Hard Tack to Pack a Punch in the Apocalypse

Sea Biscuits, Sheet Iron, Molar Breakers, or just Tack; Hard Tack goes by many different names and has quite the history.  Used as sustenance by sailors at sea and food rations for soldiers in the revolutionary and civil wars, it is a versatile food with a long shelf life making it ideal for prepping and survival.

The basic recipe is as follows:

3 cups of white flour
1 cup of water
2 teaspoons of salt

And that’s it!  Mix it up into a dough, roll it out, cut into squares or circles. Poke some holes. Preheat the oven at 375 degees, bake each side for 30 minutes. And boom! there you have it.

However, this recipe isn’t the most nutrient dense. I decided to tweak it a bit to make a hard tack that packs a punch.

Ravn’s Hard Tack for the End of Days

(Or for camping…)

wp-1490221468057.jpg
2 Cups whole wheat flour
1 cup of ground quinoa flour (Quinoa is full of protein, and has a complete amino acid profile, making it a complete protein)
1 cup of rolled oats (Also full of protein and other essential nutrients)
1/2 cup chia
1/2 cup flax
(Flax and chia both are full of protein, omega 3s, and other vitamins and minerals)
2 teaspoons of salt
1 and 1/2 cups of water

wp-1490221474443.jpg

wp-1490221485530.jpg
Before baking

When they come out they definitely live up to their name of being hard.  If you’re not careful you will chip a tooth.  Breaking off a piece and holding it in your mouth for a minute or two allows the enzymes in your saliva break it down to make it chew-able.  It’s also pretty good soaked in soup for a few minutes.  You can dunk it in coffee or just hot water.  It tastes kind of like Wheaties.  It’s very flexible in that it can be eaten with a hearty flavor (like with a bone broth) or something sweet (drizzle on some honey or jam).

wp-1490221499475.jpg

While Hard Tack is known for it’s long term shelf life, I wanted to ensure it lasts for years.  I ordered some Mylar bags to store them in. I will also be using these bags to store more food in the future.

wp-1490221506980.jpg

If you don’t have a vacuum sealer, one way to go about it is by submerging it in water until all the air is out.  Then use an iron (I used a flat iron) to seal it up.

wp-1490221518286.jpg

And there you have it!
Until Next Time,
Ravn Thor

Advertisements

Keeping the Mind Sharp

Good evening,

Last week I stumbled upon a really fascinating podcast and blog.

You Are Not So Smart

The central theme of You Are Not So Smart is that you are unaware of how unaware you are. There is an old-and-still-growing body of research across several disciplines with findings that suggest you have little idea why you act or think the way you do. Despite this, you continue to create narratives to explain your own feelings, thoughts, and behaviors, and these narratives – no matter how inaccurate – become the story of your life.

You Are Not So Smart is a fun exploration of the ways you and everyone else tends to develop an undeserved confidence in human perception, motivation, and behavior. I hope by reading it and listening to the podcast you’ll rediscover a humility and reconnect with the stumbling, fumbling community of man trying to make sense of things the best we can.

On my 12+ hour total road trip last weekend I listened to quite a few of these casts and found them to be invaluable. When I get paid next month I intend on ordering the books too.

Critical thinking skills are among the many skills one needs in order to survive and thrive in this world. This podcast is definitely a sharpening stone.

Until next time,
Ravn Thor

 

 

Herb Planting!

Good evening,

I decided to start my herb garden indoors.  There was a sale at a home improvement store and so I figured I’d take advantage.  I planted some culinary herbs as well as medicinal.  I hope to plant more in the future.

I planted what I like to call  Scarborough herbs:

Parsley, Sage, Rosemary, and Thyme 

and the rest:

Basil, Oregeno, Chives

Cayenne, Chamomile, Lavender, and Lemon balm

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

I was really surpised and happy to find a goji berry plant! I’ve always wanted one to nurture indoors.

I even got a grow lamp so it can receive more rays when the sun isn’t shining through the window at certain parts of the day.

Here is my complete set up thus far:

wp-1488339116939.jpg

It’s pretty modest but it’s a start.  I hope what I have sown will reap successfully.

The links throughout this post are to various covers of Scarborough Fair. It’s one of my favorite songs. It’s so timeless.  I used to play Irish Tin whistle(and mandolin) and this was one of my favorite songs to play (besides Greensleeves).

Until next time,

Ravn Thor

“Are you going to Scarborough Fair:
Parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme.
Remember me to one who lives there.
She once was a true love of mine.”

 

Refusing to be a Sitting Duck. Defending oneself if you can’t own a firearm.

