As Things Become More Sporty…

Western Rifle Shooters Association

calvin coolidge newspaper painting“Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.”

A few things I plan to keep in mind:

– Basics matter: Good air, water, exercise, sleep, and food are essential for everybody – even (especially?) if no-shit Armageddon has arrived. Ignore this one at your peril.

– People skills matter: You will have no authority, and very little force projection power. Better plan on being damned persuasive, as it is the biggest tool in your kit.

– Good judgment matters: Lives will be saved and lives will be lost by judgment calls. Think it through, and don’t be driven by events. Choose actions that are reality-based and well considered. Chess, not checkers, ja?

– Good leaders matter: It’s not just the General Bethlehems you have to guard against – it is also the well-meaning types who haven’t yet embraced the horror of the situation. Both can get your people killed or worse.

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Cracking the black box of survival. That is what this column has become more than anything else. This week I would like to demystify another survival topic that, much like Ham radios, radiation and EMP, is fraught with disinformation and obfuscation online. Learning to keep bees is not inexpensive, but it is a hobby that will pay you back dividends once you get going, and there is nothing mysterious about it. I started four hives last spring, and I’d like to take you through some of the decisions you’ll face, and the experiences I’ve had having made those decisions. I have had hives flourish. I’ve had one hive die. There is no formula for success when it comes to keeping bees. But no matter where you live in the US, there are beekeepers succeeding, and most likely if you dive in, you will too.


I bought this book in paper form on Amazon, because I don't like to read books on the computer. It is in the public domain, so can be downloaded free as a PDF, or sent to your Kindle.  I bought several beekeeping books, but none were as helpful as this book.
As soon as you start out on your path to learn bees, someone is going to try to convince you to not buy a 10 frame Langstroth beehive. That is what nearly every commercial beekeeper in the world uses, so of course it must be bad. In my experience, this is a bunch of malarky. Beekeepers, even the big ones, are not “Big Agri.” Langstroth hives are statutory in some states, and several states have laws requiring that you use a hive with removable frames, which for the most part are Langstroth hives. 8 frame vs. 10 frame? That much I don’t know. But most beekeepers are using 10 frame Langstroth hives, patented in 1852.Initially I faced that torrent of advice from “natural” beekeepers and got myself sold on what is called the Warre hive, otherwise known as The People’s Hive. It was designed by Emile Warre’ in France, after testing over 350 designs of the day. His book, (free PDF)Beekeeping for All, was revolutionary for its day, but the Langstroth patent in 1852changed everything, and I think for the better. As you’ll see in my video, the Warre hive doesn’t use frames, so the combs just hang from a top bar. The bees have to make the entire comb, and because there is no frame, if you damage the comb while extracting honey, which is usually the case, they have to make it all over again. The sales pitch of the people selling the Warre hive is that it is “all natural,” because according to the book, you rotate the hive bodies up, so there is never any comb that will be reused for more than one harvest. Theoretically this doesn’t trap bad bacteria and disease in the hive, but you won’t find any hard science behind this assumption. I tried the Warre method and didn’t find that the bees were willing to build comb below the existing hive body. I tried jumpstarting a frame both above and below the main brood nest, but there didn’t seem to be anything I could do to get the Warre hive to work as it is supposed to. I am stuck with my single Warre hive with bees in it, but from what I have experienced, they are a waste of time and energy.

This was one of the frames from my Warre hive early on. The bees thrived, but they really haven't been productive, despite months of feeding to build the initial comb. I don't see an advantage to the top bar style hives whatsoever. The goal is to produce honey.
The same thing goes for what they usually call a “Top Bar Hive” or “Kenyan Hive.” The sales pitch on these hives are two. One is of course the “all natural” beekeeping, just because it isn’t a Langstroth, and then there is the price. The 30 bar hives start at like $100 including shipping on Ebay, and smaller hives are even less.I was not able to order one more hive worth of bees (which I’ll explain below) last spring to start one of the Top Bar hives I purchased, but from what I can see, they have some of the same problems I experienced with the Warre hive. The Top Bar is a triangle design, which i theoretically the natural shape of the combs that the bees make. I would call that a misnomer, because eventually the bees fill any space you give them, though the combs do start out as triangle shape. In the Top Bar hive you’ll find the same thing I found with the Warre. Because there is no frame, the bees will attach part of the comb to the walls of the hive. You’ll see in the video I made of my Warre, this causes you to have to break apart the comb as you pull the bars. Could you slide a thin blade along the sides first? Yes, but I think you’re still going to break comb.

This is what my medium honey super frames looked like. They were solid honey.
The bigger question or survival is one of resource preservation. Why would you run a hive that requires the bees to make new comb? Do you need the beeswax for candles? I’d rather have the bees make food, and go to bed early.I will also mention The Flow Hive here, because mine just came, even though I ordered it last spring. If you haven’t seen this thing, it is a new invention that drains honey through the inside of the frame. The Flow Hive promotions on Facebook last year were actually the impetus of me getting into beekeeping. I watched a couple Youtube videos on the subject, then ordered my bees, figuring that I’d figure it out, which I did. Now that my Flow Hive is here, I am disappointed that it came completely unassembled, and I haven’t really gotten into it yet. It looks like a neat idea. It is expensive in comparison. I would just get a 10 frame Langstroth for now if I were you, which I’m not.


You’ll see in the video that I had terrible problems with “bridge comb” when I first got my bees going. This only happened where I used plastic frames in my brood box, and my takeaway from this is not just to avoid these frames for brood boxes, but to also bee aware of bee supply stores. I bought these hives from my local bee supply, and they installed the bees in them for me. When I ordered the plastic frames, based on internet research, they didn’t say anything. It was only after the fact, when I told them that I had problems, that they told me they suggest wooden frames with a plastic comb, not full plastic combs. I have not yet tried their suggestion, but I did rescue those hives somewhat by swapping out some standard wooden frames with preformed wax comb.

To start your bees, it is hard for me to tell you to try anything besides wax comb at first. There is risk involved, because the beeswax has to come from somewhere, and that means potentially introducing another beekeeper’s problems into your hive. The risk is theoretical, and I have yet to find even one horror story, but you just never know. I’m trying to cover the bases for this article, so you don’t have to stumble on these issues as you begin your own research. Most likely I’ll start my next hive with wooden frames and plastic comb. In my problem hive I did find some wax moths, and they can’t invade hives that use plastic frames.


I didn't take a lot of pictures or shoot any video when I installed my bees. We actually had a baby the same week. This is the box that bees come in when you buy the 3 lb. package. The hole holds a can of sugar syrup, and you just shake the bees out through the hole into the hive body. Spray them down good with sugar syrup first and you can do this bare handed as I did.
First let me back up a step. How exactly do I do this? You would be surprised at how easy it is to start bees. You order what are called “package bees” from one of dozens of suppliers online, and believe it or not, they mail you the bees, using USPS generally. Your local post office will probably call you frantic that you have to come pick up your bees, because they have never dealt with this before, but once you have the bees in hand it is pretty simple. Inside the box will be about 3 lbs of worker bees, and one impregnated queen bee, in her own little “queen cage.” You spray your bees down with sugar syrup, made in a spray bottle with half and half sugar and water, and then, after you remove a couple of frames from your hive, literally shake the bees into the hive. Then you can just put some frames back and brace the queen cage in between a couple. Close up the hive and check it in a couple of days. If the bees have not freed the queen by eating the candy plug at the end of her cage, you probably can just pry the cage open and shake her into the hive.Package bees cost between $115 and $200 this year. I would check to see if a local bee supply store will be arranging for a shipment that you can go pick up at their store rather than ship it in, because often these are cheaper. Our local store in Miami, South Florida Bee Supply, is only bringing in “nucs” this year, but last year they sold package bees for $90. A nuc is a small usually 4 frame hive that has already been started with a queen and workers, and that will already have some brood in it maturing. You’ll pay more for a nuc, but there will also be less chance of failure. I think that our supplier had a rough year and that is why they are only selling nucs.

