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Monday, July 29, 2013

18 Similarities Between The Last Financial Crisis And Today

By Michael Snyder on The Economic Collapse Blog, posting an article with the title "It Is Happening Again: 18 Similarities Between The Last Financial Crisis And Today"

#1 According to the Bank of America Merrill Lynch equity strategy team, their big institutional clients are selling stock at a rate not seen "since 2008".

#2 In 2008, stock prices had wildly diverged from where the economic fundamentals said that they should be. Now it has happened again.

#3 In early 2008, the average price of a gallon of gasoline rose substantially. It is starting to happen again. And remember, whenever the average price of a gallon of gasoline in the U.S. has risen above $3.80 during the past three years, a stock market decline has always followed.

#4 New home prices just experienced their largest two month drop since Lehman Brothers collapsed.

#5 During the last financial crisis, the mortgage delinquency rate rose dramatically. It is starting to happen again.

#6 Prior to the financial crisis of 2008, there was a spike in the number of adjustable rate mortgages. It is happening again.

#7 Just before the last financial crisis, unemployment claims started skyrocketing. Well, initial claims for unemployment benefits are rising again. Once we hit the 400,000 level, we will officially be in the danger zone.

#8 Continuing claims for unemployment benefits just spiked to the highest level since early 2009.

#9 The yield on 10 year Treasuries is now up to 2.60 percent. We also saw the yield on 10 year U.S. Treasuries rise significantly during the first half of 2008.

#10 According to Zero Hedge, "whenever the annual change in core capex, also known as Non-Defense Capital Goods excluding Aircraft shipments goes negative, the US has traditionally entered a recession". Guess what? It is rapidly heading toward negative territory again.

#11 Average hourly compensation in the United States experienced its largest drop since 2009 during the first quarter of 2013.

#12 In the month of June, spending at restaurants fell by the most that we have seen since February 2008.

#13 Just before the last financial crisis, corporate earnings were very disappointing. Now it is happening again.

#14 Margin debt spiked just before the dot.com bubble burst, it spiked just before the financial crash of 2008, and now it is spiking again.

#15 During 2008, the price of gold fell substantially. Now it is happening again. #16 Global business confidence is now the lowest that it has been since the last recession.

#17 Back in 2008, the U.S. national debt was rapidly rising to unsustainable levels. We are in much, much worse shape today.

#18 Prior to the last financial crisis, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke assured the American people that home prices would not decline and that there would not be a recession. We all know what happened. Now he is once again promising that everything is going to be just fine.

Are the American people going to fall for it again?

Add to Michael Synder's points is that the stimulus from the Fed's printing money and dumping into the market is or has to stop at some point. Everything Bernanke makes a comments about slowing or stopping the fiat currency printing, the markets go crazy in a bad way. Not that I have any trust in the market financials anyway. They are hocus pocus.

The welfare rolls continue to grow. We are on target for 1/3 of the American population to be on welfare and this is not counting Social Security Insurance or Disability. Add to the underfunded state and muncialaity retirement costs from cities like Detroit going bankrupt, and there will be many more, is ading to the population rosters of financially strapped and therefore at risk.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

How to Plan For Any Disaster

How to Plan For Any Disaster - a mainstream financial planning article from Money.com it seems like more and more mainstream venues are talking about some sort of collapse preparation.  The value of this article is that it can serve as a "bridge" for someone who is not prepping at all, as opposed to the "go for broke', total planning and prep process for the coming collapse.

Many of us have people, be it family, friends or neighbors, who we are reluctant to expose our preps to.  Simply copying this article and sending or printing and passing out to these people can get them to thinking and prepping at some level, so when the collapse occurs and we end up taking some of these people in, absorbing them into our group, they will be more of an asset.  

Best case scenario is that someone you give this article will ask you questions.  Of course, you may have to give guarded answers as an OPSEC precaution, but is may result in another American who is better prepared to face the multiple possibilities of SHTF,....and maybe a family membr or friend who is less of a burden on you come SHTF. 

How to Plan For Any Disaster
Disasters disrupt life in unimaginable ways, making those affected much more vulnerable to secondary disasters — the kind caused by criminals. I’ve been through a number of earthquakes and lost a home to Hurricane Sandy. I know how all-consuming the aftermath can be.

Wildfires, tornadoes and other natural disasters seem to be happening more and more these days. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration warns that the 2013 Atlantic hurricane season will be “above normal and possibly extremely active.”

The danger and chaos that inevitably follow a natural (or for that matter — man-made) disaster, create opportunities for predators, who seem to slither out from under the rocks to prey upon their victims: identity thieves, burglars, snake oil salesmen disguised as home improvement contractors and fraudsters claiming to be raising funds to help ease the pain.

Plan Ahead

We can and have learned from past disasters that meaningful preparation can pay big dividends in helping people deal with and recover from the unimaginable. Here are some suggestions that might help you weather the disaster.

Have a family emergency disaster plan. Disasters can strike with little or no warning at any moment of the day. It is quite likely that many families are not together. Parents can be either at work or at home. Kids can be at school. Family members can be running chores or away on business trips or vacations. Therefore, you should develop a communication plan that establishes who you contact and when you contact them in the event of an emergency. You should also agree upon primary and secondary meeting places.

Keep emergency numbers handy for key support functions and home utilities. Create a list of all emergency service phone numbers, as well as those for your utility companies that provide electric power, natural gas, water and telephone services. Know where your shut-off switches and/or valves are for these services and how to shut them down. In event of a pending or significant disaster, turning off the electric, gas and water utilities — if it can be safely done — can help prevent secondary fires, explosions and internal flooding to your residence.

Make copies (front and back) of the documents that confirm your identity and allow you to buy what you need. Birth certificates, driver’s licenses and passports; Social Security, voter’s registration and medical insurance cards; credit and debit cards. Also, make sure you have the customer service information for financial institutions and credit card companies as well as your credit and debit card numbers so you can contact them immediately and arrange for credit and debit card replacement in the event they are lost. You may wish to store this information in an encrypted file so that you can access it online. In the physical world, you may want to store a copy of these documents either in a waterproof container that can be secured in a safe place or scan them onto a password protected, encrypted USB drive that you always carry with you.

Consider remote electronic data storage for irreplaceable documents or photographs. If you have some irreplaceable or historical documents, trust and estate documents such as wills and Powers of Attorney or special family photographs, consider scanning them onto a disk and/or storing them in an accessible online electronic vault.

