Basics of Home Defense Readiness: Bandages, Beans and Bullets on a Budget

by Spencer Coursen, Coursen Security Group

When designing any emergency response plan, it is important to first identify the most realistic threat you are likely to face. Imaginations will always exceed budgets, so identifying and mounting a defense against the threat you are most likely to face will help manage your fear and your finances in equal measure.

I’m a fan of The Walking Dead as much as anyone, but the thought of zombie coming in through my windows on a some random Tuesday afternoon hell-bent on eating me alive, brings me about as much anxiety as the thought of a grizzly bear scaling a downtown apartment building intent on doing the same. It’s just not going to happen.

The Realistic Scenario

Why are we talking about Bunkers in the first place?

Anyone who’s walked through an airport in the last ten years, has heard, “Threat Level: Orange” which is a non-invasive way for Homeland Security to say, “Yes - there is a reasonable expectation for a violent terrorist threat to breach our borders.”

However, this next attack will very likely be a 9/11 style attack. Which is to say, a singular or coordinated attack all happening at once – not unlike the hours between 8am and 11am on September 11th. The intent of a terrorist threat is meant promote fear and panic rather than to engage in a continuous and prolonged campaign of direct action.

We as a nation, are also under continuous attack by the [Chinese] shadow warfare cyber tactics probing and potentially infecting our financial institutions, our water supply, and our transportation systems, in what Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has warned as a “Cyber Pearl Harbor.”

Natural disasters also seem more frequent. Hurricane Katrina and Super Storm Sandy brought to the forefront of national attention just how devastating and time consuming these atrocities can be to endure.

Regardless of the crisis you may face, what all of these scenarios have in common is the challenge to your safety and security after the event has occurred. When the dust has settled, the winds have died, and the waters calmed, you must survive until “the return to normal,” and my hope is this helps you find the best way to do so.

For agreement in discussion, I am employing the term “bunker” in the same fashion I would employ “safe-haven” - a defendable place where you and your family can spend evenings in conditional safety and reasonable comfort.

Preparedness is Paramount

Preparing for what comes next, will prepare you for what comes before. Your mind and your body are finely tuned with each other, and stressors on the mind will have physiological affects, much as stressors on the body have psychological affects.

I was in a car accident recently, t-boned while driving down Venice Blvd in Los Angeles. The entire drivers side door caved in. It was a bad accident, and I’m lucky to have walked away unscathed from the wreck. I tell you this, because no sooner had their speeding car slammed into mine, when two things went simultaneously went through my mind. The first was a once learned and Army-instilled self-assessment of my physical condition telling me I was not hurt and to get moving, and the second was a mental re-assurance my car insurance was paid and up to date.

There was nothing I could have done to prevent the accident. There was no warning, and I had no opportunity to avoid, evade or escape the collision. Yet, I was in complete control over what came next, because I knew I had done everything up to that moment to prepare for this one.

My seatbelt was on having safeguarded my life, and my insurance was paid having safe guarded my livelihood. Had either of those two preparations not been previously handled, I would most definitely not have been in a physical or psychological condition to deal with the aftermath with rational logic and effectiveness. Additional stressors were not a factor, because I had taken the necessary measures to prepare for this very likely and realistic scenario.

What should I do first?

You are right here...right now. Stop reading this article for a second and look around. One second from now, your world and your life will change forever. Are you ready?

Safety First: Protect yourself and get to a safe and sustainable location. You will know your home and your neighborhood the best, so get there as quickly and as safely as you can.

Contact anyone and everyone while/if you still can. Let trusted people (friends and family) know where you are, where you are going, you’re physical condition as well as anything you may need. If you haven’t already done so, initiate your family emergency plan so that everyone knows where to go and what to do.

Take inventory: Who is with you and what you have on hand? If you don’t have what you need, decide immediately how important it is to have vs. the risk of retrieval. This will obviously be a situational-dependent statement, but as a rule: anything less than the life of a loved one, and you should prepare yourself to be without.

Triage: Is anyone hurt or injured? Require immediate medical attention? What do you need to do to ensure the health, welfare and safety of those in your charge tonight? Are you safe where you are? Can you safely move to a better location? You will need to determine the most important tasks often as priorities may shift at any given moment. (Always be thinking: Safety, Food, & Shelter)

Delegate: If you are of good enough fortune to be with others, utilize them to their full advantage. There is strength in numbers. Do Not try to do everything yourself.

If anything can be done 70% as well as you, delegate that tasking to another. They’ll learn as they go, and getting something done is better than getting nothing done.

Where you live will determine what you need

Most of us surviving a crisis situation will be restricted to the

immediate vicinity of our homes with little to no power or communication.

Where you live will determine the necessity of what is needed for your specific situation. If you live in an urban environment, where daily deliveries to markets and groceries are required, then your focus should be on food storage more so than if you live in a more rural environment where you could feasibly live off the land in a hunter/gather capacity.