I can’t tell you where to buy bees this year really. As I write this, if you Google “package bees 2016,” you’ll get a lot of hits. Most of the early dates are already sold out, but I was able to get April delivery from Mountain Sweet Honey Supply. Their base price is $135, and the shipping is very reasonable. I was able to snag a weekend special tonight for $115, so hopefully that’ll still be lit up when the Digest comes out Monday. I would have run this article a little earlier, because I know that the bees do sell out, but this is early enough to order bees.

The place I ordered from last year, Pigeon Mountain Apiaries, still has bees available, but I have to warn you, as you can see from the end of my video, I can’t guarantee that the bees I got from them are not Africanized. Less than a year later they are extremely aggressive and when they sting, it produces a huge welt. They got into my suit and stung my face when I made the video, and the next day my face swelled up like a cantaloupe. That has not happened with the bees I got from South Florida Bee Supply. Pigeon Mountain had great customer service I have to say, but the nuc I ordered from them was not closed properly and my postman had to deal with flying bees. He put a bag over the nuc, so it was half dead when it arrived. They sent me a new queen and the hive did fine, as you can see. I am quite sure that they will vehemently deny that their bees have been Africanized, but you can judge for yourself.


The most important thing you can do after you install bees is to feed them, a lot. Dadant sells what I think is the best hive top feeder for the 10 frame Langstroth hive. It is made of styrofoam, and goes for just under $30. Most hobby beekeepers will tell you to use bottle feeders, but after a ton of research last year I found that the pros all use hivetop feeders. A bottle feeder can only feed about 20 bees at one time. A hivetop feeder can feed hundreds at one time.

The initial feeding that you provide will allow the bees to immediately build comb, without having the find a local source for nectar. In the spring nectar can be pretty sparse to begin with, so feeding your bees could be a matter of survival. The workers that you get in your package bees will be alive less than a month, and during that time they have to build comb so that the queen can start laying. The queen already has all the eggs she will ever have, so everything is ready to go but the comb, and the bees have to make that. With a hivetop feeder, you’ll see the comb building every day.

I didn't get into the lifecycle of the bee for this article, because there is plenty of information online and in books. You can see the bee larva in the cells here. Bees take meticulous care of their young.
I made my sugar syrup at 1:1 sugar to water, by volume. So I’d take a half gallon grapejuice bottle, fill it half way with Walmart sugar, then fill it up the rest of the way with my reverse osmosis water, because I don’t want to feed fluoride to my bees. The hivetop feeder holds almost two gallons, but even with 3 lbs. of bees, in South Florida in the spring, the water got moldy if I put in more than a gallon or so. Periodically I dumped the syrup, washed the feeder, and refilled it, because I could smell the sugar fermenting.The other hivetop feeders I tried were made of wood, with floats, and didn’t work even close to as well as the styrofoam feeders. Every time I checked that feeder I found a dozen or more dead bees, whereas during the entire time I fed with the styrofoam, I think I found about 6 dead bees.

I also fed my bees what you’ll see called “pollen patties,” but I later learned that they are not made from actual pollen. If you search Youtube you’ll find how to make them out of soy flour, but I bought mine. My experience with them was not good, because I gave the bees way too much. If you decide to use them, start with very small amounts. Otherwise, at least here in South Florida, you’ll find small hive beetle maggots in the patties within about a day. I assume the beetles came in with my bees, but I don’t know what I could have done to prevent their arrival. They love those patties, I’ll tell you that. See the video for the small hive beetle traps I bought. They work great.


I strongly suggest that you buy The ABCs and XYZs of Beekeeping. It will give you the most recent updates on how to treat Varroa mites and all of the other common bee ailments. Don’t let the disease side of the equation scare you away. As I said above, beekeeping is easy and mostly successful. If you are running 1,000 hives as a pro beekeeper, and your hives are being shipped out to farms who pay you to bring them pollinators, there is a pretty good chance that you’ll be exposed to something that is actually fairly rare in backyard beekeeper circles.


My best guess is that I killed my queen. About two months ago I saw that I needed to extract my honey. But as I explained in the video, I had not yet gotten a bee suit, so I did it bare handed and bare armed. It didn’t go well, and I dropped the hive bodies several times, killing a lot of bees. I also hadn’t experimented with the use of spray syrup instead of a smoker, and I went a little commando on my bees with the smoker. When I opened the hive the other day I found only a couple dozen bees trying to raise a queen cell. I am going to feed them and hope they succeed, but the queen will also have to make a successful mating flight and return for that to happen. Most likely I’m just going to dump a new package of bees in there once they arrive in April.

Thankfully, when I extracted, I skipped the hive you see here at the end of the video, because that hive had brood in the top hive body, and not a lot of honey, so I left it alone. Those bees are gloating at me today, because they definitely won that round, but I’ll be back.


Africanized honey bees, otherwise known as “killer bees,” have migrated to most areas of the US that produce package bees. My bees were sold to me as Italian honey bees, which are the most common type, and they are known for being docile, as well as great producers. That hive came to me as a nuc from Pigeon Mountain, and it hasn’t produced much if any honey, while the bees are extremely aggressive. For the video I first was sloppy with my zippers on the suit, and I only wore a tshirt under the suit so I would be cooler. Those bees stung right through it, so I’m going to need to put some denim under the suit and try it again, or buy a thicker suit. I’ll be moving that hive out of my backyard to my bugout location. I’m thinking that I can make an electronic sensor connected to a solenoid and kick that sucker over should an intruder arrive. Anyway…


The best buy I have found for buying a complete 10 frame Langstroth hive, shipped, is this guy on Ebay. It is just under $200, which is insanely cheap, and much less than I paid online before I discovered that we have a local production shop here. South Florida Bee Supply has a great deal if you are local. It is a deep super for a brood box with frames, and two medium honey supers with frames, plus the bottom board, top cover and telescoping cover, for $170. They do ship, but the shipping isn’t cheap. You will see in the video that the two hives I got from them are unpainted. This was because I had them install the bees for me because I couldn’t pick them up on Saturday, which is their pickup day. I wish I had asked them to paint the hives first. You’ll see that I drew pictures on the front of my hives. The bees get confused if you don’t mix up colors or something for them, and they will go to the wrong hive, only to get into fights till the death the hive guards.

If you elect to go for the alternative hives, just Google around and search Ebay. There are only a few companies that make the Warre design, and if you watch their videos, they admit that in their own apiary, they only use Warre hives as an entertaining side project, for something different, but the online popularity has given them an income from building and selling the hives. I had to try it so I got not only a couple complete 4 frame hive setups, but also hivetop feeders for the square Warre design, and even some framed honey supers.