Record model and serial numbers for your big-ticket items. For insurance and property identification purposes, record the model and serial numbers for items such as your flat screen televisions, computer equipment, cameras, audio gear, musical instruments, or other valuable personal belongings. It is wise to photograph these items as well in order to prove possession and store the photos on disk and/or in an electronic vault so they can be easily retrieved.

Assemble a “crash kit.” Pack a small suitcase or duffel bag with items such as sensitive documents, your wallet, purse, ATM and credit cards that you will need to grab in an emergency in order to secure them AND have 24-hour access to cash or purchasing power if needed. Also have your house, office and car keys close at hand. They may well provide access to secondary shelter.

Have a survival kit ready to go. Pack a separate bag with flashlights (LEDs preferred for battery life), extra batteries, a portable radio, a sharp utility knife, toilet paper, several bottles of water and energy food bars, a couple of lighters or match books, a portable first aid kit, other supplies and (of great psychic value) a few pairs of socks and underwear. Remember that you may well have to travel fast and light so be selective.

Keep your cell phones charged and bring chargers with you in the event of evacuation.

Consider utilizing the available special notification and alert features offered by many banks, credit and debit card issuers that will notify you via email or text when an unusual transaction occurs in one of your accounts – this is a good practice regardless of disaster planning.

If You Are a Disaster Victim

Protect important information and documents. Whether you’re in a shelter, staying with friends or crashing on your family’s couch, never let the documents that can authenticate you leave your sight.

Be proactive and check your credit report by visiting AnualCreditReport.com. Consider adding an initial security alert to your credit report. For more information go to the websites of each of the three major credit reporting agencies (Equifax, Experian and Trans Union). Monitoring your credit scores regularly, using a free service like Credit.com’s Credit Report Card, can alert you to a problem if you have an unexpected drop.

Ask the post office to hold your mail until you return home. If it appears that you will be unable to return home for an extended period of time, you may even consider getting a post office box. This will keep thieves from finding sensitive materials that are left in your mailbox.

Store sensitive documents in an encrypted email account that you can access if needed.

When filing claims with insurance, if you did not do so before the disaster, ask if your policy provides identity theft assistance and what are the parameters of your coverage.

Check your credit card and bank accounts online daily. In the event you detect unauthorized or questionable activity, immediately contact the appropriate financial services provider.

In the Aftermath of a Disaster

Be alert to the fact that there are many unscrupulous people who will look to take advantage of a disaster. Be on guard for:

Fly-by-night contractors asking for advanced payments for board-up and/or repair work. Scam operators looking to obtain personal or financial information from you under the pretext of helping you or being “an official” from an emergency assistance agency – like FEMA, or an insurance adjuster, investigator, etc.

Thieves and looters roaming impacted neighborhoods.

Individuals soliciting funds door to door, in public areas, or via the Internet claiming to assist the victims.

While this information is helpful, it is not exhaustive. Furthermore, you can take every step outlined above and still be a victim because you will never really know where all your information has landed. That said, there is no substitute for preparation and remaining cautious and alert before, during and after a disaster.

Monday, July 22, 2013

U.S. Military Prepares for Global Unrest Amid Climate Fears

Op-Editorial piece featured on-line, written by Marlene Cimons of Climate Nexus for LiveScience, and brought to my attention by a reader who stated that "if the military is planning on contingencies missions for global warning chaos, surely they have to be planning contingencies for economic collapse, martial law, etc, etc." Well, James you are right about the military having contingency plans for about everything. These are called OPLANS. Doesn't mean the military wants to execute these plans, just being prepared.


Though Earth's shifting climate evokes many images, civil unrest usually isn't one of them. Yet, a warming planet could have a profound impact on national security, both in the United States and abroad. This time, the threat isn't from terrorism or a single enemy, but from natural disasters occurring on an unprecedented scale.

Acts of nature fueled by a warming climate — for example, floods and prolonged drought — may lead to disrupted migration, food and water shortages, and other public health crises — which, in turn, could prompt civil and political instability. Those impacts would pose a particularly profound threat for people in countries with fragile governments, including key U.S. strategic interests.

This threat has Pentagon officials worried enough to speak out and to invest in research to better understand the relationships among conflict, socioeconomic conditions and climate. The U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) plans to use the data to predict future threats and develop ways to cope with them.

Under its highly selective Minerva social-science program, the DOD has awarded researchers at the University of Maryland a three-year, $1.9 million grant to develop models that will help policymakers anticipate what could happen to societies under a range of potential climate-change scenarios.

"It's likely that physical and economic disruptions resulting from climate change could heighten tensions in sensitive areas of the world," said Elisabeth Gilmore, an assistant professor at the University of Maryland's school of public policy and the study's lead researcher. "The environmental changes from climate change can have important effects on our well-being and security. We need to better understand these interactions."

Her team plans to use statistical models and case studies to identify the best predictors of climate-related conflict, and then use the data and a novel simulation method to generate forecasts of conflict over a range of socioeconomic and climate-change scenarios. Finally, the project will identify a range of military and policy interventions that could reduce the occurrence of climate-related civil conflict.

The Pentagon has been concerned about the national security implications of climate change for quite some time, and military officials have continued to speak out about them.

For example, Navy Adm. Samuel J. Locklear III, who leads the U.S. Pacific Command, repeatedly has warned of the national security dangers of climate change. In fact, earlier this year, he said global warming was "the most likely thing ... [to] cripple the security environment, probably more likely than the other scenarios we all often talk about."

In 2007, CNA, a Pentagon-funded think tank that conducts in-depth research and analysis, released a report from a panel of retired senior military officers and national security experts who predicted that extreme weather events prompted by climate shifts could disrupt the U.S. way of life and cause already weak governments to fall, particularly in many Asian, African and Middle Eastern nations where marginal living standards already exist.

Moreover, the report warned that the United States may find itself drawn into these situations to help provide stability before conditions worsen, before they are exploited by extremists or after a conflict has begun. Even stable governments, like the United States' and those of nations in Europe, could be pressured to take in large numbers of immigrants and refugees as drought increases and food production dwindles in Latin America and Africa, the report added.

Some researchers have suggested that framing climate change as a threat to national security and public health, rather than to the environment, might make the issue more relevant and meaningful to many conservative Americans and others who tend to deny or dismiss it. But, surprisingly, recent research published in Climatic Change by Teresa Myers of George Mason University and her colleagues indicated that such seems to make those individuals angry.