Dependence on machine-generated climate control is another factor to consider. Understanding the susceptible changes to the natural climate of your location should be factored when deciding where to bunker down.

What is a reasonable expectation of duration?

4 nights / 5 days of on-hand rations is a good rule of thumb. Emergency services are generally able to provide basic assistance within three days. However, having value-added goods on hand (Cigarettes and Alcohol) will afford you the ability to barter and exchange for necessities later on should the crisis continue indefinitely.

Who can I trust?

You already know the answer to this. If you’re thinking, “I think so,” then the answer is no. If you can unequivocally say, “Yes,” than the answer is yes. One may never know where loyalty is born, but the beginning of a crisis isn’t when you want to find out. Alliances start now. Community counts. Find like-minded friends and neighbors who live in close-proximity and start discussing the roles and functions of those who can provide varying and essential skills and services.

For example, if your neighbor has a generator, and you have a giant freezer full of food in your garage, talk to each other now and work out a system to combine resources should the time come. If any of your neighbors are Doctors, RN’s or Police, invite them over for dinner.

What should I have on-hand?

As I stated before, your own needs will be conditional upon your situation. What’s listed here is by no means the must have’s, but rather the should have’s for basic home defense and survival. I have listed them here in order of priority according to my own personal experience and practice.

1. Enough food, water and prescription medication to last you five days. Assume your water won’t be running or will be deemed unsafe. Buy one case of water for everyone in your family and stash it under the bed, in the basement or in the closet. (Somewhere out of sight and out of mind so you won’t use this cache as your go-to supply for car trips)

Water is the one thing you’ll always wish you had in abundance. Some of it you’ll drink, some of it you’ll need to boil, some of it you’ll use to bath. You really can’t have enough.

Your food on-hand should be shelf-stable and require no addition preparation. It’s likely the power will be out and if you’re living in an apartment or similar enclosed location, building a fire won’t always be possible. High calorie, high protein and complex carb meals will be the best. Watch some old-school cowboy movies for inspiration. Stock up on some cans of beans and beef stew, Beef Jerky and Trail Mix. Look into “Paleo Kits” too. Extreme athletes and Cross Fit enthusiast swear by them. I recommend you purchase at least one to see if you like them. On a budget, it’s much cheaper to modify and make your own. Local purchase the ingredients you like and vacuum seal individual single-servings. PaleoKit as shown: Cost $7

2. Have some extra bags of ice in the freezer, king-cubes will last you longer than the icemaker variety. Ice will help keep your refrigerator and freezer functional for a day or two after the power goes out. Fill up a few tuba-ware containers filled with water and freeze overnight. Keep as many frozen bricks in your freezer as you can. Ice does more than chill your drinks, there are medical uses (Blister Burn, splinter removal, oral numbness to treat tooth pain, and soft tissue injury to name a few, so having some on hand will prove beneficial to your cause.

3. A “go-bag” is -in layman terms– the bag you grab when it’s time to “Go,” as in right now -when the time required to plan, prep and pack will mitigate your chance of survival. The premise is such that your go-bag is always packed, ready and waiting with the essentials you will need to survive for two nights and three days in the outdoor terrain of your approximate location and in current local climate. No creature comforts; just the necessities to survive, contained in a packaged weight, affording you the ability to remain mobile. Keep in mind; your packing list may change throughout the year dependent upon the time of year, the season, your location, your medical requirements and your physical ability. You should be well versed in terms of your bag’s content, knowledgeable of item location, and organized for ease of use.

Everyone who is physically able to carry a pack should have one. Your own individual packing list may vary based on personal preference and necessity, but

the contents of the one below serves as an excellent tutorial on what constitutes essentials. If you only do one thing to prepare beyond your in-home food and water storage, this is it. This is what you need. Everyone should have one. Build or buy one today. Many pre-customized options are available on-line. As shown on Amazon.com Cost: $310

4. A fully stocked First-Aid kit is a priority requirement for any emergency action plan. One should always strive to have as much medical and trauma training, resources and equipment on hand as possible. Medical equipment can be cost prohibitive, but medical knowledge can be as cheap as a YouTube search. Being First Aid and CPR certified (or at least capable) could literally save a life one day, and could increase your own survival rate exponentially.

Staff infection is both silent and deadly, and if you find yourself unable to acquire professional medical attention or prescription medication, it is critical you possess, at the very least, the medical know-how and resources to clean, disinfect and treat a cut, scrape, or sprain.

This standard First Aid kit is commonly found in commercial venues, but doubles equally well in the home. Cost: $25

5. Despite all of the technological advances of the past century, the best home defense option available to you is still a mid to full sized dog - especially one with specific [Sentry] training tailored to your needs. In addition to being naturally defensive of their owner, and territorial of their property, a dog can offer a companionship in an otherwise lonesome scenario. (Think; I am Legend vs Castaway) If you already have a dog (even an untrained small dog), you’re already ahead of the game. The yelp of a small pup directed toward an unwelcome visitor may be all that’s required to bring undo attention to clandestine activities and thwart their evil intentions.

