Your Survival Guy went to college recently. Actually, I went on a college tour. Our daughter is a Junior in high school and that’s what you do, right?
Driving with her for a couple hours in the car was a real eye-opener, because we not only talked about college in general, but she actually asked me questions. Questions from a teenager? It was an amazing feeling. She was relying on me for the answers, and not on social media.
The college search is like the 800-pound gorilla in the room, or in this case our kitchen. Have you seen the books? The “best colleges in the world” books? They’re huge.
The name of ours is “The Best 384 Colleges,” and this winter, on a typical Sunday morning, for example, I’d peel open the tome and begin reading to myself, and sometimes out loud to Becky.
Then an hour or so later when our daughter would walk into the kitchen I’d ask, “Izzy did you know that…” And she would head back upstairs.
Or, the next Sunday morning when she walked into the kitchen and saw the book on my lap she would head back upstairs even before I could get into the trivia.
Becky suggested I not force feed this stuff to her. I sipped my coffee and turned my attention to the Sunday Globe and the Bruins.
Then, there was a breakthrough…sort of. We were making dinner one night and I was standing over the tome, reading out loud to Becky, and I noticed Izzy off to the side looking at her phone, but listening to me. And then, if you can believe it, she asked me a question. Shock! Our college search had begun.
Driving with her to a recent college visit reminded me of when my dad and I went on a number of college tours in Virginia, and the Carolinas during a golf vacation to Myrtle Beach. It was fun. And so with that in mind, we had a relaxed car ride and a real nice time together.
Now for the not so fun part. My takeaways:
- “Globalism” was mentioned by the head of admissions so often I thought he was playing a drinking game. So much for getting an education and applying it to your hometown.
- He assured everyone in the room that if you’re receiving a grant and tuition increases, your grant will increase by the same percentage. Not to worry parents! Does anyone see a problem here?
- $68,000 including room and board. How generous.
While we were waiting for the information session to begin, I was speaking with another father, an alumnus, as was his wife. “It sure wasn’t this hard to get in when I went here,” he assured me.
All in all, it was a great day except for seeing up close and personal the big business we call “college.”
Driving into Gun Hell without Your Survival Pistol of Choice
In speaking with a client recently, he revealed to me his go-to survival pistol, which I’ll tell you about it in a minute. But first, he told me the story about driving from his home state of Arizona, where he owns over 200 pistols, to what he referred to as “gun hell.” He was none too pleased about being without his sidearm.
“Welcome to Massachusetts.”
He was bringing some things to his daughter who lives in Massachusetts, and knowing it’s a felony to have a gun in your car—unless you’re driving directly through and into another state (interstate) or have a MA CCL—he felt exposed on his entire cross-country trip.
The consequence was, that effectively, one state was calling the shots for his entire cross-country travel.
As we were talking about gun hell, our conversation transitioned to some of his favorite pistols. And this led us to a discussion about his favorite “survival” pistol. The one he keeps by his side when he flies his plane over vast areas without a soul in site for miles and miles.
As we discussed survival guns, he mentioned he knows I like the Henry Survival rifle, and he does too. But the pistol he likes to have when he’s flying is his Belgium-made FNH Five-seveN or simply his Five-seveN because of its 5.7x28mm round and its 20+1 capacity.
You can check it out here.
America Has a Problem, and Calvin Coolidge Predicted it Back in 1925
Chris Edwards, a friend of mine from the Cato Institute, has written a condemnation of the “grants-in-aid” programs the federal government uses to impose its own regulations on the states. He notes that President Calvin Coolidge predicted that government would encroach on the states, and it has. The federal government has especially intruded into the areas of education, housing and transportation. Those are all local issues that could be handled better at the state level. Chris explains why federal mandate policies don’t work well, and how states could do a better job. He writes (abridged):
In a 1928 book about the growing federal aid system, political scientist Austin Macdonald captured the spirit of the times: “The old line of division between state and national powers is manifestly unsuited to present-day conditions” and the “bewildering patchwork” of state policies is unsatisfactory.131 Diversity is old-fashioned—the modern approach to government management is national standards imposed with “infinite tact and skill” by federal officials, claimed Macdonald.132
Not everyone was convinced. Gov. Albert Ritchie of Maryland pushed back hard against aid, saying in 1925, “the system ought to be abolished, root and branch.”133 The same year, President Calvin Coolidge warned in his State of the Union address that federal encroachment on local governments created the danger of “encumbering the national government beyond its wisdom to comprehend, or its ability to administer” sound policies.134 And in 1926, Coolidge opposed spending $109 million that was budgeted for state aid, saying:
I am convinced that the broadening of this field of activity is detrimental both to the federal and state governments. Efficiency of federal operations is impaired as their scope is unduly enlarged. Efficiency of state governments is impaired as they relinquish and turn over to the federal government responsibilities which are rightfully theirs. I am opposed to any expansion of these subsidies.135
Read the entire report in the PDF below:restoring responsible government by cutting federal aid to the states
Read more from Chris here.
