"Shit, piss, fuck, cunt, cocksucker, motherfucker, and tits. Those are the heavy seven. Those are the ones that'll infect your soul, curve your spine, and keep the country from winning the war.” - George Carlin

Go anyplace people congregate besides a church, and you’ll find more people swearing and swearing more often than ever before. A lot of people in those churches will swear once they’re outside those sacred walls, too. In a bar, you can overhear a conversation where every other word is a swear word, and I mean that quite literally. Go into a library and the people talking on the phone or chatting online are swearing. I’ve experienced both in the last few weeks.


 This post was originally published at FoulPlaybyPlay.com, a community of foul-mouthed, sports broadcasters providing commercial-free, uncensored play-by-play during select games.


According to a 2006 Associated Press poll, nearly three-quarters of Americans questioned -- 74 percent -- said they encounter profanity in public frequently or occasionally. Two-thirds said they think people swear more than they did 20 years ago, and 64 percent said they say fuck, ranging from several times a day (8 percent) to a few times a year (15 percent). People who swear are not in the minority. We are the majority.

But we don’t swear all that often. Just one in 200 words uttered are swear words, so it’s not like we’ve become completely vulgar. But why do we swear? Researchers at Keele University in Staffordshire led by Richard Stephens found that cursing is most often associated with angry attitudes and emotions toward certain subjects and is used as an emotional coping mechanism. Cursing allowed the study's participants to feel a sense of empowerment. Not only does it empower you mentally, but physically as well. Swearing can improve your performance of physical tasks and also reduces pain, unless you swear everyday.

So swearing is a coping mechanism that empowers. People who struggle with shyness might feel better behind sunglasses. The lonely get pets. People who stub their toe or watch their favorite baseball team blow a five-run lead and lose in extra innings swear. And it’s not due to a lack of vocabulary or intelligence, either.

Psychologists at Marist College found that those with the best handle on vocabulary also had the best handle on profanity. Those who struggled with vocabulary also struggled with profanity, so the smarter you are the more profanity potential you have.

A 2016 book by Benjamin K. Bergen investigates the linguistic history, psychology and science of swearing. It’s appropriately called What the F: What Swearing Reveals About Our Language, Our Brains, and Ourselves. What it reveals about the history and anatomy of swearing is in-fucking-credible.

Why and how do words become swear words? Bergen found that the majority of American English swear words have “closed syllables,” meaning the words end in a consonant, as in “fuck.” Most are also just one syllable and start with a consonant, like “fuck” and “tits.” “Profane English monosyllables are significantly more likely to end with a stop consonant, like t or k, than other English words” (47). So English speakers naturally find words consisting of one syllable and a stop consonant to be less pleasing to the ear. If a word sounds displeasing, it’s more likely to have a meaning that’s displeasing. A word like “cunt” sounds bad regardless of meaning.

Explaining what makes a curse word isn’t dependent simply on its sound, though. It’s the meaning of words that matters. Many curse words are associated with genitalia, like “cunt” or “cock,” the use of genitalia, like “fuck” and “cocksucker,” or the process of excreting fluids, like “piss” and “shit.” So we’ve created these mostly monosyllabic, stop-consonant words that sound displeasing to associate with things that make for displeasing conversation. Most people don’t like to talk about pissing and shitting, and some don’t like to talk about fucking, although all these taboo topics have received ample attention from comedians and comedies.

There’s nothing funny about a lot of curse words, though. For me, the most unfortunate finding of Bergen’s many studies and experiments was discovering that slurs directed at a specific community, ethnicity or race weren’t found by Americans to be most offensive. While “nigger” was far and away the most offensive word, and “fag” was third, “cocksucker” fourth, and “chink” fifth, words like “homo,” “lesbo,” “queer,” “spic,” “kike,” and “gook” settled in the middle.

Americans actually found “bitch” to be more offensive than “retard” and “dyke.” “Whore,” “pussy” and “slut” were found to be more offensive to Americans than “homo” and “lesbo.” “Asshole” and “prick” were found to be more offensive than “queer,” “spic,” “kike” and “gook.” And the word gay used with the intent of being offensive to homosexuals ranked fifth to last in offensiveness, right behind “dumb,” “sodomize” and “moron.”

What the fuck, America? Where’s the fucking empathy? Put yourself in the shoes of a homosexual and tell me you find “cunt” more offensive than “fag” or “cocksucker.” Australians throw “cunt” around like it’s “shit.” And there’s no way “bitch” is more offensive than “homo,” “lesbo” or “queer” unless you’re a misogynistic pig who thinks questioning manhood is worse than questioning sexual identity or preference. Apparently Americans do feel that way, though, which is probably why we don’t have a female President and a misogynist instead.

Swearing is also geographically dependent, though. Where you live determines what you say. Jack Grieve has researched what swear words are most popular in America and where, resulting in a collection of heat maps displaying the most commonly used swear words. The southeast United States is apparently the hotbed for swearing in America. Coastal Americans use “fuck” more often than Midwesterners, and swear more in general.

People in Great Britain swear differently than Americans and find different words offensive, too. For instance, Brits found “cunt,” “motherfucker” and “fuck” to be most offensive, with “nigger” coming in fourth, which is even more disturbing. Half of Brits surveyed didn’t consider “Jew” to be swearing, but “Paki,” a slur for people of South Asian descent, was found to be the sixth most severe swear word. So Americans can take some consolation in knowing they found an actually offensive word most offensive.

When it comes to the “heavy seven” as George Carlin calls them -- shit, piss, fuck, cunt, cocksucker, motherfucker and tits -- I think all should be allowed except “cocksucker” because it denigrates homosexual males. Instead of censoring words that hurt no one, we should censor words that actually hurt some.

Words like nigger, chink, retard, dyke, homo, lesbo, cocksucker, queer, spic, kike, gook, wop, redskin, and any other racial or ethnic slur, and words dedicated to denigrating the disabled or the sexual identities of others have no place in public conversation or in mass media. “Shit,” “piss,” “fuck,” “cunt,” “motherfucker” and “tits” hurt no one -- not even children. “There’s no evidence that exposure to profanity harms children, and...there are better ways to deal with profanity than to suppress it,” according to Bergen. But when it comes to the use of harmful language, I’m for censorship.