6. In every home there should be an identified “Safe Room,” a last line of defense where you and your loved ones can safely barricade yourselves until help can arrive. There is literally no limit to the amount of money one can spend on the construction such a sanctuary.

For the rest of us, we have door wedges. These specific door wedges were designed by EMS units to keep the heavy industrial doors propped open during their rescue operations. As good as they are at propping doors open, they are even better at wedging doors closed. Jam one of these under a closed door and there is no way an intruder is pushing the door open. Added security if you wedge one between the door and the frame too. (Just make sure you’re on the side of the door that can see the hinges)

For a few dollars more, some door wedges also come with an alarm feature, but if you can sleep through an intruder trying to kick down the door, I’m not sure the alarm of a AA Battery will stir you from your slumber. Cost: $8.00

7. Today, all of our communication devices require a charge. Assuming an EMP was not the cause of the crisis you’re currently facing, your mobile devices will be critical to helping you negotiate your way to a better day. (Read: One Second After by William Fortschen) While a few commercial venues with back-up generators may be able to facilitate the needs of the few, they most certainly will not be able to cater to the needs of the many. So skip the Starbucks iPhone-charging line and invest in this universal solar-charging unit. Yes, there are cheaper versions available on the market place, but this one has been in my go-bag for the last two years and has never once let me down. Cost: $120

8. Take the time to go through all of the contents your go-bag has available, and identify anything inside you think you may need to use in your home. Purchase in duplicate to what’s in the bag, but do your best to NOT use what’s already provided. If you don’t already have the basics of a lights-out scenario in your home, then you should most certainly acquire the necessary provisions of matches, candles, flashlights, and batteries. Other items of mention may also include a multi-tool, a home improvement tool kit, survival literature, pocket-knives, pre-packaged meals such as MRE’s, or water purification tablets.

9. Employ aspects of deterrence works, in hopes of promoting transference. The pros of a home security system far outweigh any cons. The innovation available on today’s modern marketplace can match almost any imagination, and yet there are endless options available to work within the confines of even the tightest budget.

A good security system will alert, notify, and confirm the something/someone out of the ordinary with enough lead time for you to respond accordingly. More importantly, a positive security posture promotes one very important fact to the causal observer: You take your security seriously. At any given time, our friends, neighbors, and general passers-by are evaluating our actions, behaviors, and even our daily routines.

And we do this to others. We know which stores are safer than others, which stores we visit take their security more seriously than others, which office buildings are safer, which parking garages are more closely monitored. We even intrinsically know which streets are safe at night, and which streets we go out of our way to avoid. All of this observational knowledge is subconsciously remembered and categorized, and plays and important aspect in split-second decision making scenarios regarding our own safety and security.

In times of crisis, necessity sometimes lends itself to immoral action. Social predators, looters, and criminals of opportunity will always reveal themselves when social order is in chaos. Like lions stalking a herd of gazelle, they will evaluate the masses to identify the easy prey vs. those whom pose a challenge, a target drawn on the weakest and most vulnerable first.

However, criminals often act with childhood methodology in that hard work isn’t warranted unless there’s a guaranteed reward for their effort, otherwise only the least bit of effort shall be asserted. So, forget for a moment, that in this crisis scenario you face, there is no power and your system doesn’t work. The camera dome above your door or next and next to your window, says something succinct about your home, “Another target will be easier.”

10. Despite the fact that movies and television will have you convinced otherwise, a weapon will not be required or necessary for your survival in nearly every conceivable crisis you will realistically face. However, as a former soldier I would be lying to you if I told you I didn’t have a weapon as part of my own emergency action plan. If you decide to include a weapon in your inventory, please familiarize, and train yourself to the fullest extent possible, and employ safety, rational thought and sound moral guidance in all aspects of it’s use.

With all aspects considered, my final recommendation is the Mossberg 500 JIC. Mossberg revealed their understanding of emergency preparedness to heart when naming their Model 500 “JIC,” which stands for “Just In Case.” A shotgun such as this serves many masters. It not only acts as a psychological deterrent to the Social Predator when they hear the unmistakable chuh-chik of the slide chambering a round, and being honest, you don’t exactly have to be surgical when firing it either.

This weapon is equally effective at dropping the bad guy, or the flock of ducks flying overhead for dinner. This weapon is lightweight, easy to use, and gets the job done. Just in case you really find yourself in need (or want) of a versatile and dependable weapon, having this on-hand will serve you well. Cost: $479

Everyday a school day...

Your individual list of needs, wants and desires may be completely different than mine, but what’s most important is that you’re forward thinking to a scenario you can help frame and manage before you find yourself whiplashed by the harsh reality of whatever unfortunate predicament life prescribes.

