Imprimis: Clarence Thomas and the Lost Constitution

This article comes from Hillsdale College’s Imprimis. This is a longer article that gets into some details of Justice Thomas’ dissenting opinions and why he feels it is important to write them in hopes that future justices may overturn wrong precedence.

Clarence Thomas and the Lost Constitution

Clarence Thomas is our era’s most consequential jurist, as radical as he is brave. During his almost three decades on the bench, he has been laying out a blueprint for remaking Supreme Court jurisprudence. His template is the Constitution as the Framers wrote it during that hot summer in Philadelphia 232 years ago, when they aimed to design “good government from reflection and choice,” as Alexander Hamilton put it in the first Federalist, rather than settle for a regime formed, as are most in history, by “accident and force.” In Thomas’s view, what the Framers achieved remains as modern and up-to-date—as avant-garde, even—as it was in 1787.

What the Framers envisioned was a self-governing republic. Citizens would no longer be ruled. Under laws made by their elected representatives, they would be free to work out their own happiness in their own way, in their families and local communities. But since those elected representatives are born with the same selfish impulses as everyone else—the same all-too-human nature that makes government necessary in the first place—the Framers took care to limit their powers and to hedge them with checks and balances, to prevent the servants of the sovereign people from becoming their masters. The Framers strove to avoid at all costs what they called an “elective despotism,” understanding that elections alone don’t ensure liberty.

Did they achieve their goal perfectly, even with the first ten amendments that form the Bill of Rights? No—and they recognized that. It took the Thirteenth, Fourteenth, and Fifteenth Amendments—following a fearsome war—to end the evil of slavery that marred the Framers’ creation, but that they couldn’t abolish summarily if they wanted to get the document adopted. Thereafter, it took the Nineteenth Amendment to give women the vote, a measure that followed inexorably from the principles of the American Revolution.

During the ratification debates, one gloomy critic prophesied that if citizens ratified the Constitution, “the forms of republican government” would soon exist “in appearance only” in America, as had occurred in ancient Rome. American republicanism would indeed eventually decline, but the decline took a century to begin and unfolded with much less malice than it did at the end of the Roman Republic. Nor was it due to some defect in the Constitution, but rather to repeated undermining by the Supreme Court, the president, and the Congress.

The result today is a crisis of legitimacy, fueling the anger with which Americans now glare at one another. Half of us believe we live under the old Constitution, with its guarantee of liberty and its expectation of self-reliance. The other half believe in a “living constitution”—a regime that empowers the Supreme Court to sit as a permanent constitutional convention, issuing decrees that keep our government evolving with modernity’s changing conditions. The living constitution also permits countless supposedly expert administrative agencies, like the SEC and the EPA, to make rules like a legislature, administer them like an executive, and adjudicate and punish infractions of them like a judiciary.

To the Old Constitutionalists, this government of decrees issued by bureaucrats and judges is not democratic self-government but something more like tyranny—hard or soft, depending on whether or not you are caught in the unelected rulers’ clutches. To the Living Constitutionalists, on the other hand, government by agency experts and Ivy League-trained judges—making rules for a progressive society (to use their language) and guided by enlightened principles of social justice that favor the “disadvantaged” and other victim groups—constitutes real democracy. So today we have the Freedom Party versus the Fairness Party, with unelected bureaucrats and judges saying what fairness is…

Click here to continue reading at Imprimis.

FEMA: Youth as a Part of Whole Community Preparedness

In this FEMA podcast, FEMA talks to Pacific Northwest emergency managers and a member of the FEMA National Youth Preparedness Council (Hsin Ya Huang) about making preparedness a part of schools and communities.

FEMA Region X Youth Preparedness Council members Hsin Ya Huang (left) and Madeline Ortiz

I’m Scott Zaffram and I’m the Federal Preparedness Coordinator for FEMA region 10. And I am one of the visionaries for the youth disaster preparedness camp that we’re doing. This really started off over a number of years ago as our agency tries to build a culture or preparedness and build capacity for a catastrophic event. And the idea is, is that how can we build generational support within our communities on engaging youth because they should be part of the solution. And when disasters happen, and it’s not just full large scale disasters, it’s also localized emergencies, but how do we really tap into the skill sets that these youth bring to the table? How do we take advantage of their motivation to be able to support these disasters that happen in their backyard? And then more so how do they become a force multiplier and working with local officials whether it’s a state, county, or local administration, and then try to spread the word of preparedness and how do we build a preparedness within the community and that resiliency that comes with it…

The whole idea is to try to provide them a little life critical life saving skills, right? Things like CPR and really an another understanding of what a threatened hazard might look like to them right in their backyard. And it doesn’t have to be a flood or a catastrophic earthquake. It could be something as simple as a household struggling to be able to make ends meet and then when a disaster does happen and stresses that that even more what are the values that and financial baselines that really allow for a family or an individual to save for a rainy day. So that’s not a surprise. And also to give them a little bit of an education that goes well beyond what they might typically think of as being a disaster. Right? Things from volcanoes in the Pacific northwest, we have a lot of volcanoes. Lahars come with that ash. I would also say that perhaps flooding that they have seen in the past, right. …We may have new flooding that develops and areas that we had never thought before. You know, extreme temperatures. So these are the things we want to wrap their heads around and really understand that it’s not just localized to the most catastrophic earthquake or floods or things that they have seen in their, in their backyard before, but new things…

Liberty Blitzkrieg: AG Barr Wants to Kill Privacy and Security

Michael Krieger of Liberty Blitzkrieg has written a post about US Attorney General William Barr who has come out very much against the use of encryption by anyone but the government in recent weeks. The government wants full access to everything that you do and say wherever you are doing it, no matter how personal or private. As usual, it must be done “to save the children.”