I have been working on this post all week, and then this happened:

House rolls back Obama gun background check rule

“The Republican-led House voted Thursday to repeal an Obama-era regulation that required the Social Security Administration to disclose to the national gun background check system information about people with mental illness.”

“The rule sought to limit the ability of those with mental illness to purchase guns but drew criticism for casting too wide a net and not providing the opportunity for due process. Opponents of the rule, including the National Rifle Association and the American Civil Liberties Union, also said the broad range of reasons that could be used to designate someone for the SSA database include conditions that should not stop a gun purchase.”

I’m actually relieved about this. However, I have a lot of decisions and reflecting to do.

When people think of or hear about mental illness the first thought that comes to their mind is usually a dehumanizing one.  Media representations and stigma has created a complete misunderstanding of mental health and those who deal with it every day.

I need to lay down some facts and dispel some myths.

Mentally ill more likely to be victims, not perpetrators, of violence, study shows

 

Myth: People with mental health problems are violent and unpredictable.

Fact: The vast majority of people with mental health problems are no more likely to be violent than anyone else. Most people with mental illness are not violent and only 3%-5% of violent acts can be attributed to individuals living with a serious mental illness. In fact, people with severe mental illnesses are over 10 times more likely to be victims of violent crime than the general population. You probably know someone with a mental health problem and don’t even realize it, because many people with mental health problems are highly active and productive members of our communities.

I want to be able to protect myself. I want to be able to hunt for my food. After doing much reflecting and heated discussions with my significant other, this has lead to a bit of existential dilemma.

I mentioned in my first post about having bipolar disorder. Indeed, it is something I did not ask for, but it is something I have learned to cope with and deal with in a healthy way. I take my medication, take care of my body, I do not use drugs or alcohol, I go to the doctor and therapy.  I recently got a well paying job. I graduated college.  I am a productive member in my community and very involved.  I’m stable.  My partner has a .22 rifle and I have never touched it or sought it out because it’s hers.  I have shot guns before, as I have grown up on a farm.  I understand the responsibility of a gun and that it certainly is not a toy. It’s a tool. It’s a weapon.

Check out this study

 

Four assumptions frequently arise in the aftermath of mass shootings in the United States: (1) that mental illness causes gun violence, (2) that psychiatric diagnosis can predict gun crime, (3) that shootings represent the deranged acts of mentally ill loners, and (4) that gun control “won’t prevent” another Newtown (Connecticut school mass shooting). Each of these statements is certainly true in particular instances. Yet, as we show, notions of mental illness that emerge in relation to mass shootings frequently reflect larger cultural stereotypes and anxieties about matters such as race/ethnicity, social class, and politics. These issues become obscured when mass shootings come to stand in for all gun crime, and when “mentally ill” ceases to be a medical designation and becomes a sign of violent threat.


 

Yet surprisingly little population-level evidence supports the notion that individuals diagnosed with mental illness are more likely than anyone else to commit gun crimes. According to Appelbaum,25 less than 3% to 5% of US crimes involve people with mental illness, and the percentages of crimes that involve guns are lower than the national average for persons not diagnosed with mental illness. Databases that track gun homicides, such as the National Center for Health Statistics, similarly show that fewer than 5% of the 120 000 gun-related killings in the United States between 2001 and 2010 were perpetrated by people diagnosed with mental illness.26


Gun crime narratives that attribute causality to mental illness also invert the material realities of serious mental illness in the United States. Commentators such as Coulter blame “the mentally ill” for violence, and even psychiatric journals are more likely to publish articles about mentally ill aggression than about victimhood.5 But, in the real world, these persons are far more likely to be assaulted by others or shot by the police than to commit violent crime themselves. In this sense, persons with mental illness might well have more to fear from “us” than we do from “them.” And blaming persons with mental disorders for gun crime overlooks the threats posed to society by a much larger population—the sane.

^these are all facts. Facts are still true whether you believe in them or not.

We(my sig o and I) talked about how my owning a firearm would up the percentage of endangering me-myself. I said that it was my choice and my right, and for every gun owner there is that statistic. I told her I trusted myself and that I do not want to be a target or a sitting duck. But my partner pulled this card on me: So, hypothetically, if you did own a gun, you would be ok with increasing my risk of danger?

I did not know what to say that.  She said that if I wanted to own a firearm that we could not live in the same house.

Her points are valid. However, so are mine. Since she already owns a .22, the percentage of danger to us both is already up, because, statistically speaking having a gun in the home increases everyone’s(in the home) chances of gun-related accidents.


I  really wish people would take a look at it from my perspective instead of quickly dismissing me with a label and think of me in terms of stereotypes. It’s frustrating to feel as though I have no right to protect myself at all, on top of my humanity being denied.

