Published on May 22, 2013
The Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement is being negotiated in secret between more than 12 countries around the Pacific region. Find out why it’s the biggest threat to the Internet you’ve probably never heard of.
Things are heating up in Baraboo, Wisconsin as a long awaited food rights trial approaches.
Raw milk drinkers are outraged that Wisconsin DATCP is bringing criminal charges against a farmer who serves a private buying club. Do citizens have a right to contract with a producer and grow food to their own standards? That is what is at stake in this case. – Kimberly Hartke, Publicist Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund
Customers and Other Supporters to Attend Court with Farmer
Food rights activists from around North America will meet at the Sauk County Courthouse in this tiny town on May 20 to support Wisconsin dairy farmer Vernon Hershberger and food sovereignty. Hershberger, whose trial begins that day, is charged with four criminal misdemeanors that could land this husband and father in county jail for up to 30 months with fines of over $10,000…
DATCP has charged Hershberger with, among other things, operating a retail food establishment without a license. Hershberger repeatedly rejects this, citing that he provides foods only to paid members in a private buying club and is not subject to state food regulations.
There is more at stake here than just a farmer and his few customers — this is about the fundamental right of farmers and consumers to engage in peaceful, private, mutually consenting agreements for food, without additional oversight.
Credit: Eric Turner/KTVB
by Scott Evans
Posted on May 7, 2013 at 4:43 PM
Updated yesterday at 12:26 PM
BOISE – Gov. Butch Otter is using Idaho’s reputation as a 2nd Amendment friendly state to try and lure out-of-state businesses.
Lawmakers on the national, state and city level across the country have, or are talking about, creating stricter gun laws in the wake of tragedies like what happened last year in Newtown, Conn. The creation of those laws is driving some gun and ammunition manufacturers to consider relocating their businesses.
The governor sent a letter in April to 79 businesses in 28 states, personally inviting them to do business here in Idaho. Intacto Arms in Boise agrees with what the governor is doing.
A handful of employees run the boutique firearms manufacturing company that specializes in small quantity, but high quality weapons for its law enforcement and military customers.
“More than anything, I mean, Idaho is just a firearm friendly state. I mean it’s built around the outdoors and guns are just a way of life here,” said Cooper Kalisek, President of Intacto Arms. “It’s as pro-gun as it gets.”
Kalisek opened the company in 2009. “It was something I was always interested in,” he said.
He says he lies awake at night thinking about what’s happening to his industry.
“Some of the largest firearms manufacturers that created this business are based in no longer friendly states,” said Kalisek.
He’s talking about companies in Colorado and Connecticut that are looking to other states to set up shop. Gov. Otter and the Idaho Department of Commerce also see what’s going on.
By Paul Rosenberg, FreemansPerspective.com
Yes, we’ve all seen scary post-apocalyptic films like Mad Max, or TV shows like Jericho. A real collapse, however, will be quite different from such dramas. And beyond that, there’s a good chance the future will be better.
From where I now live, you could draw a 25 mile arc which would include competent people of almost any imaginable specialty: The guys who know how to build and repair refrigerators, machines of all types, cars and roads and houses and windows and computers and a thousand other things.
So, I’m not overly worried about the dollar going to zero – as long as these guys have two critical things:
If either one of these two things are missing, we’re screwed, but as long as we have them, we’ll be okay. Sure, there will be some bad days, a few tragedies, and a surfeit of terror from the fear factories (that is, the mainstream media), but in general, we productive people will be okay.
I knew men who ran a business through the Great Depression, in precisely my specialties (contracting and engineering). We discussed the difficulties they faced and how they coped with them. They worked through the depression end to end, and did some pretty impressive projects – with absolutely no credit available anywhere.
They paid for things creatively – in sections, with barter, and on trust – but they also got the job done, from the beginning of the depression to the end.
Our period of difficulty (which most of us presume will be coming somehow or another) will be different from the Great Depression, but so long as we retain the two items mentioned above – and I will tell you precisely how we can keep them below – we’ll get through it.