The researchers weren't sure why this approach elicited an angry response, but they wonder whether the climate-change deniers resented an attempt to connect national security — an issue they care about — with climate change, an issue they tend to dismiss. Or, they may have been upset with the researchers for presenting claims about global warming and national security they did not think were authentic or credible.

Instead, perhaps the doubters should read the words of retired U.S. Gen. Gordon R. Sullivan, chairman of CNA's military advisory board and the U.S. Army's former chief of staff. He seems to believe that enough scientific evidence of climate change's impact exists to be sobering — and that it deserves the U.S. government's attention.

"We seem to be standing by —and, frankly, asking — for perfectness in science,"' Sullivan wrote in the 2007 CNA report. "People are saying they want to be convinced, perfectly. They want to know the climate-science projections with 100 percent certainty. Well, we know a great deal, and even with that, there is still uncertainty. But the trend line is very clear. We never have 100 percent certainty. We never have it. If you wait until you have 100 percent certainty, something bad is going to happen on the battlefield. That's something we know. You have to act with incomplete information. You have to act based on the trend line. You have to act on your intuition sometimes."

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Survival Ammo and Guns

I received this e-mail from a reader: "I am 63 year old man, widower, with my child and grandchildren living across the country, so I am pretty much by myself. I don't want to be anyone's patsy so I am getting somewhat ready for a real bad scenario where the society turns south. I live on a fixed budget but am pretty dang frugal and have stocked alot of food, mostly canned and dry goods. I'm a little short in the guns column having just a .357 magnum revolver, a 9mm handgun and a .30-06 hunting rifle. But for the life of me I can't find any ammunition. I'd like to get another rifle like an M-1A or AR-15,...I used both in Viet Nam,...but damn sure don't want to get a gun and have no ammunition for it. Do you think I absolutely need a military style rifle? Do you think the ammunition shortage will soon pass?"

UrbanMan replies:  There are indications that some ammunition supplies are coming back slowly.  I know several people that check daily if not twice daily on ammunition availability in a wide rnge of stores,..gun stores, chain sorting good stores and Wal-mart.  I say get ammo when and where you can - I would not wait for the deals.

Look for the on-line ammunition distributors such as Natchez Shooters SupplyAmmo-Man, Cheaper Than Dirt, Sportsmans Guide, even Cabelas

I hope you know that you can shoot .38 Special in your .357 magnum revolver.  If not, then add that to your list to look for as well.  If you can join a Civilian Marksmanship Program approved gun club, you can be a CMP member and order .30-06 ammunition directly from the CMP.  It may take 6 months or longer, but a case of ammunition being delivered by UPS one day is a nice suprise. 

Yes, I would obtain the excellent M1A1 or an AR platform if you can afford it.  You'll need more than just the gun.  A good supply of magazines - I would consider a dozen to be minimally sufficient.  Probably a magazine carrying method such as an assault vest or magazines pouches at least.  I would also consider a good 12 gauge pump shotgun as well   That would complete a good survival-SHTF-collapse battery of firearms in my mind.

Some people are creating innovative ways to track and find ammunition supplies.  One such site is Ammo-can.net  .  There is a new web application that is making finding local sources of ammo easier during the current ammo shortage.  The developer say's "Contrary to popular belief, many retailers are getting ammo shipments on a regular basis right now. It’s just that ammo is selling approximately 30-50 times faster than it was prior to December, so at any given time shelves are likely to be empty.

If you have a lot of time on your hands you can travel to your local Wal Mart or other retailer everyday and check their stock and hope you get lucky.  Ammo-can.net has near real time availability of ammo for most Wal Mart stores. It doesn’t look like the website is 100% perfect yet, but it does seem to work. According to the site, my local Wal Mart had limited stock of 9mm Winchester ammo. I went right down to the store and low and behold, there was a box of 9mm.

Note, you may have to hit the Force Check link to get the most accurate stock levels. After you run the Force Check you have to wait about one minute for the page to refresh. "

Thursday, July 18, 2013

6 Facts that Foretell the Slide Into A Economic Collapse

Statistics from Kyle Becker on the Independent Journal Review, in an article titled "6 Economic Stats That Will Make You Wanna Cry." Copy and send these to your friends who do not think things are bad enough to have a SHTF plan. Or at least try and figure out how are you going to pay bills and buy food once the food crisis hits, government goes broke, hyper inflation sets in, and this country generally slides into the third world status that we seem to be heading for.

1. 101 Million Food Aid Recipients

"The number of Americans receiving subsidized food assistance from the federal government has risen to 101 million, representing roughly a third of the U.S. population.... That means the number of Americans receiving food assistance has surpassed the number of private sector workers in the U.S.." [CNS News, July 7th, 2013]

2. 54 Straight Months of 7.5% Unemployment or Above

"Since January 2009, when Barack Obama was inaugurated as president, the United States has seen 54 straight months with the unemployment rate at 7.5 percent or higher, which is the longest stretch of unemployment at or above that rate since 1948"... [CNS News, July 5th. 2013]

3. Long-Term Unemployment

"Of the 11.8 million jobless Americans in June, 4.3 million had been out of work six months or longer. There were 1 million fewer long-term jobless than last year, but their ranks remain way above the previous high-water mark of 2.8 million in 1983." [Huffington Post, July 5th, 2013]

4. Labor Participation Rate

"The number of people not in the labor force which in March soared by a massive 663,000 to a record 90 million Americans who are no longer even looking for work... And even worse, the labor force participation rate plunged from an already abysmal 63.5% to 63.3% - the lowest since 1979! [ZeroHedge, April 2013]

5. Disability Recipients

"The total number of people in the United States now receiving federal disability benefits hit a record 10,962,532 million in April, which exceeds the 10,815,197 people who live in the nation of Greece." [CNS News, May 2013]

6. Poverty Rate Skyrockets

Finally: "As the president began the first year of his second term, the U.S. poverty rate rose to a level not seen since the 1960s... The Census Bureau says that 50 million Americans, roughly one in six — almost 17% — are living below the poverty line... apparently 20% of the nation's children are living in poverty." [IBD, April 2013]

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Bear Grylls on Survival Myths and Mistakes

Whenever the discussion about Bear Grylls comes up, people are heavily opinionated about him. I actually like his shows, but I remember it's still a show, however one could learn something from watching. While wilderness survival skills may be a secondary importance to building a survival team, stocking for SHTF and having a Bug Out plan, the benefit of such survival skills is that it can give you the confidence of being able to survive on your own with practically nothing, albeit the point of preparation is to ensure that never happens!