One advantage of advance preparation is that you afford yourself the extra time needed to get yourself ready both mentally and physically for whatever tomorrow may bring. Preparation requires forethought and action, and if you’ve read this far, you have already improved your odds for a successful outcome. Real life is different from little league tee-ball. No participation trophies here. Big Boy rules are in effect. Expect the worst, and hope for the best. Know that problems will arise, and when life breaks bad it often finds you when you are least expecting, and most ill prepared.

Remember that survivors and winners have something in common; they both visualize victory, even when hope seems forsaken, and the odds are stacked against you. Champion Poker Player, Jack Strauss embodies this philosophy with one of his key quotes after winning the World Series of Poker, “I had a chip, and a chair, so I knew I had a chance.”

Hard work and sacrifice must be accepted as your reality. In the end, your commendation for action will not come in the form of applause or congratulations, and certainly not a trophy, but rather in knowing that you and your loved ones will sleep in peace some future night because of your preparation today.

As I’m signing off, an email alert pops up with the subject line, “Zombie Kit.” I smile a little, and then stop. Like the Mossberg, maybe I should include this too. You know, Just in Case. Cost: $349

It's time for our April 29, 2019 edition of our Candidate Power Rankings. We get to add two new candidates, write about a bunch of people that have little to no chance of winning, and thank the heavens we are one day closer to the end of all of this.

In case you're new here, read our explainer about how all of this works:

The 2020 Democratic primary power rankings are an attempt to make sense out of the chaos of the largest field of candidates in global history.

Each candidate gets a unique score in at least thirty categories, measuring data like polling, prediction markets, fundraising, fundamentals, media coverage, and more. The result is a candidate score between 0-100. These numbers will change from week to week as the race changes.

The power rankings are less a prediction on who will win the nomination, and more a snapshot of the state of the race at any given time. However, early on, the model gives more weight to fundamentals and potentials, and later will begin to prioritize polling and realities on the ground.

These power rankings include only announced candidates. So, when you say "WAIT!! WHERE'S XXXXX????" Read the earlier sentence again.

If you're like me, when you read power rankings about sports, you've already skipped ahead to the list. So, here we go.

See previous editions here.

20. Wayne Messam: 13.4 (Last week: 18th / 13.4)

CANDIDATE PROFILE

A former staffer of Wayne Messam is accusing his wife of hoarding the campaign's money.

First, how does this guy have "former" staffers? He's been running for approximately twelve minutes.

Second, he finished dead last in the field in fundraising with $44,000 for the quarter. Perhaps hoarding whatever money the campaign has is not the worst idea.

His best shot at the nomination continues to be something out of the series "Designated Survivor."

Other headlines:

19. Marianne Williamson: 17.1 (Last week: 17th / 17.1)

CANDIDATE PROFILE

Marianne Williamson would like you to pay for the sins of someone else's great, great, great grandparents. Lucky you!

Williamson is on the reparations train like most of the field, trying to separate herself from the pack by sheer monetary force.

How much of your cash does she want to spend? "Anything less than $100 billion is an insult." This is what I told the guy who showed up to buy my 1989 Ford Tempo. It didn't work then either.

Other headlines:

18. John Delaney: 19.7 (Last week: 15th / 20.3)

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Good news: John Delaney brought in $12.1 million in the first quarter, enough for fifth in the entire Democratic field!

Bad news: 97% of the money came from his own bank account.

Other headlines:

17. Eric Swalwell: 20.2 (Last week: 16th / 20.2)

CANDIDATE PROFILE

The Eric Swalwell formula:

  • Identify news cycle
  • Identify typical left-wing reaction
  • Add steroids

Democrats said there was obstruction in the Mueller report. Swalwell said there “certainly" was collusion.

Democrats said surveillance of the Trump campaign was no big deal. Swalwell said there was no need to apologize even if it was.

Democrats said William Barr mishandled the release of the Mueller report. Swalwell said he must resign.

Democrats say they want gun restrictions. Swalwell wants them all melted down and the liquid metal to be poured on the heads of NRA members. (Probably.)

16. Seth Moulton: 20.6 (NEW)

Who is Seth Moulton?

No, I'm asking.

Moulton falls into the category of congressman looking to raise his profile and make his future fundraising easier— not someone who is actually competing for the presidency.

He tried to block Nancy Pelosi as speaker, so whatever help he could get from the establishment is as dry as Pelosi's eyes when the Botox holds them open for too long.

Moulton is a veteran, and his military service alone is enough to tell you that he's done more with his life than I'll ever do with mine. But it's hard to see the road to the White House for a complete unknown in a large field of knowns.

Don't take my word for it, instead read this depressing story that he's actually telling people on purpose:

"I said, you know, part of my job is take tough questions," Moulton told the gathered business and political leaders. "You can ask even really difficult questions. And there was still silence. And then finally, someone in the way back of the room raised her hand, and she said, 'Who are you?' "

Yeah. Who are you?

