SurvivalBlog presents another edition of The Survivalist’s Odds ‘n Sods – a collection of news bits and pieces that are relevant to the modern survivalist and prepper from “HJL”.
Careful Where You Swim
Reader H.L. sent in this article on toxic algae that killed two dogs in California. Apparently, this sort of situation is not all that uncommon. If you are not aware of it and you swallow the water, you’re in trouble. It’s worth noting that most camping filters do not remove the toxins. Purification tablets as well as boiling also do not remove or neutralize the toxins.
Violation of Rights
The ACLU has sued South Dakota over the use of a forced use of a catheter to take a urine sample from a 3-year old boy who was being tested for exposure to drugs as part of a child-neglect investigation. I can certainly understand why the state felt the need for the drug test. I am troubled by the fact that the victim was only three years old. There are other methods of testing for drugs that are used all the time. It’s worth noting that Social Services threatened to take the child away if the mother did not allow the test. It’s worth noting that the child tested negative.
Reader B.M. sent in this article on a required safety notice about your cell phone that most people don’t know is in there. I’ve been around since the beginning of this controversy. There is still no definitive answer to the claims that the RF radiation causes health issues. Cell phones have changed drastically and no longer do you have exposure to the high powered radiators that they use to use. However, the current recommendation of keeping it 5-15 cm from your body during use is easy to accomplish and I think a prudent safety measure.
If you are looking to relocate, you definitely want to know what the property tax is where you are going. Even if you manage to get debt free, you still have to deal with the property tax issue. It’s worth knowing how much you have to earn just for the privilege of keeping your property. (So much for the concept of ownership.) Reader H.L. sent in this graph showing the rates in all 50 states.
Nike Selling on Amazon
Why is this relevant to readers? Even if one hates Amazon.com, it is hard to ignore the efficiency, and having a Prime account on Amazon.com may become more attractive. For non-configurable, commodity products it is hard to beat the competitive pricing and efficient distribution network of Amazon.com. From the WSJ CIO Journal: Nike thought it didn’t need Amazon—then the ground shifted. After holding out against Amazon.com Inc. for years, Nike Inc. last week agreed to sell its products directly on the hulking e-commerce site. The decision comes as Nike’s traditional retail distribution network of malls and sporting goods chains continue to struggle. Add to that the explosion of third-party sellers on Amazon.com undercutting Nike’s grip on pricing and distribution.
Middle East Instability
Saudi Arabia is taking a much more active role in the politics and military strategies in the Middle East. While often playing the middle man in conflicts, their meddling in neighboring countries has exacerbated the issues in recent years, and the issues threaten to plunge the whole region into chaos. Iran and Turkey are positioning themselves as the regional powers, and the recent political shakeup over the royal successor adds to the confusion. It’s also worth noting that Saudi Arabia is guilty of many of the same human rights violations that the U.S. uses to justify war against ISIS.
A Chinese paper is making the claim that Australia is spying on the Chinese embassy and monitoring its citizens. China and Australia have close business ties, but the Chinese are deeply suspicious of the ties Australia has with the U.S. Of course, spying on an embassy is standard practice for all nations; they just don’t want to get caught at it.
The property tax rates in fifty states may not be all that helpful. I live in Pinal County which is in central rural Arizona and plan to move to Cochise County in Southeast rural Arizona. Land, homes and water is cheaper there as there is little industry or jobs. Not only are the property tax rates higher, but the assessors are much less understanding as they are desperate for revenue because their tax base is imploding.
That chart provides little meaningful information. For example, the property tax rate is applied to the appraised value of the property. But not all states appraise the property at the true market value. Additionally, the chart implies a set rate that is uniform across a given state. That’s typically not the case. Instead, most states allow local towns, counties, school and hospital districts to impose additional property taxes.
To illustrate the point, based on the chart, it would appear that Texas and Pennsylvania have pretty close property tax rates. In fact, that is not the case. Texas’s actual rates in real life are probably 3x higher than PA.
Just some food for thought.
I live in West Texas. Our taxes went up a few hundred dollars last year. I called and asked why, to which I was told that forcloaures affect the tax base. I honestly think it is all a bunch of bologna. When the powers that be determine they need more revenue, the tax payers are always taken to task for it. I’m really tired of it to be honest.
So why didn’t Texas vote for Debra Medina in 2010? Would have eliminated property taxes in favor of an 8.25% sales tax. Texas property taxes have been very high for a very long time. Voters don’t think.
Why? Because she got bushwhacked during her campaign by a republican troll. That gave perry his next term.
Though the Democratic-controlled legislature of California is struggling to make it easier to raise property taxes, Proposition 13 in 1977 really helped stave off sudden rises in property tax. Since then, you pay a percentage of the purchase price of your home, whether you bought it in 1955 or 2015. You know what you’ll be paying, and can plan – or buy a cheaper home. Yes, they can raise your property taxes every year, but only by 1%. Of course, those who bought as the prices kept climbing, (dipped and recovered quickly) pay more than earlier purchasers. It seems unfair to those later purchasers, but not nearly as unfair as New Jersey, who assess your property based on current market value (and never down! despite Sandy). So many older folks have lost their homes because a McMansion was built on either side of them, thus driving up property value (and taxes), through no action on their part. School bonds often drove taxes up, too, and administrative jobs proliferated.
It wasn’t just the toddler, and because it is the accusation of the war on drugs (I smell marijuana – the dog (didn’t or did) wag its tail, we have probable cause to stick a catheter up…).
The 4th amendment is now like the cheshire cat where the emanations and penumbras protect abortion but you can be raped by the police. And in jail, multiple times a day in a body cavity search. Security, protect the officers, etc.
This is similar to a case where they gave some poor guy an enema and X rays against his will because they suspected him of transporting ingested drugs. Unconstitutional, and against all fundamentals of medical privacy. The test results were negative…of course.
As noted above the property tax chart should be used as a rule of thumb. In Minnesota the state offers a homestead tax credit for people’s permanent residence and also a special tax credit refund for certain increases from year to year. These programs can reduce the tax you pay by up to 50%.