Okay, so if we have a complete dollar collapse, what can we expect? Here are a few thoughts:
There are very simple solutions to our two crucial issues. But remember, simple isn’t always easy. Here are the solutions:
They must be able to communicate with each other.
This one is actually easy. The solution is mesh networks. (You can find a nice PDF primer here.) These are local networks, built with simple wifi devices. These, combined with a few longer links, can create a very nice communications network. You won’t be able to use it for videos, but it will work well for basic communications. (Though you really should keep a small electric generator and some gas.)
They must be left alone, with no one telling them “you can’t do that without our permission.”
The solution to this one is very simple: Do it anyway. Whatever you think of your local government, I very much doubt that you think they have a right to starve you – which is what failing to act in your own survival comes out to. If it’s moral, do it. Stop waiting for permission.
So, while the big collapse (assuming that it does come) will be terrifying to inveterate TV watchers, the reality will be far less apocalyptic than promised… assuming that we productive people act like producers.
And as producers, we have so much more choice than the others. Indeed, in one way, we could see the collapse as an opportunity to start fresh. The future will be better if we ultimately say so.
[Editor's Note: Paul Rosenberg is the author of FreemansPerspective.com, a collection of insights on topics ranging from Internet privacy to economic freedom, the purpose of life to alternative currencies. Join our free e-letter list to receive other articles like this one... and immediately get a report that explains in a unique way how the US Government got into the mess it's in, the dangers that creates for us, and how to protect ourselves from it.]
by NATALIE SWABY / KING 5 News
Posted on May 3, 2013 at 11:46 PM
SEATTLE – Small businesses caught in the chaos of May Day are receiving some support from people involved in the protests.
by ELISA HAHN / KING 5 News
Posted on May 2, 2013 at 6:49 PM
Updated Thursday, May 2 at 7:03 PM
In all the May Day violence, it was surprising there wasn’t more property damage than a few broken windows. All the windows were on Capitol Hill. And now businesses there are wondering why police pushed the protesters to their neighborhood.
Rowdy protesters broke windows of at least three businesses, Sun Liquor, Walgreens, and Bill’s on Broadway.
Don Stevens, owner of Bill’s on Broadway, believes police did a good job containing violence Wednesday night. But he wonders when they decided to get protesters out of downtown, why push them east to Capitol Hill?
“Where are they going to put them?” Stevens asked. “Where are they going to go? Where do you stop and say ‘We’re done with you now. We’ve gotten you far enough away from Westlake Center.’”
Wilson Combat, famous manufacturer of premium 1911 pistols and AR-15 rifles, had put themselves on the ever-growing list of manufacturers who are making it a matter of policy to not supply law enforcement in states with prohibitive gun control.
Simply put, if your people don’t have access to the guns they want, neither can your police.
“Wilson Combat will no longer provide any products or services to any State Government imposing legislation that infringes on the Second Amendment rights of its law-abiding citizens. This includes any Law Enforcement Department, Law Enforcement Officers, or any State Government Entity or Employee of such an entity. This also applies to any local municipality imposing such infringements.
“States currently included in our No-Sale Policy are: California, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Washington D.C. and Chicago, Illinois.
“Wilson Combat will in no way support the government of these states or their anti-gun agenda that only limits the rights of law-abiding citizens. Wilson Combat will continue to supply any product and/or service they can legally sell in these states to all non-government affiliated citizens.”
In a recent announcement, Magpul is enacting a new policy where they will not sell to law enforcement in states with laws banning certain firearms or with magazine capacity limits. They’re one of more than 100 companies that have similar policies.
While a few notable companies have had similar policies for years, the number of companies who are now boycotting law enforcement agencies has ballooned following the recent surge of new gun control laws.
Magpul’s policy will halt all law enforcement sales for now, and may in the future include a provision to sell to individual officers who “uphold their oath to the U.S. Constitution — specifically the Second and Fourteenth amendments — as it applies to all citizens.”
Some have criticized this as a half-measure, saying that officers may make hollow pledges to Magpul in order to purchase their products, and that this is more of a marketing move.