I will most likely use those Warre hives to catch swarms from other local beekeepers, and if I am successful, and we aren’t already eating survival food by then, I’ll do an update article. Eventually, unless you employ countermeasures, all beehives will eventually swarm. This usually means that they hive raised a new queen, and a whole bunch of bees decided to leave with her. They don’t always warn you that they are going to swarm, if you even have time to check in on them enough to catch it. The trick is to give them an attractive home far enough away from the original hive, so that they will decide to to there on their own. You can buy “catch hives” online, which are just small boxes of some sort, and there are lot of lure tinctures you can buy to bait the box. To my knowledge, my hives have not swarmed yet. But I would say the mean one will do so soon, so I’m getting it out of here.

Langstroth’s book, and just about every beekeeping book you’ll find, has a big section on preventing swarms. This is very technical stuff, and you are better to find a class on it than try to figure it out yourself. Most backyard beekeepers just let them swarm and hope they don’t decide to settle in the eaves of the neighbor’s house. I bought a vacuum box in case I have a swarm emergency. there is a guy selling them on Ebay.


One of the more lucrative options for making money with bees is the provide them to farmers as pollinators. That involves moving your bees. To do that, the popular advice out there is to use what they call hive staples to nail your supers together. Then when you put the hives out, you space them about 10 feet apart. The pros don’t do this. It just so happened that right near my bugout location, a commercial beekeeper dumped 88 hives for orange blossom season. I don’t think he was hired to do this. I think he just wanted to be able to sell orange blossom honey, but the nice thing was that I got to see something of how he rolls. His method is to forego the bottom boards entirely, and mount 4 hives on a wooden pallet. Then he uses a mini forklift to load and offload the hives from a flat trailer. He just removed the hives about two weeks ago, and I periodically checked in on them, as he had left the hives on what I think was either state or railroad land. I don’t know if he lost hives or if people just stole them, but about a dozen hives disappeared over the time that they were there. The apparently figured out a system to keep the love bugs from bothering the bees, by putting white and black buckets on top.

This is the design that a local beekeeper uses near me. He mounts 4 hives on a pallet, with a deep brood box super and two medium honey supers. The white buckets are to attract love bugs so they don't bother the bees. He dropped a total of 88 hives on what I think is either public or railroad land near large orange groves. Orange blossom honey sells at a premium. He lost about a dozen hives over this experiment from what I saw, possibly to theft.


I didn’t address this section first because I think it is self evident that keeping bees won’t be first on your long term survival plan. If you have a bent to grow things and care for things, learning bees now is probably a good idea if you can afford to start. I will be surprised if we get through this summer before everything boils out, but you never know. The powers that be may have a short term plan to kick the news of our imminent demise down the road a couple years. One thing I can tell you is that the news of the death of the bees has been greatly exaggerated by the media. The biggest threat to the bee population has been beekeepers retiring and their kids not being interested in the business. Hives die, everywhere, often for unknown reasons unrelated to pesticides or geoengineering. I have not heard tell of one beekeeper who lost their hives in a wholesale swath of destruction, unless you are talking wax moths. Feed your bees for a month when you get them. Let them get strong and confident, and they will fight off most threats.

There was a recent study by Keele University that revealed huge levels of aluminum in bumblebees. This is no surprise to me, because as my regular readers know, I have been trying to open people’s eyes to the top secret spraying of aluminum on all of us, including the bees, for some time. If you dig into the docs at, you’ll find that geoengineering in the form of stratospheric particle injection has been going on for decades. The bees, and all of us, are part of a giant science experiment that is failing. If we don’t change course, there is no future for any species on this planet, not just the bees. Aluminum has been measured at levels tens of thousands of times normal in everything from whales to salmon to cows to your own human body, but most of you will keep calling those white trails behind the planes contrails, until this finally ends.

This giant toad, and it's offspring, used to hang out under the Warre hive waiting for bees. It is endemic of what survival will bee like I think.
As pollinators, from a survival perspective, bees are not what we have all been led to believe. If you bought the Seedsavers book I suggested last spring, you have already read the section on pollinators, and honey bees are great at some types of flowers, but not great on others. I would take a look at that book before jumping into bees just for the pollinator side of the equation.Enjoy your bees for the months after you install them. Before they get comfortable, they really don’t attack you. I used just a head net until recently. And unless you do get some Africanized bees, just because they are buzzing around you doesn’t mean they are trying to sting you. Try not to kill any bees, because bees give off a fight or flight pheromone when they die, and that will get the rest of the hives stinging. Also, if you get stung, flick the stinger out with your hive tool right away, and run for the hills. They also release a pheromone when they sting, and it acts as a giant green light to go all in with stinging this intruder until he leaves, so leave. A few bees will chase you, or in the case of these African bees, a lot of bees will chase you, and keep trying to sting you for like an hour. Then they just give up and leave, I wish the rest of the world was like that.


Hand Crank Sewing Machines on Ebay

Hand Crank for Belt Drive Machines $13.95
Hand Crank and Spoked Wheel $24.95

This week I would like to introduce an incredible invention to a few of you called the hand crank sewing machine. Sure, it was invented over 100 years ago, but they are no less amazing today. In the accompanying video I will show you how to use a couple different generations of machines, as well as a DIY option that fits on most of the belt driven metal gear Singers and copies. Also I have included a discussion about investing in one of these machines from a survival standpoint, and how that compares to gold and silver (at 25 mins), which everyone seems to be trying to sell us. Below will be a brief discussion on this subject as well. My regular readers know how brief usually works out with me, but I’ll try to keep it short. 😛

First off, I would like to give you a little bit of detail regarding these machines. If you care to learn the history or collectability on them, there are plenty of books, fan websites and of course Wikipedia. Personally I couldn’t care less. But as a survival tool, I think a reliable sewing machine is a great thing to have. If you have growing kids especially, being able to mend clothes and make clothes is a huge asset. It could also be a source of income once the sources of new clothes come to a grinding halt. Many important skills were lost to the last couple generations, and learning to sew is something you just might want to take up now. As for hand crank, I personally don’t think that the electricity is going to go out until well into the collapse, which could be many years from now. The power structure needs to keep the Fox News propaganda machine doublespeaking. But you never know. That is why I included the swap in crank for this article and video.

The first machine in the video is what I would consider the preferred style, because it takes bobbins that you can buy at Walmart, the Type 66 bobbin. These machines seem to have been made right alongside the older design, which uses a stick like bobbin in what they call a bullet shuttle. In the video I show you this design as well. If you are interested in a treadle machine, which runs from a foot pedal board, most of those machines that I have seen use the bullet shuttle as well. Both designs run reliably, but I prefer to invest in a machine that take a current bobbin. There are new machines with hand cranks and treadles from Janome that you can find on Amazon, but they are not well rated.

If you have the space, and you live in the Midwest, Ebay is full of treadle machines that have come out of estates, and because the people don’t want to ship them, they go for cheap, in good working condition. For daily sewing, in a post collapse, world, a treadle machine is much more of a realistic option than hand crank, because with hand crank you really need three hands. Treadle machines are no more difficult to sew with than an electric, and having used both, I think a treadle is more controllable.