This is an article posted on a Yahoo travel site and also announces Grylls new television show.

Myth 1: One of the most common myths is that if your car breaks down in the desert, you should walk away and try to find help. That is not a good idea—people die because of it! Thinking it’s only a few miles to the nearest town, they’re found dead two or three miles from their car because they underestimated how brutal and tiring the desert can be.

Stay where you are, make yourself safe, and wait for rescue.

Myth 2: People think that because water is clear and free-running in a mountain stream, it’s fine to drink it. In actuality, you don’t know what’s in that stream. There could be a dead animal upriver!

Clear, clean-looking fresh water isn’t necessarily safe to drink. You should always boil water before you drink it to make sure you don’t get giardiasis, which can make you throw up or give you diarrhea. Clear water isn’t necessarily clean water, and beware of mountain streams.

Myth 3: Another common myth is that if you’re lost for any length of time, you’ve got to find food. That really isn’t true, and you can actually survive for weeks and weeks without it.

Your priorities should be finding shelter and water, especially since in most places you’ll be dead in three days without water. Eating food will also dehydrate you faster, so focus on getting water before food.

ROOKIE MISTAKES

I made my first rookie mistake was when I was about 8. I was with my dad in the mountains when a storm came down, and we thought, “Oh, we know the way back down the mountain, we’ll just head down.” But we couldn’t see where we were going and we ended up heading the wrong way.

We spent the whole night wandering around, absolutely exhausted, disoriented, and very cold.Finally, by good fortune, we stumbled across a little trail and eventually found a way back. The lesson there is if there’s a blizzard, don’t try and beat it. Concentrate on making yourself safe and getting out of the wind; find shelter however you can. It’s the same in a desert sandstorm. People push on in sandstorms thinking they can find a way out when in reality they’re never going to beat it and should focus on staying sheltered and safe.

One of the biggest mistakes I see is when people with egos write checks their bodies can’t cash. A classic example is when people get summit fever. They get close to a mountain and when they run out of time and energy, they push on even when the signs are saying they should turn back. They end up stuck in the mountain in the dark or dropping off the mountain the wrong way because they get too tired. Summit fever is a very dangerous problem; it kills people on mountains because they start breaking their own rules.

Often, people make a rookie mistake by going off on their own on what they think is a simple hike, and they don’t tell anyone where they’re going or when they’ll be back. Even a nice, easy hike can turn very ugly if you get lost or twist an ankle and no one knows you’re missing or where to look for you. No matter how modest the trek, tell people where you’re going and when you’re due back. That way, you know that there will be help coming if you don’t return.

(Photo: Paul Drinkwater/NBC)Another dangerous rookie mistake is when people underestimate how debilitating altitude and the effects of altitude sickness can be. Everything is worse and more extreme at high altitude; you’re fighting dehydration, altitude sickness, the cold, and the wind. An action that’s totally straightforward to perform at sea level can become impossible at high altitude. High up in the mountains I’ve seen people—myself included—reduced to crawling on their hands and knees along something you’d just run up at sea level. Survival and even simple actions become much harder at high altitudes.

Sometimes, though, you need to break your own rules and trust your instincts. A good adventurer knows when to do that and when not to. There have been times while we’ve been filming when it was right to push on through a storm, and then there have been times when it seemed right to follow a steep mountain ravine down a path and it actually turned out to be pretty precarious and dangerous.

You have to give yourself a large margin of error, at least in the wild. You’ve got to anticipate the worst, and consider that if you or someone else gets injured you need to be able to still carry out your decision. And take your time to make that decision, because the repercussions of your choices are ones that you’ll be living with for a long time.

Ultimately, though, the best way to learn survival methods comes from seeing and doing. And if you don’t want to go through the experience yourself, you can see rookies learn how to survive by trial and error and deal with the consequences of their mistakes by watching “Get Out Alive with Bear Grylls” on NBC, Monday nights at 9.


Sunday, July 14, 2013

Not Prepared: 17 Signs That Most Americans Will Be Wiped Out By The Coming

From an article sent to me, written by Michael Synder, called - Not Prepared: 17 Signs That Most Americans Will Be Wiped Out By The Coming Economic Collapse

The vast majority of Americans are going to be absolutely blindsided by what is coming.  They don’t understand how our financial system works, they don’t understand how vulnerable it is, and most of them blindly trust that our leaders know exactly what they are doing and that they will be able to fix our problems. As a result, most Americans are simply not prepared for the massive storm that is heading our way.

Most American families are living paycheck to paycheck, most of them are not storing up emergency food and supplies, and only a very small percentage of them are buying gold and silver for investment purposes. They seem to have forgotten what happened back in 2008. When the financial markets crashed, millions of Americans lost their jobs. Because most of them were living on the financial edge, millions of them also lost their homes. Unfortunately, most Americans seem convinced that it will not happen again. Right now we seem to be living in a “hope bubble” and people have become very complacent.

For a while there, being a “prepper” was very trendy, but now concern about a coming economic crisis seems to have subsided. What a tragic mistake. As I pointed out yesterday, our entire financial system is a giant Ponzi scheme, and there are already signs that our financial markets are about to implode once again. Those that have not made any preparations for what is coming are going to regret it bitterly. The following are 17 signs that most Americans will be wiped out by the coming collapse…

#1 According to a survey that was just released, 76 percent of all Americans are living paycheck to paycheck. But most Americans are acting as if their jobs will always be there. But the truth is that mass layoffs can occur at any time. In fact, it just happened at one of the largest law firms in New York City.

#2 27 percent of all Americans do not have even a single penny saved up.

#3 46 percent of all Americans have $800 or less saved up.

#4 Less than one out of every four Americans has enough money stored away to cover six months of expenses.

#5 Wages continue to fall even as the cost of living continues to go up. Today, the average income for the bottom 90 percent of all income earners in America is just $31,244. An increasing percentage of American families are just trying to find a way to survive from month to month.

#6 62 percent of all middle class Americans say that they have had to reduce household spending over the past year.

#7 Small business is becoming an endangered species in America. In fact, only about 7 percent of all non-farm workers in the United States are self-employed at this point. That means that the vast majority of Americans are depending on someone else to provide them with an income. But what is going to happen as those jobs disappear?

#8 In 1989, the debt to income ratio of the average American family was about 58 percent. Today it is up to 154 percent.