Others are defending the policy. Right now it’s hard and fast, with an end to all law enforcement officers in so-called “ban states.” Citing Magpul’s other contributions to the ongoing fight for gun rights, including direct action in their home state of Colorado against recent gun control legislation and their prioritization of sales to Colorado residents as indicators of Magpul’s sincerity, many are backing the company with its decision to halt or at least severely curtail sales to law enforcement in those states.
Magpul has also announced that they will relocate pending a Colorado magazine capacity limit, saying that it would be hypocritical for them to pay taxes to support a state that would restrict its residents’ rights.
LaRue Tactical, Spike’s Tactical, Barrett, Bravo Company USA, Primary Weapon Systems, Midway USA, CMMG, Volquartsen Custom, Wilson Combat and Vltor are other big names in the industry that are enforcing similar policies with regards to sales to law enforcement. The list of companies that are officially boycotting law enforcement is up to 117 (at the time of writing).
Disappointed with New York State lawmakers and other jurisdictions around the country who have passed strict gun control legislation, the companies—composed of firearm manufacturers, gunsmiths, and sporting goods retailers—have announced these policies in the past week.
Their various statements emphasize that such laws create a class of government employees with rights and and a class of citizens without rights. Thus, they refuse to aid the enforcement of such inequality.
The announcements read:
Effective today, in an effort to see that no legal mistakes are made by LaRue Tactical and/or its employees, we will apply all current State and Local Laws (as applied to civilians) to state and local law enforcement / government agencies. In other words, LaRue Tactical will limit all sales to what law-abiding citizens residing in their districts can purchase or possess.
Due the passing of this legislation, Olympic Arms would like to announce that the State of New York, any Law Enforcement Departments, Law Enforcement Officers, First Responders within the State of New York, or any New York State government entity or employee of such an entity – will no longer be served as customers.
In short, Olympic Arms will no longer be doing business with the State of New York or any governmental entity or employee of such governmental entity within the State of New York – henceforth and until such legislation is repealed, and an apology made to the good people of the State of New York and the American people.
The Federal Government and several states have enacted gun control laws that restrict the public from owning and possessing certain types of firearms. Law-enforcement agencies are typically exempt from these restrictions. EFI, LLC does not recognize law-enforcement exemptions to local, state, and federal gun control laws. If a product that we manufacture is not legal for a private citizen to own in a jurisdiction, we will not sell that product to a law-enforcement agency in that jurisdiction.
Tuesday, 05 March 2013 12:04
Written by Alex Newman
In a move widely celebrated by activists, New York Supreme Court justices last week ordered Democrat Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s administration to prove by the end of next month that its recent assault on gun rights is actually constitutional — critics and experts say it clearly violates both the U.S. and state constitutions. The extraordinary speed used to adopt the controversial legislation, which appears to have violated a separate provision in the state constitution, is also facing scrutiny from the judicial branch.
If the state government fails to prove its case on both counts in the time frame provided, the unprecedented attack on gun rights may be struck down entirely, or at least temporarily rendered void. Gun rights activists have been pursuing multiple strategies to defeat the controversial infringements on the right to keep and bear arms adopted in New York. However, attacking them in the courts is seen by activists as among the most viable, at least at this point.
The statute in question, the so-called “NY SAFE Act,” purports to limit firearms to seven rounds and ban most semi-automatic weapons and standard-capacity magazines. Other unconstitutional and highly controversial provisions aim to, for example, mandate gun-owner registration with authorities while demanding government approval for virtually every firearm transfer.
Activists have already promised to defy the unconstitutional restrictions, and thousands of protesters recently converged on Albany calling on “King” Cuomo to resign or even be tried for treason owing to his blatant disregard for his oath of office and the lawless assault on the Constitution. The protests are getting bigger and louder even as the state faces an avalanche of lawsuits to overturn its lawless assault on the rights of law-abiding New Yorkers.
Amid the anti-gun rights hysteria whipped up by the increasingly discredited establishment media after the massacre of children in a Connecticut “gun-free zone,” the controversial “NY SAFE Act” was rammed through the legislature with arm-twisting from Gov. Cuomo on January 15. It passed just hours after being introduced — an apparent violation of the state Constitution, which generally requires three days before legislation can be passed unless there is an emergency.