Don’t be afraid of any of these old machines. Even though as you’ll see in the video I did get a broken machine on Ebay recently, for the most part the machines work. I was able to get the replacement part for my broken machine for $24. Compared to the plastic geared junk they sell at Walmart, these machines are on a different planet.

I got suckered on a plastic machine back in the 80s when the modern “Singer” company used to set up at hotels to sell $450 “student” machines. It couldn’t sew through two layers of cloth without stripping teeth off of the gears. The metal machines have metal gears, and though they can be a little quirky at times, I find that you can sew through just about anything with them.

Note that this generation of machines are all “straight stitch.” They can’t do zig zags or patterns. In practice, there is very limited application for those stitches, but there are steel gear singer machines from the 50s up until the 70s that will do them of you want. I just don’t think they can be retrofit for hand crank, so I didn’t bother with them for this article. There are a bunch of attachments for straight stitch Singer style machines that will do everything from button holing to ruffling, outside the scope of this article.

I have linked above to the hand crank sewing machines currently listed on Ebay. As of today I don’t see any killer deals, but there are some good deals if you are willing to buy a bullet shuttle machine. The stick bobbins are easily found on Ebay for about a buck each, and as you can see in the video, they work great. The models that use the Type 66 bobbin were actually made up until the 1970s periodically, and you can find them in perfect condition. They will even sew through leather.

There are dozens of Singer copies at any given time on Ebay as well. Many of them are also somewhat collectible and if you Google around they have their fanboy websites as well. I have no experience with them, but for the most part them seem to be decent investments, and most importantly they sew. You should be able to research which bobbins they take. There are only three standard bobbins. The Type 66 has the rounded top and bottom with a single hole on each side. The Type 15 has straight sides and a lot of holes on the sides, and then there is the stick bobbin. The copy machines will take one of these.

There are also copy machines of the pre-war Singer electric machines, and you can usually buy them for next to nothing on Ebay. Take a look at the Singer 99K that I put the aftermarket hand crank on for the video. I have found a dozen great deals from people who don’t know what the model is, and sometimes a copy is indistinguishable. If the copy machine has that slot for the motor mount in the back, it will almost definitely take the hand crank. If you plan to convert an electric machine, make sure to get the spoked wheel with the crank unless you are converting an electric Singer Model 128 or similar that already has the spokes.

Also note that the Singer Type 15 machines do not take the aftermarket hand crank that I have linked to above. I showed you my green 15-125 in the video, and it has the same direct drive motor as the popular 15-91. The Model 15 machines were a pro’sumer product made for daily sewing, heavy fabrics, and light duty leather and canvas. I love my Model 15, but when the lights go out I don’t want to have to rely on solar backup power to be able to sew.


This is a screen capture from, which is a financial truther site I follow.  These ads for gold and silver bullion are everywhere, but I think a potential windfall in bullion is a fools game.  Buy what you need to live, as as what you need to survive, then worry about preserving the purchasing power of what cash you have.
You aren’t going to find a lot of prepper sites and Youtube channels that cover hand crank sewing machines, for good reason. From what I have seen, 99% of the prepper material out there is horseshit, at best written by fools who aren’t prepping for anything, and at worst written by hired people fishing keywords. And included in that coverage are sales pitches for physical gold and silver, as well as overpriced survival food, faraday cages and other misguided investments.It is very difficult for me to tell you to spend $150-$300 on a hand crank sewing machine, when I know that few of you have anywhere as much food put away as you are going need. I wonder the same thing for myself as well, but I do like to discuss some of the choices that we all must make. Planning for the collapse is not the scope and breadth of our lives. If it was, we’d drive ourselves crazy with the waiting, knowing that when it comes, there will be no guarantees, no matter what you planned for in advance. Nobody wants the collapse to happen, therefore it is impossible for most of us to invest everything we have in food, or other consumables that will eventually go bad and get thrown away, should Armageddon never arrive.

Most people in right wing middle America by now have woken up a bit, and they know something is going on. The question I get from literally everyone is “should I buy gold and silver?” As I said in the video, my first question is “how much food do you have put away.” But that is really only half the answer. You’ll put away how much food you put away, and there is little I can do about that, but I have to accept that at the same time, many of you will debate taking $300 or $500 and putting it into silver coins. Even worse, some of you will be tricked into numismatics, but I’m not even going to go there.

I have been following the gold and silver markets now for a few years. I also follow a number of experts, like Mike Maloney, Bill Holter,Peter Schiff, and Jim Sinclair. All of those guys sell metals, but they are also 100% genuine true believers, in my humble opinion. The core of their conviction comes from a simple rule. Eventually all “fiat” monetary systems burn down, and the paper currency devalues to zero. When that happens, the world has always reverted to the only other portable and “fungible” option, gold and silver. If you have tens or hundreds of thousands in retirement savings locked up in stocks, real estate, or any other asset where a piece of paper “guarantees” you ownership, I strongly suggest that you move it into gold and silver. But if you are sitting on that kind of money, make sure you have damn food ok. As I’ll explain below, precious metals are a dangerous asset in troubled times. Less so than paper, but dangerous nonetheless.

For someone debating spending that $300, if you bought just Walmart flour, and you plan to live on just bread, you will live. And for $300 you can buy almost one and a half million calories. Eating 1,000 calories per day, that is almost 4 years of survival rations for one person. Don’t go buy a sewing machine, or silver coins. Go buy some flour. If there was really a windfall coming in silver, do you really think you could buy any?

That potential windfall is the bait. The story is that gold and silver are going to return as monetary metals, physically in the coins, and that will lead to the metals being drastically revalued. I’ve read and heard the story a hundred times, and you know what? It is 100% true. At some point the world monetary system is going to burn down, and it will be replaced with another monetary system. But there is no guarantee that the system will be gold backed and not just another fiat false guarantee. Gold and silver will most likely carry forward whatever value they have today. In dollars, most likely gold will “skyrocket” to tens of thousands and silver to hundreds or even thousands, but you know what? That Singer hand crank sewing machine will skyrocket in dollars as well, to the tens of thousands if the dollar becomes worth very little if anything. But you can sew with the Singer!

Gold and silver hold intrinsic value historically. Kings have paid their soldiers in gold and silver during wartime. You could always pay your taxes in gold and silver. And of course in the marketplace, gold and silver could always be swapped for food and other goods.

The same is not true of sewing machines. You certainly can’t pay your taxes with them, and in the marketplace, a sewing machine is only useful if someone who has what you want needs a sewing machine. That is why we use “currency.” Gold and silver, even though they are often called “money,” are just a historically universally agreed upon form of currency as well. Historically, those same kings who used to pay in gold and silver, eventually cut the gold and silver with copper to stretch it, and those coins were equally valued as currency, for a time.

But there is a rule about currency that is diluted, that I learned in a book by David Morgan. “Bad money drives out good money.” That means that if someone is holding pure gold coins and gold mixed with copper coins, they will always spend the mixed coins and hold the pure coins. That is why right now, it is smart to spend your “bad money” paper currency on what you need, and hold the pure gold and silver until the paper is worth nothing.

But in the meantime, and the meantime could last a decade for all we know, paper currency is going to be extremely useful. As Mike Maloney has explained for years, before the bankers get a license to print money with no limits, we have to hit a period extreme “deflation.” Deflation is just an economics turn for nobody having any money. In such a period, the currency of the day can buy much more. So “cash is king.” We are coming into the early stages of the collapse now, and this past few weeks, cracks have begun to show in the government story that unemployment is low and the economy is good. The reality is that unemployment is well into the double digits, and it is as high as 50% in the inner cities. The global financial system is overleveraged and broke.