#9 Today, a higher percentage of Americans are dependent on the government than ever before. In fact, according to the U.S. Census Bureau 49 percent of all Americans live in a home that gets direct monetary benefits from the federal government. So what is going to happen when the government handout gravy train comes to an end?

#10 Back in the 1970s, about one out of every 50 Americans was on food stamps. Today, about one out of every 6.5 Americans is on food stamps.  UrbanMan's note:  I believe this figure is actually 1 in 5 Americans.

#11 It is estimated that less than 10 percent of the U.S. population owns any gold or silver for investment purposes.

#12 It has been estimated that there are approximately 3 million “preppers” in the United States. But that means that almost everyone else is not prepping.

#13 44 percent of all Americans do not have first-aid kits in their houses.

#14 48 percent of all Americans do not have any emergency supplies stored up.

#15 53 percent of all Americans do not have a 3 day supply of nonperishable food and water in their homes.

#16 One survey asked Americans how long they thought they would survive if the electrical grid went down for an extended period of time. Incredibly, 21 percent said that they would survive for less than a week, an additional 28 percent said that they would survive for less than two weeks, and nearly 75 percent said that they would be dead before the two month mark.

#17 According to a survey conducted by the Adelphi University Center for Health Innovation, 55 percent of Americans believe that the government will come to their rescue when disaster strikes.

Just because you are living a comfortable middle class lifestyle today does not mean that it will always be that way. If you doubt this, take a look at what is going on in Greece. Many formerly middle class parents in Greece have become so impoverished that they are actually dumping their children at orphanages so that they won’t starve…

Scores of children have been put in orphanages and care homes for economic reasons; one charity said 80 of the 100 children in its residential centres were there because their families can no longer provide for them.

Ten percent of Greek children are said to be at risk of hunger. Teachers talk of cancelling PE lessons because children are underfed and of seeing pupils pick through bins for food.

If the U.S. economy crashes and you lose your job, how will you and your family survive?UrbanMan's note:  Many Military Civilian worker are asking themselves this same question as sequestration has reduced their hours and pay 20%,  Next Government fiscal year is supposed to be worse.

Will you and your family end up homeless and totally dependent on the government for your survival?

Get prepared while there is still time. If you do not know how to get prepared, my article entitled “25 Things That You Should Do To Get Prepared For The Coming Economic Collapse” has some basic tips, and there are dozens of excellent websites out there that teach people advanced prepping techniques for free. So there is no excuse. You can trust that Ben Bernanke and Barack Obama have everything under control, but as for me and my family we are going to prepare for the giant economic storm that is coming.

I hope that you will be getting prepared too.

UrbanMan's note:  If you are reading my site and others, then you are probably not in this group of Americans ill prepared for any emergency.  But nonetheless, this article coulds serve  to motivate you just a little further. 

Friday, July 12, 2013

The Racial Component in the Collapse

UrbanMan's Comments: A friend sent me this article by Bob Rinear commenting on a indepth article by Douglas V. Gibbs on the race problems this country still faces. If you think there will be problems upon the Travon Martin - George Zimmerman verdict, just wait until the economy tanks, or hyper-inflation sets in or a national food crisis settles,..or any number of releated catalysts to the collapse occur.

Sorry to say but a large percentage of the Black American population lives in a lower economic status in large urban areas population centers which are dependent upon a constant replenishment of food stocks and other vital commodities. These rapid, degradation of food deliveries or affordability of necessities in the hyper-inflation or currency collapse scenario will pit "have not" blacks against the "have" and even the "have not" whites simply because this will be the first, nearest, easiest and most logical target in the rage and panic.

I hope I am wrong,......last night I was on the phone with a friend who was skeptical about race wars upon an economic or other collapse. I said "Do you tell all friends and family about your preps?" He replied "No, of course not". I asked "Why Not?". He said "OPSEC, dude! You know that!" I replied, "Do you think that once they discovered your preps and you did not share that they would result to violence against you?" He said "Probably." Then I said rhetorically, "So you don't think that other ethnic groups would not use race as an excuse or motivation to take what you have?"




Race Problems By Bob Rinear

Yeah, I know. I’m supposed to stick to things that pertain to the economy and the markets. Well, I am doing just that. Because the economy just happens to be the sum total of all human exchange. Thus, when the participants of the exchange change their mindsets, moods, attitudes and beliefs, the economy changes. For example look at the coal industry. Just 30 years ago coal was seen as America’s lifeblood because we have so much of it. Then, because of an upwelling of environmentalism, coal became “bad.”

So bad our own President has said, that “anyone can open a coal company, but you’ll go out of business over the costs of my regulations”.

The attitude changed and thus so did a large portion of the economy. Coal companies didn’t go from 75 dollars a share to 4.99 because they don’t have coal, or it stopped working as a fuel. They are crippled because of the “change of attitude”. Well, I’m probably going to get in trouble over the next few weeks because I’ll say some things that will get me called everything from right wing nut to racist to you name it. That’s fine, I’m never afraid of some controversy. But let’s at least be real about things… race relations in this country are worse than at any time I can remember and I’m 56 years old.

Every so often I will post an article written by my friend Douglass Gibbs. He’s a great American and even hosts a show called the Constitution Speaker, which can be heard on radio. I want to start with a piece he penned that does a great job of showing the “why” we’re in such a bad racial situation. Then I’ll follow that up in another letter with the ramifications for the economy, stocks and frankly… society.

By Douglas V. Gibbs on www.politicalpistachio.com

The media and the liberal left are coming unhinged. In their minds, since they figure they have the power to control everything, this trial against George "Creepy-Ass Cracker" Zimmerman should have been a slam-dunk. Poor little innocent Trayvon Martin, of whom President Obama says if he had a son the kid would look like Trayvon, was the victim of a mean racist attack. We are being told that Zimmerman hunted down and killed the poor child because poor, innocent Trayvon Martin was black. And now, as the wheels come off, and it is beginning to look like Zimmerman is going to walk because his story that Trayvon attacked him and his was a fight of self-defense, the Left, through politicians and the media, are inciting race riots. They want this to be the Rodney King riots, on steroids.

As the testimonies pile up, it is becoming more and more clear that Zimmerman's story is the true one, and any witness that is supposed to help the case of Trayvon Martin, is actually hurting him. The liberal left demands that George Zimmerman must be convicted as a racist "white Hispanic." The Jury is not supposed to consider the law, for why should they? The Supreme Court ignored the rule of law with the gay marriage case, so why should the jury in this case care about the rule of law? The Supreme Court ruled based on their rage against those that dare oppose the homosexual agenda, and the media demands that this jury rule in the same way. Never mind the evidence. They need to be enraged that the racist "creepy-ass cracker" dared to fight against Trayvon Martin, and kill him.

