JWR’s Recommendations of the Week:

Here are JWR’s Recommendations of the Week for various media and tools of interest to SurvivalBlog readers. This week the focus is on American-made gardening tools. (See the Gear & Grub section.)


Several readers have recommended this new book by Ben Shapiro: The Right Side of History: How Reason and Moral Purpose Made the West Great.

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A friend suggested this new release by conservative talk radio host Mark Levin: Unfreedom of the Press.

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And speaking of recent releases, there is also this from noted political analyst and commentator David Horowitz: DARK AGENDA: The War to Destroy Christian America.

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WW2 history buffs, take note: Here is something to throw in your backpack for summer reading: Spearhead: An American Tank Gunner, His Enemy, and a Collision of Lives in World War II

Movies & Television:

A blog reader in Finland wrote me about this 2017 movie about Finland’s Continuation War: Unknown Soldier. I haven’t yet seen it, but I plan to, soon. Hopefully they did a good job with the English subtitles. It is based on the popular 1954 novel Tuntematon Sotilas (The Unknown Soldier) by Väinö Linna. It was translated into English by Richard Impola.

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A had several readers mention a quasi-survivalist television series: Hanna. But after watching the first two episodes, I can see that it is mired in typical Hollywood moral relativism. So I do not recommend it.


Product Review Videos:

GunBlast Review: Smith & Wesson Performance Center Model 327 TRR8 Eight-Shot 357 Magnum Revolver. JWR’s Comments: Eight rounds, on a scandium N-frame. Wow, that is tempting!  I already own a Scandium 7-shot  S&W snubbie. This would be a logical companion piece. But I’m not sure if I can justify the expense.

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A 4MR Ranch review: Versatile and Affordable Night Vision – BestguarderJWR’s Comments: Too bad that these IR binoculars are only “splashproof.”  But of course a full mil-spec counterpart would surely cost at least three times as much.


Gear & Grub:

SIG-Sauer’s Romeo 5 red non-magnifying dot optic is clearly holding its great popularity. The quality is high, they are durable and weatherproof, and they are priced right. I have them on a bunch of my ARs. The only minor drawback seems to be that they are powered by CR2032 button batteries. With an automatic shutdown / motion-activated startup feature, they claim a 40,000 hour working life on one battery. It bears mention that that particular 3 VDC battery is semi-ubiquitous since it is used in so many automobile “key fobs”, various optics, and now even in blood glucose meters. I just bought 36 of them for $9, and tucked them in my fridge. Many brands of CR2032 batteries have a 8+ year shelf life.  In my estimation that makes both the SIG Romeo red dots and their batteries “prepper worthy.”

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Ready to start your garden? These stainless steel trowels are highly rated: Wilcox All Pro 202S Trowel, 14″, Stainless Steel

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Yet another useful accessory for my DeWalt cordless drill: Power Planter 100% USA Made 3″x7″ Bulb &  Bedding Plant Auger. And they are made in USA!

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Bully Tools 92515 12-Gauge Round Point Shovel with Fiberglass Long Handle.  I was pleased to see that these are made in USA!

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Need to clear some old growth, in your yard or garden?  Estwing EBM (2) 19-Inch Forged One Piece Steel Machete Saws with Nylon Sheaths.  These combination machetes are made in USA, but I’m not sure where their sheaths are made.

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Attention vagabonds, stealth campers, and Perpetual Travelers: For anyone interested in having a 4G-compatable mobile Internet hotspot, the latest and greatest seems to be offered by Netgear, in cooperation with Verizon Wireless. It is the Netgear AC791L. You can have any Verizon-compatible hotspot activated at any Verizon store. For now, at least, they seem willing to activate them renew activation anonymously if you pay cash. I’ve been told that Verizon has the widest coverage in the western United States.

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And for your indoor projects: CH Hanson 03040 Magnetic Stud Finder.  Note: These are made in Mainland China.


Make a Suggestion

Want to suggest Recommendations of your own? Then please send them to JWR. (Either via e-mail of via our Contact form.) Thanks!



