EPIC Statement on Dobbs v. Jackson

Today the U.S. Supreme Court issued its decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, undoing 50 years of precedent protecting reproductive rights and the constitutional right to privacy. The Court’s ruling is an affront to human rights and a clear signal that constitutional protections for privacy and autonomy are at risk of further erosion. Privacy is a fundamental right that the Court has long recognized as “implicit in the concept of ordered liberty.” Now, for the first time, the Court has stripped away part of that right to personal autonomy and self-determination. This decision will have far-reaching negative consequences for public health, personal safety, and social welfare, especially in marginalized communities. And the proliferation of commercial and state surveillance online deepens the danger the individuals will face for trying to exercise the rights subverted by the Court’s ruling.

Privacy is not only at the root of liberty, it is a central thread of many protections enumerated in the Bill of Rights. But the majority and concurring opinions in Dobbs take direct aim at that right and threaten to further undermine substantive due process protections. Members of the Court have made clear that they do not intend to stop with Dobbs. EPIC stands in solidarity with the advocates and individuals working to defend reproductive rights and opposing the erosion of these critical constitutional protections. We will support efforts to strengthen reproductive and privacy rights and to push back against the Court’s efforts to weaken them further.

Read EPIC’s prior statement on Dobbs.

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EPIC Statement on American Data Privacy and Protection Act

EPIC issued the following statement following the introduction of the American Data Privacy and Protection Act:

“EPIC commends Representatives Pallone, Rogers, Schakowsky, and Bilirakis for their work on the American Data Privacy and Protection Act. It is long past time for Congress to enact comprehensive privacy legislation. The United States faces a data privacy crisis—Americans have lost control of their data and online tracking is out of control. ADPPA’s focus on data minimization, strong protections for sensitive data, and civil rights protections will go a long way in curbing the data abuses plaguing Americans today. While there is still work to be done, the ADPPA is the most promising privacy legislation we’ve seen in many years and EPIC encourages Congress to move forward on this legislation.” -Caitriona Fitzgerald, EPIC Deputy Director

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How-To Make Three Primitive Weapons

Awaken Your Inner Caveman with Three Primeval Projects

Whether they look like they came out of the movies First Blood and The Hunted, or more like something you may have seen in a museum used by the natives, all that matters is that they work! 

Frog Spear

Despite what many manufacturers would like us to believe, lashing a knife to the end of a long stick to make a spear is pretty much fantasy, especially if it’s your only knife in an emergency situation. However, it worked for John Rambo. The reality is that it’s better to use the tools at hand to make a spear and save your knife edge for cutting. Whenever the subject of easily made, effective weapons arises, a frog spear is always at the top of the list.

Making a spear can be as easy as sharpening the end of a stick with a knife and calling it done. This is great if you’re twelve years old. If anyone is a fan of the T.V. show Dual Survival, then you may have seen this type of spear being made by Dave Canterbury. Don’t let the name frog spear fool you or limit its usefulness. Although called a frog spear, it can be equally utilized as a fish spear.

To make this type of spear, only a few things are needed: a sharp knife, some type of cordage (tree roots, vines, bank line, or 550 paracord), and a green sapling. Start by locating a springy, green 6-foot sapling as straight as possible. Do not use dry wood for this project as it could easily crack upon impact with rocks. The sapling could be willow, poplar, wild cherry, dogwood, etc., as long as it is green and under wrist thickness. If a chopping tool such as a machete, tomahawk, or big knife is on hand, use it to make a rough tip by chopping one end of the sapling at a steep angle rather than a straight-on 90-degree cut. If no chopping tool is available, use a baton and a knife to make the rough tip by cross-grain batoning at steep angles. The prongs can be sharpened individually later. 

Once a rough tip has been established, stand the spear upright and place the blade of a knife on top of the sapling’s tip, which shouldn’t have a sharp point yet. The idea here is to split the sapling (at the tip) two ways like a plus sign. This will make four pronounced prongs. Make sure the splits are as even as possible and that they go down at least 5 to 7-inches in length. A thin blade on a Swiss Army-type knife works very well and doesn’t split the sapling much like a thicker blade. When splitting via baton with a folding knife, keep the blade half-open(bent) to reduce stress on the joint. A thinner blade will also help when making the initial split and ensure that they are even. The next step is to get two pencil-thick sticks about 2-inches…

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Bipartisan American Data Privacy and Protection Act Introduced