Since the liberal left is losing the case, we have to remember that it originally gained media attention just before last year's presidential election to remind the democrat voters how racist them right wing loonies are. But since now, when they hope to remind America how racist we are to protect the democrats in preparation for the 2014 midterm elections, the Left is resorting to inciting violence.

On ABC News Nightline, anchor, Dan Abrams, interviewed Sanford, Florida, police chief Cecil Smith, asking him, "If Zimmerman is found not guilty, is your office ready for that?"

The police chief responded, "I believe we have plans that will be able to deal with issues as they arise."

Abrams then came back with, "I assume the worst-case scenario, then, would be riots?"

The police chief said there was no talk of riots. "We are not talking about riots. We're talking about rallies. If people choose to come to Sanford and voice their opinions or if they want to come and rally, we welcome that. We want people to have the opportunity to express themselves."

The media is not satisfied with that. They want violence. They want blood in the streets. They want a crisis that will finish off the opposition, and enable them to report how racist America is.

Remember, the liberal left democrats have gone beyond trying to win anything. They believe they have won it all. . . well, except the House of Representatives, and that will resolved, they believe, in 2014. And to achieve the one party system they crave, they are working to eliminate the opposition, and gain greater control over the population. . . and a good, violent crisis might be just what the illegal alien in the White House needs.

Barack Obama was a community organizer. An agitator. Now, the media has learned from him, and they have become agitators too, and they are agitating for riots. What is amazing about all of this is how quickly the people forget. In 2008, when Obama was running on the messiah ticket, we were being told that he was proof we were moving beyond racism, and that if Obama was elected we would live in a postracial America. Yet, the racism has blown up, exploding. Obama has agitated everyone he considers would work well in the fight against rich white republicans. He is causing racial strife, and it is by design. He is not a great uniter, as he claimed, and he never intended to be. The goal has always been division, chaos, and violence. That is how tyranny solidifies control.

The useful idiots in the media are calling for race riots, inciting violence, because they know the Zimmerman trial is not going their way. The Left has been totally invested in Zimmerman being found guilty and heading to death row. Hell, they are even willing to settle for manslaughter, if they can get it. But now, the liberal left realizes they will likely lose the Zimmerman case.

What is being realized now is that there never was a case. The prosecution has bad witnesses on the stand, and no leg to stand on, because this case was purely political. They wanted to scare Zimmerman into a guilty plea, and he refused, and now they have no evidence to put him away. In fact, the arrest warrant is even laced with fraud.

It is like the Duke Lacrosse case all over again. The poor black dancer accused the racist rich white athletes of doing her wrong. Everyone demanded that the team be thrown out of school, and arrested. But it turned out the woman lied, and the deconstructionist claim that we are a racist nation was delayed. . .

Until the Trayvon Martin shooting.

Deconstructionists can't change a healthy America into something the Founding Fathers never intended. They have to convince all of us that America is damaged goods. If America is damaged, it must be changed, or at least that is the attitude the liberal left democrats are banking on. Remember, Obama wanted to fundamentally change this nation, but you don't fix what ain't broke, so they must convince you America is broken, tainted by widespread racism - otherwise, the democrats would be worthless, and would cease to exist. If America is great, their whole platform is worth nothing.

And if they can't get their racism claim confirmed by the courts, they will have to do it with violence in the streets.

As you can see, Doug did a splendid job of showing you exactly “why” this is all about race and NOT about the law. Next week I’m going to write about the implications of all this, and they are not good. Not at all. Stay tuned.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

More Homestead Defense Planning

This is an article sent to me by a retired banker friend who is now planning on moving off the grid, using his considerable resources to get it right the first time. I spent some time on and off with him, convincing him that a retirement community adjacent to a golf course, was not necessarily the ideal Bug In location, as well as the need to upgrade his firearms. Anyway, that's for another story. Here is the article, "Beyond the Defensible Space Fire safety and the structure of your home", by Mat Stein

Matthew Stein is a design engineer, green builder, and author of two bestselling books: When Disaster Strikes: A Comprehensive Guide for Emergency Planning and Crisis Survival (Chelsea Green 2011), and When Technology Fails: A Manual for Self-Reliance, Sustainability, and Surviving the Long Emergency (Chelsea Green 2008). Stein is a graduate of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), where he majored in Mechanical Engineering. Stein has appeared on numerous radio and television programs and is a repeat guest on Fox News, Coast-to-Coast AM, Alex Jones’ Infowars, Vince Finelli’s USA Prepares, and The Power Hour. He is an active mountain climber, serves as a guide and instructor for blind skiers, has written several articles on the subject of sustainable living, and is a guest columnist for the Huffington Post. www.whentechfails.com and www.matstein.com.

[NOTE: In light of the tragic loss of life of the brave firefighters in Arizona and for all the men and women firefighters who work to protect lives and property, we all need to make extra efforts to take steps to reduce the risk of wildfires and home fires. Our work both inside and out of our homes will not only create defensible spaces, but, just as importantly, will assist those who risk their lives to stay out of harms way. This article is adapted from When Disaster Strikes: A Comprehensive Guide for Emergency Planning and Crisis Survival]

Following on the heels of 2012’s record-breaking droughts, heat waves, and fire storms, this year’s fires season is off to an earlier and more deadly/damaging start in several of the western states. If current scientific predictions of global warming prove anywhere near correct, then we can expect that devastating wildfires will become the new normal in the coming years, reaching a broader spectrum of geographical zones that previously escaped such conflagrations. Whether you are a homeowner wishing to improve the fire resistance of your current dwelling or are planning to build a new home, beyond creating a “defensible space” around your home there are a number of other actions you can take to improve the chances that your home will survive a local wildfire. These guidelines are typically applied to homes located in areas where long periods of dry weather are common, such as many of the western states. However, due to changing times, people in many areas where the threat of wildfires was previously a non-issue are now finding it to be a growing concern.