There’s nothing that hurts my ears more than the ever-increasing use of “gay” and “fag” by young people, or the use of “nigger” and “spic” by those who’ve never come in contact with members of either race they’re denigrating. I’d rather they say “fuck” and “cunt.”   

When I hear the word "faggot" I cringe, and I fucking swear a lot. But that's because "faggot" was repurposed to hurt a specific group of people. When I hear "fuck," I hardly give it any attention. Sometimes I even smile, depending on its use.

Fuck is my favorite word. In fact, profane words are the most versatile. Most can be used as a noun, adjective, adverb, verb, interjection, and conjunction (prepositions are iffy). For instance, “Fuck (interjection)! I squashed my nuts on the fucking (adjective) fuck (noun) so fucking (adverb) hard. I won't fuck (verb) for days, fuck (conjunction) maybe weeks.” You can’t do that with “fag,” although young people are trying.

Once we grow tired of profane words it’s pretty easy to create new ones. Bergen created a bunch of words and asked Americans which sounded most offensive. These people didn’t know whether these words were from another language or if they existed at all, but it’s no surprise that monosyllabic, stop-consonant words were considered most offensive. Someday “vleak” could be a swear word. Hopefully, though, it will have been created to describe something rather than degrade someone. Then it would have value.

“Fag” has no value to me as a writer, while “fuck” has been used by writers of all mediums (except children’s books). “Fag” has no value because of its intent. Its entire reason for being is to offend, much like “nigger,” “chink,” “retard,” “dyke,” “homo,” “lesbo,” “cocksucker,” “queer,” “spic,” “kike,” “gook,” “wop” and “redskin.” Could you imagine if your entire reason for being on Earth was to offend others? Would you find that useful?

While a lot of swear words have become “fillers,” like “um” and “uh.” When a word is on the tip of your tongue, and you’re struggling to spit it out, it’s perfectly naturally that the struggle would result in swearing. People recovering from brain trauma sometimes lose their vocabulary, except when it comes to swearing. That’s because those swear words are stored in a different part of the brain, so people can convey their frustration. It’s a natural reaction, like dropping a hot plate that’s burning your hand. Swearing is a coping mechanism after all, and uttering that “fuck” could actually make you feel better about yourself, calm your nerves and help you discover that word that briefly escaped you.

Slurs have no place as “fillers.” No one searching for a word says “faggot” to fill the void in conversation unless they have Tourette’s syndrome. There’s always intent behind a slur, and that intent is never useful, which is why the increasing use of slurs is not only displeasing but dangerous.

Since swearing is likely never going away, how should Americans handle swear words? When is it okay to swear? What words are okay to say and when? Well, as a writer, I can only tell you to consider your audience. While writing this piece I considered using a headline that had swear words in it to be as forthcoming as possible with my intentions. But through my work on an uncensored, live podcast, I’ve learned a few things.

The title of the live podcast is Fuck Dick and Bert. It’s meant to be an alternative to the Minnesota Twins’ play-by-play and color commentators Dick Bremer and Bert Blyleven. Not a lot of thought went into the show initially. It was just a way for my friends and me to feel important and productive during Twins’ games and to bitch about the Twins and Dick and Bert’s broadcast. Then came an idea. What if we could provide every fan an alternative audio broadcast of every sporting event that’s not only uncensored but commercial-free? That’s when I started investigating the marketability of uncensored, commercial-free play-by-play.

I took to the forums where Twins fans congregate and asked what people thought of the idea. We hadn’t marketed the show to them directly in the past, so no one was aware. One member had even attempted something similar weeks prior. The responses were mixed. Some thought it was a great idea and the same number of people hated it, but there was one response that stuck with me.

One member said they wouldn’t tune in simply because of the name of the show. The word “fuck” was apparently offensive to him. Despite me telling him I rarely swore during the broadcast and that my intention was to provide helpful life advice and entertaining anecdotes alongside the play-by-play, he said nothing would change his mind except a name change. I hardly slept that night, mulling over alternatives to the name that conveyed everything about the show that our target market needed to know.

Anyone in our target market would see “Fuck Dick and Bert” and know: 1) it’s uncensored, 2) it’s Twins-related because Dick and Bert are the longtime Fox Sports North broadcasters, and 3) it doesn’t like Dick and Bert and is probably nothing like Dick and Bert’s broadcasts.

But if one person won’t tune in because they perceive the show to be “in bad taste” due to the use of profanity in the title, that’s one too many. And while advertising a show with profanity in the title is difficult given Facebook’s advertising policies, there’s no point going forward with a show that’s going to turn off an entire group of people because of one word.
So you can consider your audience and treat them as you’d like to be treated, but the Golden Rule doesn’t allow you to know what offends people. Maybe the word “fuck” doesn't offend you but offends them. Maybe they use “fag” and you find that offensive. Are we to censor ourselves for the sake of others? You can try. I do it all the time, but that's when I'm around people I know, so I know what offends them going into conversation.

The only actions you can take with people you’ve just met is nicely ask if they’d stop using the swear words you find offensive. “Could you try not to use that word, please? I find it very offensive.” Try not to be too picky. You can’t expect people to change in the first few minutes they’re in your presence. You are not Jesus Christ, and they are no saint. Don’t be surprised if that offensive word slips through that person’s lips again, because habits are hard to break, but hopefully they apologize. If they refuse or are unable to accommodate you, find a different conversation.

I went about this all wrong the first time around, but I was in a bad mood that day. A young North Dakotan in a rural bar asked me if I was a faggot because I had come from my ex-girlfriend’s funeral and was dressed in slacks and a collared shirt. I was immediately offended, not because I’m gay, but because I despise the word. I was also in the mood to fight after seeing a lifelong friend buried at 24 years old. This young man could have said it in conversation with one of his friends and I probably still would have interjected. I attempted to explain the definition of the word (it’s a bunch of sticks or twigs bundled together as fuel). He thought I was being a smartass, which I was. But what I really wanted to do was say, “Yeah, I’m gay. Wanna make something of it?” and then knock him out in front of a bunch of homophobes. That’s the type of reaction the word “faggot” deserves from everyone. And that goes for all slurs.

