Get Prepared Newsletter Recap

 

Part 1 –Safe Investing


Part 2 – Victory Garden


Part 3 – Food Storage


Part 4 – Glenn’s Last Meal




Get Prepared: Safe Investing




It's All About Diversification


by Chuck Butler

It has changed a lot over the last 50 years. Think of a typical American household in the 1960's: we bought an American car propelled by Oklahoma crude; toys for our children and clothing for everyone was mostly made right here in the USA; food was quick to market (and not fast food) from local producers; and we all felt paying off the mortgage quickly was the thing to do. And all these costs were denominated in US dollars.

Today every American household is a multinational importer. We buy autos from Europe and Japan, oil from the Middle East, consumer goods from a host of Asian countries, natural resource prices are dictated by mines in Australia and Africa, and we've financed our mortgage at lower rates with cash provided by China, Japan and Russia. And when the value of the US dollar declines costs for the family go higher.

But for the most part our investment portfolios are the same as they have always been. When you ask an associate if they have a diversified portfolio they'll likely reply that yes, they have a number of the stocks in the S&P or maybe an index fund. But what about the rest of the world?

The Basics

When people think about their investment portfolio usually it's about stocks, bond and maybe real estate. But what many experts believe is that other asset classes like foreign currencies can reduce overall portfolio risk, hedge some of the price risk inherent in a falling US dollar for our typical multinational family, and at times provide a great return all by itself.

And of course when you consider investing in foreign currency: You wouldn't buy just one stock for your portfolio would you? Then why have just one currency (dollars) in your portfolio?

The Declining US Dollar

Since February 2002, the dollar has been declining. The last four completed US dollar directional trends since departing the Bretton Woods Agreement in 1971 have ranged in length from 7 to 20 years and are propelled by a collection of fundamental reasons and events. Until these fundamental reasons change, the trend continues.

Trends are not a one way street - in 2005 for example the US dollar gained strength as the Federal Reserve raised rates. But as the US dollar enters its 7th year of decline one must wonder if the trend is nearing an end. The thing to keep in mind here is that at no time during each of the previous weak dollar trends did we, as a country, have a situation with a mortgage meltdown, credit and liquidity crunch, consumer debt greater than GDP, a Current Account Deficit greater than 5%, and a war to fight.

In this decline there appear to be a number of fundamental issues contributing to the decline but the big two have been the large US Current Account deficit, the Federal Budget deficit.

Current Account Deficit

In February 2002, the U.S. Current Account Deficit reached 4.5% of GDP. Historically, this level of indebtedness to GDP meant that the country posting such deficits would experience a currency crisis or at least a large depreciation. And so we have.

Since then the Current Account Deficit climbed to 6% of GDP in April of 2007, and has recently been running just below 6%. So instead of correcting the fundamental reason the weak trend of the dollar, has instead gotten worse.

Deficits Do Matter

People who should know better, continue to say that "Deficits Don't Matter". Unfortunately, that's not true. The rising Deficit is a contributor to the current dollar decline, and the fact that the Deficit continues to rise, keeps the dollar in its weak trend.

When a country incurs a Deficit, it needs to be financed. As a nation of non-savers this means that for us the financing will need to come from overseas.

Since financing is needed from abroad we face two choices:

1. Interest rates will have to move significantly higher to attract investment; or


2. The country can allow a debasement of their currency, which acts as a clearing mechanism for investments. As foreigners buy U.S. assets, their base currency is converted to dollars to purchase the asset. If the dollar is weak, it gives the buyer the ability to purchase the asset at a discount.

Given the options, politicians have recently chosen debasement of their currency. It's the easy way out since there are no spending cuts to make or taxes to raise. Unfortunately, no country has ever debased their currency to prosperity!

Reducing Purchasing Power

As the US dollar declines the price of consumer goods for our typical multinational family will go up.

A good example is the price of oil. Since 2002 oil prices for a European family have risen by 92% - and that's a lot. But unfortunately due to the decline in the US dollar prices for those of us in the USA have gone up a whopping 319%! That's a whopper.

Protecting Yourself from Further Depreciation

As stated earlier, currencies can help provide a hedge against dollar depreciation. But how does one go about choosing a currency or which currencies to purchase?

Interest rates can play a big part in a country's currency performance, as investors look for positive interest rate differentials around the world. However, interest rates are not the "end-all" to currency valuations, as countries with a need to attract foreign investment may raise interest rates above the norm to achieve their goal of attracting foreign investment.

I like to tell people to look at a currency as the "stock of a country" .

When you analyze a stock you are trained to look at the company's balance sheet, their yield, their ability to attract investment, their leadership, and other things.