Democratic and Republican leaders on the House Energy & Commerce Committee have officially introduced the American Data Privacy and Protection Act. The bill would set data minimization obligations for companies that collect and use personal data, impose special protections for particularly sensitive data and the data of minors, establish digital civil rights safeguards, enable individuals to opt out of targeted advertising, and provide for enforcement by the Federal Trade Commission, state attorneys general, and in some cases individuals. “EPIC commends Representatives Pallone, Rogers, Schakowsky, and Bilirakis for their work on the American Data Privacy and Protection Act,” said Caitriona Fitzgerald, EPIC Deputy Director. “It is long past time for Congress to enact comprehensive privacy legislation. The United States faces a data privacy crisis—Americans have lost control of their data and online tracking is out of control. ADPPA’s focus on data minimization, strong protections for sensitive data, and civil rights protections will go a long way in curbing the data abuses plaguing Americans today. While there is still work to be done, the ADPPA is the most promising privacy legislation we’ve seen in many years and EPIC encourages Congress to move forward on this legislation.”

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Why we just can’t let soils be f*cked up by big food & big ag

Healthy soil is the foundation of life. Period. This blog should stop here. That should be enough to ensure we protect and heal soils, but let me share a few of my thoughts on why soil matters!

Soil is the earth’s skin that covers the planet and supports all life on Earth. Soil is teeming with billions of organisms that provide innumerable ecosystem services. Healthy soils are vital for sustainable food production, clean water, and carbon sequestration.

Soils also support human health by filtering our water, producing our food, and providing a home for beneficial microbes that strengthen our immune system. Sadly, human activities have degraded nearly one-third of the world’s soils. To ensure a liveable planet for future generations, it is essential that we protect and restore our soils. 

Thankfully, we can all do our part to protect this precious resource. By composting kitchen scraps and yard waste, we can add organic matter back into the soil and help improve its health. And by choosing to garden organically, we can avoid using harmful chemicals that can degrade soil quality. So let’s do our part to keep the foundation of life strong!

If you don’t have access to a garden then you can make better choices with your dollars and support farmers and growers who are using reiterative and organic practices, you may think you are paying more, but think about alternatives when no food will grow…

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6 Types of Garden Planning Layouts for your Backyard 

There are a lot of great reasons to have a garden. Whether it’s just for decoration or you love to cook, having a garden is a wonderful way of growing your own food. A backyard garden is more than just fruits and vegetables, though. 

It can become an entire ecosystem with the proper planning. Below are different types of planning layouts that could be beneficial for your garden.

Square-Foot Gardening Layouts

Square-Foot Gardening is a great way to garden. It’s a simple idea that can help you grow more food in less space and time. A square-foot garden involves laying out your plants in a grid pattern, with each square foot representing an area that can be planted. 

Let’s say you have a 10′ x 10′ area to work with. You would then lay out your seeds or transplants in squares of one foot by one foot, making sure that every plant gets its own space.

This type of gardening has various advantages:

Plants grow better when they have enough room to grow without crowding each other out. This ensures that your plants will have plenty of nutrients from the soil and won’t suffer from diseases caused by overcrowding (a common problem among home gardeners).

You don’t need much space for a square-foot garden. Just about any size area will work as long as it’s laid out properly. You can even use containers on your patio or balcony. This makes it easy to take your garden with you when you move out of town or into an apartment where traditional gardening might not be possible for you.

Raised Bed Garden Layouts

A raised bed garden is a popular way to garden. It involves the creation of a raised area in the backyard, where the soil is then added and planted with seeds or seedlings.

A raised bed garden can be made from any material – wood, cement blocks, or bricks. You can checkout online software for garden planning designs for ideas. The design of your raised bed doesn’t have to be elaborate; some people simply make their beds by placing logs on top of each other or placing bricks around a central pole.

The most important thing about creating a raised bed for your garden is making sure that it drains well and provides enough space for plants to grow without crowding each other out. If you’re building your own garden from scratch, try using square or rectangular shapes, which provide more space than circular ones.

These types of gardens are simple to build, inexpensive, and very easy to maintain. You can even build them yourself if you have the time, energy, and materials available. They don’t require any digging or tilling before planting, which means they are extremely low maintenance once they are established.

Kitchen Garden Layouts (Potager)

A kitchen garden layout is referred to as a potager by some people. This is because it does not have the same space requirements as other types of gardens do, so it can be easily maintained…

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How to Catch and Cook Mice and Rats

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Estimated reading time: 10 minutes

How to Catch and Cook Mice and Rats

Many of us have enjoyed the taste of wild game, from venison to rabbit and even squirrel. It’s a good bet that few of us have spent any time pondering mice or rats for dinner. That’s no surprise, but in many countries and cultures, mice and rats are a regular part of the menu.