As a white male surrounded by brown people and homosexuals, I wouldn't dare utter "nigger,” "spic" or “faggot” in their presence because I don’t use those words privately. I know those words were created to degrade an entire group of people, and I find them useless and displeasing to the ear.

Growing up in Eastern Montana, I've heard Americans who have little to no association with people of other races using slurs far too often, and that's why I wrote this piece. Americans shouldn't be more offended by "fuck" than "fag," but they are. I see America moving away from words like "fuck," “cunt” and “motherfucker,” and towards words like “nigger,” "fag," and “gay.” That growing use of slurs worries me, especially with gentrification forcing minorities out of the cities and into rural areas where people haven't had contact with people unlike themselves. It's a recipe for violence, so I hope Americans realize which words are truly harmful and avoid using them in conversation and online. I hope they’d embrace George Carlin’s “heavy seven” before a new seven ends up hurting more people. I hope it's not too late.

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If you like this, you might like these Genesis Communications Network talk shows: The Costa Report, Free Talk Live, Flow of Wisdom, America’s First News, America Tonight, Bill Martinez Live, Korelin Economics Report, The KrisAnne Hall Show, Radio Night Live, The Real Side, World Crisis Radio

Published in News & Information

While thawing glaciers release explosive methane that destroys the ozone and icebergs the size of Vermont threaten to increase sea levels by inches, Donald Trump kept his promise to withdraw America, the world’s second-leading producer of carbon emissions, from the Paris Agreement on climate change. Apparently, Trump’s America is too good or too greedy to care for the Earth we all call home.

Thanks to Trump’s uninformed decision, he’s actually made China and the European Union look good. Despite China and the EU ranked first and third in carbon emissions, respectively, they intend to form an alliance to further lower global carbon emissions. Both are still committed to the terms negotiated in the Paris Agreement, and the EU has even offered China $11.2 million to support China’s plan to cut carbon emissions.

So America is becoming imperial China, and communist China is becoming America, and not just when it comes to climate change. This sudden love of American nationalism is simply the American version of Chinese sinocentrism. But believing you are the center of the world does not make it so, and there are plenty of disadvantages associated with that arrogance.

Trump’s nationalism is making it more difficult for America to do business overseas everyday. He hopes to create American jobs but shrinks the market for American goods every time he does something like leave the Paris Agreement or Tweets about the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) or any other trade agreement. If you don’t think trade partners take notice of that and act accordingly, you’re as ignorant as you are arrogant.

The things Americans perceive to be necessities are not made in America. Computers, televisions, mobile phones, handheld devices and their components are mostly made in Asia. As of 2011, China produced over 90 percent of all personal computers, 80 percent of all air conditioners, 80 percent of energy-saving light bulbs, 74 percent of solar cell production, and over 70 percent of all mobile phones. Do you think the prices of those items will increase or decrease as a result of China spending to limit carbon emissions while America does nothing to curb climate change?

Think we can build those things here in America? Think again. An American-made iPhone would cost $2,000 because Apple pays a little over $5 to construct a $600 phone. The whole idea of bringing back American production jobs is preposterous, which is why Trump’s nationalistic words and actions are so dangerous. Unlike China, America doesn’t have the production-based economy to back up its nationalism. If the things Americans needed were actually made in America by Americans, then sinocentrism would make sense. But that’s not the case at all. In fact, America depends on its trade agreements like NAFTA, and those agreements are not the reason for decreasing production jobs. NAFTA has been particularly good to farmers and ranchers and those in the automotive industry. Yet many of these farmers and ranchers and automotive workers supported Trump for uninformed or misguided reasons.

America made its bed with foreign automakers long ago, offering deep tax cuts and free money to build giant plants to put Americans to work building foreign cars. That’s not a recipe for success if one of your nation’s cornerstone industries is automobiles. That also can’t be undone, so bitching about the lack of auto exports because America doesn’t have the same deals in place with those automakers who fleeced the U.S. will get us nowhere. Building an automobile that everyone in the world wants will, however, allow for increased auto exports, and I fully expect the Tesla Model 3 to be that automobile. Hell, if Americans could get over their uninformed or misguided opinion that American cars aren’t as reliable or “nice” as foreign cars, there’d be little reason to bitch about the state of the auto industry. Frankly, if you’re an American driving anything but American, we should ship you overseas, not the cars.

America can also take pride in decreasing petroleum imports. The Tesla Model 3 should continue contributing to this decline, as will the Tesla Solar Roof and the fastest growing industry in America -- renewable energy. When America’s strongest industry’s mission is quite literally curbing climate change, there’s no need to risk relations with trade partners by withdrawing from a climate change agreement. It’s oxymoronic, but that’s what we’ve come to expect from Trump.

Cutting yourself off from the world and doing whatever the hell you please doesn’t mean you’re the only place in the world. You still have neighbors to whom you have to placate, and whether you acknowledge their existence or not, that doesn’t mean they don’t have a way of fighting back. I fully expect America’s imports of Chinese products to increase from the current $462.8 billion figure specifically due to a raise in cost and not in quantity. That’s what I would do to a trade partner who said he was going to help me do something and then didn’t.

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If you like this, you might like these Genesis Communications Network talk shows: The Costa Report, Drop Your Energy Bill, Free Talk Live, Flow of Wisdom, America’s First News, America Tonight, Bill Martinez Live, Korelin Economics Report, The KrisAnne Hall Show, Radio Night Live, The Real Side, World Crisis Radio, The Tech Night Owl, The Dr. Katherine Albrecht Show

Published in News & Information

American farmers have been voting against their own interests for quite some time. Despite Republican President Calvin Coolidge vetoing farm relief way back in the 1920s, the majority of farmers and ranchers have continued to vote Republican because they think Republicans support the American farmer, when in fact, Republicans really just support themselves.

Ten Republican lawmakers have taken $6.7 million in taxpayer money in the form of farm subsidies dating back to the 1990s. The annual payout for farm subsidies was just $20 billion as of 2015. The annual budget for corporate welfare was $100 billion in 2012, and the annual expense of actual welfare in the same year, which is under Republican attack again, was $212 billion. So corporations get five times the welfare than farmers and ranchers that feed us and half as much as those in need. Only in America.

