Free Election System

knowledge is power

Do you have all the knowledge you need to make an informed decision?

We think we have a free country here in the United States, but do we really? We vote for people to represent us, but is the deck stacked?

Consider this…how many people are running for a given seat in your district? Are there debates between the candidates? Are ALL the candidates allowed to participate? I know of one race where the incumbent was defeated in a primary election. This left the seat very much in contention. There is a debate scheduled and the Democrat and Republican candidates are participating. But there is a third, Libertarian candidate who is not allowed to participate. Strangely, the two candidates for the “accepted” parties both have affiliation with the college that is hosting the debate…but the college says that THEY didn’t make the decision, a private firm they hired to coordinate things set the ground rules that excluded the third party.

I ask you, if we are supposed to be a free society, how can we ignore the blatant bias so thinly veiled? This type of thing happens all over our country and people just blindly accept it. Perhaps it is too much trouble to maintain our freedom. I hope that the general public wakes up before we surrender what little liberty we have left.

Advertisements

Self Sufficiency

I haven’t written much in the last few days because I was otherwise occupied with getting food in the freezer.  We processed a pig…yes, we butchered a real pig in its entirety.  Many people don’t think about such things as they simply go to the grocery store and purchase their meat, produce and condiments.  Some people never see raw meat, they only eat packaged foods that they stick in a microwave or oven.  But what would happen if the grocery store shelves went bare?  This is not as unlikely as one might think.  After Hurricane Sandy or an ice storm, or flooding, or any number of natural disasters, deliveries can be disrupted and inventories strained or depleted.

Some of us who live in the country are blessed with gardens, livestock and other resources.  Our supply chain is more dependent on our labor and Ma Nature.  In fact, in talking to many who remember the Great Depression (and there aren’t many of you left) I have learned that those who lived in the cities had trouble feeding their families while those who lived in the country were not nearly as affected.  To hear these country folk talk about the depression they recall not being able to get things like tires or new clothes, but their food source was what they grew or raised so it was still there.  This concept is not so outdated as one might think.  It just takes some backbone and some planning…you know, that responsibility thing that goes along with freedom!

We had two huge marine coolers full of meat!

We had two huge marine coolers full of meat!

So back to this weekend.  We cut up a pig into pork chops, loin roasts, hams, bacon, ground sausage and vacuum sealed the meat.  Today I emptied some freezer space and packed all the meat in…all except the hams and bacon.  Those have to marinate in the seasonings for a while before they are smoked.  Then they will join the rest of the meat in the freezer.

Freshly ground breakfast sausage

Freshly ground breakfast sausage

We had some help from volunteers who wanted to learn this valuable skill and we held an informal class.  We were fortunate to have a teacher who has been a professional butcher show us how to get the greatest yield from the harvest.

Some of you will probably think this is cruel, and you have that right.  Others will be content to eat supermarket meat that has been raised on commercial mega-farms and sent to USDA slaughter houses for mass processing.  On the other hand, the pig we just harvested lived a happy life on a farm with its sister, ate fresh grass and loved life.  It wasn’t fed hormones to make it grow faster or antibiotics to counteract the effects of overcrowding that occurs on commercial farms.  The harvesting was quick and the animal didn’t have any pain or stress.  The processing was sanitary and efficient and the meat is healthy and wholesome.  This is the way it has been done for centuries, maybe millennia.  What better way to honor the circle of life than to let the harvested animal nourish us?

Self sufficiency is a virtue.  There are many necessary skills in life and this is but one.  Being a part of our world, communing with nature, isn’t always pretty, but it is part of life and has its own rewards.  The natural world is checks and balances, life and death.  The trick is to find the life in the death…to complete the circle.  Then it is not all for nothing.

Preparedness – Everyone’s Responsibility

A few years ago we had a strong line of thunderstorms roll trough our region.  There were wide spread

Do you know what these symbols mean?

Do you know what these symbols mean?

power outages that lasted for days in some areas.  To some this may be only a minor inconvenience, but for others it can be a real challenge.  Aside from the obvious food spoilage issues, if you live in a rural area and are dependent on well water you will not have any water without electricity. This also means you can’t flush!  Gas stations can’t dispense fuel, ATMs won’t work, credit transactions may not be able to be processed, and cordless phones are reduced to paper weights. What can you do to prepare for unexpected interruptions of our daily conveniences?  There are a lot of things.

1. Keep your car from falling below a half tank of gas.  If the power goes out for extended periods you may need it!  And once the power is back on be prepared for long lines and shortages.

