meet the deficit, but much
more is needed and youngsters (High School and College-aged) are least
able to afford licensing fees.  RF knowledge and related digital
expertise is needed to maintain U.S. leadership in wireless industries.
At a minimum, young people (below the age of 26) should be exempt from
the proposed license fees.

Amateur radio is self-regulating.  (a) Amateur examinations are written
and administered by radio amateur volunteers.  (b) Examination results
and paperwork most often are submitted electronically to the FCC.
Electronic submission could be required if there would be a cost savings
to the Commission. (c) Amateur radio educational classes are conducted
by volunteers who by-and-large do not charge fees or tuition for
teaching.  (d) The amateur service, in cooperation with the FCC’s
Enforcement Bureau, has a volunteer corps that monitors the amateur
airwaves, and has programs that try to prevent their misuse before FCC
involvement might be needed.  The amateurs also observe non-amateur
signals both within amateur spectrum and outside it, and report unusual
or suspicious signals.

Amateur radio continues to be a source of significant technological
innovation that should be encouraged, not discouraged.”

More comments from David, K3ZJ:

“I do not recommend arguing that the $50.00 fee every 10 years, which
amounts to $5.00 a year, will “kill” amateur radio, even though as
proposed this is for each covered application, which includes upgrade
applications.  Tech-General-Extra could be $150, if the exams are taken
at different sessions, a substantial amount.  But it “rings” the
wrong way to say the whole service turns on $5.00/year for each
licensee.

The Commission argues that the charges are required by the statute.  The
word used is “shall”, which is mandatory, not optional.  But the
statute does not set the amount, nor does it prohibit reasonable
exceptions – evidenced by the Commission’s proposal to exempt from
fees administrative update applications based on policy grounds.

This is not “aimed at amateur radio to kill it.”  There is a long
history and precedent on charging fees for the licensing service
involved, just as there is for passports, green cards, driver’s
licenses (issued by states), etc.  Better to make pertinent arguments on
why the fees would impair the public benefits of the amateur radio
service than argue that the whole service might die as a result of a fee
that, in fact, is less than the fee many of us paid in the 1960’s and
1970’s, including myself as a struggling high school and college
student (if adjusted for inflation).

For background: this proceeding is being handled by staff unfamiliar
with amateur radio.  It is being handled in the FCC’s Office of
Managing Director (OMD), not in the Wireless Telecommunications Bureau
where the amateur-specific Part 97 matters are handled.  The focus of
OMD is accounting – budgets and the like for the entire Commission.
The fee proposals cover every FCC license and service across the board
and the consideration was directed by Congress.  I recommend keeping
“ham jargon” out of comments, it won’t be understood by the
intended recipients.”

I think that David is right on target here. I recommend, and also urge,
that arguments submitted for this petition are both thoughtful and
respectful.  To do otherwise leaves a very poor light on the hobby we
all love. Take what you see here, re-word as necessary so it comes from
your heart, and let’s get this defeated, (or at the very least,
mitigated)!

DollarCollapse.com: The LEAST Important Election Of Our Lifetimes

John Rubino at Dollar Collapse argues that the election this November is The LEAST Important Election Of Our Lifetimes because nothing important is going to change.

A consensus seems to have formed on both left and right that the upcoming presidential election involves some literally existential questions, making it THE MOST IMPORTANT ELECTION OF OUR LIFETIMES.

In fact, the opposite is true. This election is the least important of the past 30 years and very possibly the least important ever. Because, to put it bluntly, we’re kind of screwed either way.

Let’s consider some of those supposedly existential threats:

A Politicized Supreme Court
As this is written, Senate hearings on the nomination of Trump’s third Supreme Court Justice are in progress. Democrat questioners seem to be mainly concerned that a conservative Court would eliminate Obamacare and Roe v Wade, consigning women and the poor to circa 1915 levels of degradation and neglect.

Leaving aside the question of whether Obamacare and Roe were Constitutional in the first place, let’s consider what would happen if they’re overturned.

Would the elimination of Roe v Wade mean that abortion becomes illegal from coast to coast? Not at all. States containing 70 or so percent of the US population would immediately legalize abortion within their borders while making provisions to ferry in pregnant women from neighboring non-choice states. The result: The issue moves back into the legislative realm where actual voters get to have a say and the procedure remains available for the vast majority of American women. Not ideal for folks on either side of the issue, but par for the course in a Democracy where citizens seldom get all that they want. And certainly not an existential threat.

With Obamacare, the issue is not the whole program, but just its “mandate” provision through which the government orders every American to buy health insurance and penalizes us if we don’t. Striking it down as beyond the scope of Federal power does not mean that Obamacare – or any other healthcare entitlement – goes away. It would continue as before but without the government ordering people to participate. A little bit harder to administer perhaps, but probably not the end of the program and, again, certainly not the end of the world.

In any event, 49% of Democrats want to replace Obamacare with a single-payer system like Medicare For All, and the demise of Obamacare might speed up that process, thus improving the world from a liberal perspective.