But now, as Donald Trump looks to cut, cut, cut from farm subsidies, food stamps and Medicaid in order to increase defense spending and free up money for his border wall, farmers will have reason to consider other candidates at the polls in 2018 and beyond. Trump has proposed slashing the United States Department of Agriculture discretionary budget by $4.7 billion -- or 21 percent -- by cutting funding for rural clean water initiatives and rural business services, reducing some USDA statistical services and cutting county-level staff. This will not go over well with the rural voters who elected him.

Trump is already in hot water with farmers for his attacks on the North American Free Trade Agreement. NAFTA has been good to the American farmer, boosting U.S. farm exports. Renegotiating NAFTA can only have an adverse effect on the American farmer. Even if nothing related to agriculture changes in NAFTA, our neighbors will be less inclined to do business with us since we’re whining about losing production jobs to cheaper labor elsewhere. Here’s an idea: better prepare your population for the global economy and invest in education so America doesn’t need or even want those production jobs.

The Republican Party is like an unfaithful wife to the American farmer and rancher. They lie to the face of the American farmer and rancher and then go and cheat on their husband with a corporate executive. But the American farmer and rancher has no recourse because the American farmer and rancher is a loyal Conservative -- until now, perhaps.

The proposed budget would cut payments like crop insurance, which pays farmers for loss of crops due to natural disasters, conservation assistance, which helps preserve the land and water, and rural development programs. This should piss off plenty of farmers and ranchers.

Trump won eight of the 10 states that received the most federal money in farm subsidies, according to the Environmental Working Group. Even in the two states Trump lost to Hillary Clinton -- Illinois and Minnesota -- he was popular in the rural areas of those states. That might not be the case come 2020.

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If you like this, you might like these Genesis Communications Network talk shows: The Costa Report, Drop Your Energy Bill, Free Talk Live, Flow of Wisdom, America’s First News, America Tonight, Bill Martinez Live, Korelin Economics Report, The KrisAnne Hall Show, Radio Night Live, The Real Side, World Crisis Radio, The Tech Night Owl, The Dr. Katherine Albrecht Show, Free Talk Live, The Easy Organic Gardener, American Survival Radio, American Family Farmer, Jim Brown’s Common Sense, USA Prepares, Building America

Published in News & Information
Thursday, 11 May 2017 17:51

Made in America: Clothing and fashion

Unless you live in a nudist colony, you’ll likely need clothes to make it in America. If you’ve been following along with our “Made in America” series, you’ll know that we’ve already covered American-made forms of transportation, including shoes, home decor and appliances made in the U.S.A., the all-American home, home-grown food and energy, and even American-made vices like alcohol and tobacco. We haven’t forgotten about clothing, which is one of the hardest things to find with “Made in the U.S.A.” on the tag. Chances are slim what you’re wearing now has “Made in the U.S.A.” on the tag.

Clothing keeps us warm, dry and covered, but if Americans made all the clothing purchased in the world, no one would be able to afford it. That’s why it’s so common to find clothes made in Bangladesh, India, Vietnam, Ethiopia, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, the Philippines and, of course, China.

The American clothing market is the largest in the world, totalling $359 billion in 2016, which is why it’s so important to keep those dollars here in America. Employment has nearly doubled in apparel manufacturing, textiles and clothing since 1990, because with more people comes more clothes. But just 1.8 million Americans are employed in the fashion industry, with 79 percent of them working for apparel retailers mostly selling imported products. Just 232,000 are employed to manufacture textiles for apparel and other fashion items (purses, handbags, backpacks, etc.).

In order to change the growing trend of outsourcing fashion and clothing manufacturing, more Americans need to buy more American clothes, and there’s plenty of places to start.

Underwear

American-made men’s underwear is pretty easy to find. Brad Bennett at the Well Spent blog put together a nice list of American options. Keep in mind that just because a company has an American-sounding name, like Duluth Trading Company (mostly made in Vietnam, but they do have a “USA Made” section) or American Eagle (made in China, Guatemala, India, and Vietnam, with some made in America) doesn’t mean it’s products are all-American. Do your research. The only thing that touches American skin should be American-made.

There are plenty of options for American-made women’s underwear, too, including lingerie. HerRoom and HisRoom allows you to search multiple companies’ catalogs for American-made products. For a complete list of American-made underwear companies visit here.

Socks

During the spring, winter and autumn months, there’s no more important stitch of clothing than dry socks. I don’t wear socks for most of the summer unless it rains, but when it comes to keeping my feet warm and dry, I’m a wool man. Wool is the absolute best fabric ever, but the U.S. doesn’t produce much of it. If more people bought more wool, though, maybe it would make a comeback in America.

As I stated earlier, Duluth Trading Company makes some of its products in the U.S.A., and the most common item on their “USA Made” page is socks. If there’s a place that knows cold, it’s Minnesota, but if you’re looking for the best socks on the planet, I’d suggest Darn Tough socks. I recommend them because I have a friend from Vermont, where Darn Tough socks are made, who maintains trails in Glacier National Park, and he swears by them. If there’s an environment that requires darn tough socks, it’s Vermont. It’s the seventh coldest state in America and can be one of the wettest in the spring. Plus, Darn Tough socks are guaranteed for life, so if you manage to put a hole in them, you can return them for another pair. You’ll never buy socks again.

If you’re looking for more fashionable options for men and women, Fox River is the oldest performance sock brand out there. What started as a sock company for lumberjacks 116 years ago is now an all-purpose, sock supplier. They sent out a pair of their Peak Series Lightweight Multisport ankle socks for me to try, and except for them being a little long in the sole, they very comfortable for both the office and the bicycle commute. The "helix fit" as they call it provides volumetric compression around the foot between the ankle and toes. The mesh ventilation zones allow your feet to breathe, and the EverWear Durability Shield on the back of the sock above the heel is a neat feature that should prevent holes in the area that rubs against your shoe. For women’s socks visit here, and if you’re seeking hosiery, tights or leggings, No Nonsense provides an ample supply of American-made products for women. If you’re a man in need of dress socks, look no further than Dapper Classics, which also produces American-made shirts and ties for the office.