Theoretically, according to the gold bugs, this should mean that the Federal Reserve will try to “helicopter drop” money into the economy. This means that they will lower interest rates, even into negative territory, where rather than earn interest, it will actually cost you money to leave cash in the bank. Theoretically this would make everyone take their money out of the bank and spend it, and encourage people to borrow more, knowing that they won’t even have to pay back the entire principle. This would in turn blow the economic bubble back up.

Problem is, this isn’t the way it is going to go down. If you look back to December, the Federal Reserve chief Janet Yellen announced that they were going to raise interest rates from where they had been at zero percent since 2009, not lower them. This effectively cut off free cash for the banks to borrow from each other for their own stock buy backs and cheapy corporate loans for the same purpose. That is why the stock market is crashing right now.

If you think about it, even if just to play devils advocate here, why would the banks hyperinflate the currency to begin with? It isn’t like they don’t know that if they add too many dollars to the system it will eventually crash to zero, as people lose confidence in the currency. Don’t forget, the banks have **loaned** dollars, and they can only get dollars back. If the dollar becomes worth less, and I can sell my $200 sewing machine for $10,000 now, well howdy ho I can go pay off my $10,000 car loan with that, and the bank gets effectively nothing, while I have a car and a clean balance sheet (and I bought two sewing machines anyway). Loan values don’t float with inflation. They are hard numbers.

So if I am a bank, if I know that the world economy is grinding to a halt, why wouldn’t I abandon ship and just let it sink? Nobody can pay me back the loans, but whatever I have taken as collateral in secured loans is going to revert back to me.

Because of the way our money system works, the system is called “fractional reserve banking,” the banks were allowed to create 10x more in loans than they held in cash, so they never had to earn that money they lent you for your car anyway. The foolish Japanese took those borrowed dollars for your car, and they lost the car. Who got the car? The bank! …for you guessed it ladies and gentlemen, FREE.

That is true of all the real estate too. They are going to get it for free when they foreclose, even though the money used to give us the mortages was created out of thin air. These people are greedy bankers. They aren’t going to say we’re sorry for screwing all this up lets just call everything in possession owned by the possessor. If they have a loan guarantee on it, they are going to take it.

I see no reason for the banks to helicopter drop money once they decide we have reached the point of no return, which is like now. Now is the time I think we are going to see them sit back, watch the world implode, and collect up all the assets of the world without having built or made a thing. And I will note that during the Great Depression, the Federal Reserve **decreased** the money supply by 1/3rd. If the answer was truly to helicopter drop money, they would have done it then.

So that is the chance that you take buying any physical asset right now, including gold and silver. But holding cash is also risky, because they could have an existing plan to hyperinflate this time, for some other game, to burn down the world currencies and create a single system. In the short term, they could be under big political pressure to keep injecting cash into the system. The European Central Bank and the Bank of Japan are both at negative interest rates already, in an effort to do exactly that.

The gold bugs use this uncertainty to sell us on physical gold and silver. During the Great Depression, gold did go down in price while retaining its purchasing power, or even increasing it, while things like sewing machines and saxophones became worth nothing, or not much of anything. Nobody had any money to buy new clothes, or to pay anyone to play a song.

But that was a different era where the price of gold didn’t fluctuate like it does today. I’m not going to get into the histories of gold and silver, but I will link to some information above. I think this is totally uncharted territory, regardless. When people talk about the price of gold today, they are quoting the COMEX spot price, which is a paper market.

The COMEX trades futures contracts, not physical gold, and when you horse trade in COMEX gold, almost 100% of the time, the trades are settled in dollars. “I bought gold at $1040 and sold at $1120″ doesn’t mean that I bought physical gold, held in my hand, then sold it to someone. It means I agreed to buy it at $1040, the sold the right to buy it to someone else at $1120, so they gave me the difference in dollars. Almost no gold changes hands on the COMEX or the other, the LBMA, at all. And those contracts are floating back and forth out there at over 300x the amount of gold that is even registered on the exchange to physically trade. Nobody calls in the deliverables, so the system happily chugs along, until it doesn’t. And that day isn’t today.

If you can get physical gold and silver at close to spot, and you have enough food and a good sewing machine, by all means grab some if you just want to protect your cash. But I have seen way too much manipulation over the past several years to believe that there is a potential windfall for the little guy out there. We don’t get that kind of opportunity. There have been two crisis events in gold over the last hundred years. One was when FDR confiscated the gold in 1934, and the other was when Nixon decoupled gold from the US dollar. You think Obama invented unconstitutional executive orders? FDR forbid the hoarding of gold in 1933 by executive order! History doesn’t always repeat itself, but it usually at least rhymes.

What happens next? What happens when the Chinese decide the game is over and gold and silver, worldwide, go to “no offer?” When nobody will sell their gold and silver for currency, their will be no bad money to chase out the good, and good money, gold and silver will become the currency. Unless there is a plan for otherwise, and there is.

One thing I can guarantee you though. As I said in the video, no matter what the outcome, when all of this finally burns down, world trade is going to grind to a halt. America sent all of our manufacturing machines to China and South America years ago. We have become a service economy, and we make almost nothing. I think that in a deflationary environment, where cash is king, physical goods that people need will retain value, because no more are being made. We could experience a compound crisis, where the rest of the world refuses to use the dollar for anything, so effectively the dollar becomes worth nothing, but we are still using it here for food and needs. The US could create a replacement currency, even an electronic currency. Who knows. I think the best bet is to use you head and buy what you need now, regardless of any potential windfall that I don’t think will occur. My regular readers know that the picture is much bigger than financial. I have linked to several times in my articles, in hopes that you all will watch the documentaries by Dane Wigington, and help us wake up the true Patriots of freedom so that they can’t be used by the oligarchs as a convenient opposition. The planet is dying. The solar radiation management planes spraying us with metal oxides in an effort to block the sun are right over your head every day. All you have to do is look up.

I wrote an article “Guns and Guitars Not Gold & Silver” some time ago, and it is still true today. One way or the other, things are going to get nasty. I would add to that list of guns and guitars some steel gear sewing machines, preferably with a hand crank or treadle. Below I have included some videos on how to use the machines with the pin bobbins. If you sniff around on Ebay, these can be had for well under $100 in good shape, shipped. This adds up to an electric and hand machine with steel gears well under $150. Also check your local antique store or flea market. I have seen pristine machines for as little as $25.

Is the Patriot Movement Helping With Its Own Demise on Facebook?

People in the patriot movement spend a lot of time talking about their patriot activities on social media.  I’ve covered why this is a bad idea over and over, and will continue to do so. In the midst of the meme-sharing, ranting and planning various activities, however, there’s something else going on every day: Social engineering.

Social engineering is defined as “an attack vector that relies heavily on human interaction and often involves tricking people into breaking normal security procedures.”  For people in the movement, that breaks down to “an attack that tricks you into giving up critical information.” There is almost no easier way to trick patriots into giving up information than Facebook.  It’s a tactic used by federal agents and assets, but in many cases they don’t even need to engage in social engineering because patriots are doing it to themselves and each other without even realizing it—and with the best of intentions. In these cases, someone merely needs to swing by and collect the information left out for them to find by careless people. While I won’t use names of individual people or groups, I’ll paste some actual comments from real-life examples.  If you recognize one of these comments as your own, then I encourage you to take the energy you want to spend trashing me, and use it to think about what I’m saying. Let’s get started.