Seriously, who wants to be a sitting duck?? Who wants to be dehumanized and seen as ‘other’? Who wants to constantly have to be dependent on other people to ‘protect’ you? Do you know what it feels like to have your rights taken away? Your right to protect your body? When you did NOTHING wrong?  “Sorry, you’ve been diagnosed with (insert any illness here), and that comes with revoking your 2nd amendment right. And here is a heaping helping of stigma and dehumanization to boot! Have fun with all the people who cast you away as a miscreant of society, and be blamed for the majority of violence in this country even though statistically speaking it’s 3-5%….no one wants to own up to the other 95-97% so the finger will be pointed at you.” Furthermore, no wonder people who are struggling with mental health don’t seek out help when they should, because of losing these rights, and also being stigmatized, and dehumanized, and not ever taken seriously or seen as someone worth having around (seriously, people love to demonize the mentally ill and use them as scapegoats.). As far as I’m concerned, people with many diagnosis’ own firearms and they’re fine. Media sensationalizes. If veterans with PTSD can keep their guns, I should be allowed to prove myself competent and responsible to own one too, as it will be my right. And in some states, the ability to appeal and prove ones stability is possible.

According to this new overturning of the Obama Background check bill,  the NRA believes that the determination about who is mentally ill should be left to the courts. I would be okay with a grace period to prove my stability, and I’d even be okay with negotiating on someone else holding my ammo, as long as there is accountability and civility, equity  and humility about it, I’m willing to negotiate.

Anyway, I’m not really interested in this debate anymore. I haven’t made up my mind yet as to whether or not I would buy one now that this law about background checks will pass.  I’m not really interested in a handgun, but more so a rifle to hunt for food.

Anyway, this recent news totally sidetracked my main point of this post, which is how to defend oneself if you can’t own a firearm. (If you’re similar to me, or are a felon, or whatever, no judgement here).

Whenever I’ve talked to some people about mentioning ways to protect oneself without a firearm, I get instantly dismissed and told to just buy a gun. “Don’t bring a knife to a gun fight” they say. And they’re right. I’m pretty much screwed. Nobody seems to offer any alternatives however or gives much of a shit. You either can own a gun or you can’t and if you can’t then you’re ostracized and not welcome. That is just the worst feeling. But fuck what anyone thinks. I will find alternatives. My body is a weapon and so is my mind. There has to be some ways.

wp-1486163269341.jpg

Full tang katana, foam practice nunchucks(saving up for metal/wooden), machete, LED flashlight, aersol pepper spray, 600,000 volt stun gun, and pocket knife are what I have so far.

These are just ridiculous  and would be completely useless in a gun fight. It’s hard to not just throw up my hands and say “screw it, may as well not try,”  but that’s where I’m different. I’m resilient and my will to live is very strong. I’d rather do something than nothing. Sigh.

I’ve practiced martial arts off and on for 5 years. I learned Taekwando in college.  Where I reside currently there isn’t much around in terms of a dojo for me to learn.  I’ll keep my eyes open though, and I’ll keep feeding my head. Knowledge is a blade worth sharpening.
wp-1486163276531.jpg

I ordered a better one online, but it somehow ‘got lost’ in shipping. So I got a refund.  Where I live stun guns are legal and require no permit.  The other day I called around to 3 different gun stores to see if they had a stun gun—all three were sold out except for the last store I called. I drove 15min to another town that’s a sister city to my town, and got their last stun gun. According to the fella at the counter, he said they’ve been flying off the shelves.

wp-1486163284504.jpg

In one of my martial arts/self defense classes one instructor discussed how a high powered LED flashlight can be an effective weapon, especially when dark.  A quick blinding flash right in the eyes can give you an upper hand to stun(after blinding, use a move to stun them) and run.

wp-1486163290808.jpg

This pepper spray shoots up to 12 feet.  I’m also considering getting a canister of bear mace.

wp-1486163295930.jpg

Just a general pocket knife.  I’m going to look for something more tactical in terms of self defense.

wp-1486163301610.jpg

These are foam practices nunchucks. I’ve been practicing with them for a couple years. I will be upgrading to a metal or wooden pair in the future.

wp-1486163306729.jpg

Here is a full tang katana blade I bought when I was a teenager. You would think I’m a flippin’ mall ninja.  I don’t match the criteria though. I’m full well grounded in reality, and as I stated above these are pretty much useless if I faced an attacker with a firearm. you know, like in that scene from Indiana Jones.

wp-1486163312046.jpg

Here’s a pretty decent machete that will be good for camping at least.

wp-1486163317651.jpg

When in doubt, blow out an eardrum.