Tops and Bottoms

There is a plethora of men’s pants and shirts, women’s dresses and blouses, children’s clothes and even maternity wear made in America. The easiest thing you can do to find American-made options from your favorite retailers is enter “Made in the USA” in their catalog’s search bar. Most online stores like Nordstrom, Lulu’s and Orvis, understand the importance of catering to patriotic purchasers and have a dedicated page for American-made products. If you’re into sportswear, and specifically throwback baseball uniforms and caps, Ebbets Field Flannels is one of my new favorite American stores. There you can buy jerseys you didn't know existed.

Outerwear

USA Love List put together a great list of American-made outerwear for women recently, and if you’re a leather man, Schott NYC has everything from jackets, belts and boots made in America.  Woolrich also provides a page of outdoorsy, clothing products made in the U.S.A. If you’re more into designer trends, The Good Trade put together a list of 15 American-made clothing brands that will turn heads, and GQ has a list of American clothing brands just for men. The most complete Made in America men’s wear list is likely this one by Gear Patrol. Here’s a recent list of more than 100 brands that produce 100 percent of their clothing in America.

So now you have no reason to purchase clothing that isn’t made in America other than cost, but wages in areas where clothes are made are increasing, while American wages remain stagnant, which means American-made clothing will at least be more competitive with imported clothing in the future. So don’t be the typical cheap American when it comes to clothing. I guarantee if you buy the brands listed above, you’ll get more life out of your clothing and more satisfaction for creating American jobs, too.

Next up in our “Made in America” series we’ll look at the best brands for recreation equipment, including guns and ammo, ATVs, tents, backpacks, sleeping bags and the like.

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If you like this, you might like these Genesis Communications Network talk shows: USA Prepares, Building America, Free Talk Live, American Survival Radio, Jim Brown’s Common Sense

Published in News & Information

It’s no secret that Americans pay more for healthcare than anyone in the world, and it’s increasingly less of a secret that a better system would result in fewer infant deaths, fewer preventable deaths, fewer uninsured people, and less expense for Americans. What does that system look like, though? Well, it’s not privatized health insurance.

The problem with privatized health insurance is that it allows or forces people to go uninsured due to cost, which is why President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act is so important. It lowered the number of uninsured to an all-time low of 8.6 percent by forcing affordable coverage options upon them (if you live in a state that expanded Medicaid) or forcing them to pay a fine so the insured wouldn’t have to flip so much of the uninsured’s bill. And while healthcare costs are still increasing (they always will), they are increasing at a slower rate than they were prior to the ACA.

The biggest reason socialized healthcare is difficult for Republicans to stomach is because they don’t trust the federal government to handle healthcare. You hear them say that over and over, and that the states can do it better. I don’t disagree, but if India can provide free healthcare to roughly 276 million Indians living under the poverty line, the American government can certainly do it for 43.1 million impoverished Americans. States should not be allowed to opt out of this coverage. It should be mandatory because those with private insurance would be paying for fewer uninsured visits to the hospital, meaning hospitals wouldn’t have to increase costs for everyone because of the $900 each uninsured visitor costs them annually.

But socialized healthcare is not going to be passed by this Congress or any other unless the Democrats manage a supermajority at some point, and even then it’s no certainty given the bad, yet unwarranted, reputation the word “socialism” has in this country. (Hint: it’s not fascism.)

The House Republicans’ American Health Care Act won’t be passed by this Congress, either. At least not how it currently stands. But minimum wage legislation should appeal to constituents and politicians of both parties.

The biggest problem for Americans isn’t increasing health insurance premiums. The biggest problem is stagnant wages, which is why passing minimum wage legislation is so important. Back in February, the U.S. inflation rate was at its highest since 2012. An item that cost $20 back in 1997 would cost $30.38 today. That’s a cumulative rate of inflation of almost 52 percent in 20 years. Middle- and low-wage workers’ incomes grew just over five percent during the same period. When the value of the U.S. dollar decreases 10 times faster than incomes increase, people struggle to pay for everything. My father and an entire district of a machinists’ union didn’t get a raise for the eight years Ronald Reagan was President. Imagine working for the same wage for nearly a decade while the cumulative rate of inflation increased 36.4 percent over that time. By the end of the eight years your 1981 U.S. dollar was worth just 63.6 cents in 1989. The lack of union membership in America has a lot to do with the increased income for the top 10 percent of earners, too.

While the globalization of the economy makes executives more valuable, a lack of union membership and lack of collective bargaining allows executive salaries to inflate. And while the affordability of commonly used items like refrigerators, ovens, etc. has increased according to the CATO Institute, that doesn’t necessarily offset the ever-increasing cost of energy. Between 2005 and 2015, residential energy costs increased 34 percent despite prices of natural gas delivered to electric utilities declining nearly 60 percent and coal prices remaining essentially flat, according to the Institute for Energy Research. And we all know that gasoline is more expensive. Today’s average price for gasoline is 54 percent more than the inflation-adjusted price of 1998, when oil prices reached an all-time low of $18.13 per barrel.

Secondary education continues to be an increasing expense, which increased on average at a rate of nine percent at four-year colleges, 11 percent at two-year colleges and 13 percent at private colleges since 2011-12, according to CollegeBoard. “But you don’t need a college education,” you might say. Sure, you might not need it, but the value of of a secondary education was double that of an equal investment in the stock market back in 2011, according to the Brookings Institute, and USA Today reported that a New York Fed study determined the net present value of a college degree to be at an all-time high of $300,000 back in 2014.

Education isn’t the only thing that’s steadily increased in cost, either. The median cost of rent has increased 64 percent since 1960 and 12 percent from 2000 to 2010 despite median wages falling seven percent during that time, according to ApartmentList. The Consumer Price Index for food is also 2.4 percent higher than it was just a year ago, according to the United States Department of Agriculture.

While Republican politicians have no interest in socialized healthcare legislation or minimum wage legislation, they should if their goals entail more American jobs and a flourishing American economy. Socialized healthcare legislation, like Rep. John Conyer’s Expanded and Improved Medicare for All Act, and minimum wage legislation, like Rep. Al Green’s Original Living Wage Act, would allow Republicans to create more jobs and allow Americans to further stimulate the economy with expendable income.