William Barr Wants to Kill Privacy and Security…’For the Children’

U.S. Attorney General William Barr, along with co-conspirators in the UK and Australia, recently wrote a letter to Mark Zuckerberg requesting he not move forward with a plan to implement end-to-end encryption across Facebook’s messaging services. A draft of the letter was published earlier this month by Buzzfeed, and it’s worth examining in some detail.

What immediately strikes you is the letter’s emphasis on “protecting the children,” a talking point universally used by authoritarians throughout history to justify both a reduction of public liberty and a transfer of increased power to the state. Though this tactic is transparent and well understood by those paying attention, it’s nevertheless disturbing to observe Barr’s disingenuous and shameless use of it (the words ‘child’ and ‘children’ appear 17 times in the course of this brief letter).

Here’s just one example from the letter:

Companies should not deliberately design their systems to preclude any form of access to content, even for preventing or investigating the most serious crimes. This puts our citizens and societies at risk by severely eroding a company’s ability to detect and respond to illegal content and activity, such as child sexual exploitation and abuse, terrorism, and foreign adversaries’ attempts to undermine democratic values and institutions, preventing the prosecution of offenders and safeguarding of victims. It also impedes law enforcement’s ability to investigate these and other serious crimes. Risks to public safety from Facebook’s proposals are exacerbated in the context of a single platform that would combine inaccessible messaging services with open profiles, providing unique routes for prospective offenders to identify and groom our children.

Barr and the U.S. government feign deep concern regarding the ability of bad people to “identify and groom our children,” yet this is the same guy and government who allowed Jeffrey Epstein to be suicided in a Department of Justice prison just a few months ago. It’s the same guy and government who can’t find or doesn’t want to find Ghislaine Maxwell. And it’s same guy and government that can’t be bothered to raid Epstein’s New Mexico ranch despite known instances of child abuse there…

Click here to read the entire article at Liberty Blitzkrieg.

Canadian Prepper: NASA Engineer Discusses EMP and Grid Down Events

In this video posted by Canadian Prepper, NASA engineer and author Arthur T Bradley discusses some grid down and other SHTF events about which he is concerned. Dr. Bradley also has his own video channel (and website) where he discusses preparing for EMP and other preparedness topics. The video below is supposed to be the first of a three part series.

Doom and Bloom: Medical Uses for Baking Soda

The Altons at Doom and Bloom Medical have an article on the medical uses for baking soda, which most of us will have around the home in some quantity anyway.

Some folks in the preparedness community consider themselves ready for any disaster if they have some food, water, and a means of personal defense. Being prepared, however, is more than that. You have to be able to treat medical issues. And not just that: Attention to hygiene is equally important in preventing some of those issues.

Those concerned about a long-term event should know that the expenditure of various supplies over time will be a major problem. What will you do when you run out of one item or another? You have to find substitutes that can serve double (and triple) duty. The more versatile the item, the more useful it is to store.

Baking soda is one item you should have in quantity. Yes, baking soda. Many years ago, one of our readers wrote an excellent article on baking soda in survival settings. He opened our eyes to its many uses.

WHAT IS BAKING SODA?

Baking soda (also known as sodium bicarbonate or bicarbonate of soda) is a popular and inexpensive household product. You can actually mine deposits of it if you live in parts of California, Colorado, and Mexico (as well as Botswana). It has been historically used as a leavening agent for baking bread and does a fine job absorbing odors in your refrigerator.

Baking soda is not the same as baking powder. Baking powder contains baking soda, but it also contains an acidifying agent and starch.  Both produce carbon dioxide which causes baked goods to rise and, indeed, you can substitute baking powder in place of baking soda (usually, you’ll need three times more baking powder), but you can’t use baking soda when a recipe calls for baking powder.

MEDICAL USES FOR BAKING SODA

Are there medical uses for baking soda? The answer is yes. So many, in fact, that you might want some around even in normal times.

You can treat insect bites and itchy skin with it. Some find it effective for poison ivy. Make a paste out of baking soda and water, and apply like a balm onto the irritated area. You could shake some baking soda into your hand and rub it onto wet skin.

Baking soda can help unblock nasal congestion by adding a teaspoon to some hot water and inhaling the vapors.

For those who suffer from acid reflux (heartburn), eventually the Tums and Rolaids will run out. Baking soda was what they used before these products came into being.  Just add a teaspoon of baking soda in a glass of water after meals.

Recent medical studies, including one published in the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology, suggest that sodium bicarbonate tablets may help slow progression in those with chronic kidney disease. The researchers concluded, “This study demonstrates that bicarbonate supplementation slows the rate of progression of renal failure to ESRD and improves nutritional status among patients with Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD).”