  1. I do not recommend or trust anything by Mark Levin. He is a globalist who is advocating for the destruction of our Constitution through a Constitutional Convention.

    1. Wrong.
      Article V of the Constitution does not call for a Constitutional Convention. The part of it Levin is in favor of deals with the STATE LEGISLATURES calling for a convention to PROPOSE AMENDMENTS – BYPASSING CONGRESS.

      The eleven amendments proposed by Levin (his “Liberty Amendments”):
      – Impose Congressional term limits
      – Repeal the Seventeenth Amendment, returning the election of Senators to state legislatures
      – Impose term limits for Supreme Court Justices and restrict judicial review
      – Require a balanced budget and limit federal spending and taxation
      – Define a deadline to file taxes (one day before the next federal election)
      – Subject federal departments and bureaucratic regulations to periodic reauthorization and review
      – Create a more specific definition of the Commerce Clause
      – Limit eminent domain powers
      – Allow states to more easily amend the Constitution by bypassing Congress
      – Create a process where two-thirds of the states can nullify federal laws
      – Require photo ID to vote and limit early voting

      Article V’s wording was specifically put in place to counter a potentially overly powerful central government that would NEVER relinquish power voluntarily.
      Any amendments that are approved at the Convention of the States are then submitted to the State legislatures for ratification, requiring three fourths of the states to approve…NO CONGRESSIONAL PERMISSION REQUIRED.

      A Constitutional Convention was needed only once and it led to the construction of our Constitution.
      Exact read from the Constitution:
      Article V
      The Congress, whenever two thirds of both houses shall deem it necessary, shall propose amendments to this Constitution, or, on the application of the legislatures of two thirds of the several states, shall call a convention for proposing amendments, which, in either case, shall be valid to all intents and purposes, as part of this Constitution, when ratified by the legislatures of three fourths of the several states, or by conventions in three fourths thereof, as the one or the other mode of ratification may be proposed by the Congress; provided that no amendment which may be made prior to the year one thousand eight hundred and eight shall in any manner affect the first and fourth clauses in the ninth section of the first article; and that no state, without its consent, shall be deprived of its equal suffrage in the Senate.

      1. Those proposals are all real well and good, but they need to include a couple more. Just off the top of my head, I would propose bans on income taxation and a ban on property taxes.

        1. Nathan Hail, how would you propose we pay for roads, sewer, water, police/fire/ems, ect. Basic infrastructure of a civilization requires money comes from somewhere. I’m not trying to argue with you. I’m honestly curious. I’ve seen several people say ban taxes. That’s all well and good but civilization has to be funded somehow. What do you propose to keep our country running? Thanks in advance for your reply.

          1. Actually, I know that this sounds utopian. But for the FIRST 137 years of our country, there were no taxes on income. In fact, the Constitution banned such taxes, and had to have a Constitutional Amendment in order to impose one. The Federal government was supported by tariffs on imported goods. During this time, we had roads, schools, a Navy, an Army, the Marines, border security, and a full Federal government. What we DID NOT have was deficit spending, except in time of war. We also did not have socialist programs such as welfare, food stamps, legal-ish insider trading on the stock market by congressmen and senators, spying on every citizen by Federal agencies, the ‘Supreme’ court re-defining marriage to include same-sex provisions, attempted coups to remove a legally-elected President, Federal laws regulating how much water your toilet can use per flush, social experiments forced on the military, so-called gun control laws. a Federal agency assassinating a U.S. President (allegedly), open borders, a homosexual agenda taught in our schools, and any number of Federally-imposed outrages (I could go on for hours listing them).
            And as far as property taxes go, if you have to pay your local government 5% or more the worth of your house each year just for the privilege of “owning” it, how can you say that you OWN it ?
            I freely admit (brag ?) that eliminating income taxes and property taxes would dramatically shrink the size of the government. THAT IS MY GOAL. In the words of I believe Harry Browne, I want a government small enough to fit inside of the Constitution.
            Remember that we DID before the income tax and the Federal Reserve. We can do it again !