No Conservative who is struggling to pay for necessities can successfully argue that they don’t deserve a raise, and no Republican politician can successfully argue that his or her struggling constituents don’t deserve a raise and keep his or her job. This is something Congress can pass and something Donald Trump should be proud to sign. It would be quite the blow to his predecessor if Trump managed to increase wages for all American workers making minimum wage. It would certainly make the numbers look better if Trump and the Republicans are successful in passing their healthcare bill, as more Americans would be able to afford health insurance.

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Americans consume. Whether it’s food, energy, cars, second homes or home furnishings, Americans consume most of the world’s supply. Americans waste 30 to 40 percent of our food supply. America also has an entire city dedicated to sin, so it felt wrong to leave out things Americans obviously don’t need but buy anyway, legal or otherwise. America was built on tobacco after all, and still is a leading producer of tobacco leaves, producing 766.6 million pounds in 2012.

Tobacco

While cigarette use is declining in the United States, e-cigarette use is way up. Disposable e-cigarette sales increased an incredible 320 percent from 2012 to 2013, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. People who would never consider smoking cigarettes smoke e-cigarettes instead. Smokeless tobacco sales were also up over the same period. Despite smoking-related illness costing the U.S. $300 billion each year, Americans were third in cigarette consumption globally (albeit a distant third to China).

The upside of using an addictive, cancer-causing product, if there is an upside, is If you’re buying cigarettes or smokeless tobacco in America, then you’re supporting an American company. It’s that easy. Virginia’s Altria, formerly known as Philip Morris and parent company of the U.S. Smokeless Tobacco Company, raised $25.43 billion of revenue in 2015. Vector Group, owner of Liggett, headquartered in Durham, N.C., raised $1.6 billion in 2014. Reynolds American, parent company of RJ Reynolds and Santa Fe Natural Tobacco, makers of American Spirit cigarettes, raised $8.236 billion in 2013.

American-made e-cigarettes, however, are harder to find. White Cloud, ProVape and Hana Modz are apparently American, but ProVape has closed. If you’re going to smoke or vape, and I nor GCN Live advises you do, smoke or vape American.

Alcohol

Like Scotland and Scotch whisky, and France and champagne, America has places known for alcohol -- most notably bourbon and Tennessee whiskey. While the two are grouped together for international trade reasons, producers of Tennessee whiskey don’t label their product as bourbon, which is why I drink bourbon. I also drink “sparkling wine,” which is champagne made anywhere but France using the exact same method. I can’t afford Scotch.

Like tobacco, alcohol misuse costs Americans a pretty penny -- $249 billion in 2010 according to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. And Americans are consuming more alcohol than in the past, but aren’t in the top five as far as nations go.

It’s pretty easy to determine whether or not your alcoholic beverage is American-made. Just check the label. Thrillist ranked the top 25 American craft distilleries recently. A few of my favorites -- Jim Beam and Maker’s Mark -- are owned by Japanese company Suntory Holdings, Ltd. I know, it reminds me of Lost in Translation, too, and kind of makes me want to cry, but both are still made in Kentucky, with Maker’s Mark being the oldest operating bourbon distillery in the world.

Beer is the alcoholic beverage of choice amongst Americans, though, accounting for 85 percent of the alcoholic beverage market. If you’re into microbrews, you’re pretty much in luck if you live in America. You’re not only drinking American, but shopping locally. All that money you spend goes right back into your community’s economy. There’s over 3,000 American breweries and over 2,500 American breweries on this map. You can find one near you here.

If you drink Budweiser, Busch or Miller beer, your money goes to Belgium. Anheuser-Busch owns Miller now. If you drink Coors, your money stays in the U.S. and Canada. If you drink Sam Adams, your money goes to Boston. If you drink Old Milwaukee or Pabst Blue Ribbon, your money goes to California.

Speaking of California, the American wine industry is buoyed by California’s Napa Valley, and 90 percent of all American wine comes from the West Coast. Again, figuring out if your wine is American-made is as easy as reading the label. Wineries aren’t shy about it. Constellation Brands, the largest wine company in the world, started in the Finger Lakes region of New York. If you drink Barefoot, your money goes to California. If you drink Franzia, your money goes to California. Keep in mind that trying wines from different places is like tasting the place itself, so don’t let an American bias stop you from trying an Argentinian Malbec or Italian Chianti. That would be a shame.

Marijuana

Only Icelanders smoke more pot per capita than Americans. A Gallup survey in 2016 found that 13 percent of Americans were using marijuana regularly, up from seven percent in 2013. Marijuana has become a $6.7 billion industry in the United States, according to Forbes.

It’s a pretty good bet the weed you’re smoking is American if you’re smoking it within American borders. The closer you get to a border, the worse chance you have of coming across un-American marijuana, but with the public opinion of marijuana changing and legislation legalizing the drug increases, supply and demand also increase. Business Insider was nice enough to put together a list of the 25 best marijuana dispensaries in every state in which it’s legal, either medically or recreationally.

If you’re in Colorado, visit The Farm in Boulder or Doctor’s Orders in Denver. Each place has a great deal every day. If you happen to be taking a tour of wineries in the Columbia Basin of Washington, stop by Green2Go in Prosser.

Opiates


Americans consume 80 percent of the world’s opiate pain pills. That’s what we call an epidemic, and Donald Trump has put Chris Christie in charge of solving America's’ addiction to pain pills. It’s personal for Christie, too. He lost a longtime friend to an opiate overdose.

The problem with opiates is they’re easily available to those with health insurance, and doctors prescribe them like candy. If marijuana was legal for medical purposes throughout the United States, opiate use would decrease, but until that day comes, Americans will continue fulfilling their cheap, addictive prescriptions.

Purdue Pharma of Connecticut had a lot to do with the opiate epidemic and was ordered to pay $635 million in fines and penalties for misleading the public about the addictive properties of their drug, Oxycontin, which produced $3.1 billion in 2010 revenue alone.