Baking soda has mild antiseptic and drying properties, and helps keep a wound clean. When a wound is healing, repeated cleaning of the area can result in dry skin and a hard, itchy scab. Baking soda can help soften and remove the scab once the wound is no longer painful or draining. One treatment regimen uses 2 to 3 tablespoons of baking soda with a half cup of water. Leave the paste on the wound for 15 minutes and then rinse thoroughly (be aware that it might burn a little).

You’re not medically prepared until you’re dentally prepared. In long-term events, the family medic will have to deal with a number of dental problems that crop up. Baking soda can be a replacement for toothpaste. Add a little 3% hydrogen peroxide to it and use it as a rinse for bad breath…

Click here to read the entire article at Doom and Bloom Medical.

Organic Prepper: Six Warning Signs that Civil Unrest Is Imminent

Jose Martinez, who escaped the unrest in Venezuela, writes this article for The Organic Prepper about the current unrest in Ecuador and signs of unrest in general.

Six Warning Signs that Civil Unrest Is Imminent

…A couple of weeks ago, everything was so quiet in Ecuador that it was even boring. Don’t believe me? Watch the news. A few days ago, a violent mob kicked out the police out of their way and invaded the National Assembly (something very similar, indeed to what happened in Venezuela).

A very volatile situation is brewing in all of South America.

Countries that had been relatively peaceful are now (thanks to the hidden terrorists sent by the Maduro regime) a powder barrel. The timing could not be worst for me and my reduced family group. An old illness has come back and I´m struggling to recover at least partially before things get worst. Fortunately, we are in a popular neighborhood where there are lots of Venezuelans, and the people renting me have no complains because I´ve been quite a good tenant: no noises, paying on time (thanks to my extreme frugality and the generosity of a few readers, I have to acknowledge). They are a senior couple and hardly would allow me to get hurt by an angry mob or someone of my family. However, I´m ready to defend myself and mines.

OK, here´s the thing. Maybe you can have some indications in the nearby days about how bad things can get, all of a sudden. You won´t even notice it until you´re in the middle. If you don´t believe me just ask to Ecuadorians. They were caught in the middle of a geopolitical storm stirred from abroad. Looting, empty shelves as a result, and half of the country blocked because of the mobs. Tear gas, and shootings. Three young men thrown from a bridge by other angry enemies. Things like this happen when people are exposed, and unaware.

I want to tell you something. I’m not in my better moment these days. But every time I need to go outside for some reason, I do it with the firm, strong idea in my mind, of defending myself and my family (and the means to do it). Being partially impeded, defense will have to be lightning quick and disabling. No mercy and I am sorry about this, but it’s true. It’s the survivor’s mind setup clicking in since I saw the chain of events. Facing the law afterward? Sure, as much as the taken down predators face it too. There is footage of an angry mob (identified with leftist guerrilla colors by the way) beating with batons innocent people inside a building. Same as Germany in the 30s. Jeez.

If for some reason in the future these few paragraphs save your life or someone’s you love, I will feel rewarded.

Although our exposition to xenophobic behavior has been minimal, I´m pretty aware how bad things can get under the current social climate. Therefore, signals definitely can´t be ignored. Every society of the world, unfortunately, seems to have the potential for civilian turmoil, and the possibility of the appearance of more or less organized gangs of marauders NEVER can be dismissed. (I´m sorry Canada, never been there but maybe even you have some percentage of this happening somewhere in the future).

Here are 6 signs that civilian unrest is impending or already occurring.

The first sign, of course, is bad looks when you walk on the street. Small groups of people (especially young men) staring at you? Don´t show fear, but leave the place fast, and find a safe spot. A shop, a restaurant, someplace with guards, preferably. If you´re classified as a “vulnerable” inhabitant (a migrant, ethnical minority, etc.) you know what I´m talking about. Don´t expose yourself and become gray. No one will open an investigation until much time afterwards an attack under these circumstances. And what we want to avoid is an attack…

Read the entire article at The Organic Prepper by clicking here.

AmPart: An SHTF Perspective on Commo

NC Scout at American Partisan sends some communication insights from someone on the ground in the Ecuador civil unrest – A SHTF Perspective on Commo.

In a real deal SHTF situation, such as a nation in turmoil and civil chaos, how would you fare? When the infrastructure goes down and there’s dead in the streets, what will you do?

That’s a reality for one of AP’s readers living in Ecuador, who’s been giving me steady updates on the deteriorating situation there. He first contacted me over a year ago trying to get their communications up to speed at the local Red Cross chapter. Years of neglect and a focus on more convenient systems caused their antennas to deteriorate and a lack of any knowledgeable operators. If that was bad enough, Simply getting equipment into the country is a challenge…

Click here to read the entire article at American Partisan.

Basic Pistol and Trauma First Aid Classes Coming in NOV and DEC

Stealth Defense is teaching a few Basic Pistol classes in November and a Trauma First Aid class in December of 2019.

