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Showing posts with label Prepare for the Collapse. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Prepare for the Collapse. Show all posts

Friday, June 6, 2014

The Insight to Prepare for the Collapse

We received this letter from Phil the other day: "A friend of mine recently started prepping after a number of telephone chats with me examining the economic climate here in Canada and in the US. We talked about bug outs vs bug ins, food storage water storage/filtration, the whole 9yds. Up to this point he hadn't really been more than mildly concerned about things, he is retired and on a tight budget. After I directed him to your site and the Survival Blog site he started doing his own research on the possibility of a collapse or just really hard times. He now has acquired firearms, ammo, reloading equipment and is getting long term foods, medicine and first aid gear and all this on a tight budget!

While I must admit that I have created "a Monster" it is good to see that a rational and logical man reading on his own can come to the same conclusions about possible future outcomes. Sometimes one can get wrapped up in the doom and gloom side of prepping and loose sight of the reality, that is, be prepared to the best of your ability to get through any hard times that may be coming down the pike. It's not about being ready for TEOTWAWKI, it about being ready for all of the lesser evils that may occur as well. The other lesson I take from this is that it's never too late to start your preps and spend within your means. I hope this finds you well. "

Hey Phil, I would be interested in knowing what prompted your friend to start prepping. Was it all the signs of an economic collapse? Was it the possibility of EMP type or other terrorist attack and the resulting chaos or at least governmental martial law? Maybe just a slow slide into devastating inflation? I think many people start prepping just to be more self sufficient - they don't want to rely on other people or institutions such as the government for their safety and indeed, their very lives. Anyway, no matter. If any country is going to come out of a collapse, it'll need self responsible, capable people to survive.

There are MANY "survive the collapse" sites on the internet that provide much more and more complete information than I do. Among these sites are the following (please pass them to your friend):

Additionally, there are several books he probably should read to get an idea on how a devastating collapse may ocur and the problems in the aftermath:

The Going Home, Surviving Home, Escaping Home, and soon to be released Forsaking Home series by A. American.

One Second After by William Forstchen

Lights Out, by David Crawford

and of course, Patriots by James Wesley Rawles

You mentioned creating a monster. I did too with Jim who's survival preps I have reported on. Jim is now slowed down on prepping but that's okay as he rapidly set himself with stored food, silver and to a lesser extent gold bullion, and firearms/stored ammunition. He has also procured necessary survival gear as well. But I think where Jim has backslide is that his Survival Plan has been overcome by the events of his employment. He travels extensively which places him at risk of being way too far away from his assets and being able to implement a Bug In then Bug Out plan. I have talked to him about curtailing his traveling when the conditions make a collapse imminent, however some conditions we just won't see - like a nuclear attack or terrorist conducted EMP type attack. An attack on the banking system, cutting off money and therefore food to the population masses would be another catalyst we just probably won't see coming.

Another point of yours, and one I have made often, is that prepping is possible on a budget. It starts with buying extra food for your pantry to extend what people call the three day pantry. If you look close enough you'll find those deals.

Procuring suitable firearms and stocking ammunition, maybe some silver bullion, long range food supplies and some gear is obviously more costly. I've always been a proponent of the first rule of a gun fight and that is having a gun. While some people think that if you don't have a high end M4 or clone and can't dress to look like a Navy SEAL then you are basically dicked when it comes to survival. I think you can adequately cover security and protection otherwise. In fact, you may have to when you just don't have the funds for high end weaponry. If I only had a 12 gauge shotgun and a handgun (with suitable ammunition stocks), then I would most likely be filling other holes like food, water storage, precious metals, seed bank, etc., before I went back to modernize firearms.

Anyway Phil, thanks for writing. Thanks for helping others to prep.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

15 Reasons Why Your Food Prices Are About To Start Soaring

This article came from Michael Snyder of The Economic Collapse blog, posted on Zero Hedge, and highlights to end to not only stock food but to become food self-sufficient. Growing and harvesting your own food - that may mean greenhouse throughout the year. It may mean being in a community where livestock are prevalent and the ability to barter for meat on the hoof; trade produce for other food items, etc. The other point is to try and make yourself recession or depression proof. Consider having some level of gold and silver on hand. Items for barter are good too. Cash on hand for when the banks or ATM's run dry or have "holidays" or withdrawal restrictions....all things to consider.