Lessons from the 1993 Laguna Fire

In October 1993, when a vicious wildfire broke out in Laguna Beach, a southern California beach town, firefighter John Henderson was called down from his home in the Sierras of northern California to fight this blaze. The combination of extremely dangerous fire conditions, brought on by three consecutive drought years coupled with 60 to 70 mph hot and dry Santa Ana winds, quickly whipped the fire into an unstoppable conflagration, burning hundreds of homes to the ground! When John rounded a corner on the Pacific Coast Highway, just north of Laguna Beach, he saw a sight that he will never forget. He and his partner watched the firestorm rush down the dry hills toward the ocean. The heat of the firestorm was so intense that, even after blowing across four lanes of pavement, it was hot enough to ignite a mile-long stretch of wooden telephone poles on the ocean side of the road. From a distance, he said they looked like a string of matchsticks stuck in the sand, igniting one after the other until there were perhaps a hundred telephone poles burning at once.

•Many if not most homes burned from the inside out when firestorm heat radiated through closed windows and slipped inside through foundation and roof vents to ignite interior curtains, rugs, etc. Double-pane windows and heavily insulated walls will slow the rate of heat penetration into interior spaces.

•The only buildings to survive the Laguna Fire had insulated walls, double-pane windows, and blocked or minimized venting. A well-insulated, well-sealed building envelope and high thermal mass will slow interior heating and ignition.

•Minimize venting, and screen all vent openings to prevent flaming embers from entering vents. Removable fire-wall vent blocks should be placed in front of foundation and roof vents during periods of extreme fire danger to keep hot air from easily penetrating the building envelope.

•One of the few Laguna homes in the path of the firestorm to survive had a 40-foot-wide strip of the green succulent “ice plant” (creating an excellent “defensible space”) and a concrete tiled roof (an exceptionally fire resistant roof). The firestorm blew right over the top of the ice plant and the house, dropped burning embers on the concrete tile roof, roasted a 10-foot-wide swath of ice plant, but failed to ignite the building’s structure.

•Stucco, cement, or earthen walls are preferred. If wood siding is desired, it should be applied over a ?-inch sheetrock fire wall for improved fire resistance. Cement-based weatherboard can look like wood but give you cement board’s superior fire resistance. Even with a stucco or cement weatherboard sheath, an underlying wood-framed wall might ignite if the firestorm gets hot enough.

•All projections (roof eaves, etc.) should be protected on the underside with cement stucco or cement board (like Certainteed or Hardie Board) that looks like wood. A less-preferred alternative is to paint natural wood with fire-resistant coating to improve its resistance to ignition by burning embers. Hot air rises and can easily ignite roof overhangs in a firestorm.

•Coat wood decks with multiple layers of a fire-resistant urethane deck covering (Pacific Polymers or similar) or treat wood decking with fire-resistant coatings (Fire Stop or similar).

Note: Chemical treatments, such as Fire Stop, will inhibit ignition by burning embers, but will not prevent ignition due to a superhot firestorm. A stucco coat (¾ inch or thicker) on the underside of wooden decks was credited with saving two homes in the Laguna Beach fire. There is a new fly-ash composite decking board from LifeTime Lumber that has a “Class A” fireproof rating and is LEED certified for its recycled content, that can be used to build high-quality fireproof decks. Trex and many of the other similar competing composite decking manufacturers have come out with “Class B” fire-resistant wood/plastic composite decking to meet California’s new wildland fire codes.

•Use only “Class A” fire-rated roofing systems, which are rated to prevent both the roofing material itself, and roofing underlayment (plywood) from catching fire when covered with burning embers. Most asphalt and fiberglass shingles are Class A rated, but metal roofing usually requires the use of Versashield underlayment (or equal) to achieve this rating. “Living” roofs (planted sod) have excellent fire resistance as well as thermal mass and insulation. With Class A roofing, the eaves and overhangs are the most vulnerable areas of the roof owing to the fire down below.

(Above list adapted and expanded from John Underwood, Fire Resistant Details: Studying the Houses That Survived the 1993 Laguna Beach Fire Storm Yields Lessons in Building to Withstand the Heat, Fine Home Building.com)

There are a number of building systems that are inherently fire-resistant. Basically, if it is earth or concrete based, it is very fire resistant. Also, if you fill the wall with foam or straw to eliminate dead air spaces and the chimney effect, and sheath the wall with stucco, earthen plasters, or cement board, even if it is wood-framed, it will have good fire resistance. Do your best to make your roof, eaves, and decks fire resistant too, since your home will only be as fire resistant as its weakest link. Obviously, traditional stone, brick, and concrete-block construction are also quite fire resistant, provided their roofs are not a weak link in the system.

With burning embers settling on rooftops, in many cases it is the roof that forms the weak link in the fire-resistance chain. Traditional wooden shake and shingle are notorious for catching on fire from burning embers. For fire-resistant roofing, consider the following options:

•Use only “Class A” fire-rated roofing.

•Class A roofing must withstand burning embers on roof without igniting plywood sheeting.

•Most modern composition (asphalt) shingles are “Class A” fire-rated.

•Metal roofs transmit heat easily to the underlying plywood, so they tend to be not as fire resistant as you might imagine, unless they are underlaid with an insulating flame-resistant lining. They are usually only Class A fire resistant with the addition of Versashield underlayment (or similar).

•I recommend two layers of Versashield FR underlayment (or similar) FR barrier for extra fire barrier between metal roofing and its underlying plywood sheeting.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Secret Patriot Act?

Yes, there is a Secret Patriot Act, Senator Says, in an article by Spencer Ackerman posted on Wired.com

UrbanMan's note: There is truth in the protocol that it's not the law that agencies work within, it's the agency policy influenced by the interpretation by the agency's legal counsel.  While I don't think this is a big threat to the common law abiding prepper, the fact that NSA collects and retains ALL electronic correspondence and the use of keywrod search engines in these communications focused on common prepper subjects like 'home defense', 'weapons', 'going off the grid', 'preparing for the collapse', 'preparing for martial law', etc could spawn potential investigations of innocent people.  I have been around enough to know that some people, certaintly the minority, in government law enforcement circles do not like to waste time on investigations that result in no charges.  Any charges, even the more severe the charges, often leads to plea bargins even when the accused party has/had no criminal intent and no criminal actions.    

You think you understand how the Patriot Act allows the government to spy on its citizens. Sen. Ron Wyden says it’s worse than you know.

Congress is set to reauthorize three controversial provisions of the surveillance law as early as Thursday. Wyden (D-Oregon) says that powers they grant the government on their face, the government applies a far broader legal interpretation — an interpretation that the government has conveniently classified, so it cannot be publicly assessed or challenged. But one prominent Patriot-watcher asserts that the secret interpretation empowers the government to deploy ”dragnets” for massive amounts of information on private citizens; the government portrays its data-collection efforts much differently.