Roll Calls

How It Works: The Commander or Member of Random Patriot Group posts a roll call thread, and asks members who are active to post a comment, and calls for each of the other members to report in by codename. Members respond with that codename or callsign in their comments.  The commander goes on to announce that he wants people to think about a face to face meeting with the following:

We all need to get together real soon. Hell boy. Ogre, reaper,widow maker, pharaoh, sasquatch, loonatic, watchtower. You all down for a get together?

What just happened? What can be linked together? In the 20 comments on that particular thread, ten of the members of that group are now identified by name and matched to their callsign/codename. From there it’s a simple exercise to go to their pages and start collecting more information about their schedules, personalities, and more—all of which can be used for further engineering attempts.

Another party in another thread asks for people to comment with “name and zone.” People respond—130 comments worth—with names, locations, and positions. Some of them give extra information, such as what they’re trained in.  Within the thread, some post a comment saying their location is “classified,” and are promptly chastised by the leadership for not following the directive. Perhaps the most disturbing part is when the leadership denigrates those who choose not to comment as being “inactive” or “not dedicated.” Anyone can simply take the state map, thoughtfully provided by the leadership so members can figure out what zone they belong to, and start making notes. How many people are in each zone? Where are the leadership of that group located? What is the group’s response capability to a specific area in the state?

Many argue that, “We only do that in our closed/private FB groups.” Two things you need to be aware of: 1) If it’s on Facebook in any capacity, it is NOT private. 2) If your vetting process for allowing members into your closed and “private” groups is checking out their Facebook page, you are failing.

Planning Threads

How It Works: Someone in Random Facebook Group posted a thread like the following: “We’ve got an FTX this weekend and here are the coordinates. Who’s in?” The problem is that people love to talk about what they’re doing, because within the movement people feel the need to justify themselves as “real patriots” by openly discussing their activities–because if you’re not doing things where everyone can see, you must not be doing them at all. It sounds almost ridiculous but that’s often the mindset. In this article we’re only concerned with the second type of comment: the one where they outline in detail their patriot activities for the weekend, in which they either announce their plan to go to the FTX, or they defend why they are not going. Here are a few of the comments:

I’m going out to _______ to test my new ______ rifle. If anyone wants to come, the GPS coordinates of the pit are ________.

I’m getting together with [five tagged friends] to do patriot sh*t.

I’m working on my preps. I have almost a whole year of food now!

In this case, the original thread was posted by a prominent member of a group, who most of them know personally. However, it could have just as easily been posted by an asset or someone looking to collect information. No matter who posted it, now the information is there for anyone to pick up and use. And what information did we glean just from these comments?  Keep in mind that all of these comments had real names attached, with profiles behind them chock full of more information to use.

Surveys and Advice Threads

How It Works: Someone posted a thread asking about what method of communication patriots choose to use with each other.  People fell all over themselves answering. They talked about exactly what they use: Wickr, Signal, Telegram, whatever. Some of them put up their various usernames and encouraged people to contact them.  What just happened here? What was openly laid out for all to see, on an open FB thread? One of the most powerful ways to get people to give you information is to simply ask them for advice, such as “What do you suggest?”

Think about what you could glean with the following threads in various types of groups:

Medical – “I’m trying to set up a unit level medical kit. What do I need? What do you suggest?”

Tactical – “What firearms are the best for keeping in my vehicle? How much ammo should I have? How often should we train? What should we be focusing on?”

Communications – “I’m trying to get my group set up on solid comms. What should we be using?”

Security – “What vetting process do you guys use?”

Support – “We’re trying to set up safehouses and supply caches so we’re looking for ways to get started. Can anyone help point us in the right direction?”

What do all of these threads have in common? How would people respond? Is it a logical conclusion to think that people would respond with what they and their groups are doing, out of a desire to share information in a helpful way? What are the odds that the people who answer can be cross-checked against the information you received in other threads to pinpoint who a unit or group’s area focal is and how prepared/trained/supplied he is? How many people would put that information out on the thread? How many would take it to Facebook messages in an effort to be “secret?”


Here’s the thing. Most groups have not even sat down to consider what their critical information is, who is trying to get it, and what the effects of them getting it are. The amount of information that can be gleaned just from the three types of fishing expeditions above is staggering, and those are just three of the myriad of tactics available to a skilled social engineer. Put together with basic profiling techniques, statement analysis, OSINT research, and a little bit of cross-referencing, and you can flesh out an incredible picture of any given group, including:

  • Group hierarchies and identification of leadership.
  • Exploitable weaknesses and points of failure both on a group and individual level.
  • Tactical capabilities and training locations and schedule
  • Medical capabilities and level of personnel training
  • Ability to respond to a given threat
  • Member mindset.
  • Communications savvy and capability
  • Vetting procedures and security protocols
  • Cohesiveness of the group
  • Future plans for activities and training
  • Level of gear and supplies
  • SHTF fallback positions

The list goes on and on. The sad thing is, this doesn’t even take into account the posts that people make on their own pages; selfies at various locations (“Here’s me and my team at our last training!”), videos (anyone with a camera phone has become a talking head without regard for the greater message), and much more. 99% of these threads are started by what are probably very well-meaning, solid folks. The problem is that intent does not matter when the results are the same. Ask yourself: How can the above information be leveraged? Is it critical for you to keep that under wraps?

Information is power, as the saying goes. So why does the movement give away that power so easily? Assets and federal agents don’t even need to put traps out there; the movement makes its own traps and people walk right in. The amount of information (and disinformation) on Facebook alone during Malheur was mind-blowing. In an effort to be “part of it,” people claimed to be privy to secret information, posted dissertations of their viewpoints, and engaged in enough infighting to turn social media into a battleground all its own—which, by the way, is its own kind of negative propaganda.

We need to control the message; more importantly, we need to control the information flow. Stop laying traps and springing them yourselves. Stop using Facebook as a networking tool. Stop giving away your own critical information so easily. Learn from the movement’s past mistakes; blind allegiance to any and all ‘leaders’ regardless of failed tactics or bad planning is stupid and dangerous. We all make mistakes; we should be trying a lot harder, however, not to.

Bracken: Burning Down The House In 2016

Western Rifle Shooters Association

Hold tight, wait ’til the party’s over.
Hold tight, we’re in for nasty weather.
There has got to be a way—
Burning down the house.

By now, it should be obvious to the observant that the ‘scoundrels-looting-the-treasury’ phase of our economic arc is about played out, and before the entire rotten financial edifice collapses, there will be a war ignited across Europe and the Middle East which will serve as a distraction for the masses, while the very worst of the scoundrels take to ground to wait for the smoke to clear before they emerge.