In fact, the legislation’s approval was so rushed that lawmakers, most of whom apparently did not even read the bill, failed to exempt police officers from the draconian restrictions, sparking a mad dash to amend the statute before law-enforcement officials also become criminals. Across the state, sheriffs and other top law-enforcement officials have expressed serious concerns about the legislation, too — especially because of the brazen infringements on God-given rights of citizens and the violation of the U.S. and state constitutions they all took an oath to uphold.
If gun owners get their way and the state is forced to obey the U.S. and New York constitutions, however, it may all be a moot point. Last week, in two separate orders, state Supreme Court justices ordered the embattled Cuomo administration to explain itself and its unconstitutional infringements on the unalienable right to keep and bear arms enshrined in both the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and the New York Constitution.
The first order, issued by State Supreme Justice Deborah Chimes on February 27, demands that the state government prove that its unprecedented infringements on gun rights are indeed constitutional by April 29. The lawsuit was initiated by gun dealer Edward Holtz, who argues that the unconstitutional statute, among other problems, put him out of business, left him with merchandise he cannot sell, and violates his rights. According to the order issued by Justice Chimes, if the state is unable to prove that its statute is constitutional by the deadline, she will temporarily enjoin it.
You might think a good work ethic is dead or dying in the United States. Overall, that might be the case. But as evidenced by the viral story of the teen who walked 10 miles for a job interview in the snow and the restaurant that hired him, there’s a group of employees in Indiana who are trying to prove that wrong — and enjoying it.
In fact, that restaurant is producing another crop of incredible stories about some of its other employees — like the one who works during the day as a deputy county prosecutor (more on that in a bit).
Last week, the story of Jhaqueil Reagan, the 18-year-old who was spotted by Papa Roux owner Art Bouvier walking 10 miles in the snow for a job interview elsewhere, went viral when he was offered a position at the New Orleans-inspired restaurant. Reagan happily accepted the employment. The young man and the owner instantly became viral stars.
Bouvier — yes, people who know him call him Papa — told TheBlaze even in the few moments he had with Reagan, his actions signaled a strong work ethic, which had him offer the young man the job so quickly. But he also told TheBlaze he “has a staff full of Jhaqueils.”
As Glenn Beck said when he picked up Reagan’s story last week, he was at first “thrilled” and then “bummed” that such a story — one that showcases someone willing to go the extra mile, literally — would be considered news in America.
“It shows us just how far off the mark we really are,” Beck said, referring to the idea that hard work and doing whatever it takes is becoming so rare it’s now a national news story.
Although it might seem like the nation is starved for jobs and people with the good work ethic to accept them, staff members at Papa Roux are offering a glimmer of hope.
Proving Oneself on the ‘Roux Croux‘
Kristin Erato-Alosinac is a rare authority on the topic of youth and work ethic because of her own diverse employment. The 44-year-old is a deputy county prosecutor in Hendricks County by day and a jack-of-all-trades at Papa Roux a few nights a week.
“It’s a good balance for me,” Erato-Alosinac said, explaining that she has worked two jobs for a while as her Croatian husband was not legally allowed to work in the U.S. yet.
With 15 years as a prosecutor, Erato-Alosinac said what she sees in her day job and what she sees in the youth at Papa Roux are at opposite ends of the spectrum.
“From my full-time job I see a completely different picture,” said Erato-Alosinac, who is one of two “age outliers” in a staff of mostly teens and young adults as Bouvier tactfully put it. “Eighty percent who come in don’t have a job. They either just don’t want to take that type of a job…I don’t understand how they’re unemployed. …I don’t know if they’re lazy.”
Then there’s the “Roux Croux,” as they’re called.
“They fascinate me,” said Erato-Alosinac, who was a regular customer at Papa Roux before she joined the “Croux.” “They’re different than the people just dropping off an application everywhere. They know what the business is about. They show they have the personality and the work ethic to get in.
In fact, Colleen Bouvier, Art’s wife, told TheBlaze for the last three years or so, none of their employees came from the traditional application process. They were either referred by word-of-mouth or were regular customers.