“We’re getting to a gap between what the public thinks the law says and what the American government secretly thinks the law says,” Wyden told Danger Room in an interview in his Senate office. “When you’ve got that kind of a gap, you’re going to have a problem on your hands.”

What exactly does Wyden mean by that? As a member of the intelligence committee, he laments that he can’t precisely explain without disclosing classified information. But one component of the Patriot Act in particular gives him immense pause: the so-called “business-records provision,” which empowers the FBI to get businesses, medical offices, banks and other organizations to turn over any “tangible things” it deems relevant to a security investigation.

“It is fair to say that the business-records provision is a part of the Patriot Act that I am extremely interested in reforming,” Wyden says. “I know a fair amount about how it’s interpreted, and I am going to keep pushing, as I have, to get more information about how the Patriot Act is being interpreted declassified. I think the public has a right to public debate about it.”

That’s why Wyden and his colleague Sen. Mark Udall offered an amendment on Tuesday to the Patriot Act reauthorization.

The amendment, first reported by Marcy Wheeler, blasts the administration for “secretly reinterpret[ing] public laws and statutes.” It would compel the Attorney General to “publicly disclose the United States Government’s official interpretation of the USA Patriot Act.” And, intriguingly, it refers to “intelligence-collection authorities” embedded in the Patriot Act that the administration briefed the Senate about in February.

Wyden says he “can’t answer” any specific questions about how the government thinks it can use the Patriot Act. That would risk revealing classified information — something Wyden considers an abuse of government secrecy. He believes the techniques themselves should stay secret, but the rationale for using their legal use under Patriot ought to be disclosed.

“I draw a sharp line between the secret interpretation of the law, which I believe is a growing problem, and protecting operations and methods in the intelligence area, which have to be protected,” he says.

Surveillance under the business-records provisions has recently spiked. The Justice Department’s official disclosure on its use of the Patriot Act, delivered to Congress in April, reported that the government asked the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court for approval to collect business records 96 times in 2010 — up from just 21 requests the year before. The court didn’t reject a single request. But it “modified” those requests 43 times, indicating to some Patriot-watchers that a broadening of the provision is underway.

“The FISA Court is a pretty permissive body, so that suggests something novel or particularly aggressive, not just in volume, but in the nature of the request,” says Michelle Richardson, the ACLU’s resident Patriot Act lobbyist. “No one has tipped their hand on this in the slightest. But we’ve come to the conclusion that this is some kind of bulk collection. It wouldn’t be surprising to me if it’s some kind of internet or communication-records dragnet.” (Full disclosure: My fiancĂ©e works for the ACLU.)

The FBI deferred comment on any secret interpretation of the Patriot Act to the Justice Department. The Justice Department said it wouldn’t have any comment beyond a bit of March congressional testimony from its top national security official, Todd Hinnen, who presented the type of material collected as far more individualized and specific: “driver’s license records, hotel records, car-rental records, apartment-leasing records, credit card records, and the like.”

But that’s not what Udall sees. He warned in a Tuesday statement about the government’s “unfettered” access to bulk citizen data, like “a cellphone company’s phone records.” In a Senate floor speech on Tuesday, Udall urged Congress to restrict the Patriot Act’s business-records seizures to “terrorism investigations” — something the ostensible counterterrorism measure has never required in its nearly 10-year existence.

Indeed, Hinnen allowed himself an out in his March testimony, saying that the business-record provision “also” enabled “important and highly sensitive intelligence-collection operations” to take place. Wheeler speculates those operations include “using geolocation data from cellphones to collect information on the whereabouts of Americans” — something our sister blog Threat Level has reported on extensively.

It’s worth noting that Wyden is pushing a bill providing greater privacy protections for geolocation info.

For now, Wyden’s considering his options ahead of the Patriot Act vote on Thursday. He wants to compel as much disclosure as he can on the secret interpretation, arguing that a shadow broadening of the Patriot Act sets a dangerous precedent.

“I’m talking about instances where the government is relying on secret interpretations of what the law says without telling the public what those interpretations are,” Wyden says, “and the reliance on secret interpretations of the law is growing.”

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Short Questions and answers on SHTF

Survival Team Building "Urbanman, I really get the having a survival team concept since a single man has to sleep sometime. I live in a house by myself in lower income area. It's safe, just older, lower income houses that's probbaly why my Grandma didn't sell it, but let me live here - she is out of state. I don't believe there is anyone under 60 years old in the neighborhood. I live here because it's close to work, close to night classes and rent free although I pay for utilities, repairs and taxes. Even then doesn;t leave alot for prepping. I have some of my old Army gear, a couple rifles and a handgun and some food stored. I am interested in growing a garden too. Do you have some tips for building a neighborhood team that is mostly old foggies?"

UrbanMan's reply: It is good to remember that sometimes old age and treachery wins out over youthful vigor and skill sets. I am serious, but even more serious and to the point, team building, with basically strangers, starts with meeting them, building rapport, edifying yourself meaning building their confidence in you as a decision maker. To start off the bat with having neighbors build bunkers, buy guns, stock pile ammunition, store food etc., may make you seem like a crazy. A neighborhood watch program with a visiting police officer explaining this program for the neighborhood is a good place to start. You knocking on doors and introducing yourself, passing out your cell phone number, asking these elderly people if you can do anything for them will continue the rapport building. At a very minimum you have to know these people before the collapse.

Gold and Silver value After the Collapse I have had several other questions relating to the value of Silver or Gold after a SHTF event and how much value they will hold or should hold. Basically reader's looking for some sort of outline on how they sholuld value their Precious metals by the ounce or silver melt value coins.

I have long held off answering this question but the answer (the value of precious metals) could be as diverase as the people bartering with it. I think the value of silver and gold will go up each day preceding the collapse (if the collapse catalyst is a signficant event) until there is no more food, then the value will go down, meaning more precious metals to buy any commodity. I have cash on hand for the transition period where paper money is scare, then gold and silver for purchasing power after fiat currency loses it value completely and is not accepted, then it will be a pure barter society for the most part. I picked up a sledge hammer, an axe and a tool box with loose wrenches and sockets at the flea market the other day,..$20 for all. My wife say's "Are you really buying more tools! You have an endless supply." My reply: "I got them cheap, they don't take uo much room at all, and they will be good barter items when people stop accept money and precious metals. No go back to geting those cucumbers and tomatoes growing!".