Did you know that the U.S. state that produces the most vegetables is going through the worst drought it has ever experienced and that the size of the total U.S. cattle herd is now the smallest that it has been since 1951? Just the other day, a CBS News article boldly declared that "food prices soar as incomes stand still", but the truth is that this is only just the beginning. If the drought that has been devastating farmers and ranchers out west continues, we are going to see prices for meat, fruits and vegetables soar into the stratosphere. Already, the federal government has declared portions of 11 states to be "disaster areas", and California farmers are going to leave half a million acres sitting idle this year because of the extremely dry conditions.

Sadly, experts are telling us that things are probably going to get worse before they get better (if they ever do). As you will read about below, one expert recently told National Geographic that throughout history it has been quite common for that region of North America to experience severe droughts that last for decades. In fact, one drought actually lasted for about 200 years. So there is the possibility that the drought that has begun in the state of California may not end during your entire lifetime.

This drought has gotten so bad that it is starting to get national attention. Barack Obama visited the Fresno region on Friday, and he declared that "this is going to be a very challenging situation this year, and frankly, the trend lines are such where it's going to be a challenging situation for some time to come."

According to NBC News, businesses across the region are shutting down, large numbers of workers are leaving to search for other work, and things are already so bad that it "calls to mind the Dust Bowl of the 1930s"... In the state's Central Valley — where nearly 40 percent of all jobs are tied to agriculture production and related processing — the pain has already trickled down. Businesses across a wide swath of the region have shuttered, casting countless workers adrift in a downturn that calls to mind the Dust Bowl of the 1930s.

If you will recall, there have been warnings that Dust Bowl conditions were going to return to the western half of the country for quite some time.

Now the mainstream media is finally starting to catch up.

And of course these extremely dry conditions are going to severely affect food prices. The following are 15 reasons why your food bill is going to start soaring.....

#1 2013 was the driest year on record for the state of California, and 2014 has been exceptionally dry so far as well.

#2 According to the U.S. Drought Monitor, 91.6 percent of the entire state of California is experiencing "severe to exceptional drought" even as you read this article.

#3 According to CNBC, it is being projected that California farmers are going to let half a million acres of farmland sit idle this year because of the crippling drought.

#4 Celeste Cantu, the general manager for the Santa Ana Watershed Project Authority, says that this drought could have a "cataclysmic" impact on food prices...

Given that California is one of the largest agricultural regions in the world, the effects of any drought, never mind one that could last for centuries, are huge. About 80 percent of California's freshwater supply is used for agriculture. The cost of fruits and vegetables could soar, says Cantu. "There will be cataclysmic impacts."

#5 Mike Wade, the executive director of the California Farm Water Coalition, recently explained which crops he believes will be hit the hardest...
Hardest hit would be such annual row crops as tomatoes, broccoli, lettuce, cantaloupes, garlic, peppers and corn. Wade said consumers can also expect higher prices and reduced selection at grocery stores, particularly for products such as almonds, raisins, walnuts and olives.

#6 As I discussed in a previous article, the rest of the nation is extremely dependent on the fruits and vegetables grown in California. Just consider the following statistics regarding what percentage of our produce is grown in the state...
-99 percent of the artichokes
-44 percent of asparagus
-two-thirds of carrots
-half of bell peppers
-89 percent of cauliflower
-94 percent of broccoli
-95 percent of celery
-90 percent of the leaf lettuce
-83 percent of Romaine lettuce
-83 percent of fresh spinach
-a third of the fresh tomatoes
-86 percent of lemons
-90 percent of avocados
-84 percent of peaches
-88 percent of fresh strawberries
-97 percent of fresh plums

#7 Of course it isn't just agriculture which will be affected by this drought. Just consider this chilling statement by Tim Quinn, the executive director of the Association of California Water Agencies...
"There are places in California that if we don’t do something about it, tens of thousands of people could turn on their water faucets and nothing would come out."

#8 The Sierra Nevada snowpack is only about 15 percent of what it normally is. As the New York Times recently explained, this is going to be absolutely devastating for Californians when the warmer months arrive...
Experts offer dire warnings. The current drought has already eclipsed previous water crises, like the one in 1977, which a meteorologist friend, translating into language we understand as historians, likened to the “Great Depression” of droughts. Most Californians depend on the Sierra Nevada for their water supply, but the snowpack there was just 15 percent of normal in early February.