      2. The problem with a constitutional convention is they could do whatever they wanted to do. They could repeal the 2nd amendment and never even touch these proposed amendments, They could literally throw out the constitution and replace it with the communist manifesto. It is too much power to entrust anyone with.

        1. Again, Article V doesn’t call a constitutional convention, on a convention for considering amendments. Those draft amendments must then be ratified by three fourths of the states. It’s the only fix to the out of control federal power and spending.

    2. If you don’t support an Article V convention of the States you’d better have a idea that is superior…it’s pretty obvious the FedGov (especially the Courts and the Congress) are not doing their jobs and there is no legal way to extricate the life-long Judges, bureaucrats and Congresscritters. Levin thinks this is the best, Constitutionally legal way to make the scope of changes needed in the time period we have left. No Amendment can be made to the Constitution without the States approval. Go to the library and read his book if you don’t understand.

    3. Levin has never advocated for a Constitutional Convention. Never. In fact, Levin continually attempts to educate the ill-informed that there cannot ever be another Constitutional Convention! There was one and only one, and cannot be another. What Levin, along with many sane Patriots who are attempting to stop the destruction of our country, has advocated for is a Convention of the States. The terminology matters, and every time a so-called defender of the Constitution uses the wrong terminology, they are empowering the enemy of the people who wish to dissolve our nation. Lean on Constitutional scholars such as Levin to educate yourselves before entering into the fray unprepared for battle. Is he a loudmouth with a whiny accent? Sure! Is he one of the most knowledgeable Constitutional scholars in the nation? Absolutely. Listen and learn, please.

    4. I didn’t really intend for this to be a discussion on a Constitutional Convention, but obviously, you can’t mention it without people getting all upset about it. So here goes.

      A better idea than calling for a Constitutional Convention is for the people to demand that the present Constitution be followed. In all my following of the Constitutional Convention folks, I have yet to see anyone mention an actual flaw in the Constitution that needs fixing. They all mention that the government isn’t following the Constitution. People not following it doesn’t mean there is a flaw in the Constitution. It just means that we the people, as the ultimate enforcers of the Constitution, need to demand that it be followed. The Founding Fathers made it clear that the reason for Article V was NOT for the purpose of fixing the people in government. No, they made it clear that the purpose was to fix a flaw in the Constitution. Read Federalist 49.

      So, how to actually FIX the problem without endangering the Constitution? Nullification. States can pass laws nullifying all unconstitutional federal laws. THIS is the way that the Founders intended the federal government to be reined in. Look at Missouri passing a nullification law of all federal gun control measures. They did that because Kris Anne Hall educated them in what their power is, and how they can use it to rein in the federal government.

      There is no difference between a Constitutional Convention and a Convention of States. It is merely semantics to fool people into signing on. There is only one such mechanism in the Constitution, and it is a Constitutional Convention. Levin can talk till he is blue in the face telling people that it isn’t, but it still is a Constitutional Convention. The liberals are standing in the wings for the “conservative” sheeple to demand a Constitutional Convention, then they intend to sweep in and subvert it. Look up WolfPAC. WolfPAC is working with the COSP to get folks to pass a Constitutional Convention. Once a Convention is called, they hold more power than our US senators and congressmen. The US legislature holds on the power allowed to them by the Constitution. The Convention delegates hold all the power that we the people hold. This is backed up over and over in the Federalist papers. They hold the power to dissolve both state and federal government and to write a new Constitution, and they hold the power to write a new ratification process. That means that all these “safeguards” that these states are placing on the delegates are meaningless, because the delegates hold more authority than the state legislatures do.

      Was the US Constitution legally adopted? If it was, then that is admitting that a Constitutional Convention CANNOT be limited to just proposing amendments. The states previous to 1787 passed more stringent restrictions on their delegates than states now are, and they ignored them. They also made their proceedings private. And they wrote a less strict ratification process. If it was legally adopted, because they operated on the power of the people, who hold all authority, then it can be done again, because the people still hold all the authority.