Remote Controlled Terror
From our weapons specialist, Steve Schneider:
Houthi rebel drone attacks are on the rise, and they’re getting more sophisticated. United Nations investigators have said the rebels, with their newest UAV-X planes, can travel 150mph and just over 900 miles. They are also using remote-controlled boats to target ships off the coast of Yemen. According to the U.N., these unmanned threats put much of the Gulf, including Saudi and Emirates capitals, and one of the busiest shipping routes, the strait of Bab-el-Mandeb within range. Dion Nissenbaum and Warren Strobel of The WSJ write (abridged).
Yemen’s Houthi rebels have launched armed drone attacks with far more precision and reach than the U.S. and its Gulf allies have publicly acknowledged, people familiar with the matter said, showing how readily available technology is creating new dangers for America and its allies in the Middle East. […]
U.S. officials are increasingly concerned that Houthi drones could pose a threat to commercial shipping and American military ships in the region.
“U.S. allies in the Middle East understand the violent destabilizing effect the Iranian-backed Houthis have across Yemen and neighboring countries, but there are many who aren’t taking it seriously enough,” said a senior U.S. administration official.
The rise in drone attacks comes as the number of successful Houthi ballistic-missile attacks has fallen. Houthi forces have launched more than 225 missiles during the war, including several that have hit Riyadh, Saudi officials said. But the last successful Houthi missile attack appears to have been in late 2018, according to available data. Saudi officials said they have shot down more drones recently than missiles.
Read more from Schneider here.
Survive and Thrive this Month.
“Your Survival Guy”
P.S. I want to share this article in the NY Times the “Latest Rash of Scam Calls Come from ‘Social Security,’” written by Ann Carrns.
In general, if you get an unsolicited phone call asking for detailed financial or personal information, be suspicious and don’t share any information. “The S.S.A. will not contact you out of the blue,” the F.T.C. said.
Don’t automatically trust the phone number on your caller ID screen. Criminals may use “spoofing” technology to make the call appear to be from a government number.
“We cannot trust the caller ID any longer,” said Ms. Daffan of the F.T.C.
Just last month, Gail S. Ennis, the inspector general of Social Security, warned of fake calls that appeared on caller ID to be from the office’s fraud hotline (1-800-269-0271). While employees of both the inspector general’s office and Social Security may contact people “for official purposes,” and may request that citizens confirm personal information over the phone, the calls will not appear on caller ID as the fraud hotline number, the advisory said, and federal employees will never threaten people for information.
“This is a scam; O.I.G. employees do not place outgoing calls from the fraud hotline 800 number,” the advisory said.
The best thing to do is hang up, said Amy Nofziger, director of fraud victim support at AARP Fraud Watch Network, which helps consumers who are worried about such calls.
Read more here.
P.P.S. The relationship J.D. Vance has with his grandmother, Mamaw, may be the most important one of all as we learn in his memoir, Hillbilly Elegy. Mamaw basically raised J.D. Mamaw was tough. She carried a gun and had a tongue that could whip you into shape. She wasn’t easy. She was hard. And you get to know what it was like to live with her when J.D. most needed stability in his life.
In one of the more touching sequences in the book J.D. tells the reader about Middletonian detachment where a disproportionate number of them were trapped in two seemingly unwinnable wars and “an economy that failed to deliver the most basic promise of the American Dream—a steady wage.” It’s here that we learn about Mamaw’s two gods as Vance tell it:
To understand the significance of this cultural detachment, you must appreciate that much of my family’s, my neighborhood’s, and my community’s identity derives from our love of country. I couldn’t tell you a single thing about Breathitt County’s mayor, its health care services, or its famous residents. But I do know this: “Bloody Breathitt” allegedly earned its name because the county filled its World War I draft quote entirely with volunteers—the only county in the entire United States to do so. Nearly a century later, and that’s the factoid about Breathitt that I remember best: It’s the truth that everyone around me ensured I knew. I once interviewed Mamaw for a class project about World War II. After seventy years filled with marriage, children, grandchildren, death, poverty, and triumph, the thing about which Mamaw was unquestionable the proudest and most excited was that she and her family did their part during World War II. We spoke for minutes about everything else; we spoke for hours about war rations, Rosie the Riveter, her dad’s wartime love letters to her mother from the Pacific, and the day “we dropped the bomb.” Mamaw always had two gods: Jesus Christ and the United States of America. I was no different, and neither was anyone else I knew.”