Ladies Basic Pistol Shooting

Tue Nov 5, 5:00 PM – Sat Nov 9, 12:00 PM (PST)
Stealth Defense Firearms Training, 2732 Katie Rd, Kennewick, WA

This course includes a FREE Initiative 1639 required firearms safety training lesson and certificate

Topics covered in this class include: gun safety rules, proper operation of semi-automatic and revolver pistols, ammunition knowledge and selection, selecting and storing a pistol specific to you (the user), safe and correct storage of firearms when not in use, the fundamentals of shooting, the three (3) secrets of accurate shooting, pistol inspection and maintenance, stoppage clearances, shooting positions, and a qualification marksmanship shooting test. A light snack is provided, but you will need to bring a lunch.

This course meets the pistol safety requirements for obtaining an Oregon Concealed Handgun License, and an Idaho Standard Concealed Weapons License. WA has reciprocity in ID, but having a non-resident ID license gives a person reciprocity in the same states as Utah at a lower cost. Students will be responsible for following the state’s requirements for obtaining their concealed carry licenses.

Course fee includes all student materials – NRA Book, Exam, NRA Associate Membership, downloadable exam prep materials, range fees, targets, and certification fees.

Co-Ed Basic Pistol Shooting

Thu Nov 7, 5:00 PM – Sat Nov 9, 5:00 PM (PST)
Fredricks Arms and Smiths, 1904 Airport Way, Richland, WA, USA

This course includes a FREE Initiative 1639 required firearms safety training lesson and certificate

Topics covered in this class include: gun safety rules, proper operation of semi-automatic and revolver pistols, ammunition knowledge and selection, selecting and storing a pistol specific to you (the user), safe and correct storage of firearms when not in use, the fundamentals of shooting, the three (3) secrets of accurate shooting, pistol inspection and maintenance, stoppage clearances, shooting positions, and a qualification marksmanship shooting test. A light snack is provided, but you will need to bring a lunch.

This course meets the pistol safety requirements for obtaining an Oregon Concealed Handgun License, and an Idaho Standard Concealed Weapons License. WA has reciprocity in ID, but having a non-resident ID license gives a person reciprocity in the same states as Utah at a lower cost. Students will be responsible for following the state’s requirements for obtaining their concealed carry licenses.

Course fee includes all student materials – NRA Book, Exam, NRA Associate Membership, downloadable exam prep materials, range fees, targets, and certification fees.

Trauma First Aid (part 1)

Tue Dec 10, 5:30 – 9:00 PM (PST)

Prosser, WA

  1. Performing a patient assessment.
  2. Traumatic emergencies.

Trauma First Aid (part 2)

Thu Dec 12, 5:30 – 8:30 PM (PST)

Prosser, WA

  1. Medical and environmental emergencies.
  2. Creating your own emergency first aid kit.

California Power Outage Commentary

Canadian Prepper has a video up discussing some of the aspects of the planned power outage of many Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) customers in California – around 800,000 customers out of power by my last reading of the news. Many people are unprepared for the outage, and news sources show that many are unaware of how much in their daily life relies upon the power grid operating. Canadian Prepper discusses a little bit about why outage is happening as well as addressing the various “theories” floating around about it being a government test or a grid down test.

CalFire recently updated their communication plan and excluded amateur radio as a resource with the belief that other technological solutions have made amateur radio obsolete as an auxiliary service. As a result, many amateur radio repeaters will probably start to disappear as the financial support for them to remain in the antenna sites where they are currently located dries up. While this outage is relatively short, it will be interesting to see how communications are or are not affected and, if these planned outages continue into the future, whether any degradation of emergency support communications becomes apparent.

Amateur radio operator and off grid communications blogger/vlogger Julian/OH8STN also has some commentary on the outage and Canadian Prepper’s video.

I spend an enormous amount of time talking about off grid Communications, and Communications in a grid down scenario. Today many Californias find themselves, in an artificial grid down scenario. These Californians are without grid power, after PG&E shut down the grid for liability and safety concerns. These type of things can happen anywhere in the world. One positive aspect of situations like these is what the rest of us around the world, can learn from them.

The last video I did in the grid down Communications for preparedness series, was focused on emergency backup power for communications. It seems only fitting that I’ll share that video at the end of this post.

The Canadian prepper just published an excellent video, discussing the California Power Outages. I’m sharing that video here: Nate discussing the Massive California Power Outage: What’s Really Going On?

I often “feel” no matter how many videos we make on this topic, or how ever often we try to spread the word, people still believe they won’t find themselves in a grid down scenario. People say it’s too expensive, too complicated to this or that. Perhaps you’ll simply start with a renewable power source for your Communications gear.

San Francisco Chronicle: ‘I’m Overwhelmed’: PG&E Power Outage Leaves the Ill and Disabled Struggling

CBS: This is ridiculous: Residents Fume Over Power Outage

In an unprecedented move, nearly a million people have had their power cut in Northern California. The state’s largest utility, Pacific Gas and Electric or PG&E, is trying to prevent its wires from sparking wildfires, but that move is sparking anger.

The power outages began early Wednesday as California residents loaded up on essentials for what they say is a “man-made disaster.”