2. Keep some basic supplies in your vehicle.  They are:

  • Water (at least a gallon)
  • Food; something with dense nutrition and long shelf life that is not affected by heat or cold
  • Flashlights…and remember to replace the batteries annually
  • Blanket/shelter.  You could be stranded for extended periods in cold weather.
  • Basic tools; you should have a hammer, flat and Phillips screwdrivers, a knife, plyers and/or adjustable wrench and a lug wrench at the bare minimum.  Consider adding a small hatchet and/or bow saw to that.  Also a small or folding shovel is a good thing to have.
  • If you live in a colder climate carry some cat litter or sand with you to help with traction if you get stuck.
  • Matches (waterproof is best) and/or flares
  • A backpack is advisable to keep these things together and useful if you need to hike to safety.  A change of clothes is not a bad idea either.
  • Fire extinguisher
  • Some form of personal protection
  • A first-aid kit

3. Keep some basic things in your home:

  • Water – you can use empty milk jugs (cleaned of course) or other things to store several gallons of water.  If there is flooding in your area there may not be potable water for a while.
  • Candles/oil lamps/battery powered light sources
  • A generator if you can
  • Canned food and dried food that is not dependent on refrigeration.  Also consider if you will be able to cook…is your stove electric?  Do you have a grill?  Do you have plenty of charcoal or gas for that grill?
  • A heater that is not dependent on electricity
  • A corded phone if you have a land line
  • Extra batteries for your cell phone…that are fully charged!!
  • A manual can opener
  • Fire extinguishers in the kitchen, garage and bedrooms
  • Chain saw/bow saw if you live somewhere where there are trees around your house
  • Emergency battery powered radio with weather radio function.  A two way radio is also not a bad idea.
  • Some form of personal protection
  • Medical supplies and if you take prescription medications don’t let them reach critically low levels.

These are not an all inclusive list, by any stretch, but they are some of the bare necessities to ensure you will get through an emergency with minimal problems. The one other thing you need is a plan.  Especially if you have family, you should have a meeting place, an alternate meeting place, and some planned escape routes.  If your family lives elsewhere you may designate a meeting place or a way to let each other know you are okay.  Communications may be interrupted or jammed.

One other thing to consider is protection.  I choose to carry a pistol with me wherever I go and I take the time to stay proficient with it.  It is not the right choice for each individual and there are other options available including knives, pepper spray, tasers, collapsible batons and more.  Some of these may or may not be legal in your area.  This is a personal choice, one to be decided by each individual.  But be aware that in a catastrophe, like Katrina or Sandy, law enforcement may be days away, not just minutes.  Criminals will take advantage of this and looters may not hesitate to take a life.  Again, your safety is ultimately your own responsibility.  Have a plan to defend yourself and your life-giving stash of supplies!  This includes getting proper training, practice and safeguarding your defensive tools from unauthorized access.

There are many web sites, classes and books on the subject of emergency preparedness.  I suggest doing some research, educating yourselves and taking positive steps to prepare for what could happen.  Think of it as a “self insurance” policy against potential disaster.  If you think it couldn’t happen to you, think again!  It can happen to anyone.

If you want to know what could happen in a real life situation, one book you can read is Zeitoun by Dave Eggers.  It is a true story about a man who rode out Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans. I offer this information because I have been through both summer and winter storms that disrupted power and caused potentially life threatening situations.  We were prepared and came through fine, but had we not been ready thing could have been very different.  Sharing this with others can perhaps help them be ready in the event a disaster hits their region.

Guns Kill?

This gun never killed anything.

This gun never killed anything.

I read a post this morning under “Freshly Pressed” (even though the original post was from July?) titled Planes Don’t Fly and Guns Don’t Kill.  Being a proponent of freedom, including the right to defend ones self on equal terms with the attacker, I read the post.  It was a story of a man who has killed for the sake of killing on more than one occasion.  Granted they were animals and not humans, but this man took three lives, two of which were deliberate.

What struck me about the post was that the author blamed his actions on the tool used to carry them out.  He made a choice to kill a living thing.  He followed through on that choice.  While having the gun may have made the action easier, it was the man behind the gun that ultimately caused the death of the creature.  He says he feels remorse, but he repeats his actions, so how much regret is there really?

I suppose we should be glad that the person who made these choices selected birds as his prey and not humans…or will he take that step in the future?  I respect the man’s decision to devoid himself of firearms.  It appears to be a wise choice for him.  Perhaps he is one of the reasons that others should be armed!

This blog is about freedom.  Along with that freedom comes the responsibility for ones actions.  You cannot have one without the other.  Every living thing has an inherent right to self preservation.  Even plants develop defense mechanisms to level the playing field and insure their survival.  Man, being the inventive creature that he is, has created tools to make life easier.  One of those tools is the firearm.  It has been a tool used for both good and bad actions by humans.  The object is inanimate and will never do anything without human interaction.  Much like an automobile, medications, bathtubs, swimming pools and a host of other objects and substances that can cause death or injury to humans or other living things, a person must manipulate the tool to cause a reaction…that reaction can be good or bad based on the actions of the person.