P.P.P.S. Anyone driving through rural New England knows this part of America is not open for business. Take a drive up route 16N in New Hampshire up to North Conway and you’ll see what I mean. And yet upon visiting Boston, New York City, and Washington D.C., it’s hard to miss the cranes dotting the skyscape.
These cities and others are the islands of opportunity out of sight to much of America.
The America that I grew up in is gone. Gone are towns like mine where my dad was a realtor and my mom was a teacher and my sister and I had dinner with them at night and we believed in the American dream.
As Becky and I approach the college years for our children, it feels like it’s perhaps a waste of money and that we’re at a distinct disadvantage for raising an unbroken family.
When the ruling class has their way with business, the stock market, education, entertainment and politics, there’s no air in the room for the common man. And this is the argument at the root of Tucker Carlson’s monologue heard around the world. And the backlash has been severe from the right and left because elites control both sides of the aisle.
America’s small business owners are responding to the rise of Democrats to power in Congress. When it became clear that Democrats would take the House, small business confidence began to fall rapidly. After the election confirmed those fears, confidence began falling even faster.
Julie Kelly explains at American Greatness that the invisible hand is at work against you and me and our small towns. And unfortunately they will never understand our plight for the working American family. She writes:
Ben Shapiro, editor of The Daily Wire, took issue with Carlson’s comment that families are being crushed by market forces. While Shapiro correctly stated that capitalism has nothing to do with the decline of American families, he does have to accept the central point of Carlson’s commentary, which is how “governmental incentives [have] skewed incentives.”
Shapiro also presented an unrealistic if not fantastical depiction of the U.S. version of capitalism, objecting to Carlson’s use of the word “tool” to describe the economic system. “It is not a tool. It is a reality of free and voluntary interactions among human beings. It is an outgrowth of the unique value of each individual, and of each individual’s right to use his labor as he sees fit, and to alienate that labor in exchange for the labor of someone else. And markets don’t exist to ‘serve us.’ They exist to allow us to act in liberty.”
Ah, if only that were true. But any business owner, from a home-based hair stylist to a corporate CEO, knows that it is not true. Every consumer knows it is not true.
Free-Market Fantasy vs. Managed Reality
It’s not capitalism or free markets, per se, that have contributed to the decay in our inner cities and rural communities—it is the inexorable, government-sanctioned abandonment of capitalism that has resulted in shuttered plants, abandoned strip malls, crumbling infrastructure, failing public schools, and an influx of deadly drugs from China and Mexico. But here’s the rub: an up-from-your-bootstraps approach to life in Morristown will do little to overcome that treachery.
Do French, DeSanctis, Shapiro or anyone else on the Right truly think that this country now functions under a free-wheeling market-based economy? Or is it, rather, a managed one? And if the answer is that it is a managed one, who are the managers and who are the subordinates?
Who makes the rules and who lives with the consequences? Have the choices made at every level of government, from the Environmental Protection Agency down to the local school board, really had no impact on the economic choices made by millions of Americans? To believe so is either ignorance or arrogance.
We are not living in the America of conservative hopes and dreams. We are living in an adulterated version of America after more than a century of Progressive assaults on the original design.
Trump’s appeal to the folks injured by this isn’t rooted in promises of new welfare handouts or shiny new schools or government jobs. It’s not true that Trump doesn’t believe in capitalism—far from it. But Trump is a realist. He knows that there is no such thing as a free market anymore, just as he knows there’s no such thing as free trade. However wonderful it sounds in theory, it’s not our reality.
His appeal is rooted in his pledge to rollback the very policies that have wreaked havoc on rural communities across the land and to confront the ongoing political indifference to those woes. It’s worthwhile to note that few, if any, of the anti-Trump influencers on the Right have offered sound alternatives to Trump’s policy prescriptions for rural America.
So yes, as Friedman warned, there is an invisible political hand at work in America. Trump and Carlson know this. Just because anti-Trumpers on the Right refuse to see it—or, in many ways, are part of that hand and so refuse to admit it—doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist.
Read more about Tucker’s fight for America here:
- Tucker Explains: Two Visions for America
- Tucker Explains: America’s Goal is Maximum Happiness
- Tucker: Leaders Acting Like Day Traders
- Calls to Boycott Tucker Carlson are Absurd
- Tucker Carlson: Unity is America’s Strength
- Tucker Carlson on the Money: “This is a bad joke, this whole thing”
- Tucker Carlson’s Interview with President Trump on Russia
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E.J. Smith - Your Survival Guy
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