Sound Money Movement Strikes Gold in 2023

Against the backdrop of high inflation rates and geopolitical uncertainty, states are increasingly enacting measures that encourage saving in precious metals and even using gold and silver as money.

With five bills signed into law in 2023, sound money reforms are gaining momentum across the United States.

Money Metals Exchange’s Sound Money Defense League project has emerged as an influential force, actively engaging in legislative battles by prompting intense grassroots support, drafting legislation, recruiting bill sponsors, and providing expert testimony directly to lawmakers.

Twenty-five states considered fifty pieces of legislation this year aimed at ending taxes on monetary metals, strengthening state finances by investing reserve funds in physical gold, establishing in-state depositories, and more.

The 2024 Sound Money Index, published by Money Metals Exchange, provides a full rundown on how each state stacks up in this important policy area.

Ending Sales Tax on Gold and Silver Is a Winning Issue

The vast majority of states have now eliminated taxes on the purchase of precious metals.

In 2023, Mississippi became the forty-third state to do so, following the recent examples set by Ohio and Arkansas in 2021 and Tennessee in 2022.

That leaves just seven sales tax states: New Mexico, Hawaii, Wisconsin, Kentucky, Maine, New Jersey, and Vermont.

Of these seven states, five considered legislation in 2023 to end the tax.

New Jersey hopes to become the forty-fourth sales-tax-exempt state. Assembly Bill 5294 passed unanimously through the state Assembly by a vote of 74–0, and a Senate committee unanimously passed the bill this week.

Meanwhile, Money Metals leaders collaborated with legislators in Wisconsin to introduce Assembly Bill 29 and Senate Bill 33. These measures have garnered support from twenty-four cosponsors representing both sides of the aisle with a hearing expected soon.

The Alaska state House passed House Bill 3, the bill seeking the end to borough and city sales taxes on sound money. The measure will be considered by the Senate when the legislature reconvenes in early 2024.

In Kentucky, Representative Steven Doan sponsored House Bill 213 as a single-issue bill, but Republican leaders insisted on incorporating the language that would end sales taxes on precious metals into a broader bill covering multiple topics.

Despite broad support in the House, Senate leaders specifically removed the sound money provision, thwarting the effort in 2023.

The most contentious sound money battles of 2023 unfolded in Augusta, Maine, when Senator Eric Brakey introduced Legislative Draft 1051 to end sales taxes on gold and silver purchases.

The bill passed 17–15 out of the Maine Senate. On the House side, it received two favorable votes. However, Democrat majority leadership pressured its members, ultimately flipping enough votes to defeat the bill 71–72 during the final vote.

And finally, Vermont lawmakers introduced House Bill 295 to end the sales tax on sound money . . . as did lawmakers in Minnesota. But neither received a…

25 Skills You Can Trade After The End Of The World

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25 Skills You Can Trade After The End Of The World

People sometimes forget that the smallest and most convenient storage space is in their own heads. If you find yourself in the midst of a disaster and you need to either build or fix something, having the necessary knowledge and experience in your mind instead of in a book will hugely benefit your ability to survive.

And if there’s something you need from your neighbors but you’re not willing to trade any of your supplies, you could do some work for them in exchange.

But what sort of skills will be the most useful after TEOTWAWKI? Knowing Microsoft Office won’t do you much good, but knowing how to make soap could mean the difference between health and sickness. Or maybe you could trade your soap for more food.

The point is, you need to learn a few skills that will be useful in a post-disaster world. I suggest you take up one as a hobby while you still have time. Here, then, are 25 skills you can trade after TEOTWAWKI, listed in alphabetical order.

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1. Animal Husbandry

The ability to raise animals such as chicken for eggs, rabbits for meat, goats for milk, etc. There is a limit to how much meat and dairy people will be able to store, and there will be a huge demand for fresh food.

2. Bartering and Negotiation

While not a traditional “hands-on” skill, the ability to effectively barter and negotiate will be crucial in a society where traditional currency may no longer hold value. This includes understanding the art of negotiation, gauging the value of various items and services, and building trustful relationships within the community.

3. Beekeeping

The skill of managing bee colonies not only provides honey, a valuable food source, but also ensures pollination for gardens and crops, which is vital for sustaining food production in a self-reliant community.

4. Brewing and Distilling

The ability to brew beer, make wine, or distill spirits can be a valuable trade skill. These beverages not only serve as morale boosters but can also be used for bartering. Moreover, alcohol can serve as a disinfectant or a base for herbal tinctures.