PG&E has been forced to shut off electricity to customers because a forecast of high winds and bone dry heat is expected to put pressure on its aging and faulty infrastructure. It is a desperate attempt to avoid what happened in November when sparks from power lines ignited the fire that tore through the town of Paradise, killing 86.

Ron Blasingame lost his power at 2 a.m. and he could be in the dark for days…

Protests, Strikes, Riots, Blockades and Violence in Ecuador

Since President Morena of Ecuador passed some measures last week to address the country’s fiscal deficit and debt burden, which included rescinding a significant gasoline/diesel fuel subsidy, the country has been rocked by protest. The protests are getting some mainstream press, but there isn’t much information on how the typical Ecuadoran is being affected by the unrest. NC Scout at American Partisan has been publishing updates from a local with whom he has been working on some Red Cross communications who has been keeping NC Scout apprised of the situation.  The updates give some insight on what civil unrest can do – downed communications infrastructure, how the government is trying to airlift needed supplies for citizens in towns which have been cutoff from truck resupply by the many protest blockades, and so on. Will this be a passing unrest? Or could Ecuador follow the path set by Venezuela for a longer-term shtf situation?

NC Scout’s updates are currently in twelve parts. Surviving Real SHTF: Chaos in Quito. Part 0. Part I. Part II. Part III. Part IV. Part V. Part VI. Part VII. Part VIII. Part IX. Part X. Part XI. Part XII.

…Stopṕed by the only gas station here. They are done as of today, tanks dry. No more gasoline even for the locals running around the immediate area.
Blockade continues…

Part of the public market is open as of a couple of hours ago but less than yesterday. Meat, fruit, vegetables in some of them but not much and half the stalls closed. No chicken anywhere. Still staples and from my conversations there a few more locals are thinking they might lay in a supply but NOT very many…

Ecuavisa signal in Ambato is out of the air because dozens of indigenous protesters mobilized to Pilisurco Hill to force the antennae of the channel’s repeater…

Red Cross ambulances were attacked by protesters yesterday in Quito, so not much respect for emergency services. As local food stuffs run out without re supply, then attacks on shop keepers are going to increase…

About 180 protesters on Monday forced the security of the warehouses of a dairy company in the town of Lasso, about 60 kilometers south of the capital, and stole products after assaulting employees…

Locally everything is closed. I have not been to centro today but talked to the woman who owns the apartment I rent who is also indig and a shop owner. No more milk, eggs, cheese or bread. When the shops that dare to, open, the police generally tell them to close. She hasnt been able to resupply, everyone else here is in the same condition. This morning I was surprised that there was garbage pickup…

planes of the Ecuadorian Air Force, make the air bridge from the city of Quito to Cuenca in order to supply the population of this sector of the country with essential products…

there have been problems with the reception of medicines for some of the hospitals and medical centers of the city and the province we will give priority.

…From internet sources, 2 deaths in the last 24 hours from injuries suffered in the Quito protests. No accurate info on the total number so far…

In the midst of the violent protests that have surrounded Ecuador , the Red Cross announced that it suspends its attention in the middle of the demonstrations for not being able to guarantee the safety of the volunteers…

Red Cross. No blood supply.   No emergency services anywhere.  Really important for people here to realize this…

 

Mainstream press coverage:

Wall Street Journal: General Strike Paralyzes Ecuador as Protests Continue

RT: Ecuador Protesters Storm Parliament Building Amid Chaotic Street Demonstrations

A substantial police presence was seen in the areas surrounding the national assembly, where security forces clashed with demonstrators wielding stones, sticks and other improvised weapons. The police – some on horseback, motorbike, or in armored vehicles – responded with tear gas and billy clubs.

A larger gathering of several thousand met near the parliament building, defying Moreno’s national emergency decree, which banned public assembly and put restrictions on press freedoms. Many of the demonstrators come from poor and indigenous communities across Ecuador, where the spending cuts have taken the highest toll, particularly the elimination of fuel subsidies.

Voice of America: Crisis in Ecuador over End to Fuel Subsidies

WA Constitutional Amendment on Ballot for Continuity of Government

An amendment to the Washington State constitution will be on the ballot this November to expand government powers in the case of catastrophic incidents. Voters will have the opportunity to either approve or reject the proposed amendment. The measure was passed because of concerns with the effects of a Cascadian Subduction Zone (CSZ) large earthquake and the ability of the government to legally respond. The text of the amendment is as follows, modifying Section 42, Article II (Underlined text is added in the amendment. Strikethrough text is deleted.):

The legislature, in order to insure continuity of state and local governmental operations in periods of emergency resulting from a catastrophic incident or enemy attack, shall have the power and the duty, immediately upon and after adoption of this amendment, to enact legislation providing for prompt and temporary succession to the powers and duties of public offices of whatever nature and whether filled by election or appointment, the incumbents and legal successors of which may become unavailable for carrying on the powers and duties of such offices; the legislature shall likewise enact such other measures as may be necessary and proper for insuring the continuity of governmental operations during such emergencies. Legislation enacted under the powers conferred by this amendment shall in all respects conform to the remainder of the Constitution: Provided, That if, in the judgment of the legislature at the time of ((disaster)) the emergency, conformance to the provisions of the Constitution would be impracticable or would admit of undue delay, such legislation may depart during the period of emergency caused by a catastrophic incident or enemy attack only, from the following sections of the Constitution:

-Article 14, Sections 1 and 2, Seat of Government;
-Article 2, Sections 8, 15 (Amendments 13 and 32), and 22, Membership, Quorum of Legislature and Passage of Bills;
-Article 3, Section 10 (Amendment 6), Succession to Governorship: Provided, That the legislature shall not depart from Section 10, Article III, as amended by Amendment 6, of the state Constitution relating to the Governor’s office so long as any successor therein named is available and capable of assuming the powers and duties of such office as therein prescribed;
-Article 3, Section 13, Vacancies in State Offices;
-Article 11, Section 6, Vacancies in County Offices;
-Article 11, Section 2, Seat of County Government;
-Article 3, Section 24, State Records.

From the Spokesman-Review:

Washington voters worried about “The Big One” – a massive earthquake and tsunami triggered by a geologic fault off the Pacific Coast – might have a special reason to mark their ballot in the November election.

A constitutional amendment was proposed with just such a catastrophe in mind. But opponents say the powers the amendment would give the Legislature are too broad, and the definition of a catastrophic incident that could allow such changes is too vague.

Senate Joint Resolution 8200 sailed through the Legislature as a 21st-century update to a constitutional amendment enacted during the Cold War.

As currently written, that section of the constitution provides for “continuity of governmental operations in periods of emergency resulting from enemy attack.” If a simple majority of voters approve Resolution 8200 on Nov. 5, the section will be broadened so that continuity is ensured not only in case of attack but also in case of “catastrophic incidents.”

Under the existing law, which voters approved in 1962, the Legislature would have the power to move the state capital or a county seat, make changes to the requirements to elect or appoint legislators, pass bills and fill vacancies in state or county offices in the aftermath of an attack. The Legislature could also fill an open governor’s seat if all people in the line of succession set out in the state constitution are unavailable.

In the 2019 session, legislators were more worried about shaking earth and crushing waves than falling bombs, prompting them to add the “catastrophic incidents” clause.

“The catastrophic incident we anticipate will be the big earthquake that will do such damage that we will need to have procedures in place to have government continue operating,” Rep. Roger Goodman, D-Kirkland, said in introducing the bill to the House last April.

“It’s about The Big One, the earthquake,” Rep. Bill Jenkin, R-Prosser, said. “We know this will be the next disaster.”

The Cascadia Subduction Zone, a major geologic fault line off the Pacific Coast that stretches from Vancouver Island to northern California, has the potential for creating a massive earthquake that could decimate Western Washington and generate a tsunami that would inundate coastal communities.

The quakes occur on an average of 300 to 500 years, with the last one recorded in 1700. The Washington National Guard and the state Emergency Management Division have already mapped out and practiced for responding to a massive quake.

But the amendment doesn’t limit the expanded powers of the Legislature to a quake-induced disaster, nor does it define “catastrophic incident” or how extensive it would have to be, opponents say.

“You would have to trust government to make these decisions with or without your input,” warns the argument against the amendment, co-authored by Rep. Bob McCaslin, R-Spokane Valley. “We should demand a better proposal with clear definitions.”

State statutes do define “catastrophic incident.” It can cover any natural or human-caused event– including terrorism and an enemy attack – with mass casualties, high levels of damage or disruption.

At the same time the Legislature passed the proposed amendment, it also approved a bill that clarifies a governor’s power to suspend certain laws and regulations in a declared emergency for as long 30 days – or more if the Legislature is in session and agrees. If the Legislature is out of session, its leaders can extend that time limit until lawmakers return to session.

Sen. Bob Hasegawa, D-Seattle, argued that was still too broad, and with the potential for problems.

“It could be used by an unscrupulous governor – not saying that we have one,” Hasegawa said. “We have to be careful.”

 

AEI: The Moral Case for Capitalism

This is an older article from 2012 by Arthur Brooks of the American Enterprise Institute, but it is certainly applicable in this day when capitalism is being thrown under the bus by those who either want to equate capitalism with crony corporatism, those who want to replace it with forms of socialism, or both. Free enterprise has lifted millions around the world from poverty and is the most humane and compassionate economic system.

The topic is expounded upon in the book Wealth & Justice: The Morality of Democratic Capitalism. Brooks and his co-author Peter Wehner note that “a free economy requires a strong civic and social order and a shared belief in an underlying moral code–a moral code that should come not from the government, but from family, churches, neighborhood associations, and local schools.” Capitalism must be a part of the “golden chain” which includes morality and democracy in order to benefit society.

Making a Moral Case for Capitalism

Earlier this month in the first presidential debate, Mitt Romney made an unusual argument by modern political standards: that long-term deficit spending is not just an economic issue, but a moral one. “I think it’s . . . not moral for my generation to keep spending massively more than we take in, knowing those burdens are going to be passed on to the next generation.”