#9 The underground aquifers that so many California farmers depend upon are being drained at a staggering rate...
Pumping from aquifers is so intense that the ground in parts of the valley is sinking about a foot a year. Once aquifers compress, they can never fill with water again.
It’s no surprise Tom Willey wakes every morning with a lump in his throat. When we ask which farmers will survive the summer, he responds quite simply: those who dig the deepest and pump the hardest.

#10 According to an expert interviewed by National Geographic, the current drought in the state of California could potentially last for 200 years or more as some mega-droughts in the region have done in the past...
California is experiencing its worst drought since record-keeping began in the mid 19th century, and scientists say this may be just the beginning. B. Lynn Ingram, a paleoclimatologist at the University of California at Berkeley, thinks that California needs to brace itself for a megadrought—one that could last for 200 years or more.

#11 Much of the western U.S. has been exceedingly dry for an extended period of time, and this is hurting huge numbers of farmers and ranchers all the way from Texas to the west coast...
The western United States has been in a drought that has been building for more than a decade, according to climatologist Bill Patzert of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
“Ranchers in the West are selling off their livestock," Patzert said. "Farmers all over the Southwest, from Texas to Oregon, are fallowing in their fields because of a lack of water. For farmers and ranchers, this is a painful drought.”

#12 The size of the U.S. cattle herd has been shrinking for seven years in a row, and it is now the smallest that it has been since 1951. But our population has more than doubled since then.

#13 Extremely unusual weather patterns are playing havoc with crops all over the planet right now. The following is an excerpt from a recent article by Lizzie Bennett...
Peru, Venezuela, and Bolivia have experienced rainfall heavy enough to flood fields and rot crops where they stand. Volcanic eruptions in Ecuador are also creating problems due to cattle ingesting ash with their feed leading to a slow and painful death.

Parts of Australia have been in drought for years affecting cattle and agricultural production.

Rice production in China has been affected by record low temperatures.

Large parts of the UK are underwater, and much of that water is sea water which is poisoning the soil. So wet is the UK that groundwater is so high it is actually coming out of the ground and adding to the water from rivers and the sea. With the official assessment being that groundwater flooding will continue until MAY, and that’s if it doesn’t rain again between now and then. The River Thames is 65 feet higher than normal in some areas, flooding town after town as it heads to the sea.

#14 As food prices rise, our incomes are staying about the same. The following is from a CBS News article entitled "Food prices soar as incomes stand still"...
While the government says prices are up 6.4 percent since 2011, chicken is up 18.4 percent, ground beef is up 16.8 percent and bacon has skyrocketed up 22.8 percent, making it a holiday when it's on sale.

#15 As I have written about previously, median household income has fallen for five years in a row. So average Americans are going to have to make their food budgets stretch more than they ever have before as this drought drags on.
If the drought does continue to get worse, small agricultural towns all over California are going to die off.

For instance, consider what is already happening to the little town of Mendota.......
The farms in and around Mendota are dying of thirst. The signs are everywhere. Orchards with trees lying on their sides, as if shot. Former farm fields given over to tumbleweeds. Land and cattle for sale, cheap. Large numbers of agricultural workers continue to hang on, hoping that somehow there will be enough work for them. But as Evelyn Nieves recently observed, panic is starting to set in...

Off-season, by mid-February, idled workers are clearly anxious. Farmworkers and everyone else who waits out the winter for work (truckers, diesel providers, packing suppliers and the like) are nearing the end of the savings they squirrel away during the season. The season starts again in March, April at the latest, but no one knows who will get work when the season begins, or how much.

People are scared, panicked even. I did not write this article so that you would panic. Yes, incredibly hard times are coming. If you will recall, the 1930s were also a time when the United States experienced extraordinarily dry weather conditions and a tremendous amount of financial turmoil. We could very well be entering a similar time period.