5. Cleaning

Not just washing your hands, but the ability to wash clothes without a washing machine, make cleaning products to use around the house and keep your home germ free.

6. Clothing

If times are tough, people won’t be able to go out and buy new clothes and shoes any time they need them. They’ll have to fix shoes, patch torn pants, and mend shirts. This is an important skill that has become very rare in modern society.

7. Communication

If the infrastructure breaks down, common means of communication like cell phones and the Internet will be unreliable, if not gone completely. In that case, people who know…

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EPIC Urges Ninth Circuit to Rebuff Google’s “Notice and Choice” Defense in Browser Tracking Suit

Yesterday, EPIC filed an amicus brief urging the Ninth Circuit to reverse a lower court ruling that Google was not liable for tracking Chrome users’ browsing data. EPIC argued that Google’s general terms of service disclaimers cannot override specific privacy promises made to Chrome users. Google contends that even when it explicitly promised its Chrome users heightened privacy protections, it doesn’t have to abide by those promises so long as it points to contrary terms in its general user agreement. At its core, this case is about what happens when a company claims to offer its users new privacy-protective settings, but then breaks those promises by continuing to invade user privacy. This case, which highlights Google’s misleading and extractive data practices, underscores why the law does—and should—require actual, meaningful consent. The Ninth Circuit should not enable Google, or any other company with similar practices, to continue disclaiming specific promises to limit data collection through conflicting disclosures in a general Privacy Policy.

EPIC regularly advocates for meaningful regulation of extractive, invasive, and unfair data collection and profiling systems. EPIC previously filed an amicus brief in Smith v. Facebook on the insufficiency of generic notices to establish meaningful consent for data practices.

How The Super Rich Are Prepping

In the past, the terms “prepping” and “survivalist” evoked visions of rugged mountain men armed to the teeth, living off the land. However, the connotations of these words have evolved significantly over time. While they once brought to mind images of MREs, bug-out packs, and powdered milk, the landscape of preppers today is expansive, encompassing individuals from various walks of life, including the affluent.

Gone are the days when prepping was solely associated with meticulous planning and budgeting. The super rich elite have entered the scene, embracing a lifestyle that involves purchasing helicopters, gas masks, gold coins, and even securing private underground bunkers.

New Zealand has become a preferred refuge—the billionaires’ bolt hole—for those seeking a haven amid uncertainties. Despite their distinct planning methods and escape routes, the common thread among these individuals is the desire to survive any potential collapse.

While most of us embark on the prepping journey with a carefully crafted plan, constrained by budget considerations, the affluent take a different route. For them, prepping is as straightforward as writing a check—literal financial preparedness at its finest.

For the privileged few, prepping becomes a comprehensive package deal, albeit at a considerable cost. While the majority focus on stockpiling essentials, forging community alliances, and taking inventory, the elite have the option to buy their way into exclusive communities dedicated to the survival and protection of their occupants.

Enter the “Survival Condo,” strategically nestled within an old missile silo. The price tag for a unit in this high-security compound may appear exorbitant, but for those who prioritize the safety of their families and, indeed, life itself, it becomes an investment without a quantifiable limit.

The first phase of this innovative project has already proven its appeal, with all units sold out, dispelling any notion that the concept is inconceivable. As society continues to navigate an unpredictable future, the evolution of prepping is not just a matter of survival—it’s a statement of privilege and preparedness.

How this project came to life

In the aftermath of the September 11, 2001 attacks, Larry Hall conceived the idea of transforming a silo into what he aptly named “The Survival Condo.” This visionary endeavor led him to repurpose an Atlas “F” Missile Silo, resulting in the creation of a fully self-contained and secure Luxury Survival Condo and Resort.

The question arises: How did the owner and project manager, Larry Hall, come into possession of a silo in the first place? Hall, a former developer specializing in providing networks and data centers for government contractors, stumbled upon a unique opportunity in 2008. Leveraging his extensive network and resources from government contracts, he seized the chance to acquire an old missile silo for a mere $300,000.

Originally constructed in 1960 to house and safeguard the Atlas Nuclear Missiles, these silos represented a pioneering development in structural resilience. The Atlas missile silos boasted walls as thick as 9½ feet, constructed from epoxy-hardened concrete—regarded as one of the most robust…

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WHIO: Benefits and drawbacks of AI-generated holiday shopping help 

“I think the biggest concern is probably this data privacy and security of your individual information as a user at least,” Electronic Privacy Information Center spokesperson Ben Winters said. 

The information center said using generative AI can make users vulnerable to misinformation and scams.