This is a notable occurrence, not just because Romney is frequently chided for being cool and detached, but because it represents a return to something our founders knew but succeeding generations have forgotten: Limited government and individual liberty aren’t merely policy alternatives. They’re moral imperatives. “Limited government and individual liberty aren’t merely policy alternatives. They’re moral imperatives.” — Arthur Brooks

America’s founders were moralists, not materialists. The Declaration of Independence defends not our right to material prosperity, but, rather, the covenant between government and citizens of “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” In both public declarations as well as personal correspondence, the founders discussed, debated, and explained their thinking using moral language.

In today’s commercial republic, the freedom our founders fought for is expressed in the form of free enterprise: the system of laws and institutions that rewards entrepreneurship and hard work, largely on the basis of markets and competition. Free enterprise is what Thomas Jefferson meant by the “free exercise of industry … and the fruits acquired by it.” Free enterprise is compatible with government in the case of market failures (such as crime) and a safety net for the indigent, but it is inconsistent with today’s growing statism and corporate cronyism.

Today, we rarely hear a moral defense for free enterprise from our politicians, which is why Romney’s statement was so striking. And the general lack of moral defense explains why – despite the fact that surveys find a large majority of Americans think the government is too big and trying to do too much – we acquiesce to larger and larger government from both parties. Indeed, it is why government at all levels has grown from 15 percent of U.S. GDP in 1940 to more than 35 percent today, and – according to the Congressional Budget Office – will hit 50 percent in 2038.

Day after day, politicians offer one government benefit after another to our citizens. This has made a majority of Americans into net beneficiaries of the welfare state, as my colleague Nicholas Eberstadt chronicles in his new book, Nation of Takers. While most Americans dislike the crisis and culture this has brought us, few are eager to give up their benefits. It is not compelling enough to point out that these goodies will lead to fiscal problems sometime in the future. It isn’t even enough to scare citizens with threats of a Greek-style debt crisis, which will surely come if we continue to build a Greek-style social democracy with Greek-sized government.

Only the moral case for freedom and opportunity – the case that stimulated the struggle of our founders – will have a chance to save the American experiment that we say we want. That case requires that we make three arguments.

First, we have to argue for the right of every American to earn his or her success. Earned success does not mean making money. It means creating value with our lives, and in the lives of other people. For some, this means starting a for-profit business; for others, it means creating a beautiful work of art, raising great kids, or helping others. Regardless, there is a tremendous amount of evidence that people who say they have earned their success are our happiest citizens.

For earned success, we need a system that matches our skills and passions, rewards hard work, and lets us keep these rewards. If not, we will suffer what the eminent University of Pennsylvania psychologist Martin Seligman calls “learned helplessness.” This is a condition in which our earned rewards are stripped away, or we are given something we have not earned. When we learn helplessness, we become passive and unhappy.

Second, we have to argue for basic fairness. For most Americans, a fair society is one in which hard work, creativity, and honest competition result in financial reward. It does not mean that we redistribute resources through government power just to get more equality. It also does not mean rewarding the government’s cronies in favored industries – from green energy, to banks, to labor unions. It means rewarding merit and creating opportunity. It does not mean insider dealing, social engineering, equalizing economic outcomes, and pork-barrel spending.

Third, we have to argue for the rights of the poor, and fight for the system that lifts them up by the billions. Between 1970 and 2010, the percentage of the world’s population living on less than a dollar a day has been reduced by about 80 percent. What explains this miracle? The United Nations or International Monetary Fund? U.S. foreign aid? Of course not. It was globalization, free trade, entrepreneurship, property rights, and the rule of law spreading around the world.

So what is the system that satisfies our demand to let people earn their success, that is fair, and that lifts up the poor by the billions? There is only one: free enterprise.

Two hundred years ago, Jefferson wrote: “The last hope of human liberty in this world rests on us.” That is as true today as it was then. Free enterprise is America’s blessing, and our gift to the world. Yet it is in peril, and only a moral defense will save America from squandering it as we follow the ruinous path of our European allies. We need more politicians, intellectuals, activists, and everyday Americans to stand up for free enterprise – not just because it makes us better off, but because it makes us better.

Firearms Practice: When Is Good Enough Enough?

This article is written by Ronald Andring, Sr. over at the Brubaker Arms blog. Mr. Andring has some good words on firearms practice – how often to practice, what to practice, why practice.

When Is Good Enough Enough?

Ronald Andring, Sr. is a veteran of a 30+ year career in law enforcement and corrections, serving with the Washington State Patrol, the Walla Walla Police Department, and the Washington Department of Corrections until his retirement in 2005.

Looking back to my first pistol purchase I also bought a box of ammunition and some targets, went to the range, shot some holes, and believed I could adequately defend myself in any situation. Such is the ignorance of youth. That was 45 years ago. Since then I have become both older and wiser. Not only have I become aware my practice strategy must evolve, but also the skills I developed must be constantly renewed as they can fade over time. I am now constantly asking myself when is good enough enough?

Regardless of our present skill level, those skills will degrade to some degree over time. The adage “use it or lose it” applies to all of the skills we develop in life, most importantly, self-defense skills. In an actual self-defense situation those skills will be degraded further because of the body’s natural stress response. We all respond similarly, to some degree, in stressful situations. Our heart rate and respiration quicken as our visual focus narrows. While this response helps us focus on a potential threat, it also leads our brains to fall back on our training for a response.