This is what I have so far in regards to weapons.  Exercise and building strong muscles, dexterity, and agility are also among the ways I can protect myself. Being faster and able to run can give me at least a small chance, and learning more self defense/martial arts.  Cameras and recording acts of violence  being committed are a powerful way of self protection in some situations. Using my mind and being able to read situations, how to avoid certain situations, evade, talk my way out of things, are also ways of self defense. i’m honestly not one to go looking for trouble or a fight, I’m also not interested in being a macho man with  ‘something to prove’ in a fight, I’m more interested in surviving and getting away. In my martial arts classes it was taught that the best thing to do in a situation is to get away as fast as possible. Martial arts and self defense aren’t like what you see in movies. And people who use it to talk tough are just  trying to impress and compensate for their insecurities.

The flight instinct is just as powerful as the fight instinct. It takes wisdom to know which one to use.

I have stated in previous blog posts that I plan on moving back to my college town.  When that time comes I will make my decision on whether or not to learn how to operate(taking numerous safety classes) and handle a firearm and purchase one for hunting and self protection. This will be my choice and my right. I do realize that there are perhaps other items/alternatives  I can use, such as crossbows, slingshots, or hunting-grade air rifles. Investing in a strong security system and reinforcing my home with cameras and security windows are other methods too.  I also acknowledge that forming a strong community is another way I can protect myself.  In a community everyone has a role to play. If I don’t have a firearm, a friend might and so do others, and that is their role, whereas I can be a Swiss Army Knife of skills that are just as important and useful.

Either way, my goal of this post is to try to create some bridge of understanding for people in the kind of situation I am in.

I refuse to be a sitting duck.

Until next time,

Ravn Thor

Adapt what is useful, reject what is useless, and add what is specifically your own. -Bruce Lee

 

 

Mega Media Reflection Post

Pour yourself a cup of coffee because this is going to be a thorough post!

“The Media.”  “Fake News.”  “Alternative Facts.”   Media is a huge part of our everyday lives. It’s how we communicate and share ideas. It’s how we stay up to date on what’s going on in the world.  From painting in caves,  harking in the town square, writing manuscripts, printing press,books, magazines,radio waves, television, internet, social media, etc–media is all around us and it is a lens through which we look through but also a mirror we look into.  I believe becoming extremely media literate is a crucial skill to learn as a prepper and  a way for us to stay empowered.

eyeball

This is one of my favorite Onion satires.

 

medagraphic.jpg

In 1983, 50 corporations controlled most of the American media, including magazines, books, music, news feeds, newspapers, movies, radio and television. By 1992 that number had dropped by half. By 2000, six corporations had ownership of most media, and today five dominate the industry: Time Warner, Disney, Murdoch’s News Corporation, Bertelsmann of Germany and Viacom. With markets branching rapidly into international territories, these few companies are increasingly responsible for deciding what information is shared around the world.
http://www.pbs.org/independentlens/democracyondeadline/mediaownership.html

The internet for awhile was a way to break free from corporation owned media, however, this has drastically changed.  Little by little several online news sites have slipped into being owned by a small faction of media conglomerates:

In raw numbers, 80 percent of the top 20 online news sites are owned by the 100 largest media companies. Time Warner owns two of the most visited sites: CNN.com and AOL News, while Gannett, which is the twelfth largest media company, owns USAToday.com along with many local online newspapers.

According to Pulitzer-prize winning journalist and former Dean of the Graduate School of Journalism at UC Berkeley, and writer of the book The New Media Monopoly, Ben Bagdikian, describes these media conglomerates as a “cartel” that holds enough power to drastically influence to change U.S politics and social values.  Bagdikian believes this is a huge threat to democracy  because it narrows choices and takes away a full spectrum of information and perspectives from voters.

(list of sources on this topic from the PBS article)

Who Owns The Media?

Do you like graphic novels? Manga, comic books, etc?  Then I have a perfect book recommendation for you that dives right in to the history of Media and it’s various nuances. The Influencing Machine is a book I read in my WGS class called Media and Diverse Identities  back in 2014. The Influencing Machine looks into the issue of why we distrust the news and how it’s always been this way.  Gladstone rejects the notion that we are being controlled by the media. The main idea in this book is that the media is a mirror, rather than an “influencing machine” because we, the consumers of media, directly construct, filter, and respond to what we watch and read. Here is an excerpt and here is a book review.

Here is a link to a 3min video introducing this book!