Why Would Anyone Eat a Mouse or Rat?

A lot has to do with the culture and conditions in a society. In many parts of Asia and Africa, eating mice and rats is both accepted and routine. For many people in those areas, mice and rats are part of their regular cuisine, so there’s no hesitation when they show up at a meal.

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There are also numerous examples of societies in turmoil due to civil war, drought, or economic collapse resulting in desperate efforts to find the most basic nutrition. In that regard, mice and rats define that basic nutrition, particularly as a source of protein.

Unmentionable Cuisine

There’s a book titled Unmentionable Cuisine.” It was written by Calvin W. Schwabe, and he covers the many cultures and occasions when mice and rats made the local menu. He also details mice and rat recipes popular in various countries, and we’ll cover a few of those as well.

Are Mice and Rats Safe to Eat?

Actually, no. A lot depends on their environment, diet, and the prevalence of any endemic diseases affecting the animals. Typically, mice and rats in the wild present the healthiest option from a food safety standpoint.

It’s the rats occupying sewers, subways, and alleys in cities that present the greatest threat when consumed. And contrary to popular belief, rats did not spread the black plague in Europe during the dark ages. Humans did.

Regardless, many people, when confronted with starvation, have been less than particular about the quality of their rat meat. Times of war or revolution often present the greatest challenges, resulting in the indiscriminate consumption of rodents.

There are also references to Pacific Islanders eating mice and rats simply because food sources are so limited on desert islands.

Is One Better Than the Other?

Many people believe that mice are preferable to rats as a food source. This occurs largely in Africa where rats are considered dirty, while mice are believed to be both safer to eat and better tasting.

Conversely, Asian cultures prefer rats over mice due to their larger size and local traditions. In India, there’s actually a holiday on March 7th where rats are consumed as part of a traditional feast…guts and all.

Rodentia 101

Mice and rats are members of the family rodentia. This is a large category of animals that includes mice, rats, voles, moles, squirrels, chipmunks, porcupines, hamsters, beavers, lemmings, muskrats, and guinea pigs….

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The Five Stages of Totalitarianism

Fears of a growing totalitarian tendency in the US have swelled during 2020–22. But how close are we really to a totalitarian state? How have such regimes come about historically and what are the warning signs? This article will answer these questions by examining totalitarian regimes in the eighteenth and twentieth centuries and the pattern by which they came to power.

Stage 1: Discontent and Rumblings

Every new order rises on the ruins of the old.

Those who would establish a new regime must tap into or generate dissatisfaction with the status quo. However much those desiring a reset may despise the old order, they can’t accomplish much without harnessing or fabricating a similar attitude in the public. Then the revolutionary totalitarian appears as the solution to these problems.

The Reign of Terror in Revolutionary France, for example, didn’t begin with blood but with bread. Between 1715 and 1800, the population of Europe doubled, creating food shortages among the French people. Many of the French people resented the King’s growing centralized authority. In addition, the ideas of the “Enlightenment” thinkers were stirring up revolutionary feeling. Finally, the French government was massively in debt due to the many wars of the eighteenth century, and it increased taxation even on nobles.

It was these sufferings and fears, combined with the machinations of the secret societies (admitted by the Marquis de Rosanbo at the Chamber of Deputies session of July 1, 1904) that led the to the revolution and the totalitarian Jacobin government. The Reign of Terror came after the fall of the king and the ancien régime, which the revolutionaries accomplished in part because of the problems and suffering in French society prerevolution.

The Bolshevik Revolution in Russia in 1917—which established a totalitarian regime so bloody that it would make the Reign of Terror look like a mere red drop in the guillotine bucket—followed a similar blueprint. The Bolshevik communists exploited the sufferings of the Russian people for revolutionary purposes. What were these sufferings? The Russian people had lost faith in Tsar Nicholas II and his government, Russia contained restless ethnic minorities, and the poorly equipped and led Russian armies were losing against the Germans in World War I. Russia’s failures in the war led to demoralization and disrupted the economy. In January 1917, transportation to cities like Petrograd broke down, and this caused food and fuel shortages, and, eventually, riots.