15. Tim Ryan: 21.6 (Last week: 14th / 20.7)

CANDIDATE PROFILE

When you're talking to less than sixteen people in Iowa one week after your launch, you don't have too much to be excited about.

Ryan did get an interview on CNN, where he also talked to less than sixteen people.

He discussed his passion for the Dave Matthews Band, solidifying a key constituency in the year 1995.

Other headlines:

14. Tulsi Gabbard: 25.2 (Last week: 14th / 25.9)

CANDIDATE PROFILE

Tulsi Gabbard torched Kamala Harris in fundraising!!!!! (Among Indian-American donors.)

No word on who won the coveted handi-capable gender-neutral sodium-sensitive sub-demographic.

She received a mostly false rating for her attack on the Trump administration regarding its new policy on pork inspections, a topic not exactly leading the news cycle. Being from Hawaii, the state which leads the nation in Spam consumption, she was probably surprised when this didn't go mega viral.

Other headlines:

13. Andrew Yang: 27.2 (Last week: 12th / 27.1)

CANDIDATE PROFILE

Yang has a few go-to lines when he's on the campaign trail, such as: "The opposite of Donald Trump is an Asian man who likes math." Another is apparently the Jeb-esque "Chant my name! Chant my name!"

Yang continues to be one of the more interesting candidates in this race, essentially running a remix of the "One Tough Nerd" formula that worked for Michigan Governor Rick Snyder.

I highly recommend listening to his interview with Ben Shapiro, where Yang earns respect as the only Democratic presidential candidate in modern history to actually show up to a challenging and in-depth interview with a knowledgeable conservative.

But hidden in the Shapiro interview is the nasty little secret of the Yang campaign. His policy prescriptions, while still very liberal, come off as far too sane for him to compete in this Stalin look-alike contest.

Other headlines:

12. Jay Inslee: 30.4 (Last week: 11th / 30.4)

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If you read the Inslee candidate profile, I said he was running a one-issue climate campaign. This week, he called for a climate change-only debate, and blamed Donald Trump for flooding in Iowa.

He also may sign the nation's first "human composting" legalization bill. He can start by composting his presidential campaign.

Other headlines:

11. John Hickenlooper: 32.2 (Last week: 10th / 32.0)

CANDIDATE PROFILE

John Hickenlooper was sick of being asked if he would put a woman on the ticket, in the 0.032% chance he actually won the nomination.

So he wondered why the female candidates weren't being asked if they would name a male VP if they won?

Seems like a logical question, but only someone who is high on tailpipe fumes would think it was okay to ask in a Democratic primary. Hickenlooper would be better served by just transitioning to a female and demanding other candidates are asked why they don't have a transgendered VP.

Other headlines:

10. Julian Castro: 35.7 (Last week: 9th / 36.2)

CANDIDATE PROFILE

Lowering expectations is a useful strategy when your wife asks you to put together an Ikea end table, or when you've successfully convinced Charlize Theron to come home with you. But is it a successful campaign strategy?

Julian Castro is about to find out. He thinks the fact that everyone thinks he's crashing and burning on the campaign trail so far is an "advantage." Perhaps he can take the rest of the field by surprise on Super Tuesday when they finally realize he's actually running.

Other headlines:

9. Kirsten Gillibrand: 38.1 (Last week: 8th / 37.8)

CANDIDATE PROFILE

Gillibrand wants you to know that the reason her campaign has been such a miserable failure so far, is because she called for a certain senator to step down. The problem might also be that another certain senator isn't a good presidential candidate.

She also spent the week arm wrestling, and dancing at a gay bar called Blazing Saddle. In this time of division, one thing we can all agree on: Blazing Saddle is a really solid name for a gay bar.

Other headlines:

8. Amy Klobuchar: 45.1 (Last week: 7th / 45.5)

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Klobuchar is attempting a run in the moderate wing of the Democratic primary, which would be a better idea if such a wing existed.

She hasn't committed to impeaching Donald Trump and has actually voted to confirm over half of his judicial nominees. My guess is this will not be ignored by her primary opponents.

She also wants to resolve an ongoing TPS issue, which I assume means going by Peter Gibbons' desk every morning and making sure he got the memo about the new cover sheets.

Other headlines:

7. Elizabeth Warren: 45.3 (Last week: 6th / 46.0)

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Elizabeth Warren is bad at everything she does while she's campaigning. I don't really even watch Game of Thrones, and the idea that Warren would write a story about how the show proves we need more powerful women makes me cringe.

Of course, more powerful people of all the 39,343 genders are welcome, but it's such a transparent attempt at jumping on the back of a pop-culture event to pander to female voters, it's sickening.

We can only hope that when she's watching Game of Thrones, she's gonna grab her a beer.

Other headlines:

6. Cory Booker: 54.9 (Last week: 5th / 55.5)

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Booker is tied with Kamala Harris for the most missed Senate votes of the campaign so far. He gets criticized for this, but I think he should miss even more votes.