      It isn’t possible for the states to pass any amendment without Congressional approval. I know that it’s a waste of time to try to convince COS folks that I know anything about Article V that they don’t know, but let’s do it anyway. Article V says that the states can apply to Congress for a Convention. Congress then calls the Convention. Since Article V is vague (Scalia said that the only thing he would change about the Constitution is to clarify Article V), Congress has clarified it, to say that they have the authority to set the way that delegates are chosen and to set all rules surrounding the Convention. Remember, he who chooses the delegates chooses the outcome. The solution is not to call a Constitutional Convention. It is to change out the senators and representatives.

      I see no need for any of the anti-liberty amendments that Levin has proposed. Let’s talk about them one by one.

      -Term Limits. Did you know that the Articles of Confederation (our first Constitution) had term limits? The Founding Fathers removed them in the second Constitution because they remove incentive for good behavior. We do not need term limits. We already have the ability to limit terms of congress. The truth is that Congress perfectly represents the will of the people. “Now more than ever before, the people are responsible for the character of their Congress. If that body be ignorant, reckless and corrupt, it is because the people tolerate ignorance, recklessness and corruption. If it be intelligent, brave and pure, it is because the people demand these high qualities to represent them in the national legislature… If the next centennial does not find us a great nation… It will be because those who represent the enterprise, the culture, and the morality of the nation do not aid in controlling the political forces.” – James Garfield, 20th U.S. President, 1877

      -Term limits for SCOTUS. Did you know that in the Constitution, SCOTUS do not have a lifetime appointment? It’s true. They may serve as long as they have “good behavior.” It is the job of the legislature to kick them out of office if they no longer display good behavior. Which leads back to the above point. See “Term Limits” above.

      -Balanced Budget. Did you know that the Constitution already limits what Congress can spend money on? If we the people were enforcing the law, the money spent would be way less than it would be if the balanced budget amendment were passed, since the money spent would be limited to the enumerated powers. This balanced budget amendment would make Constitutional all the present spending and more. So again, the solution is that we enforce the Constitution we already have.

      -Tax Day. Is Income Tax Constitutional? If we were enforcing the Constitution, and Congress could only spend money on the enumerated powers, wouldn’t this be fixed?

      -Federal departments and Bureaucratic regulation. Is this presently authorized in the Constitution? Why not just enforce the Constitution instead of changing it to make these federal departments Constitutional?

      -Eminent Domain powers. Are they Constitutional? I feel like a broken record. Enforce the Constitution we presently have.

      -Commerce Clause. It is pretty clear, and “defining” it, with liberals in the room with equal authority as the “conservative” uneducated sheeple, which way would it likely get defined?

      -States more easily bypass congress. This would likely upset the balance between federal and states, which was VERY carefully crafted by our Founding Fathers. There is nothing wrong with the system as it is, the states already hold the power to rein in the federal government. Why would we give the states MORE power? I want both the state and the federal governments to have less power, more specifically, I want them to have ONLY what the Founders intended.

      -2/3 states can nullify Federal laws. This makes me laugh. It really shows how stupid people are. 1 state can nullify federal law. Why would you make it so it takes 2/3 of states to nullify federal law? How is that freedom loving?

      -Photo ID and limiting early voting. I am getting tired of explaining all this. How anyone could think that these proposals are a good thing is beyond me. Why would you give to the federal government the power to make laws over our elections? The states already have that power. Why would you remove it from the states and give it to the feds? Aren’t we wanting to LIMIT the feds here? So why don’t the states just use the power they already have and limit it? Pass ID laws and limit early voting at the state level.