Take that same training to analyze the currency you want to purchase. Does the country have a positive balance of payments? (Surplus), Does the country provide a yield? Does the country need to attract foreign investment? Does the country's Central Bank provide price stability (keep inflation low)?

For the longest time, I've pinned my colors to the mast of the countries that have a positive balance of payments (Surplus), as this does not require them to do things to attract foreign investment, and have a deficit dragging down their economy.

Those countries would include: Norway, Sweden, Eurozone, Switzerland, Singapore, Japan, and China.

Another thing to look for is the country's ability to produce raw materials that other countries demand. Australia and Canada would be two countries that meet that criteria.

How To Use These Currencies

Now that you understand how foreign currencies can be an important part of your investment portfolio, here are ways you can buy them:

Foreign currency CD's that give you interest based on a country's interest rate structure, and the currency gain or loss depending on the currency's performance vs the dollar.

There are also savings accounts that do not offer interest, but give the holder of the currency liquidity, thus enabling them to buy the currency one day and sell it the next should they want to do that.

The Benefit that these products hold over ETF's is the fact that the holder actually owns the currency, of which they can take delivery of at some point in the future.

Chuck Butler is the President of Everbank.


Get Prepared: Victory Garden




Planting a Victory Garden


by: Michael Glassman

Back in World War II the United States Government urged people to plant food in order to help ease the burden on the nation's food supply during a very difficult time in the history of our nation. The resulting gardens were nicknamed "Victory Gardens".

Today's economy is not exactly the same as it was back then, but we are facing challenges of our own. Our food supply is not necessarily in danger of going away, but in case you haven't noticed prices on the most basic of things are going through the roof---and that starts to add up. I realize not everyone has a giant corner of their yard to dig up and turn into a farm, but there are things you can grow in just about any landscape that will not only yield food, but blend in with the surroundings.

Vines that Fruit: Do you have a blank wall that needs something growing on it? Try building a lattice trellis on the wall and planting grapes to grow on the trellis. "Red Flame Seedless" or "Thompson Seedless" grapes are great vines to plant on a trellis or on an iron gazebo, the beautiful fruit bunches hanging down make a great addition to your landscape. Do you have an empty iron arch? A great vine is Kiwis. You need to plant a male and a female vine in order for them to cross pollinate and produce fruit. Plant one of each on either side of the arch. Sweet Peas or Snap beans also make a great vine for a trellis or an arch. If you have a blank spot in your garden that only gets morning sun, try planting Blueberries.

Pot Veggies: A bare patio could use a large pot planted with vegetables and herbs. In the center of a large pot place a wire topiary frame and plant a tomato. Tomatoes are the fastest and easiest to grow they take about 2 to 3 months before producing fruit. Place them in full sun and water daily. Around the tomato, plant basil, oregano, thyme and garlic-this pot has the making of a good pasta sauce. Or plant a pot with Butter lettuce, Romaine lettuce, radishes, a cherry tomato plant and you have a salad in a pot. Herbs make good ground covers: such as creeping thyme, lemon thyme, chamomile, strawberries, all make great ground covers and all grow in full sun.

Privacy Food: If you are looking to create some privacy between you and your neighbors, don't just get any old plant. Plant "Laurus Nobilus", common name Bay Laurels, for a good privacy screen. This is better known as Bay leaves, the same spice that we dry and use in our spaghetti sauce. They are an evergreen bush or tree growing up to 35 feet in height. They give you plenty of privacy. Or plant "Feijoa Sellowiana" common name Pineapple Guava. They make a great evergreen screen growing up to 20 feet in height and have delicious fruit that can be eaten and will also make great mixed drinks.

Made in the shade: Fruit trees make a great shade tree or patio tree. Try planting a self pollinating Cherry Tree. Cherries are so expensive in the supermarket and yet one "Bing Cherry" can produce over 10 to 15 lbs of fruit. My family just harvested our Cherry tree. The fruit was delicious and we picked over 10 lbs of fruit. Other fruit tree options would be planting a Santa Rosa plum or Apricot. These trees produce beautiful white and pink flowers that turn into delicious fruit. If you have a very small yard plant a dwarf or semi-dwarf variety. Full size fruit trees can grow up to 20 feet in height, yet a semi dwarf fruit tree grows about 12 feet and a genetic dwarf fruit tree grows only to about 4 to 5 feet. Genetic fruit trees are great to grow in a pot or large tub. Peaches, nectarines and apples are also great trees to plant in your garden. If you have very limited space and only have room for one fruit tree but you like so many of the summer fruits, you can buy a fruit tree that is called a "fruit cocktail tree". These are fruit trees that have been grafted with several different kinds of fruit on one tree, such as a cherry, plum and peach.