Booker is also pushing a national day off on Election Day—because the approximately six months of early voting allowed in every state just isn't enough.

Of course, making it easier to vote doesn't mean people are going to vote for Booker. So he's throwing trillions of dollars in bribes (my word, not his) to seal the deal.

Bookermania is in full effect, with 40 whole people showing up to his appearance in Nevada. Local press noted that the people were of "varying ages," an important distinction to most other crowds, which are entirely comprised of people with the same birthday.

Other headlines:

5. Robert Francis O’Rourke: 60.2 (Last week: 4th /62.6)

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Kirsten Gillibrand gave less than 2% of her income to charity. The good news is that she gave about seven times as much as Beto O'Rourke. Robert Francis, or Bob Frank, also happens to be one of the wealthiest candidates in the race. His late seventies father-in-law has been estimated to be worth as much as $20 billion, though the number is more likely to be a paltry $500 million.

He's made millions from a family company investing in fossil fuels and pharmaceutical stocks, underpaid his taxes for multiple years, and is suing the government to lower property taxes on a family-owned shopping center.

He's also all but disappeared. It's a long race, and you don't win a nomination in April of the year before election day. If he's being frugal and figuring out what he believes, it might be a good move.

But it's notable that all the "pretty boy" hype that Bob Frank owned going into this race has been handed over to Mayor Pete. Perhaps Beto is spending his time working on curbing the sweating, the hand gestures, and the issues with jumping on counters like a feline.

Other headlines:

4. Pete Buttigieg: 62.9 (Last week: 3rd / 62.9)

CANDIDATE PROFILE

When we first put candidates in tiers earlier this year, we broke everyone into five categories from "Front Runners" to "Eh, no." In the middle is a category called "Maybe, if everything goes right," and that's where we put Pete Buttigieg.

Well, everything has gone right so far. But Mayor Pete will be interested to learn that the other 19 candidates in this race are not going to hand him this nomination. Eventually, they will start saying negative things about him (they've started the opposition research process already), and it will be interesting to see how Petey deals with the pressure. We've already seen how it has affected Beto in a similar situation.

The media has spoken endlessly about the sexual orientation of Buttigieg, but not every Democratic activist is impressed. Barney Frank thinks the main reason he's getting this amount of attention is because he is gay. And for some, being a gay man just means you're a man, which isn't good enough.

When you base your vote on a candidate's genitals, things can get confusing.

Other headlines:

3. Kamala Harris: 68.6 (Last week: 1st / 69.1)

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There are a couple of ways to view the Harris candidacy so far.

#1 - Harris launched with much fanfare and an adoring media. She has since lost her momentum. Mayor Pete and former Mayor Bernie have the hype, and Kamala is fading.

#2 - Harris is playing the long game. She showed she can make an impact with her launch, but realizes that a media "win" ten months before an important primary means nothing. She's working behind the scenes and cleaning up with donations, prominent supporters, and loads of celebrities to execute an Obama style onslaught.

I tend to be in category 2, but I admit that's somewhat speculative. Harris seems to be well positioned to make a serious run, locking up more than double the amount of big Clinton and Obama fundraisers than any other candidate.

One interesting policy development for Harris that may hurt her in the primary is her lack of utter disgust for the nation of Israel. There's basically one acceptable position in a Democratic primary when it comes to Israel, which is that it's a racist and terrorist state, existing only to torture innocent Palestinians.

Certainly no one is going to mistake Harris for Donald Trump, but a paragraph like this is poison to the modern Democratic primary voter:

"Her support for Israel is central to who she is," Harris' campaign communications director, Lily Adams, told McClatchy. "She is firm in her belief that Israel has a right to exist and defend itself, including against rocket attacks from Gaza."

Just portraying the rocket attacks as "attacks" is controversial these days for Democrats, and claiming they are responses to attacks indicates you think the Jeeeewwwwwwwws aren't the ones responsible for the start of every hostility. Heresy!

Someone get Kamala a copy of the 'Protocols of the Elders of Zion' before she blows her chance to run the free world.

2. Bernie Sanders: 69.2 (Last week: 2nd / 68.3)

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If Bernie Sanders hates millionaires as much as he claims, he must hate the mirror. As a millionaire, it might surprise some that he donated only 1% to charity. But it shouldn't.

It's entirely consistent with Sandersism to avoid giving to private charity. Why would you? Sanders believes the government does everything better than the private sector. He should be giving his money to the government.

Of course, he doesn't. He takes the tax breaks from the evil Trump tax plan he derides. He spends his money on fabulous vacation homes. He believes in socialism for thee, not for me.

Yes, this is enough to convince the Cardi B's of the world, all but guaranteeing a lock on the rapper-and-former-stripper-that-drugged-and-stole-from-her-prostitution-clients demographic. But can that lack of consistency hold up in front of general election voters?