Worrying about this drought is not going to change anything. Instead of worrying, we should all be doing what we can to store some things up while food is still relatively cheap. Our grandparents and our great-grandparents that lived during the days of the Great Depression knew the wisdom of having a well-stocked food pantry, and it would be wise to follow their examples. Please share this article with as many people as you can. The United States has never faced anything like this during most of our lifetimes. We need to shake people out of their "normalcy bias" and get them to understand that big changes are coming.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Off The Grid, Prepare for the Collapse Example

Another "motivational, if they can do it, you can do it" article about a couple who moved off the grid and is making it happen. This article is from Yahoo Finance and was published about this couple living on very little income. You will have to link to the article to see the pictures of their house and way of life. It is evident that they did not approach this from a pepper's point of view, and that is considering security or defense.  While they are saving money and sitting pretty well for an economic collapse, you can tell that they are not prepared for what the worst of humanity, or government for that matter, will throw at them,.....and here's a thought, "don't let people know where you live!".

At a time when we carry computers in our pockets and our cars practically do the driving for us, a certain subset of people have willingly chosen to cut the cord on modern American life — for good. Off-the-grid living — that is, using natural resources like sun and wind power to provide amenities like heat and electricity — has become commonplace in places like Terlingua, an isolated community in Southwest Texas.

What was once a bustling mining town is now a veritable ghost town, tucked into the foothills of Big Bend National Park in the north Chihuahuan desert. To Abe Connally, 34, it was the perfect place to go off the map. In 2002, Connally moved to Terlingua, leaving behind a lucrative job as a web designer in Austin, Texas in order to try his hand at rural life. "I’ve always enjoyed rural life, and the thought of sustainability and home-scale energy production intrigued me," says Abe, who grew up in New Mexico and Texas. "On top of that, I wanted to see how integrating systems to reduce waste and improve efficiency would affect the architecture and other components of this lifestyle."

Within a year, he met and married his wife, Josie, a British expat who was raised in Africa, Portugal and England before she finally settled out West. They never questioned whether to build their own home or not. It was only a matter of finding the right land and the right resources. "When we started building our first home, we figured that if we could build a sustainable homestead from scratch in the desert, then we could do it anywhere," Josie says. "We realized that if we could reduce our needs and resources, our lifestyle would be cheaper to maintain, giving us money to save or invest."

More than a decade, two hand-built homes and a pair of energetic sons later, they've dedicated their lives to maintaining their sustainable home, using their blog VelaCreations to teach others how to follow in their footsteps. Here's what it’s like to live really off-the-grid: "When we built our first home, we had almost no money," Josie says. "We bought 20 acres of pristine desert land for $1,000 and moved an old bus onto it. The bus — retrofitted with a bed, small stove, solar panel and batteries, etc. — was our home until we could build a better quality one."

Neither Abe nor Josie were particularly experienced home builders — far from it. They relied on books, blogs and online tutorials to learn everything from bricklaying to building solar panels for energy. Abe: "[Renowned architect] Michael Reynolds introduced us to the concepts of architecture as a group of integrated systems. From passive solar designs to using waste as construction materials, his books showed us that it was possible to live like we wanted to."

They built their first sustainable home in 2002 near Terlingua, but they were 30 miles from the closest schools and hospitals — not exactly ideal for raising small children. In 2007, they moved closer to town and started constructing home No. 2.

Like their own personal Rome, their new home took years to complete and is a constant work in progress. Abe: "We added to each system as we could afford it, in other words, little by little. For the house itself, we used adobe, mixing the mud with our feet and putting it into forms (made from scrap materials) straight on the walls. It took a long time, but cost almost nothing."

For off-the-gridders, the sun is crucial. The Connallys rely on solar power for all of their heat and electricity (with help from a homemade wind generator). "The house is partially buried in a south-facing hill [and] the thermal mass of the hill helps to keep a constant temperature inside the house year-round, like a cave," Abe explains. "The house stays about 70 degrees for most of the year."

Abe: "Our water is collected from the roof. We live in a desert, so rainfall is limited, and the majority of our rain comes from July through September. We store this water in large tanks we make ourselves and then filter for domestic use."

"The first part of off-grid living is to conserve, and reduce your needs, so that it’s easier to produce your necessities for yourself," Abe says. By using a composting toilet, which requires no water, they cut down on waste and fertilize their land at the same time.

Their $9,600 annual budget is planned down to the dollar. They earn a small income through Abe's web consulting business and some freelance writing, but their farm is their real paycheck. When they decided to rebuild, they sought out more fertile land with enough rainfall to sustain a garden and livestock.