In warmer climates citrus trees and bushes are wonderful. A full size citrus tree can grow 20 feet, it is an evergreen tree with fragrant flowers and wonderful fruit. If you like navel oranges plant "Washington Navels" or "Robertson navels". If juice is desired plant a "Valencia Orange". If you are interested in making Lemonade, plant a" Eureka" or a "Lisbon" Lemon, if you want a decorative Lemon with an orange skin plant a Improved Mayer Lemon. Genetic dwarf citrus grow to a height of 4 to 6 feet are great to grow in a large pot. If you do get a cold spell you can cover them with a plastic tarp making a tent (try not to touch the leaves) or bring the pot inside or on a sheltered patio. Plant strawberries to drape over the container around the dwarf citrus.

Melons are very expensive to buy at the store. Take an area that gets full sun and build 12" high by 24" wide mounds of dirt. Place two melon plants "Ambrosia" cantaloupes or "Sugar Baby" watermelons on the top of the mounds and water daily for two weeks. Melons should be planted after the last frost. After the first two weeks water every other day. It takes 65 to 85 days for your melons to ripen and be ready to eat. When preparing the soil mix in coffee grounds or compost to add organic material to your soil. Aged horse manure is one of the best composts since it is not as high in Urinemic acid as cow manure is.

These are just a few starter ideas help you create an edible garden. Will it solve all of your problems with high food prices? No. But you'll be surprised at how much you'll gain from the work you put into growing your own food. You'll gain a little in the pocketbook; you'll make a few less trips to the grocery store. But most importantly you'll experience the satisfaction of growing your own fruits, herbs and vegetables---and you'll possess the knowledge that you are prepared to provide for your family (at least basic nourishment) no matter what is going on in the world---which is a bit of a 'victory' in its own right.

Michael Glassman is co-host of the Discovery Channel's "Garden Police". He has over 20 years experience, and a degree in Landscape Design and Horticulture from the University of California at Davis. He currently lives in Northern California with his wife and daughter and his work can be viewed on his website.


Get Prepared: Food Storage




Family Emergency Survival - Air, Water, and Food


by: Arthur B. Robinson, PhD

During emergencies - natural and man-made - one's family and friends may find themselves without ordinary essentials that make life possible. A human can survive only a few minutes without air, a few days without water, and a few weeks without food. Each of us has a fundamental moral responsibility to make certain that those people for whom we are responsible can get to the other side of an emergency alive, regardless of inconvenience or unhappiness that may occur during the event.

A safe air supply can be lost due to chemical, biological, or nuclear fallout contamination, or, of course, through simpler means such as flood waters over one's head. These threats are best met by public civil defense preparations - preparations that U.S federal and state politicians and bureaucrats have been unwilling to make. So, concerned private citizens must either buy costly air protection systems or arrange to live in locations that are less threatened. These preparations are beyond the scope of this article. Definitive and comprehensive civil defense information is available here.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency, FEMA, performs exactly the function that its name indicates. FEMA "manages" emergencies. It does not prepare for emergencies. The last remaining civil defense functions - physical preparations for emergencies - of FEMA were defunded by the Clinton Administration. People deprived of safe air die within minutes. All that remains to be "managed" is their burial.

A safe supply of emergency water is relatively easy to provide. One method is to simply close the inlet and outlet valves of the home water heater in case of impending emergency. This will preserve many gallons of life-saving drinking water. Storage of additional water is also prudent. This can be done in one gallon milk containers, 50 gallon plastic drums, or most other containers of convenience. It is best to use multiple containers rather one container, the possible loss of which endangers the entire supply. As time passes, regardless of the water treatment method, stored water usually accumulates contaminants that one would ordinarily prefer to avoid, but which are acceptable during an emergency. Excellent purification systems are available from many sources, although emergency preparation funds are probably better spent in other ways.

Stored water must, however, be protected from poisonous biological contamination that can accumulate with time. The simplest way to provide this protection is by addition of chlorine compounds available as ordinary bleach. This must be done safely and correctly. These procedures are given in the book, Nuclear War Survival Skills, available on-line without cost here. This book also provides instructions for expedient water purification procedures.

A safe and sufficient supply of food is also easy to arrange, but provision of emergency food is often misunderstood.

First, most adults and children - with the exception of infants - can survive for several weeks without food. Survival food storage is required primarily for emergencies lasting for weeks, months, or even years.

Second, stored food should provide essential nutrition - not gourmet satisfaction. Storage of freeze-dried ordinary food, for example, caters to the illusion that a food-requiring emergency will be such a benign event that the participants will be very concerned about the tastiness of their food. Nothing could be further from the truth. Emergency food preparedness involves staying alive and in functional good health - not catering to one's pallet. Every food storage dollar should purchase the greatest quantity of nutritious food possible - not unneeded luxuries.