Regular training of defensive skills is important to successfully surviving a potentially deadly encounter. While a shooting range is required to actually practice firing your weapon, many related skills can be regularly practiced without firing a shot. These skills can be practiced using an inert firearm, or with an actual firearm, as long as it is unloaded. Before doing any practice with a firearm outside of a range be certain the magazine or cylinder is empty and there is no round in the chamber.

Practice Your Draw Stroke

The draw stroke is a skill which can be practiced anywhere. All it requires is a holster and your firearm. When practicing the draw stroke you should focus on each step, beginning slowly and working up your speed as your proficiency improves. The last thing you want is a premature discharge while drawing your weapon. The draw stroke is not a single action, but a series of steps that must be completed in order to successfully bring your weapon on target ready to shoot if necessary. There are four elements to the draw stroke, and each contributes to a successful presentation of your weapon to a target, and returning it safely to the holster.

The first step is getting your firearm ready to draw. Whether your firearm is concealed or opened carried this step is the same. It will also be similar whether your firearm is carried in the appendix, hip, back, shoulder or ankle position — use your support hand to sweep any cover garment up and away from your firearm. The last thing you want is to catch a sight, hammer or other portion of your firearm on your clothing. This could result in a delay, or worse, pulling your firearm from your hand.

At the same time you want to get a full firing grip on your firearm. A full firing grip means you are grasping your firearm in the same manner you do when you eventually shoot. If you do not have a full grip this will mean losing precious time resetting your grip later in the process, or possibly dropping your firearm. Without a full firing grip, at the end of the draw stroke your accuracy will likely suffer a decrease in accuracy. At this point you want to be sure your finger is off of the trigger to prevent a premature discharge.

In the second step your shooting hand should move sufficiently to bring the muzzle well out of the holster and bring your weapon to your chest with the muzzle facing forward. From this position you can fire quickly if necessary, which may be necessary if an attacker is on top of you already. If your firearm is equipped with a safety you should also practice releasing the safety in this step.

The third step of the draw stroke is to bring your support hand to your shooting hand and establish your strong two handed grip. Your shooting hand will be pushing forward into the palm of your support hand while your support hand is pulling back into your shooting hand. You should still be keeping your finger off of the trigger at this point, unless you need to shoot.

The fourth step is extending your arms into your firing position, focusing on your front sight, and if necessary to shoot, putting your finger on the trigger. At this point you will be acquiring your target, and making your decision about shooting. This same step can be used to bring your firearm to a low ready position, with your finger off of the trigger, if shooting immediately is not warranted.

Whether firing or not, re-holstering your firearm is equally important practice. Before re-holstering your firearm, be certain your finger is off of the trigger. Many an accidental discharge has occurred because the shooter had his/he finger on the trigger while re-holstering. To re-holster bring your arms back toward your body, separate your hands, bring the muzzle to the opening of the holster and push your firearm firmly into place…

Continue reading at Brubaker Arms.

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Primary & Seconday: Baselines 1, Baselines 2

Hello Homestead: How to Prepare a Raised Garden Bed for Winter

This article from Hello Homestead includes a step on adding season extenders like the cold frames discussed in an earlier post. Getting that garden properly put to bed for the winter (or keeping it working over winter) is not accomplished by stopping gardening for the winter, much though that might appeal.

How to prepare a raised garden bed for winter

Photo by Gabor Degre

When the gardening season comes to an end, it is easy to get distracted from the pre-frost clean-up. Learning how to prepare a raised garden bed for winter, though, is essential to prepare for the season to come, even when spring is months away.

Throughout autumn, gardeners with raised beds should take several steps to ensure their garden beds are ready for next year’s seeds and seedling transplants.

“It’s an ongoing project,” said Kate Garland, horticultural specialist at the University of Maine Cooperative Extension. “I just always think of it as a to-do list for the fall.”

Properly caring for raised garden beds before winter settles in will promote soil health, ward off weeds and prevent diseases in next year’s crops. Here is how to prepare a raised garden bed for winter.

Step 1: Remove weeds

Photo by Gabor Degre

Weeding is essential well into the fall, even when the majority of your crops have stopped growing. Not only can untended autumn weeds harbor disease, but they can lay the roots for future weed problems.

“This is when people are ready to be done with weeding, but this is probably one of the most important times of year to be weeding,” Garland warned. “A lot of our weeds are setting seed right now. Some of the seeds can stay viable for 30 to 40 years or longer.”

For the parts of your raised bed that’s simply carpeted in weeds, cover them with black plastic or a layer of cardboard and leave it in place through the winter season to choke out existing weeds and suffocate sprouting weeds.

Some gardeners will till the soil to prevent weeds and expose harmful pests, but Garland suggests avoiding tillage in your raised beds as much as you can for the sake of soil health.

“There are some scenarios where [tilling] can make sense, but it doesn’t seem to make a lot of sense in raised bed settings [unless the soil is really compacted],” Garland said. “If you can avoid tilling as much as possible, your soil and your gardens will thrive in the long run.”

Click here to continue reading at Hello Homestead.