Not long after the rise of Bolshevism in Russia, Adolf Hitler became involved with the Nazi Party during the Weimar Republic. Struggling postwar Germany bubbled with discontent. The Treaty of Versailles had been harsh: Germany was expected to accept full responsibility for the war, pay massive indemnities to the Allies, surrender large amounts of territory, possess no military worth speaking of, and be monitored by Allied troops. In the years following the war and the treaty, the German economy suffered mightily, including through hyperinflation. When Germany defaulted on some of its payments, French and Belgian troops occupied Germany’s richest industrial region, the Ruhr…

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Recipe: Pot Roast of Veal or Pork. Dutch Oven or Stock Pot recipe.

The following Dutch Oven or Stock Pot recipe is adapted from The Scout’s Cookbook, published in England in 1959. In England, a Stock Pot is commonly called a “Billycan” or “Billy”.

This roast recipe can be cooked on a stovetop, or over an open fire, if you are careful.  A large Dutch Oven or Stock Pot with a lid is required.

You’ll need about 2½ lb. of loin of veal or pork (or if you’re partial to beef about 3 lb. of topside which you must ask the butcher to roll for you).

1. Put a knob of fat into your big billy and melt it.
2. Put the meat in this for a few minutes to brown it and then pour the fat away and take out the meat.
3. Put in your desired chopped vegetables – such as potatoes, carrots, and parsnips and half cover them with water.
4. Now add the meat which will “sit” on the vegetables and cook slowly, covered with a lid, for about 2 hours. The meat should then be fully cooked.
5. Have a hot dish or plates on which to put the meat and vegetables before serving, and while you make the gravy by adding a little Bovril or Marmite to the liquid in the billy.

Do you have a favorite recipe that would be of interest to SurvivalBlog readers? In this weekly recipe column, we place emphasis on recipes that use long term storage foods, recipes for wild game, dutch oven and slow cooker recipes, and any that use home garden produce. If you have any favorite recipes, then please send them via e-mail. Thanks!

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Quick recipes that would make any picky child eat and enjoy

One of the most challenging tasks when introducing new foods to a picky child is deciding what food they’ll eat and enjoy. Some children are resistant to vegetables, and others hate meat, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get them to eat healthier foods! A quick-fix way around this issue is to find a recipe you know your kids will love and learn from.

For example, the article below lists seven recipes appropriate for any picky eater’s diet. As long as your child is happy with the result and eating their vegetables, you’re doing something right. Once you’ve learned the basics, you can switch things up to adapt to your child’s specific tastes and preferences.

Butternut Squash-Stuffed Chicken Breasts

Ingredients:

  • two tablespoons of olive oil
  • one large shallot, chopped (about three tablespoons)
  • two cloves of garlic, minced (about one teaspoon)
  • 2 cups butternut squash puree
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • salt
  • freshly ground pepper to taste.

This dinner is perfect for a cold winter’s day. It’s packed with flavor and is easy to prepare. To make this dinner more accessible, use premade squash puree or canned butternut squash. If you are short of time, you can always use a food delivery service, like Dinnerly, to make things easier for you. This delivery never failed me, and my family always enjoyed their food. They are also very flexible on their delivery schedule and will make any accommodations that you need to make.

Directions:

In a saucepan, heat the oil over medium heat. Saute the shallot until tender, about five minutes. Add garlic and cook for about five minutes. Continue cooking until heated through, about five minutes. Stir in the squash puree with salt and pepper to taste.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). In a small bowl, toss chicken with olive oil until evenly coated; sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. Fill the cavities of the chicken with the squash mixture. Place in a shallow baking dish and cover more loosely with foil coated with cooking spray. Bake for 15 minutes or until the chicken is thoroughly cooked. Uncover and leave in the oven for another 10 minutes to thicken the sauce. Serve immediately; garnish with parsley if desired.

2.  Zucchini Sandwiches

Ingredients:

  •  two large eggs
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • salt and pepper to taste
  •  two tablespoons of olive oil
  • one large onion (sliced)
  • three medium zucchini (sliced)
  •  eight slices of bread.

Ingredients for cheese spread: 3 tablespoons butter, one tablespoon all-purpose flour, 2 cups milk, 2 cups shredded cheese.

Directions:

Beat the eggs, season them with salt and pepper, and stir in the flour. Heat the oil in a frying pan over medium-high heat. Dip the zucchini slices in the batter and place them in the hot oil. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes on each side until golden brown and crispy. Meanwhile, melt cheese spread over medium heat in a saucepan. Brush both sides of each slice of bread with melted butter and toast them until they are golden brown and crispy. When the zucchini slices are done, place each piece on a bread slice and top with…

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