If Bernie reads this and would like a path to credibility, clear out your bank account and send it here:

Gifts to the United States
U.S. Department of the Treasury
Funds Management Branch
P.O. Box 1328
Parkersburg, WV 26106-1328


Other headlines:

1. Joseph Robinette Biden Jr.: 78.8 (NEW)

Joe has run for president 113 times during his illustrious career, successfully capturing the presidency in approximately zero of his campaigns.

However, when the eternally woke Barack Obama had a chance to elevate a person of color, woman, or anything from the rainbow colored QUILTBAG, he instead chose the oldest, straightest, whitest guy he could find, and our man Robinette was the beneficiary.

Biden has been through a lot, much of it of his own making. Forget about his plagiarism and propensity to get a nostril full of each passing females' hair, his dealings while vice president in both Ukraine and China are a major general election vulnerability— not to mention a legal vulnerability for his children. But hey, win the presidency and you can pardon everyone, right?

His supposed appeal to rust belt voters makes him, on paper, a great candidate to take on Trump. The Clinton loss hinged on about 40,000 voters changing their mind from Hillary to Donald in a few states—the exact areas where victory could possibly be secured by someone named "Middle Class Joe" (as he alone calls himself.)

No one loves Joe Biden more than Joe Biden, and there's a relatively convincing case for his candidacy. But we must remember this unquestionable truth: Joe Biden is not good at running for president.

He's a gaffe machine that churns out mistake after mistake, hoping only to have his flubs excused by his unending charisma. But, will that work without the use of his legendary groping abilities? Only time, and a few dozen unnamed women, will tell.

Also, yes. Robinette is really his middle name.

If only Karl Marx were alive today to see his wackiest ideas being completely paraded around. He would be so proud. I can see him now: Sprawled out on his hammock from REI, fiddling around for the last vegan potato chip in the bag as he binge-watches Academy Awards on his 70-inch smart TV. In between glances at his iPhone X (he's got a massive Twitter following), he sips Pepsi. In his Patagonia t-shirt and NIKE tennis shoes, he writes a line or two about "oppression" and "the have-nots" as part of his job for Google.

His house is loaded with fresh products from all the woke companies. In the fridge, he's got Starbucks, he loves their soy milk. He's got Ben & Jerry's in the freezer. He tells everyone that, if he shaved, he'd use Gillette, on account of the way they stand up for the Have-Nots. But, really, Marx uses Dollar Shave Club because it's cheaper, a higher quality. Secretly, he loves Chic-Fil-A. He buys all his comic books off Amazon. The truth is, he never thought people would actually try to make the whole "communism" thing work.

RELATED: SOCIALISM: This is the most important special we have done

Companies have adopted a form of socialism that is sometimes called woke capitalism. They use their status as corporations to spread a socialist message and encourage people to do their part in social justice. The idea of companies in America using socialism at all is as confusing and ridiculous as a donkey in a prom dress: How did this happen? Is it a joke? Why is nobody bursting out in laughter? How far is this actually going to go? Does someone actually believe that they can take a donkey to prom?

Companies have adopted a form of socialism that is sometimes called woke capitalism.

On the micro level, Netflix has made some socialist moves: The "like/dislike" voting system was replaced after a Netflix-sponsored stand-up special by Amy Schumer received as tidal wave of thumb-downs. This summer, Netflix will take it a step further in the name of squashing dissent by disabling user comments and reviews. And of course most of us share a Netflix account with any number of people. Beyond that, they're as capitalist as the next mega-company.

Except for one area: propaganda. Netflix has started making movie-length advertisements for socialism. They call them "documentaries," but we know better than that. The most recent example is "Knock Down the House," which comes out tomorrow. The 86-minute-long commercial for socialism follows four "progressive Democrat" women who ran in the 2018 midterms, including our favorite socialist AOC.

Here's a snippet from the movie so good that you'll have to fight the urge to wave your USSR flag around the room:

This is what the mainstream media wants you to believe. They want you to be moved. They want the soundtrack to inspire you to go out and do something.

Just look at how the mainstream media treated the recent high-gloss "documentary" about Ilhan Omar, "Time for Ilhan." It received overwhelmingly bad ratings on IMDb and other user-review platforms, but got a whopping 93% on the media aggregator Rotten Tomatoes.

This is exactly what the media wants you to think of when you hear the word socialism. Change. Empowerment. Strength. Diversity. They spend so much energy trying to make socialism cool. They gloss right over the unbelievable death toll. BlazeTV's own Matt Kibbe made a great video on this exact topic.

Any notion of socialism in America is a luxury, made possible by capitalism. The woke companies aren't actually doing anything for socialism. If they're lucky, they might get a boost in sales, which is the only thing they want anyway.

We want to show you the truth. We want to tell you the stories you won't hear anywhere else, not on Netflix, not at some movie festival. We're going to tell you what mainstream media doesn't want you to know.