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Eat To Live (Excerpt: “The Nourishing Asian Kitchen”)

The following is an excerpt from Sophia Nguyen Eng’s new book The Nourishing Asian Kitchen(Chelsea Green Publishing December 2023) and is printed with permission from the publisher.Nourishing Asian KitchenNourishing Asian Kitchencourtesy of Chelsea Green Publishing

“Eat to live, do not live to eat!” was a lesson my grandfather taught me when I was a little girl following him around his backyard garden in San Jose, California. He was a man who didn’t speak much and always had a serious demeanor, so I soaked in those moments when he did speak. And although I didn’t know it at the time, his few simple words were setting a positive trajectory for our family’s health for generations to come. 

I am a first-generation Vietnamese American. My parents fled Vietnam by boat with my older sister, who was then 2 years old, the night before the fall of Saigon in 1975. My maternal grandparents followed four years later. Both generations—my parents and grandparents—settled in San Jose, first living together in the same house and later in the same neighborhood, a block apart. 

Life wasn’t easy for our immigrant family adjusting to a totally different life in California, but my parents always ensured that our family’s basic needs were met. Our home was always filled with the aroma of delicious and nutritious food and, although both of my parents worked long hours to make ends meet, my mother made it a priority to feed us well. Whenever she wasn’t taking overtime shifts, I could find her in the kitchen. 

My mother cooked nose-to-tail before it was a thing, using every part of an animal to cook delicious, nutrient-dense meals and leaving nothing to waste. She could stretch a whole broiler chicken into multiple meals: cooking down the head, neck, and bones for several hours to make porridge, the dark meat for cabbage and chicken salad, the breast meat for chicken phở—and even hot and spicy chicken feet and delectable chicken heart appetizers. 

Growing up in Silicon Valley, I often felt like an outsider at the school lunch table. While other kids were munching on Lunchables and Fruit Roll-Ups, my mom had packed me pork floss, a finely shredded dry pork that other kids called “animal hair.” For my fifth-grade field trip, my mother packed me bánh mì with chicken liver pâté that made my backpack smell like a wet dog. But even while I was pining for Lean Cuisine, Coke and strawberry-flavored gummy bears as an afterschool snack, I always jumped at the opportunity to go to the grocery store with my mother and help her prepare our family meals. I loved watching her pick out the freshest fruit, vegetables, fish and poultry or negotiate for a better price. Alongside my grandfather’s simple philosophy to eat to live, not live to eat, I absorbed these practical skills from my mother and carried them with me to college, my career, marriage and motherhood. 

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Bloomberg Law: Google’s Location Data Move Will Reshape Geofence Warrant Use 

Google’s decision cutting off its ability to comply with geofence warrants may not have much practical legal impact on Chatrie’s case and the others pending. And while it closes one avenue for government access to personal data, it’s unknown whether Google will have access to unencrypted location data from its other products, said Sara Geoghegan, counsel at the Electronic Privacy Information Center. 

Google’s terms of service tell users who disable location history tracking the company may still collect location data from searches or other apps. 

“This decision by Google underscores how we need meaningful comprehensive general privacy protections that are much more than pinky promises from tech companies,” Geoghegan said. “This decision shows that Google has too much power here and controls too much information.” 

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FTC Proposes Rules to Strengthen Children’s Privacy Law 

The Federal Trade Commission released a notice of proposed rulemaking this week introducing major changes to the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) rule. COPPA currently requires companies to obtain parental consent to collect data from children under 13, but the proposed rule would significantly strengthen protections for children online. The new rule would: 

  • Impose additional restrictions on how companies can collect, use, retain, and disclose children’s data; 
  • Limit companies’ ability to monetize children’s personal information; 
  • Prohibit targeted advertising to children and require that online service providers obtain separate parental consent before disclosing children’s data to third-party advertisers; 
  • Reinforce the existing ban on conditioning a child’s online activity on the collection of personal data; 
  • Prohibit using nudges to prompt or encourage children to stay online; 
  • Codify the FTC’s existing EdTech guidance, which allows schools and school districts to collect, use, and disclose students’ personal information only for educational purposes, not for commercial purposes; 
  • Establish stronger data security requirements to safeguard children’s personal information; and 
  • Expand COPPA’s definition of “personal information” to include biometric identifiers. 

EPIC has long advocated for robust children’s privacy protections. EPIC submitted comments to the FTC in 2019 when the agency announced its plan to review and update COPPA rules. EPIC’s comments are favorably cited in the Commission’s proposed rule. 