So while the title of the blogger’s post was true, the premise of the body is a poor excuse for the author’s bad behavior.  I don’t buy into the theory that having a gun in your hand will cause your primal instinct to kill to surge forward uncontrollably.  If it does, perhaps you should seek professional assistance.

p.s.  I was going to comment directly on the post referred to above, but it appears that comments were disabled.

The Problem With Equality

It is true that we are all created equal in that we have the same amount of time each day.  But we are not all equal, nor should we be.  I prefer to embrace individuality and try to appreciate each person for who they are and what their special talents are.

If we were to make everyone equal then we have no opportunity for excellence.  How sad would this

If we were all equal we would all be able to do this!

If we were all equal we would all be able paint like this!

world be if Michelangelo had never painted the Sistine Chapel or Alexander Bell never tried to talk to someone in another building?  Yet we deprive our children of the excitement of competition by not keeping score at Little League games so that the loser’s feelings aren’t hurt.  I have seen leagues where all the kids get trophies at the end of the season.  This not only makes the ones that didn’t win feel worse, but it robs the ones that did win of any sense of accomplishment or pride.  It also teaches our youth that both winning and losing are bad!  In reality, both are necessities and learning how to win, how to lose and how to utilize the lessons from the experience are vital to becoming a successful adult.

Another place where “equality” is misappropriated is our school system.  I became aware some years ago that when the elementary school kids bring their pencils, erasers, glue, crayons and other items that they picked out special for themselves to school they are instructed to put them all in a communal pot.  After all, we don’t want those who can’t afford Crayola scented markers to feel bad because they have the Dollar-Tree brand!  But we are really teaching the kids that they don’t own anything, they don’t have the right to keep what they work for and that financial success is evil.  Is this really what we want our kids to learn?

I submit to you that equality is a relative term.  We are all human.  We all have the right to follow our own path, reap our own rewards, revel in our successes and learn from our mishaps (okay, failures if you insist on using that word).  The motivational speakers will say that failure is the stepping stone to success.  I say it is a learning experience and a necessity for success.  If you never failed at anything you never left your comfort zone…and you are cheating yourself out of a vital and exciting life!  Let’s try to instill in our children…the future generation…the love of life and the ability to embrace our differences.  After all, it is those differences that have propelled us to where we are today.  So instead of all being equal, why don’t we all strive to achieve our individual best in whatever we do?  How great would that be?

Raising Children To Be Independent Thinkers

Will your child be the next great thinker?

Will your child be the next great thinker?

I raised my kids to think like free people. This makes an already difficult task of parenting even harder!  But the rewards are immeasurable.

If we are to have a future for humanity we must teach our children to think, to question, to explore and to rationalize…not to blindly except what is fed to them.  The beginning of this is teaching how to negotiate (and what is non-negotiable).  There are limits, of course.  And applying those restrictions simultaneously to instilling the love of freedom is not easy!  But it comes from balance between freedom and responsibility.  It gives our youth the tools they need to assess situations and make educated decisions all through life.

When I was a child I was told repeatedly by my mother, “Because I said so, that’s why!”  It infuriated me because all I wanted was the logic (and sometimes to get my way!) behind what she was saying I had to do or couldn’t do.  I was an inquisitive child and my children were as well.  I swore that I would never, NEVER say use that dreadful phrase with them…and I can only recall one instance where it slipped out of my lips, followed immediately by the thought, “Oh, my God, I am becoming my Mother!”  And it never happened again.  I am not saying that I didn’t make mistakes, we all do.  But my kids have grown up to be pretty awesome adults so I guess some things actually went as planned.

But the purpose of this post is not so much to talk about my kids as it is to inspire others to take into consideration how they interact with their own.  The mantra that children should be seen and not heard is counterproductive for a thriving society.  Talking to toddlers in baby-talk teaches them to speak baby talk.  Talking to them as if they were adults gives them a higher goal to strive for…after all, we learn by imitating what we are exposed to.  As they get older, do you let them make their own decisions about what to wear?  Do you negotiate about dinner items that may not be favorites?  Do you encourage trying things that are outside of the comfort zone?  Do you teach them that it is OK to win and it is also OK to lose?  To never allow failure is doing children a disservice.  They will not be able to cope with the inevitable setbacks in adult life and will have a stressful life as a result.  If success is discouraged (ever been to a little league game where they don’t keep score?) then we are robbing the kids of their sense of pride and self worth, plus we are not teaching them how to win gracefully.

These are all skills that are vital to success in life.  Negotiation is vital for getting jobs, buying necessities and maintaining relationships.  If you don’t know how to negotiate then you are reduced to arguments where no one wins.  Critical thinking skills are essential as well, for obvious reasons.  Suppose that Patrick Henry, George Washington, Galileo, Socrates, Thomas Edison or Albert Einstein had never questioned anything?  Where would we be today?  Will your child be the next great thinker?  Not if you don’t encourage free thought!