As a family, they bring new meaning to the term "farm to table": "We've had tomato plants that produce for several years, and they become these jungles of fresh food right in the dining room," Abe says. "In fact, our youngest son, Nico, will sit there and eat every red tomato he can reach, but if you put one on his plate, he refuses to touch it."

Josie: "We grow a wide variety of things, depending on our tastes at the time. We regularly grow tomatoes, strawberries, peppers, okra, cucumbers, squash, corn, sunflowers, melons, greens, roots and several herbs. We also have a few fruit trees (plums, apricots, peaches)." They've even got a tiny village of beehives for fresh honey.

Meat is also on the menu. The Connallys have gradually raised a menagerie of livestock, including pigs, rabbits, guinea pigs, and chickens. It's vastly cheaper than purchasing their meat from stores.

Everyone lends a hand in the family harvest. Josie: "The kids collect eggs and feed all the poultry. We feed the rabbits, pigs and all the other little critters. We then all go look at any baby rabbits and the kids often get out their guinea pigs to play with."

Nothing goes to waste. Josie: "We sell any surplus. We often have extra meat (especially rabbit), which we sell locally. We also sell eggs, as well as trading them for raw milk. Any vegetables and such we tend to preserve (drying, canning, kimchi) as we don’t yet grow enough to fill our yearly needs." Even rabbit fur gets turned into cozy hats and slippers.

Josie: "Right now, we’re spending about $800 a month: $100 on fuel, $500 on [feed for the animals], groceries and other household items, and $100 on Internet and phone. We also continue to improve our homestead, which costs a little extra, depending on the task at hand."

With two kids under the age of 5, the Connallys admit they've made some allowances in their off-grid lifestyle. They have games for game nights and keep a healthy stock of books and DVDs for entertainment. They keep a car handy for trips to town and to cart the kids to and from school each day. Their goal this year is to get their car running on natural fuel supplies. Josie: "We live about a 20-minute drive from a small village, where there’s a kindergarten, primary school, clinic and a couple of basic stores. That’s actually one of the main reasons we moved here before starting a family: still very rural, but with everything needed for small kids."

I admire the out of the box thinking of this family.  Growing your own food, from gardening to the livestock aspect is great - a model for all prepared Bug Out locations, however, I would certainly be concerned about OPSEC and hope they have a plan for security and the defensibility of their homestead. 

Friday, November 8, 2013

Advice from Survival Podcast

This was sent to me by a reader asking for commentary. This is the first time I have seen The Survival Podcast. I have not went through their site yet, but the first article on the landing page link I was sent lead me to what The Survival Podcast calls the 12 guiding principles of permaculture. My comments are in Italics underneath each guiding principle which I think are unique but not necessarily what I would use as my principles.

1.  Observe and Interact – or – Be a Part of Things

Observe to gathers the facts,....observe to recognize potential threats,....observe peoples reactions to decisions,....observe to see what motivates or de-motivates them, interaction is vital to build a cohesive team - everyone has to feel valued.  

2.  Catch and Store Energy – or – Be an Ant not a Grasshopper

3.  Obtain a Yield – or – Get an ROI on Your Efforts

4.  Apply Self Regulation and Accept Feedback – or – Don’t Kill the Golden Goose

People are best motivated when they know they have input into effort.  Making people, or your survival team, believe they are valued for their opinions and their skills is much preferable to distancing these individuals.    

5.  Use and Value Resources and Services – or -Be Efficient to Become Independent

Be Independent,.......I suppose you could draw a parallel to the preppers who stock food, guns and ammunition, but little else. 

6.  Produce No Waste – or – Make Use of Everything

7.  Design from Patterns to Details – or -Be an Artist and Step Back for a Longer View

This can apply to planning.  From the concept of the operation to planning the details including contingency plans.  Anticipate the problems and plan for immediate solutions to be immediately implemented.

8.  Integrate Rather than Segregate – or -Understand the Power of Teams

To me this means team building and using people's skills for the groups advantage.  This is not contrary to what you rugged individuals believe, this simply recognizing the fact the survival is best achieved in a team.   

9.  Use Small and Slow Solutions – or – Focus On What You Can Do First

10.  Use and Value Diversity – or – Practice Risk Reduction

11.  Use Edges and Value the Marginal – or – Seek Alliances Not Conflicts

12.  Use Creativity and Adapt to Change – or – Improvise, Adapt and Overcome

Really is should be "Improvise, Adapt, Overcome OR Perish."  But I get the point. 