In a book review from The Guardian:

“Gladstone’s central thesis is that we get the media we deserve: it doesn’t control us so much as pander to us (her title is a reference to the delusion suffered by some schizophrenics that an outside entity is putting certain dark and possibly shameful thoughts in their heads when, in fact, those thoughts originate in their own minds). So it’s up to us to acknowledge our own complicity. This isn’t a get-out-of-jail-free card for those who work in the media. Journalists, she believes, are too prone to running with the pack and sometimes craven and afraid (not for nothing did the US authorities decide to embed reporters during its adventures in the Middle East; terror and gratitude made the early headlines better than they should have been). Human beings are all prey to unconscious prejudices, and reporters no more or less than anyone else.”

 

Both of these books hold very valid points and make strong arguments.  Does the media influence us or do we influence it?  My take is that it’s both.

The 2016 Oxford Dictionary Word of The Year is

Post-Truth:

an adjective defined as ‘relating to or denoting circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief’.

What gives the most ratings? News that appeals to emotion. It doesn’t matter if something is factually true, if the ‘alternative facts’  feels true, then it must be true! At least to the consumer. So since ratings = money, and outlandish rage-media makes the ratings sky rocket, then the consumers are influencing the media to pander to them, which in turn regurgitates back onto consumers and those who aren’t thinking critically.

Critical thinking is one of the most important skills to have. The arts, humanities, sciences, and so forth are all modes of which to nurture critical thinking skills. It’s alarming that funding for these are being cut.

16177471_10154978323538620_3899451658051125310_o.jpg

According to this very thorough piece in Wired Magazine, we don’t live in a “Post-Truth” era, but an era of internet enabling bullshit:

 FAKE NEWS ISN’T just Macedonian teenagers or internet trolls. A longstanding network of bogus “think tanks” raise disinformation to a pseudoscience, and their studies’ pull quotes and flashy stats become the “evidence” driving viral, fact-free stories. Not to mention President Trump’s tweets.

These organizations have always existed: They’re old-school propagandists with new-school, tech-savvy reach. They’ve been ginning up so-called research for everyone from shady corporations to anti-LGBTQ groups to white supremacists for decades—they’re practiced, and their faux-academic veneer is thick and glossy. Which makes them harder to brush off than your garden-variety liar. “Fake think tanks use a mix of selected truths, half-truths, and downright fabricated stuff in order to manipulate people,” says Massimo Pigliucci, a philosopher at the City College of New York and author of Nonsense on Stilts: How To Tell Science from Bunk. “We don’t live in the age of post-truth. We live in the age of internet-enabled bullshit.”

Many of these “think tanks” are propagandists that spread disinformation. Many tend toward hate:

There’s the white supremacist National Policy Institute and Jared Taylor‘s New Century Foundation; the anti-LGBTQ work of the Family Research Council and American College of Pediatricians; and a whole slew of anti-immigrant groups. Three of the biggest—Federation for American Immigration Reform, the Center for Immigration Studies, and NumbersUSA—are intertwined, sharing a founder and funder in white nationalist John Tanton.

It’s not just right-wing, but there are plenty of misinformation spread through left-wing circles also.

In a lot of ways, it’s hard to tell which is fake and which is legit. This is because these think tanks have done a most excellent job at being a mimic.  One way I used to discern from fake and legit news sources online was to look at the web address. I figured if it ended in a .org or .edu those are trusted sites.  They used to be, but now these think tanks coopted those too, according to Heidi Beirich, director of the Southern Poverty Law Center’s Intelligence Project. “Now some of the main hate sites are dot-orgs.”

How is this allowed to happen?  Well, these sorts of things are not regulated and in fact are tax exempt.

“…think tanks don’t have a regulatory agency. Many—NPI, EPI, ACPeds, CIS, the New Century Foundation, FRC—are even tax exempt, registered as 501(c)3 non-profits like most legitimate think tanks. “So they’ve been able to convince someone at the IRS that what they do is educational,” says Donald Abelson, a political scientist at the University of Western Ontario who studies think tanks. “And the only time the IRS gets involved is if they violate 501(c)3 regulations by showing overt partisanship.”

Even mainstream think tanks only just following this rule, finding loopholes in the tax code for partisan breakaway organizations like the Center for American Progress Action Fund or Heritage Action for America. “The term ‘think tank’ has become so diluted over the years,” says Abelson. “It has created additional space on the American political landscape for these types of organizations to emerge and gain notoriety.””

The way these think tanks and media content creators have become so powerful is because algorithms have become weaponized:

“Think-tanky white supremacist organizations have generated enough material that a search topic like ‘black on white crime’ is dominated by their propaganda. That’s what happened to Dylann Roof, and how Trump ended up tweeting those false statistics.”