Recently, EPIC submitted comments to the National Telecommunications and Information Administration focusing on youth privacy, mental health, and safety online. EPIC, the Center for Digital Democracy, and Fairplay also recently submitted a comment to the FTC to argue that an age-estimation technology using biometric and personal data does not meet COPPA’s requirements for the collection of verifiable parental consent. The public may submit comments to the FTC on the proposed rule within 60 days following the publication of the rule in the Federal Register. 

EPIC Urges Ninth Circuit to Reverse Decision That Threatens the Future of Privacy

Yesterday, EPIC filed an amicus brief urging the Ninth Circuit to reverse a district decision striking down the California Age-Appropriate Design Code, or AADC, based on a dangerously overbroad reading of the First Amendment. As EPIC has previously explained, the decision below is so sweeping that it poses an existential threat to all privacy laws. 

California passed the Age-Appropriate Design Code last year in an effort to promote privacy protections for children online and to ensure that online products and services are designed in ways that enable children to learn, explore, and play with some basic protections. The AADC has three main components: a requirement that companies complete data protection impact assessments, privacy and data protection mandates, and an option to use age estimation to apply the privacy and data protection mandates only to users whom the company believes are kids.

NetChoice, a trade group that represents some of the biggest and most powerful tech companies in the world, challenged the law before it came into force. NetChoice argued, among other things, that the law violated its members’ First Amendment rights to collect and use the personal information of their users. The district court sided with NetChoice, finding that any law that limits the collection or use of data automatically triggers heightened First Amendment scrutiny, and that the AADC failed under such scrutiny because it limited user access to information, required invasive age verification, and otherwise did not address any concrete harms.

EPIC’s brief rebuts the district court’s “false assumptions that the AADC requires companies to limit access to content and to deploy invasive age verification techniques.” As EPIC explained in its amicus brief, the district court “failed to appreciate the specific privacy harms that the commercial collection and use of personal information poses to children and failed to recognize that the AADC is designed to address these harms.” 

EPIC’s brief also explained that the AADC involves age estimation, not age verification, and provided examples of age estimation methods that are not invasive. EPIC noted that “the AADC is fundamentally different from other statutes that seek to prohibit children’s access to online content or services and, thereby, impose substantial age verification burdens on adult users.”

EPIC filed an amicus brief in the district court supporting the AADC. EPIC routinely files amicus briefs defending tech accountability measures against First AmendmentSection 230, and other challenges.

Prepping Items You Should Get From the Amish Store

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If you are preparing for an emergency, disaster, or simply choosing to live off the grid, is important to know that supplies are available to use without power, and where to find these supplies.

One group of people who have a reputation for being skilled at prepping for those situations and having the necessary supplies are the Amish.

The Amish have a very simple lifestyle, meaning they are often without electricity or modern technology. As a result, they have created some unique skills and products that can be useful in emergencies.

In this article, we will explore a few supplies that you may want to have on hand and can be found at Amish stores. The quality of these items found within the Amish community is often high quality and made to last.

Hand-Cranked Grain Mills

Prepping Items You Should Get From the Amish StoreIn an emergency, access to food is essential.

If the power goes out, many modern appliances become useless, even if you have a full supply of grains to survive on.

That’s where hand-cranked grain mills come in.

These machines allow you to grind the grains you have into flour, even if there is no electricity.

The Amish are known for excellent hand-crafted grain mills, which are often made from quality materials such as cast iron. These are useful for living off the grid, but also great for those who simply want to make their flour at home.

Oil Lamps

Prepping Items You Should Get From the Amish StoreIf your power goes out, or you don’t have power to begin with, you need a source of light.

Sure, flashlights and candles can help, but they both have drawbacks. Flashlights require batteries, which can run out quickly if you even have them on hand. And, candles are a fire hazard.

Related: DIY Tin Oil Lamp in Case of a Power Outage

However, oil lamps are a great alternative. They use oil as fuel, which is inexpensive and fairly easy to store. Plus, they can burn for hours on a single tank of oil. Amish stores often carry a variety of oil lamps, from simple designs to more ornate ones.

Mason Jars

Prepping Items You Should Get From the Amish StoreMason jars are a supply item that can be used for a variety of purposes.

They can be used for canning, storing dry goods, or even as a drinking vessel.

Having a supply of mason jars in various sizes can be incredibly useful in a prepper’s life.

They can be used to store food, water, and small supplies such as nails or nuts and bolts.

Sure, they can be found elsewhere, but the Amish stores often carry a wide variety of quality mason jars, including different sizes and styles.

Non-Electric Kitchen Tools

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