      Since I happen to have experience witnessing voter fraud, I can speak to this. The problem with our elections is this: People do not know the election laws and do not follow them and demand that they be followed. My husband and I have been on the ground level of insuring election integrity for many, many years. We have done it for no money. We did it because we care that our elections be fair. I can tell you with absolute certainty, people DO NOT KNOW the election laws. Even elected officials charged with conducting elections do not know them. The common voters surely don’t know them. If people knew them and watched that the elections be conducted fairly, they would suddenly be fixed. My case shouldn’t be a voice crying in the wilderness, that there is election fraud going on. There should be cases all over the country, of voters pressing charges to stop fraud. The reason there isn’t, is because people do not care. They are too busy working 3 jobs to be able to pay for elaborate vacations and pay off their boats and SUV’s. They aren’t willing to live a little more frugally and have enough spare energy to pay attention to the corruption in government. It’s the truth. The globalists have won by making everyone slaves to the system.

      1. -Repeal 17th amendment. It can also be done by Congress and ratified by the states. There are those who would say that it’s impossible these days for a constitutionally minded person to get elected to congress. Believe me, I know that. I have been in the fight for several years. But the same thing applies. Congress accurately reflects the hearts and minds of the people. If the people tolerate ignorance, recklessness and corruption, their elected officials will be ignorant, reckless and corrupt. So when the people change their hearts, they will vote in honest upright people, and they can fix the problem. In the meantime, don’t hand them the Constitution to change.

        In Article 1 section 8, it says that any vague wording in the Constitution is left up to Congress to interpret. So it is up to Congress to set the rules for a Convention. They have more control over it than the states do.

        But I wouldn’t say that the states don’t have any power to do anything. They can easily fix it in short order if they choose to, without endangering the Constitution. They can nullify all unconstitutional laws within their state.

      2. Rose – you’re very stubborn, and wrong. Your entire diatribe hopes(!) that people will just do the right thing. These are congressmen – dishonest and corrupt. The only way they will do the right thing is if they are whipped and beaten to do it, isn writing, in the constitution as amended…and please don’t mention the silly articles of confederation. They were rightfully discarded as unworkable. Some good ideas but not deemed good enough for the actual, binding, ratified Constitution.

        1. @John Smith, I am the one hoping people will do the right thing? When you are handing people the entire Constitution to rewrite however they want? In a day and time when nearly no one in our country knows the whys of the Constitution? Right. History matters. Maybe you should read some of it.

  2. The Smith & Wesson Performance Center Model 327 TRR8 Eight-Shot 357 Magnum Revolver sounds good. I also like the revolvers that use 9mm and 45 ACP. Reason: I recently damaged my right hand (I am right handed) and suddenly found that there was no way I can pull the slide back on an auto loader. I would suggest a wheel gun (or more) for those like me who did not anticipate hand damage. Can you imagine having a safe full of only auto loaders and they are near useless when needed.

    1. Another factor is that you can jam a revolver in an attacker’s gut or chest and the revolver will still fire while a semi-auto will not. I know a man that discovered that the hard way. He always assumed he could get spacing away to fire. The goblin proved otherwise. He now carries a 357 snub.

  3. Agree with JWR on the Hanna series. My wife and I had enjoyed the movie, but only made it through two episodes of the series.
    The Hollywood Stalinists infected this with their SJW propaganda, changing the bad guys from Eastern European to American, and adding hints of teen promiscuity and bisexuality.
    Hollywood must never miss an opportunity to brainwash!

  4. JMO , but from a Canadian Catholic ,s perspective … I see alot more people going to church and following the teachings of Christ , and changing their approach/attitudes on day to day issues … and with that said… the family structure is sure to come back ….. and that is defintley what is needed in society today

  5. Reference to the night vision binoculars; the link os a video review. They are available on Amazon at this link:
    The cost is $359 — a low cost compared to a good NVG set. They use 8 AA batteries so rechargeable would be the way to go. The link in the article is a good review except that they used only 480p video; HD would most likely do better for a review if I were trying to sell a set. Thinking I’ll buy a set to see how good they are, and do a review … I only have one hand held NV device, has built in IR source that i don’t use. Optics are okay, for LP/OP use cheap and okay, but for deterring varmints not useful. It was a gift several years ago, so really can’t complain. Just retired from the military and recently use a new system that was totally wiz-bang … wish I had a rich uncle who would buy me a set …

  6. The eleven amendments proposed by Levin (his “Liberty Amendments”):

    – Impose Congressional term limits
    Ted Cruz has proposed 3 terms for the House and 2 for the Senate. I would think 5 for the house and 2 for the senate.