Their content plays well on social media. “Misinformation and fake news triggers hot cognition— it bypasses your focus on accuracy and goes directly to your feelings,” says Joseph Kahne, a professor of education at UC Riverside who studies engagement with media and politics online. “If the misinformation confirms their prior policy position, they are far more likely to say its accurate.”

Which these organizations know, and exploit. “There is one basic reason why CIS is influential,” Camarota says. “It’s that there’s nobody else criticizing immigration in a thoughtful way. It’s like we’re the best hockey player in Ecuador.” When you carve out a niche supplying confirmatory information you know people are looking for, it doesn’t matter if you’re right or not. And that extends beyond arguments happening on your uncle’s Facebook feed, because appealing stats and buzzwords are politically expedient, too.

How do these websites become mainstreamed so to speak?

Take for example the website Breitbart (I’m not going to link it).  This was known as a fringe “alt-right” bullshit site. However, by aligning themselves with a political figure making their way up (Trump), Breitbart has become legitimized as one of the most read conservative websites online. Steve Bannon, who was the executive chair of this website, is now the Chief Strategist and Senior Counselor to the President. Disturbingly, he now has a seat at the table on the National Security Council.  A man, who has NO experience, in National Security. A man with known ties to white supremacy will now be calling the shots on National Security.

Urgent

A white nationalist is now in charge of authorizing the secret, legal, targeted killings of American citizens (and others) without due process; Call your representatives to publicly oppose this!!

While the world was (understandably) focusing on the immigration executive order, a quieter – but equally disturbing – plot was developing.

Quick background: the National Security Council (NSC) is a federal council comprised of important high-level government officials including the President, Vice President, Secretary of State, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Director of National Intelligence. The NSC’s primary job is to use this broad expertise to advise the President on national security matters and assist in carrying out security directives.

Yesterday, the President removed the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the Director of National Intelligence from the NSC. He replaced them with Steve Bannon. Bannon has no government, intelligence, or high-level military experience; his experience is leading a propaganda outlet (Breitbart News) that peddles nationalist and white nationalist viewpoints.

This would be deeply concerning in and of itself. But one of the jobs of the NSC is to oversee a secret panel that authorizes the assassination of “enemies of the United States Government”including American citizens. These targeted killings are fully authorized by law under the Congressional military authorization act following 9/11. There is no trial, no due process, and no public record of the decision or the assassination itself.

Just to recap the absurdity: the President of the United States has appointed a known propagandist, nationalist, and white supremacist to replace the highest military advisor in the country on a council that authorizes secret, legal, targeted killings of American citizens (and others) without due process.

What You Can Do:
– Call your Senators and Congressperson this week and demand that they publicly and legislatively oppose Trump’s appointment of Steven Bannon to the NSC.
– Spread the word about this news to your networks, since this is not getting a lot of coverage right now

 

————————————————————————–

Thanks to social media and the internet, anyone can distribute information.  With instant upload a story can go viral in minutes without any fact checks. According to  tech entrepreneur Oliver Luckett, 

human emotion has become the editor-in-chief of today’s news, and that to steer us away from misinformation, fake news, and opinion masquerading as fact, it will require a concerted effort in social responsibility – something that we may not be capable of en masse.

We need to remember to keep our feet on the ground when an intense headline hits the web.  These headlines are meant for clicks.  How can we weed through all this bullshit? How can we ever know what we know to be true?  All of this feels so overwhelming!

I’ve been doing a lot of reading on how to discern between what’s bullshit and what’s fact. A couple books I’ve been reading:

wp-1485546567807.jpg

 

All three of these books are amazing in that they get us to examine ourselves and the world around us, why we believe what we believe, how it came to be, and how to critically think.

Here are some powerful key quotes from Demon Haunted World:

“One of the saddest lessons of history is this: If we’ve been bamboozled long enough, we tend to reject any evidence of the bamboozle. We’re no longer interested in finding out the truth. The bamboozle has captured us. It’s simply too painful to acknowledge, even to ourselves, that we’ve been taken. Once you give a charlatan power over you, you almost never get it back.” -Carl Sagan

“I have a foreboding of an America in my children’s or grandchildren’s time — when the United States is a service and information economy; when nearly all the manufacturing industries have slipped away to other countries; when awesome technological powers are in the hands of a very few, and no one representing the public interest can even grasp the issues; when the people have lost the ability to set their own agendas or knowledgeably question those in authority; when, clutching our crystals and nervously consulting our horoscopes, our critical faculties in decline, unable to distinguish between what feels good and what’s true, we slide, almost without noticing, back into superstition and darkness…” -Carl Sagan