Opiate pain pill pushers have even targeted areas struggling with opiate overdoses. Over 9 million pain pills were funneled to West Virginia by three companies -- McKesson (now German owned), Cardinal Health (Dublin, Ohio) and AmerisourceBergen (Chesterbrook, Pennsylvania).

Cocaine and Other Prescribed Stimulants

That’s right, cocaine can be prescribed by a doctor. America is third in the world when it comes to cocaine consumption and second in consumption of prescribed stimulants like Adderall and Ritalin. The U.S. is fifth in consumption of amphetamine-type stimulants, so a lot of Americans are amped up.

Cocaine is expensive and hard to find in most places, but most people can easily get a prescription for ADHD medication and quickly move up the scale from the extended release capsules (which contain beads that are designed to keep people from crushing and snorting them) to the immediate release pills (which are not).

I actually suffer from adult ADHD and take 15 mg of immediate release Adderall most workdays. It has increased my production immensely. I’ve gone from working with 30 tabs open in my web browser to 10 or less, but before you schedule an appointment, check out this list to see if you actually suffer from ADHD symptoms. And when you take the test given by your doctor, take it honestly. In the words of my best friend, “It’s a tool, not a lifestyle.”

If you’re already using a generic stimulant, which most people do, it’s likely produced by New Jersey’s CorePharma.

Ecstasy (MDMA)

America is ranked eighth in consumption of Ecstasy or MDMA. Unless you have a test kit, it’s almost impossible to determine whether your MDMA is pure let alone made in America. If you’re taking Ecstasy you’re likely taking meth as well, so unless you’re one of the people using the drug for PTSD in clinical studies, just steer clear of Ecstasy until it’s legal and regulated (as early as 2021).

So there are the most common vices of Americans. In order to assure your consuming American-made, though, check your labels and do some research into the companies providing the products.

Next up in our Made in America series we’ll look at American-made firearms and compare them to foreign firearms.

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After signing an executive order to limit the number of H-1B immigrants (immigrants working jobs requiring at least a Bachelor’s degree), Donald Trump signed Congress’s temporary spending bill that allows for more than double the number of H-2B immigrants (immigrants working jobs that don’t even require a high school education).

This is nothing new, as it’s the same policy passed in the last spending bill, but Trump didn’t exactly do much to alter the policy despite being in a position to do so. Why would he? Allowing even more immigrants to serve as temporary employees at cheaper wages will make his CEO friends happy, but it should infuriate Americans. It certainly assures that the 11.5 percent youth (ages 16 to 24) unemployment rate will remain mostly unchanged.

These H-2B jobs, like working at winter or summer resorts in guest services or as a housekeeper or groundskeeper, used to be filled by high school and college students looking to make a buck while going to school. Some of them are saving for a college education that has grown increasingly unaffordable. Now the money goes to temporary immigrants who will take it home with them when they’re no longer needed. They can serve up to three years on an H-2B visa, but then only have to leave the United States for three months before reapplying. From the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services website:

A person who has held H-2B nonimmigrant status for a total of 3 years must depart and remain outside the United States for an uninterrupted period of 3 months before seeking readmission as an H-2B nonimmigrant. Additionally, previous time spent in other H or L classifications counts toward total H-2B time.”

When you elect an American businessman to be the most powerful person in the world, you are submitting this country and others to the business practices of an American businessman. Those practices include hiring cheap, immigrant labor (Trump businesses have asked the government to grant temporary visas to 1,200 foreign workers since 2000), lowering taxes for corporations and the rich and raising them for the middle class (Trump’s tax plan cronies are considering eliminating the personal exemption and reduce the top corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 15 percent), and allowing internet service providers to monitor your online history and sell it to advertisers.

At least medical marijuana jobs won’t be affected by the spending bill, though. The Department of Justice still can’t spend funds enforcing federal marijuana law upon state’s that have legalized medical marijuana, but no protections exist for states with recreational marijuana policies.

Alaskan fisher-people should also be happy, as the spending bill has made the “brown king crab” more appealing by allowing it to be called “golden king crab.” Young Americans will also be subjected to school breakfasts and lunches featuring more sugar and fat thanks to new Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue freezing Michelle Obama’s plan to fight childhood obesity. Welcome to Trump's America, where under-educated Americans lose jobs to under-educated immigrants, under-paid Americans pay more taxes than over-paid Americans, and diabetes runs rampant.

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Unless you intend to light your all-American home with candles, and there are plenty of American-made options, you’ll need energy made in the U.S.A. to power your American-made lights and appliances. While America’s energy self-sufficiency rate has declined the last few decades, it still produces and consumes more energy than any other nation besides China. America is also one of the countries leading the shift to renewable energy sources.

Back in 2014, a solar power system was installed in America every 2.5 minutes, and that pace hasn’t slowed thanks to a 60-percent drop in price for solar panels. The solar power industry employs nearly 260,000 Americans at more than 9,000 companies, with 360,000 American workers expected to be working in solar power by 2021.

Solar power is booming in America because it saves Americans money. Actual savings, of course, depend on where you live, but are anywhere from $43,242 in Portland, Oreg., to $19,074 in Austin, Texas over a 20-year period. The average U.S. household can break even on their solar power system in just 7.5 years, but in many cities payback periods are four years or less. If you live in these 20 states it behooves you to install solar power, as it’s cheaper than grid energy already.

Buying American-made solar panels is as easy as visiting here and picking out what you require. You can even deduct 30 percent of your solar installation costs from your federal taxes. You can find solar installers here. But if you live in an area where the sun doesn’t shine very often, a wind turbine might be a better fit.

If you generally have a 10- to 30-mile-per-hour wind where you live, installing a wind turbine could be a better fit for your home energy needs. But you must make sure your home is zoned for wind turbine installation. Also be aware that any wind under 9 miles per hour or above 33 miles per hour won’t allow most turbines to harness energy, which is why combining a solar array with a wind turbine and battery is the best way to go. You can also connect either your solar array or wind turbine to your grid energy if you have access, which would allow you to sell your excess energy to the grid. But many states, like Minnesota, have passed or will pass grid fees that make it more expensive for Americans to hook their renewable energy sources up to the grid. Big energy isn’t making it easy for Americans to become energy independent.