Look at how much history we've lost over the years. They changed it slowly. But they had to. Because textbooks were out. So people were watching textbooks. It was printed. You would bring the book home. Mom and dad might go through it and check it out. So you had to slowly do things.

Well, they're not anymore. There are no textbooks anymore. Now, you just change them overnight. And we are losing new history. History is being changed in realtime.

RELATED: 'Good Morning Texas' joins Glenn to get an inside look at Mercury Museum

You have to write down what actually is happening and keep a journal. Don't necessarily tell everybody. Just keep a journal for what is happening right now. At some point, our kids won't have any idea of the truth. They will not have any idea of what this country was, how it really happened. Who were the good guys. Who were the bad guys. Who did what.

As Michelle Obama said. Barack knows. We have to change our history. Well, that's exactly what's happening. But it's happening at a very rapid pace.

We have to preserve our history. It is being systematically erased.

I first said this fifteen years ago, people need clay plots. We have to preserve our history as people preserved histories in ancient days, with the dead see scrolls, by putting them in caves in a clay pot. We have to preserve our history. It is being systematically erased. And I don't mean just the history of the founding of our country. I mean the history that's happening right now.

And the history that's happening right now, you're a problem if you're a conservative or a Christian. You are now a problem on the left, if you disagree and fall out of line at all. This is becoming a fascistic party. And you know what a fascist is. It doesn't matter if you're a Democrat or a Republican or an independent. If you believe it's my way or the highway, if you believe that people don't have a right to their opinion or don't have a right to their own life — you could do be a fascist.

Christianity might seem pretty well-protected in the U.S., but that's not the case in many parts of the globe.

On Easter Sunday, suicide bombers made the news for killing 290 innocent Christians in Sri Lanka and injuring another 500. On Tuesday, ISIS claimed responsibility for the massacre. Of course, the Western world mourned this tragic loss of life on a holy day of worship, but we forget that this isn't an isolated incident. Indeed, Christians are discriminated at extreme levels worldwide, and it needs to be brought to light. And whenever we do highlight brutal persecutions such as the Easter bombings in Sri Lanka, we need to call them what they are — targeted attacks against Christians. Sadly, many of our politicians are deathly afraid to do so.

RELATED: Hey media, there is absolutely a war on Christians!

A 2018 Pew Research Center study found that Christians are harassed in 144 countries — the most of any other faith — slightly outnumbering Muslims for the top of the list. Additionally, Open Doors, a non-profit organization that works to serve persecuted Christians worldwide, found in their 2019 World Watch List that over 245 million Christians are seriously discriminated against for their religious beliefs. Sadly, this translates into 4,136 Christians killed and 2,625 either arrested, sentenced, imprisoned, or detained without trial over the year-long study period. And when it comes to churches, those in Sri Lanka were merely added to a long list of 1,266 Christian buildings attacked for their religion.

These breathtaking stats receive very little coverage in the Western world. And there seems to be a profound hesitation from politicians in discussing the issue of persecution against Christians. In the case of the Sri Lanka bombings, there's even a reluctance to use the word "Christian."

After the horrific Pittsburgh Synagogue and New Zealand Mosque shootings, Democrats rightfully acknowledged the disturbing trend of targeted attacks against Jews and Muslims. But some of these same politicians refer to the Sri Lanka bombings with careless ambiguity.

So why is it so hard for our leaders to acknowledge the persecutions Christians face?

Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, for instance, certainly did — calling the incursions "attacks on Easter worshippers." Understandably, the term confused and frustrated many Christians. Although, supporters of these politicians argued the term was appropriate since a recent Associated Press report used it, and it was later picked up by a variety of media outlets, including Fox News. However, as more Democrats like 2020 presidential candidate Julián Castro and Rep. Dan Kildee continued to use the phrase "Easter worshippers," it became clear that these politicians were going out of their way to avoid calling a spade a spade.

So why is it so hard for our leaders to acknowledge the persecutions Christians face? For starters, Christianity in democratic countries like the U.S. is seen differently than in devastated countries like Somalia. According to Pew Research, over 70% of Americans are Christian, with 66% of those Christians being white and 35% baby boomers. So while diverse Christians from all over the world are persecuted for their faith—in the U.S., Christians are a dominant religion full of old white people. This places Christians at the bottom of progressives' absurd intersectional totem poll, therefore leaving little sympathy for their cause. However, the differing experiences of Christians worldwide doesn't take away from the fact that they are unified in their beliefs.

By refusing to name the faith of the Sri Lankan martyrs, politicians are sending a message that they have very little, if no, concern about the growing amount of persecution against Christians worldwide.

Martyrs don't deserve to be known as "Easter worshippers." They should be known by the Christian faith they gave their lives for. Decent politicians need to call the tragedy in Sri Lanka what it is — a vicious attack on the Christian faith.

Patrick Hauf (@PatrickHauf) is a writer for Young Voices and Vice President of Lone Conservative. His work can be found in the Washington Examiner, Townhall, FEE, and more.