“The dumbing down of American is most evident in the slow decay of substantive content in the enormously influential media, the 30 second sound bites (now down to 10 seconds or less), lowest common denominator programming, credulous presentations on pseudoscience and superstition, but especially a kind of celebration of ignorance.” -Carl Sagan

 

“If we can’t think for ourselves, if we’re unwilling to question authority, then we’re just putty in the hands of those in power. But if the citizens are educated and form their own opinions, then those in power work for us. In every country, we should be teaching our children the scientific method and the reasons for a Bill of Rights. With it comes a certain decency, humility and community spirit. In the demon-haunted world that we inhabit by virtue of being human, this may be all that stands between us and the enveloping darkness.” -Carl Sagan

Here are a few key quotes from The Invisible Gorilla:

“Beware of memories accompanied by strong emotions and vivid details—they are just as likely to be wrong as mundane memories, but you’re far less likely to realize it.” – Christopher Chabris

“Incompetence causes overconfidence.”
― Christopher Chabris

Because of these uncertain times I’ve been interested in potentially starting a newsletter, podcast, vlog, and so on.  But more so I’m leaning towards making some form of physical media that I can mail.

wp-1485720649270.jpg

In that WGS class on Media and Diverse Identities we had an assignment on making our own Zine.  It was one of my favorite assignments in college.  I’m considering making more zines and keeping a mailing list.  Privacy, net neutrality (which is a later post) are all being compromised.

wp-1485720654468.jpg

We can be certain that we don’t know everything and in this day and age with instant media at our fingertips it is more important than ever to know thyself.

 

A Garden of Resistance

 

A LOT has happened this week.  My Women’s and Gender Studies professor sent me tweet this morning encouraging me to write about a Transgender Prepper Resistance Garden due to the recent news that there will be a 20% import tax from Mexico.  Over the last few weeks I’ve been tweeting her updates on The Transgender Prepper blog.

Trump is going through with building the East Berlin Wall….er….I’m sorry, this is the United States in 2017. Trump is going through with his promise (more like half promise, Mexico is not paying for that fucking wall) to build the hate wall on the boarder of Mexico and the U.S.  Guess who is footing the bill? That’s right. Us United States Tax payers.

Here’s why a wall is a ludicrous idea and why it won’t work and is a huge waste of money:
Why a Wall won’t work

Also, a 20% tax hike on all imports from Mexico?  Do you know what we import from Mexico?

Statistics from the U.S. Department of Agriculture show that Mexico by far is the most important supplier of fresh produce to the U.S., accounting for 69% of U.S. fresh vegetable import value and 37% of U.S. fresh fruit import value in 2012.

PRODUCT OF MEXICO | Day 1 | Labor camps

Almost 70% of our fresh produce comes from Mexico.

organic-elote-farm-san-miguel-de-allende-mexico-7

This is a tax we are all going to be paying for because we need food to live.

If you’re thinking it’s not a big deal because we have plenty of huge farms here to compensate, think again.  Back in 2011-2012, Georgia enacted a bill to crack down on undocumented workers. They didn’t realize how many millions of dollars they would lose and food gone to waste.