Third, a family food storage program should include as great an amount of nutritious, long-lasting food as the family can afford - not an amount estimated for the family's personal needs. The family friends and neighbors who have not stored food will need to be fed, too. Very, very few Americans would, in an emergency, eat stored food while allowing their neighbors and friends to die from starvation. Consequently, a family must realize that their food will likely last only so long as they can feed themselves and their friends and neighbors.

Fourth, stored food should last for 50 years or more in good condition.

During the 1980s at the Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine, we developed food storage recommendations that consider these requirements. These recommendations were subsequently adopted and publicized by FEMA. Our food storage suggestions are as follows:

1. Store whole grain - not ground or otherwise processed - corn, wheat, and soybeans in a ratio by weight of 2:2:1. In other words, if one is storing 40 pound plastic, nitrogen-packed pails of grain, store 2 pails each of wheat and corn for each single pail of soybeans. Combined in these proportions, ground to flour, cooked (as in corn bread), and eaten, 2 to 3 pounds per day of this mixture will provide the nutrition required for a marine in combat - except for vitamin C and salt. An ordinary person surviving during an emergency would require perhaps half as much. Note: soybeans must be cooked before eating to avoid danger to health.

Nitrogen packing helps to assure that insects cannot infest the food. Containers should be long-lived and rodent resistant. There are several good commercial sources of food already appropriately packaged for storage - for example, Walton Feed in Idaho.

2. Store 1 kilogram of ascorbic acid (vitamin C) for each person-year of food. This is 3 grams per day. People under stress require extra vitamin C for optimum health. For prevention of death from scurvy, however, about 1% of this amount will suffice, so storage of vitamin C in these amounts might save the lives of an entire community.

Store crystalline vitamin C - not pills. During storage, the pills may deteriorate. In a cool, dry bottle, crystalline vitamin C will last indefinitely. Vitamin C can also be obtained by simply sprouting some of the food grain before eating. In a serious emergency, however, sprouting may prove difficult. Store also, in a cool place, a supply of ordinary multivitamin pills.

3. Store lots of salt. This could be crucial to saving many lives. An inexpensive and convenient form is in bags or salt blocks obtained from a local farm feed store.

4. For infants, store dried milk available from food storage suppliers in #10 cans. Infants can live on the grain ration, but they may refuse to eat less familiar food and will do better with milk.

5. Store several 4 gallon plastic buckets each containing 25 pounds of ordinary table sugar - sucrose; 1 pound baking soda; 5 x 11 ounce containers of Lite salt - KCl &NaCl; and a teaspoon for measuring. Dehydration from burns and diseases such as cholera can be treated with proper oral administration of these items. Instructions can be found in the March 1988, Volume 1, # 12, Fighting Chance newsletter. These buckets could save many lives during a serious prolonged emergency, where ordinary medical care is not available.

In ordinary times, soy bean, corn, and wheat flour can serve as a base for delicious and nutritious corn bread - when cooked with lots of baking soda, vegetable oil, and fruit for flavor.

Prior to the current U.S. government program to burn America's food for fuel, the rations above could be purchased and stored for about $100 per person per year of food. Prices now are between $200 and $300 per person year. If Americans continue to allow repressive government regulation and taxation of their nuclear and hydrocarbon energy industries and tax-subsidized use of food for fuel, these prices will rise much higher.

It is best to store food now, while it is still available at a reasonable price.

Art Robinson is a scientist and currently a professor at the Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine. The Federal Emergency Management Agency has commended and utilized Robinson work on emergency preparedness.


Get Prepared: Glenn's last meal




The Amazing Recipes for Glenn's last meal


by: Michale Lomonaco

Here, as promised, are the delicious recipes for Glenn's last meal, provided by Michael Lomonaco. These recipes are so good, however, that it's highly recommended they be utilized many, many times in between now and your last meal.

Maryland-Style Crab Cakes

Mustard-Glazed Beef Short Ribs

The Best French Fries

Double Crust Apple Pie

Michael Lomonaco is Executive Chef and Partner at Porter House restaurant located at 10 Columbus Circle, 4th Floor, New York, NY 10019. (212-823-9500).

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)

CANDIDATE PROFILE

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)

CANDIDATE PROFILE

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)

CANDIDATE PROFILE

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)

CANDIDATE PROFILE

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)

CANDIDATE PROFILE

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)

CANDIDATE PROFILE

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)

CANDIDATE PROFILE

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)

CANDIDATE PROFILE

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.