You can find a list of large wind turbine manufacturers here, but small wind turbines are likely what you’ll require for your home, which you can find here. You can double check to make sure your wind turbine is certified here. Wind payback periods range from six to 30 years.

It’s that easy to become energy independent and do so with American-made energy sources. Next up in our Made in America series, we’ll look at how to get yourself where you need to go with a look at transportation made in the U.S.A.

Editor's Note: An update follows.

Tesla is now taking deposits for their solar roof systems. Covering the median-sized, single family, American home would cost a little under $40,000 after tax breaks and installation of the Tesla Powerwall battery. It would provide $38,100 worth of energy over 30 years -- a net cost of $1,400. Tesla CEO Elon Musk also announced that the solar tiles are subject to an infinite warranty, while electrical issues and roof leaks would be covered by a 30-year warranty.

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April 20 is the pot smokers’ holiday. It’s been one of my favorite holidays for quite some time, but this year I fear for those in states where marijuana is “legal,” either medically or recreationally.

Despite weed being legal in the District of Columbia, seven people have been arrested outside the nation’s capitol buildings for possession or possession with intent to distribute. They will, of course, be charged under federal law, since marijuana remains a Schedule I drug, along with heroin and Ecstasy, because, well, no reason except a scary, uninformed propaganda campaign.

The people arrested were passing out joints to Congressional staff and had 1,227 of them on hand for good reason. H.R. 1227, the bill that prohibits the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) from using funds to interfere with state marijuana laws, expires in just under a week, on April 28, and is unlikely to pass as part of the government funding bill. This is why I’m so scared for my friends back in Montana, Colorado, Washington, California and over half of the rest of the nation’s states where weed is legal either medically or recreationally.

I lived through countless DEA raids in the state of Montana and read about more in other states. Last year I saw cancer patients lose access to the medicine that made their pain tolerable and allowed them to keep food down. I was one of the patients that lost access. I’ve seen parents use CBD oil to help manage their children’s epilepsy. We’ve all seen this work in some way or another, or know someone who has, but nothing will stop the DEA from raiding legal businesses providing a legal substance under state law starting April 28.

Not to make you more paranoid than you already are, but there’s just something about this administration, and something specifically about this Attorney General Jeff Sessions I don’t trust. His little “crime-reduction” task force and marijuana subcommittee reviewing the 2013 Cole memo that allowed states to regulate recreational cannabis sales just doesn’t sit well in my stomach.  

Hell, now that the Supreme Court has a conservative majority, I figure the first case that challenges the Constitutionality of state marijuana laws will be an opportunity to put an end to it all, with Neil Gorsuch, of Colorado, casting the deciding vote. Figures, right?

But by the time that all happens weed will be legal in Canada, and pot smokers can just move there. The hit to the American economy and American tax revenue, however, will take a lot longer to recover from than a hit from the bong.

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Canadian government officials announced their plan to legalize marijuana in Canada by July 2018 on Thursday. Canada has taken a play from the American playbook by leaving the details of marijuana legalization up to individual provinces, but recreational use of marijuana will be legal nationwide, so how will it impact America?

  1. More supply of marijuana

The obvious impact would be more supply of marijuana, which will make it’s way south of the Canadian border via the black market since America still classifies marijuana as a Schedule I drug, like heroin and Ecstasy. While just two Canadian-bordering states (Washington and Maine) have legalized marijuana, only Idaho and Wisconsin have yet to legalize medical marijuana. So many of the Canadian-bordering states already have an increased supply of marijuana due to medical marijuana policies, which would mitigate the chance of Canadian grass making its way into America. But the reason marijuana prohibition is ending in Canada is because it doesn’t keep drugs out of the hands of kids and only allows a black market to not only form but thrive. Prohibition doesn’t keep people from using drugs. Prohibition only makes drugs more expensive and results in violence when black marketers fight for a larger piece of the inflated market valuation. Canada’s legalization of marijuana puts them at a unique advantage to capitalize on an emerging market...

  1. Cannabis exports

Canada’s legalization of marijuana nationwide puts it in a great position to capitalize on cannabis exports to nations that legalize marijuana use but don’t have the means to meet demand. Uruguay is the only country to legalize consumption, cultivation, transportation and sale of cannabis, but all of its available market comes from cannabis grown by Uruguayan authorities. That won’t last. As more and more countries move toward legalization, Canada, and not America, will be best positioned to capitalize on the export of edibles, waxes, and even bud. Canada is apparently three or four years ahead of any other country when it comes to the scale of cannabis companies created. It’s a great opportunity to eventually increase the gross domestic product of Canada.

  1. More U.S. states will legalize marijuana

Nothing is going to stop the momentum of the marijuana legalization movement in America, and Canada’s legalization policy will only fuel that fire. Eight states and Washington, D.C. have legalized marijuana entirely, and 28 have medical marijuana policies. Arizona, Michigan, Vermont and Rhode Island are most likely to legalize marijuana in 2018, with Idaho, Wyoming, Missouri, Oklahoma and Texas considering medical marijuana policies.

  1. More Americans will emigrate to Canada

Canada is already a favorite settling spot for Americans emigrating due to the 2016 Presidential election. In fact, Canada hasn’t seen an influx of "talent" like this since 1989, according to the Seattle Times. Legal cannabis will draw even more Americans north of the border, most of whom will be leaving American jobs they do well, further weakening American businesses and the U.S. economy. Unemployment rates will decline, though, as new workers move into the private and public sectors.

  1. Canadian hemp will kill the American cotton market

Perhaps the biggest impact of Canada’s marijuana legalization will be on the American cotton market. The U.S. is the number one exporter of cotton in the world, but hemp can be used in lieu of cotton in clothing and a whole lot of other items. Hemp makes for stronger rope, longer lasting textiles and clothing, and you can even build a house out of hempcrete. With America clinging to marijuana’s Schedule I status, it limits where hemp can be grown and makes exporting the product impossible, despite hemp not having the psychoactive effects of marijuana.

If you’ve noticed, Canada’s legalization of marijuana won’t have a positive impact on America. All Americans can hope for is that Congress legalizes marijuana before Canada does, or America will suffer these consequences.

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