By PAMELA ENGEL 03/04/13 07:24 PM ET EST
INDIANAPOLIS — Donations have been pouring in since a story went viral online about an Indianapolis teenager who was walking 10 miles to a job interview during an ice storm when he was picked up by a restaurant owner who offered him a job.
Now, the pair is starting a foundation to help other job hunters.
Jhaqueil Reagan, 18, was walking to a job interview at a thrift store two weeks ago when he cut through the parking lot of Cajun restaurant Papa Roux. He asked the restaurant’s owner, Art Bouvier, how much farther he had to go. Bouvier told him the store was about 6 or 7 miles down the road.
“I assumed he was going to get on the bus or something,” Bouvier recalled Monday.
But Reagan couldn’t afford bus fare, so he kept walking.
Bouvier and his wife encountered the teenager about 20 minutes later while they were driving to run an errand. Bouvier offered Reagan a ride and found out he’d planned on walking the whole way.
“I decided I’d hire him,” Bouvier said. “If you’d do all that to see if you could get a job, you’d do it to keep your job.”
He also said Reagan told him he’d dropped out of high school after his mother died a couple years ago to help take care of his younger siblings.
Bouvier later posted the story on his Facebook page and, to his surprise, it quickly spread. Soon, he and Reagan were asked to appear on national television shows including Good Morning America and Fox and Friends.
Published on Nov 16, 2012
To support Kelvin and young innovators like him, please visit http://www.crowdrise.com/InnovateSalone
15-Year-Old Kelvin Doe is an engineering whiz living in Sierra Leone who scours the trash bins for spare parts, which he uses to build batteries, generators and transmitters. Completely self-taught, Kelvin has created his own radio station where he broadcasts news and plays music under the moniker, DJ Focus.
Kelvin became the youngest person in history to be invited to the “Visiting Practitioner’s Program” at MIT. THNKR had exclusive access to Kelvin and his life-changing journey – experiencing the US for the first time, exploring incredible opportunities, contending with homesickness, and mapping out his future.
Here is a link to the Bobby Fala track in the video on SoundCloud: http://soundcloud.com/karen-kilberg/kpei-ragga
Photos courtesy of Adam Cohn (http://www.adamcohn.com/) and Paula Aguilera
PRODIGIES is a bi-weekly series showcasing the youngest and brightest as they challenge themselves to reach new heights and the stories behind them.
Created and produced by @radical.media, THNKR gives you extraordinary access to the people, stories, places and thinking that will change your mind.
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by Staff Writers
Leigo, Estonia (AFP)
It started as a whim, but snowballed into a life-long passion.
Estonian Tonu Tamm has dedicated the past two decades of his life to his obsession of creating artificial lakes.
Surrounded by water in the south of the small Baltic republic, his enthusiasm is infectious as he insists everyone should do their bit for the environment and take tiny steps that help bring calm to a troubled world.
“People might think it’s very hard to make a lake, but you just need a suitable landscape and some knowledge, including about dams,” the 71-year-old told AFP.
“It all started in the spring of 1981. After spending all our summers from 1966 to 1980 on wild nature trips to Siberia, where I made several TV documentaries, I decided with my wife Tiiu-Mall to buy a summer cottage in Estonia,” he explained.
At the time, Estonia was under Soviet rule. As in other communist-bloc states, escape to the countryside was one way for urban dwellers to forget the political sloganeering of daily life.
Despite the Soviet command economy, it was still possible to buy a cottage or exchange a city apartment for one.
“The plan was just to have a cottage to relax at weekends and retire when we got old. But when we arrived here, for one day only, the beauty of nature stunned us so much that we decided to stay forever,” Tamm said.
Having loved the lakes he saw on his travels, he dreamed of having one near his new home.
“So I decided to make a lake myself. And suddenly making lakes just became part of my life,” he explained.
After the nation of 1.3 million regained its independence peacefully in 1991, it became possible to buy privatised land and homes in exchange for coupons issued for the number of Soviet-era working years in a family.
Tamm gradually expanded his holding to 250 hectares (618 acres), turning fields into 14 lakes which cover 39 hectares in total.
The biggest lake covers 10 hectares and is 400 metres (1,300 feet) long, and has gradually filled with fish.