The gangsters actually directing the national governments that publicly front for their activities have nearly finished siphoning the remaining liquidity from the global financial system, leaving a hollow shell behind. The prostitutes who pose as our political leaders have been complicit at every step of the looting process. Now we are hearing the last…

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Burns Chronicles No 10 – Is There a Peaceful Solution? – Redux

Burns Chronicles No 10
Is There a Peaceful Solution?
Greg_WaldenRepresentative Greg Walden


Gary Hunt
Outpost of Freedom
February 22, 2016

In a previous article, “Is There a Peaceful Solution?“, I included a link to a video. Based upon a number of comments, it appears that many decided not to watch the video, instead filling in the answers, for themselves. They continue to assume that there is a peaceful solution to the problems that we are facing in dealing with the federal government.

Understand that Representative Walden spoke to the House of Representatives on January 5, 2016, just 3 days after the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge was occupied, though the occupation had nothing to do with being “armed”; and the day after Dwight and Steven Hammond turned themselves over to the Bureau of Prisons, at San Pedro, California — to serve the harsh sentence imposed by the Appellate Court, not by the trial court.

I have underlined the more significant portions of what Rep. Walden had to say, so that you can fully understand that the administrative agencies tend to ignore the laws enacted in accordance with the Constitution, by that branch that has the sole authority to enact laws. The specific wording of that provision of the Constitution:

Article I, Section 1:
All legislative Powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States, which shall consist of a Senate and House of Representatives.

For those who believe that there is a peaceful solution, I can only ask, “Just how do you propose to achieve that solution, when the laws are ignored by the government, when they choose, and misapplied (as in the Hammond case) when they choose?”

* * *

Mr. Speaker, I am sure my colleagues are aware of the situation in Harney County, Oregon, where a group of armed protesters have overtaken a Federal facility in the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge.

This group is led largely by people who are not necessarily from Oregon, although they obviously have supporters from Oregon. They were originally there to protest the sentencing of Dwight and Steve Hammond.

I know the Hammonds. I have known them for probably close to 20 years. They are longtime, responsible ranchers in Harney County. They have been sentenced to prison not once, but now twice. I will get into that in a moment.

The point I want to make at the outset is for people in this Chamber to understand what drives people to do what is happening tonight in Harney County.

I have had the great honor and privilege to represent Harney County for a number of years. I have seen the impact of Federal policies from the Clinton administration to the Obama administration. I have seen what happens when overzealous bureaucrats and agencies go beyond the law and clamp down on people. I have seen what courts have done. I have seen the time for Congress to act and then it has not.

I want to put this area in perspective because I think it is really important to understand how big this region is. By size, my congressional district in Oregon is something like the seventh or eighth biggest in the Congress. If you overlaid it over the east coast, it would start in the Atlantic and end in Ohio.

The county where this occupation is taking place–Harney County–is over 10,000 square miles. There are 7,000 souls inhabiting it. If my math is right, that is one person for every 1.4 miles. One person for every 1.4 miles.

Just this one county is 10 times the size of Rhode Island. It is larger than the State of Maryland. And 72 percent of it is under the command and control of the Federal Government.

It is the public’s land. That is true. But what people don’t understand is the culture, the lifestyle, of the great American West and how much these ranchers care about the environment, about the future, about their children, about America, and how much they believe in the Constitution. Now we see the extent they will go to in order to defend what they view as their constitutional rights.


But, I want to talk about what happened with the Hammonds. I want to put in perspective what happens almost every year in my district. That is these enormous wildfires.

The Miller Homestead Wildfire in 2012 burned 160,000 acres, mostly in this county, if not all; 250 square miles, a quarter of the size of the State of Rhode Island. That was just in 2012.

The Barry Point Fire that year, in Lake County, next door, burned 93,000 acres. Last summer alone, we burned 799,974 acres across Oregon; that is both forest and high desert. In 2012, 3.4 million acres burned in Oregon.

There was another fire in Malheur County. The Long Draw Fire, in 2012, burned 557,000 acres, five times the size of Rhode Island. So 93,000 acres, 557,000 acres, 160,000 acres, all burning.

The Hammonds are in prison tonight for setting a backfire that they admit to, that burned 139 acres, and they will sit in prison, time served and time going forward, 5 years, under a law that I would argue was never intended to mete out that kind of punishment, and I will get to that in a moment.


When Secretary Babbitt, the Interior Secretary at the time, came before the House Resources Committee, of which I was a member, I said, Mr. Secretary, your own resource advisory committees in the area just reported that there was no need for additional protection on Steens Mountain, and yet, you and the President are threatening to create this national monument. Why do you waste the time of the citizens to go through a process to determine if additional protections are needed and then ignore what they came up with?

To Bruce Babbitt’s credit, he agreed when I told him: I think you would be surprised about what the local ranchers and citizens of Harney County would be willing to do if you give them a chance. To his credit, he said: All right, I will give them that chance. And, he did.

We went to work on legislation. It took a full year. I worked with the Hammonds. I worked with Stacy Davies, I worked with all kinds of folks, put a staffer on it full-time, multiple staffs, and we worked with the environmental community and others. And we created the Steens Mountain Cooperative Management and Protection Act, model legislation, never been done before, because I said: We don’t have to live by past laws, we write laws.

So, we wrote a new law to create a cooperative spirit of management in Harney County. The Hammonds were part of that discussion. We saved a running camp, Harlan Priority Runs. We protected inholders. We tried to do all the right things and create the kind of partnership and cooperation that the Federal Government and the citizens should have.

Fast forward on that particular law. Not long after that became law, and it was heralded as this monumental law of great significance and new era in cooperation and spirit of cooperation, some of those involved on the other side and some of the agencies decided to reinterpret it. The first thing they tried to do is shut down this kids’ running camp because they said: Well, too many, maybe more than 20, run down this canyon and back up, as they had for many, many years. They wanted to shut it down. So we had to fight them back and said, No, the law says historical standards.

Then the bureaucrats, because we said: You should have your historical access to your private property, if you are up on Steens Mountain, you should maintain that access like you have always had it. Do you know what the bureaucrats said? They began to solicit from the inholders in this area: How many times did you go up there last year? You see, they wanted to put a noose around the neck of those who were inside. That was a total violation of what we intended and we had to back them off.

See, the bureaucracy wants to interpret the laws we write in ways they want, and in this case, they were wrong, not once, but twice.

Then, a couple of years ago, I learned that, despite the fact we created the first cow-free wilderness in the United States under this law, and said clearly in this law that it would be the responsibility of the government to put up fencing to keep the cows out, as part of the agreement, the Bureau of Land Management said: No, we are not going to follow that law. And, they told the ranchers they had to build the fence.

I networked with my Democrat colleague from Oregon, Mr. DeFazio, who was part of writing this law. I said: Peter, you remember that, right? He said: Yeah, I didn’t like it, but that was the case. BLM still wouldn’t listen. So, we continued to push it and they argued back.

Well, it turns out there had been a second rancher who brought this to my attention who they were telling had to do the same thing, build a fence, when the government was supposed to under the law I wrote. The arrogance of the agency was such that they said, We don’t agree with you.

Now, there aren’t many times, Mr. Speaker, in this job when you can say I know what the intent of the law was, but in this case I could because I wrote the law, I knew the intent.

Oh, that wasn’t good enough. No, no, no. No, no, no. The arrogance of these agency people was such that we had to go to the archives and drag out the boxes from 2000, 1999-2000, when we wrote this law, from the hearings that had all the records for the hearings and the floor discussions to talk about the intent. And our retired Member, George Miller, actually we used some of his information where he said the government would provide the fencing. They were still reluctant to follow it. So I put language in the appropriations bill that restated the Federal law.