Meanwhile, conservatives fear that the Democrats, should they retake control of the White House and Senate, will “pack the Supreme Court” by decreeing that it should have, say, 15 judges instead of the current 9 and then adding 6 liberals, to turn the court into a permanently liberal branch of Congress.

So how big a threat is a politicized Supreme Court? Obviously not too big, since Justices have been “legislating from the bench” for decades (Roe dates from 1973) and activists on both right and left continue to complain that the other side is winning. Sounds like business as usual whoever is the next president.

World War III
This is just filler because the military/industrial complex is obviously in charge either way.  Under Trump, we’re liable to be fighting China or Iran by this time next year while under Biden, WWIII will probably feature Russia. The details differ but our kids are cannon fodder in both scenarios.

Rampant corruption
Let’s just agree that Trump, Biden, Harris, and Pence are each in their own way corrupt and/or unethical. But since two of them will end up running the country come November, from a corruption standpoint does it really matter which two?

The environment
This seems like a legitimate potential difference — until you notice a couple of things. First, Trump has talked about rolling back regulations to “save” coal and boost fracking, but he’s actually accomplished very little. Coal is still dead and fracking is moribund.

Second, solar power is eating the electricity business. Here’s a chart showing how solar installations are soaring even as Trump tries to save coal. As the cost of solar keeps falling, it will eventually dominate the energy economy, and there’s nothing Trump can do to stop it.

Solar power installations least important election

And don’t forget cultured meat and vertical farms, which will, over the next couple of decades, do to factory agriculture what solar is doing to coal and natural gas.

Meanwhile, the Dems’ Green New Deal (which Biden in any event has disavowed) would, even in its most ambitious form, accomplish very little for the environment beyond what solar and other clean technologies will inevitably do via the free market.

The conclusion: Trump isn’t nearly the environmental threat he’s made out to be, and Biden isn’t that much of a savior. Technology and new business models are the big story here, and they don’t care who’s in charge.

Irresponsible borrowing
Each side accuses the other various kinds of financial impropriety. But the truth is that both are operating on an unspoken agreement to spend, borrow, and print whatever it takes to stave off a collapse brought about by past mismanagement.

The following chart shows the increase in US government debt over the past three administrations. Note that in the absence of labels you can’t tell by the amounts borrowed whether Democrats or Republicans were in charge in any given year.

US government debt least important election

The conclusion? If Trump wins he’ll continue to run trillion-dollar deficits. If Biden wins, he’ll borrow that much or more. Neither will scale back the military budget or soaring entitlements. And both will encourage, via zero and possibly negative interest rates, the private sector to continue its own borrowing binge. On fiscal policy, these guys are virtually indistinguishable.

Fascist dictator!
It’s amazing how many Democrats literally expect Trump to ignore the coming election and just declare himself dictator.

Please listen, liberals: Trump is trolling you. He’s a narcissistic stand-up comedian who finds himself with a vast audience of emotional children, and he’s doing what any self-respecting comic would do: He’s freaking you out. So pretend you’re at a stage-side Comedy Store table and just roll with it. When his set is over, he’ll drop his mike and amble off to his next gig.

Meanwhile, it’s equally amazing that conservatives look at Court stacking, the Green New Deal and other liberal power grabs as a prelude to an updated version of Orwell’s 1984. This is Joe Biden we’re talking about. He’s been a feckless political hack for longer than most voters have been alive and has never once displayed the ambition required to set up a dictatorship.

As President, he will take corporate donations and follow the orders implicit in those legal bribes. The result will be Clinton/Obama business as usual, not revolution.

Granted, Biden will likely die or lose what’s left of his mind before his first term ends. And yes, Kamala Harris is an instinctive authoritarian. But she has the same moral flexibility as the Bidens, Obamas and Clintons, which just implies a slightly nastier version of the status quo. Again, plenty of run-of-the-mill corruption and brutality, no coup in sight.

So the very real personality defects of this crop of candidates are an annoyance rather than a danger. And as such, they’re easily managed. Just don’t watch Fox or MSNBC and the coming political mess will wash over you like the smell from a passing garbage truck, unpleasant but ephemeral.

What DOES Matter?
The coming financial crisis of course. The pandemic turbocharged a process of hyper-financialization that was already underway, and now whoever is in charge next will have no choice but to keep bailing out everything in sight with tens of trillions of newly created dollars.

This will shift the pressure from bankrupt states and insolvent companies to the currency. Prices will start to rise as the dollar falls. And the fears of today’s voters will seem in retrospect like quaint fantasies from a simpler and embarrassingly naïve time.

And that’s when dictatorship becomes a real possibility. Not Because Trump or Biden are implementing long-held plans but because they are panicked by events spinning out of their control and have literally no idea what to do. This is a legitimately scary prospect. But the coming election will have nothing to do with it one way or the other. Buy gold now.