Historically, small businesses have been the primary engine of new job creation in the United States. If the economy was getting healthy, we would expect to see the number of jobs at new businesses rise. Instead, we are witnessing just the opposite. We are told that the economy is supposed to be “recovering”, but the number of “startup jobs” at new businesses has fallen for five years in a row. According to an analysis of U.S. Department of Labor data performed by economist Tim Kane, there were almost 12 startup jobs per 1000 Americans back in the year 2006. By 2011, that figure had fallen to less than 8 startup jobs per 1000 Americans. According to Kane, the number of jobs in the United States at businesses that are less than one year old has fallen from 4.1 million in 1994 to 2.5 million in 2010. Overall, the number of “new entrepreneurs and business owners” has fallen by more than 50 percent as a percentage of the population since 1977. The United States was once known as “the land of opportunity”, but now that is fundamentally changing. At this point we truly do have a “crisis of entrepreneurship” in this country, and that is a huge reason why America is in decline. We are witnessing the slow death of the small business in America, and that is incredibly bad news for all of us.
Unfortunately, the problems that small businesses are experiencing right now have been building up for decades. The economic environment for small businesses in America has become incredibly toxic. Sadly, we can see this in the numbers. According to Kane, the following is how the decline in the number of startup jobs per 1000 Americans breaks down by presidential administration…
Bush Sr.: 11.3
Bush Jr.: 10.8
Obviously, we are headed very much in the wrong direction. Kane speculates about why this may be happening in his paper…
There is anecdotal evidence that the U.S. policy environment has become inadvertently hostile to entrepreneurial employment. At the federal level, high taxes and higher uncertainty about taxes are undoubtedly inhibiting entrepreneurship, but to what degree is unknown. The dominant factor may be new regulations on labor. The passage of the Affordable Care Act is creating a sweeping alteration of the regulatory environment that directly changes how employers engage their workforces, and it will be some time until those changes are understood by employers or scholars. Separately, there has been a federal crackdown since 2009 by the Internal Revenue Service on U.S. employers that hire U.S. workers as independent contractors rather than employees, raising the question of mandatory benefits. New firms tend to use part-time and contract staffing rather than full-time employees during the startup stage. According to Labor Department data, the typical American today only takes home 70 percent of compensation as pay, while the rest is absorbed by the spiraling cost of benefits (e.g., health insurance). The dilemma for U.S. policy is that an American entrepreneur has zero tax or regulatory burden when hiring a consultant/contractor who resides abroad. But that same employer is subject to paperwork, taxation, and possible IRS harassment if employing U.S.-based contractors. Finally, there has been a steady barrier erected to entrepreneurs at the local policy level. Brink Lindsey points out in his book Human Capitalism that the rise of occupational licensing is destroying startup opportunities for poor and middle class Americans.
Kane raises some very good points in his analysis. Without a doubt, small businesses in the United States are being taxed into oblivion. If you doubt this, just read this article.
And the regulatory environment for small businesses is more suffocating than it has ever been before. Unfortunately, our politicians never seem to learn that lesson. During his first term, Obama piled on mountains of new regulations, and now that he has won a second term he is preparing to unleash another massive wave of new regulations.
But many times the worst offenders are politicians on the state and local level. There are some areas of the country (such as California) that have created absolutely nightmarish conditions for small businesses. California had the worst “small business failure rate” in the country in 2010. It was 69 percent higher than the national average. And in 2011, the state of California ranked 50th out of all 50 states in new business creation.
Yet the politicians in California just continue to pile on even more regulations and even more taxes.
Sadly, this kind of thing is happening from coast to coast and it is killing off hordes of small businesses. Just consider the following statistics…
-According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the U.S. economy lost more than 220,000 small businesses during the last recession.
-As a share of the population, the percentage of Americans that are self-employed fell by more than 20 percent between 1991 and 2010.
-As a share of the population, the percentage of “new entrepreneurs and business owners” dropped by a staggering 53 percent between 1977 and 2010.
-The average pay for self-employed Americans declined by $3,721 between 2006 and 2010.
So what needs to be done?