After enacting House Bill 87, a law designed to drive illegal immigrants out of Georgia, state officials appear shocked to discover that HB 87 is, well, driving a lot of illegal immigrants out of Georgia…
Thanks to the resulting labor shortage, Georgia farmers have been forced to leave millions of dollars’ worth of blueberries, onions, melons and other crops unharvested and rotting in the fields.
Before that the same thing happened in Alabama after enacting harsh crackdowns on undocumented workers.
It’s not only Southern states; farmers all across America are dependent on migrant labor. For example, immigrants make up 40% of Wisconsin’s dairy industry workers and almost one in three U.S. farming and fishing workers is from Mexico.
Many farmers want to hire local workers, but it is increasingly difficult to find U.S. natives with the proper skills. Few are willing or able to perform the physically taxing and low paying labor which requires them to move with the crops, even with wages of $15-$20 an hour.
Immigration is so much more complicated than just crossing an invisible line. Many migrant workers are brought to the United States legally by U.S corporations through guest worker visas or they are exploited through undetected labor recruitment techniques.
Migrant workers are especially targets of human trafficking and forced labor, which have at their core, worker rights violations and a lack of labor standards and worker protections. One of the biggest factors underlying the vulnerability of migrant workers are the actions of unscrupulous labor brokers. Many labor brokers charge such exorbitant fees for securing work that migrant workers cannot repay them even after years on the job, essentially rendering them indentured workers. Some labor brokers also lie about the wages and working conditions workers should expect in a destination country. Migrant workers often are forced to remain in dangerous working conditions because their debt is too great. – See more at: http://www.solidaritycenter.org/what-we-do/migration-and-human-trafficking/#sthash.otRFUTbr.dpuf
Trafficked people are men and women from all over the world whose plans to migrate for work go terribly wrong. Promised a livelihood abroad, many instead find themselves earning less than minimum wage (Sangeeta reportedly worked over 100 hours a week for some $1.42 an hour), living in cramped conditions, and facing physical threats from their employers. Working under conditions of “force, fraud or coercion” technically qualifies them for trafficking visas (T visas) to stay in the United States.
By creating a punitive deportation regime, the Obama administration has made it harder to locate trafficked persons and to assist them. The U.S. government undoes one set of policies as it enforces another; it holds out assistance to an exceptional few and handcuffs to the many.
 “Trafficking into forced labor exists on a continuum of exploitative labor practices. For many undocumented workers—and some workers with temporary work visas—low pay, no pay, unsafe work conditions, job insecurity, and the absence of clear channels for redress are routine. “
“…regardless of their particular circumstances of exploitation, they share a compromised ability to walk away. Having no passport, money, contacts in the United States, or even seasonally appropriate clothes make it hard for them to envision leaving safely, if at all.”
During the Obama administration, a congressional mandate requires a quota for detainees:
” U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to fill a daily average of 34,000 beds in detention facilities. Through policies such as the ironically titled “Secure Communities Programs,” local police function as immigration enforcement agents.”
“The Obama administration ramped up a longstanding practice of ICE raids at worksites where undocumented workers were presumed to labor. These raids sent clear messages to exploited workers to not report abuse. They also have torn apart families and communities.”
So as you can see, the narrative of Mexicans crossing the boarder ‘take’ American jobs is blatantly false.
5057971
Nope.  They did not.
All of this is going to get worse under the Trump administration.  Not just for our food systems but for human beings.
It’s extremely overwhelming what’s been happening this week. What is it that one can do?
071113_victorygardens_bul03
During World War II, it was encouraged that Americans grow what they call Victory Gardens.  These gardens were grown to prevent a food shortage.
wwii-victory-garden-poster
During that time there were so many propaganda posters pushing the notion of growing a garden so that Soldiers over seas fighting would have enough to eat.
3335501225_37b3075ca8
victory-garden-1
20da898e1f409f38745b48e80d4eb137
  • At their peak there were more than 20,000,000 Victory Gardens planted across the United States.
  • By 1944 Victory Gardens were responsible for producing 40% of all vegetables grown in the United States. More than one million tons of vegetables were grown in Victory Gardens during the war.

victorygarden

  • People with no yards planted small Victory Gardens in window boxes and watered them through their windows. Some city dwellers who lived in tall apartment buildings planted rooftop gardens and the whole building pitched in and helped.

FSA/8d35000/8d354008d35471a.tif

Back in 2013 I planted my first garden. I called myself a Rogue gardener.

954862_10151672201978293_1802794837_n

I planted tomatoes and peppers (which I started from seed in the spring and nurtured them for a few months) among many other vegetables.

1002825_10151708819208293_2107255178_n1005952_10151708819213293_607849385_n

1002615_10151833127578293_1295440289_n

I’m not a professional farmer but I do have some skills.

This week I picked up a couple of books to learn more about medicinal herbs and making my own remedies. On top of planning my own garden this year I will be starting my own mini FARMacy inside.

wp-1485546562888.jpg

I’m not really a fan of the notion of “going back” to something. You know how some people will say that we should “go back to” such and such. While it’s very tempting for me to say that we should “Go back to making Victory gardens,”  it just wouldn’t fit for the context of 2017.  I don’t want to grow a garden so the Imperialist Military Industrial Complex can go kill people in other countries.  It’s not Victory that I’m after. It’s resistance. I want to make a Resistance garden. A garden to grow and learn how to preserve and share with our neighbors.  Not a garden to hoard.  We are so much stronger together as a community.  Not just as Citizens of the United States.  But as humans on a planet as a whole. It’s important to educate yourself and listen to the voices of those who are most devastatingly effected by all of these new executive orders.

victoryresist

“Radical simply means ‘grasping things at the root'”

-Angela Davis

 

DIY camping/bug out stove

I’ve been really enjoying the crafty side of myself. I’ve been wanting a camping stove for quite awhile and what better way to get one than building it yourself!

I found the instructions here.

First time I used a magnesium flint striker! I almost have up but then a spark caught. Patience and perserverance can start a fire.

It boiled water in about 8 minutes! Best cuppa tea I’ve had in awhile…probably because I made the stove and the fire with my own hands.

Until next time,

RT

Two hands working can do more than a thousand clasped in prayer.

Madalyn Murray O’Hair