This is a government that has gone too far, for too long. Now, I am not condoning this takeover in any way. I want to make that clear. I don’t think it is appropriate. There is a right to protest. I think they have gone too far. But I understand and hear their anger.

Right now, this administration, secretly, but not so much, is threatening, in the next county over, that looks a lot like this one, Malheur County, to force a monument of 2.5 million acres, we believe. I think this is outrageous. It flies in the face of the people and the way of life and the public access.


We have fought other issues. More than half of my district is under Federal management, or lack thereof. They have come out with these proposals to close roads into the forests. They have ignored public input. They often claim to have all these open meetings and listen to the public, and then, in the case of Wallowa-Whitman, the forest supervisor who was eventually relieved because of this, I believe, completely ignored all the meetings, all the input, all the work of the counties and the local people, and said: Forget it, I am going my own direction.

There were 900 people that turned out at the National Guard Armory where they had a public hearing, standing room only and beyond, furious.

You see, how do you have faith in a government that doesn’t ever listen to you? How do you have faith in a government that, when elected Representatives write a law, those charged with the responsibility of implementing it choose to go the other direction and not do so? That is what is breaking faith between the American people and their government, and that is what has to change.

The other thing that has to change, the law under which the Hammonds were sentenced. Now, they probably did some things that weren’t legal. I have given you the size of the acreages that burned naturally. I haven’t gotten into the discussion about how these fires are often fought and how the Federal Government frequently will go on private land and set a fire without permission to backburn. That happens all the time.

In fact, in the Barry Point Fire down in Lake County, they set fire on private timberland as a backburn while the owners of the property were putting out spot fires down in the canyon. I drove down there afterwards. They are darn lucky to have come out alive.

There was nobody sentenced under the terrorism act there. Oh, heck no. It is the government. They weren’t sentenced. Nobody was charged. Oh, it just happened.

Now, fires are tough to fight. I have great respect for firefighters. There are always two sides on how these fires get fought. But I can tell you, a few years back in Harney County, because I went and held a meeting out there right as the fire was being put out, that the fire crews came in, went on private ground, lit a backfire on private ground, behind a fence line, that then burned out the farmer’s fence, the rancher’s fence, and burned all the way over and down into a canyon where there was a wetland, which would have been the natural break to stop the fire from the other side. You see, they never needed to burn that land.

These things happen in the course of fighting fire. It doesn’t mean they are right. But rare is it that somebody ends up 5 years in prison.

Let me tell you what the senior judge said when he sentenced the Hammonds the first time, Judge Michael Hogan, senior Federal judge, highly respected in Oregon. He sentenced Dwight Hammond to 3 months and Steve to a year. There were different offenses here.

He said, “I am not going to apply the mandatory minimum because, to me, to do so, under the Eighth Amendment, would result in a sentence which is grossly disproportionate to the severity of the offenses here.”

The Judge went on to say, `”And with regard to the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996, this sort of conduct would not have been the conduct intended under the statute.”

When you ask, you know, what if you burn sagebrush in the suburbs of Los Angeles, and there are homes up the ravines, it might apply. Out in the wilderness here, I don’t think that is what the Congress intended.”

In addition, it just would not meet any idea I have of justice proportionality. It would be a sentence which would shock the conscience, to me.”

Senior Judge Mike Hogan, when he did the original sentencing.

But, you see, under this 1996 law under which they were charged and convicted, it turns out he had no judicial leeway. He could not mete out a sentence that was proportionate to what the crime was.

So yesterday, Dwight and Steve went to prison again. Dwight will be 79 when he gets out. Steve will be about 50.

Meanwhile, in Harney County, on the ranch, Susie will continue to try and survive; 6,000-acre ranch, she needs grazing permits to make this happen. It would be a cruel and unjust act, by the way, if access to those grazing permits that allow that ranch to work were not extended. What possible good could come out of bankrupting a grandmother that was trying to keep a ranch together, while the husband sits in prison, her son sits in prison? What possible good?

They will serve their sentences. There is nothing, short of clemency that only the President can offer, that we can do. But we can change that law, and we should, so that nobody ever is locked in like that for a situation like this, where a senior judge, literally, on his final day on the bench, says this goes too far, it goes too far. They appealed that, by the way, and lost. But I believe that the judge was right.


They are good people. Their sons and daughters, by a higher proportion, fight in our wars and die, and I have been to their funerals. So to my friends across eastern Oregon, I will always fight for you. But we have to understand there is a time and a way. Hopefully the country through this understands we have a real problem in America: how we manage our lands and how we are losing them.

It is not like we haven’t tried here, Mr. Speaker. Year after year we pass bipartisan legislation to provide more active management on our forests so we don’t lose them all to fire, and we are losing them all to fire. We are losing firefighters’ lives, homes, and watersheds–great resources of the West. Teddy Roosevelt would roll over in his grave. He created this wildlife refuge in 1908.

There were some bad actors there in the 1980s, by the way. They were very aggressive running the refuge, threatening eminent domain and other things that took ranches. It was bad. That lasted for at least a decade or more. It has gotten better though. It is not perfect. There is a much better relationship, and the refuge and the ranchers work closer together. In fact, during this fire in 2012, the refuge actually opened itself up to the ranchers for hay and feed because theirs was burned out because of this big fire. So there was a better spirit there.

But there are still these problems: the threat of waters of the U.S. shutting down stock ponds and irrigation canals and a way of life, the threat of fire every year that seems to not be battled right and just gets away, and no one is really held accountable; the continued restriction on the lives of the men and women who, for generations, have worked hard in a tough environment. It has just gone too far. It is hurtful.

I hope people understand how serious this is felt and how heartfelt this is by those who pay their taxes and try and live by the law and do the right things and how oppressed they feel by the government that they elect and the government they certainly don’t elect, and how much they will always defend the flag and the country, and their sons and daughters would go to war, some will not come back–and they have not from this area.

The BLM needs to make sure Susie Hammond isn’t pushed into bankruptcy and has her ranch taken by the government and added to those that have been. We need to be better at hearing people from all walks of life and all regions of our country and understanding this anger that is out there and what we can do to bring about correct change and peaceful resolution.

It is not too late. We can do this. It is a great country. We have the processes to do it right.

Mr. Speaker, I yield back the balance of my time.

* * *

The peaceful solution, then, should be solely those laws enacted by the Congress, such as the Steen Mountain legislation that Mr. Walden spoke of. The Executive branch is to carry out and enforce those laws. Though, as we have seen, they choose to interpret them other than the wording or the intent of those laws lawfully enacted.

Further, the agencies are empowered to adopt rules. To do so, they are to publish those proposed rules in the Federal Register and hold public hearings on the proposed rule. Now, this is just a bureaucratic trick. The hold the hearing, and regardless of the input by the public, the agency, once they have held the hearings, have satisfied the requirement. Then, they adopt the rule, even if 100% of the public input is contrary to the rule.

So when we realize that the legislative branch is without any constitutional authority to assure that they laws they pass have become “the supreme Law of the Land” (Article VI, clause 2), then we are at the mercy of the interpretation, or rules, of the agency that administers those laws.

With that in mind, let us return to the question:

Is there a peaceful solution?