    – Repeal the Seventeenth Amendment, returning the election of Senators to state legislatures.
    Then the term limits for the senate would be up to the individual States.

    – Impose term limits for Supreme Court Justices and restrict judicial review
    I would rather see AGE limits for the Supreme Court and for both houses of the legislature. Age 70 (maybe 75) and you are done, period.

    – Require a balanced budget and limit federal spending and taxation
    Balance budget without Federal borrowing. Reduce spending by 1% per year for the next 25 years. Limit both personal income taxes and business income taxes to 10% after the real tangible cost of doing business and the real tangible cost of living for individuals.

    – Define a deadline to file taxes (one day before the next federal election)

    – Subject federal departments and bureaucratic regulations to periodic reauthorization and review.
    Yes, every 5 years for reauthorization and all regulations must come from Congress, not the bureaucracy. The bureaucracy is supposed to execute, not legislate.

    – Create a more specific definition of the Commerce Clauses
    That’s easy, the meaning of the Commerce Clause must conform to the meaning the Framers intended and understood the meaning to be in 1787. You don’t get to change the Constitution by changing the meanings of words.
    – Limit eminent domain powers.
    Yes, and mandate payment at the value as though there was no pending eminent domain confiscation pending.

    – Allow states to more easily amend the Constitution by bypassing Congress
    Yes, make it 60% of states to call a convention, not 2/3. Make it so if 60% of State legislature pass similar bills that would require a change in the Federal Constitution, then a convention would automatically trigger. If 75% do it then the constitution gets amended, the states then only have to approve the the new language.

    – Create a process where two-thirds of the states can nullify federal laws
    Not necessary, the States can nullify any Federal law that is obviously unconstitutional. Note Missouri and their nullification of all Federal firearms laws. Afterall, the Federal government is specifically restricted from implementing any law that restricts any individual ownership of any firearm. All Federal gun control laws are grossly unconstitutional. Since the right to keep and bear arms is an individual right, any collective restriction upon that right is unconstitutional.

    – Require photo ID to vote and limit early voting.
    Require proof of US citizenship or a status that shows a path to citizenship to get a photo ID, and a visible indicator on the ID that shows actual citizenship. Only full fledged citizens can vote. Anyone who knowingly allows a non citizen to vote in any election is to be charged and tried for treason. I would call allowing non citizens to vote an act of treason.

    An addition not mentioned: A constitutional amendment that limits the supreme court to the use of the actual constitution as written, with the meanings of words as they were understood when originally implemented, the same with all the amendments, especially the Bill of Rights. The only library of knowledge that is needed would be the constitution, the Declaration of Independence, the Federalist papers, the Anti federalist papers, as a counterpoint, and the writings of the framers and the prominent writers of the day to include John Taylor of Caroline and several of the state governors of the day. Specifically deny the Supremes the ability to use international law, the laws of other countries or other confederations, or rules laid out in any treaty even treaties we have signed on to.

    Finally a constitutional amendment that states: Any politician or any bureaucrat at any level of government (Federal, State, County, or local), that violates in any way, shape, or form, any of the first 10 amendments plus amendment 13, is guilty of treason. They should be tried, convicted, and suffer the maximum penalty as prescribed in the Article III, section 3 of the US constitution up to and including the death penalty.

    Just my 2 cents, or maybe a quarter. Levin does not go far enough. You also might want to look up Randy E. Barnett. He also has several proposed amendments, some that align with Mark Levin, some that go further.

    Our constitution is flawed. The flaws need to be corrected. Those who call the Article V convention, control the Article V convention. In 2010 Randy Barnett and several others were calling for and Article V convention. Mark Levin railed against it at the time. I guess he thought it was a bad idea because it didn’t come from him first. Levin is a neocon, afterall.

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