Survival Podcast is asking for input with the request to "Remember to comment, chime in and tell us your thoughts, this podcast is one man’s opinion, not a lecture or sermon. Also please enter our listener appreciation contest and help spread the word about our show. Also remember you can call in your questions and comments to 866-65-THINK (866-658-4465) and you might hear yourself on the air." This good survival planning and preparation asset also has what they call their "Expert Council" that readers can address callas to. If you do this you should email Jack right after your call at with expert council call in the subject line. In the body of your email tell Jack that you just called in a question for the council and what number you called in from. Jack will then give the call priority when he screen calls. Survival Podcast Expert Council:

Kerry Davis – Dark Angel Medical – Emergency Medicine and Life Saving Care

Bryan Black – ITS Tactical – All Things Tactical, E&E, Lock Picking, etc.

Frank Sharp Jr. – Fortress Defense Consultants – Weapons, Tactics and Security

Darby Simpson – – Livestock and Farm Management/ Homestead Consulting

Ben Falk – Whole Systems Design – Permaculture (Specializing in North Eastern Climates)

Paul Wheaton – – Permaculture (Specializing in North Western Climates)

Tim Glance – Old Grouch’s Military Surplus – Bug Out Vehicles, Military Surplus and Communications

Stephen Harris – Solar1234 – All things Energy

Chef Keith Snow – Harvest Eating – Cooking

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Dragon Day: A Movie That Will Forecast the Collapse

Dragon Day (the Movie) being billed as "Red Dawn for Intellectuals" just may be predicting how the coming collapse begins. This is an article by James Simpson on American Thinker on Dragon Day which opens 1 November in Theatres and just may serve to take people step by step through this possible? probable? catalyst for the coming collapse.

China, by far the largest single owner of U.S. Treasury debt, has been abandoning Treasury bonds to invest directly in U.S. land, building and businesses. Recently, China entered an agreement with the European Union to swap currencies, forgoing purchases of U.S. dollars -- the world's reserve currency -- to finance transactions. Both of these activities are a consequence of the risk associated with astronomical U.S. debt, almost doubled since President Obama took office. On October 11, China called for the world to be "de-Americanized," its leaders ridiculing Washington over the shutdown impasse.

It is against this backdrop of real events that Dragon Day, a tense thriller set to release November 1st, depicts a Chinese takeover of the U.S. after our government defaults on its debt. Dragon Day Director Jeffrey Travis says, "When I would pitch the film to people, I could rarely finish the logline before the reaction was "Oh my God, that's really going to happen". Our joke was we had to finish the film before it became a documentary.

Given where we are today, that may not be so funny.

The story begins with Ex-NSA engineer Duke Evans, who has lost his job due to the continuing financial crisis. Forced to foreclose on his home, he resettles his family (wife, daughter and sister) in a mountain cabin inherited from his recently deceased grandfather. They have barely gotten in the door when things start happening. Lights go out, the TV goes blank and a huge airliner swoops by at treetop level, erupting in a fireball on the next mountain.

The Chinese have launched a cyber attack. A secret computer virus embedded in Chinese manufactured computer chips has allowed the Chinese military to turn them off remotely. America's entire computer-based infrastructure comes screeching to a halt: power goes off, lights go out, autos and trucks stall, trains go off the rails and planes fall out of the sky.

Evans quickly understands what has happened. He was the NSA engineer who designed a secret government cyber warfare program he now realizes was compromised. He thought he was doing this for his country, but it turns out that many in government have been secretly working for the other side all along. TV service is temporarily restored, and the President announces what has happened, followed by an eerie red screen with the enemy flag symbol and announcement:


Evans destroys cell phones and anything else that can lead the enemy to his hideaway. The country quickly reverts to pre-industrial conditions, and the movie offers a fairly realistic window into what would actually happen in such a situation. Stores are ransacked. People begin to starve and die of thirst. Roving bands of thugs begin robbing and murdering.

Anarchy rules. But you are offered escape. If you willingly attach a "Citizen's Freedom Band", presumably you will be spared further anguish. Urgently needed food and water are just around the corner, so you think. But instead it proves to be a high tech dog collar which will kill you if you move out of your assigned zone. Surprisingly, the local sheriff's office has a large supply of these, obviously obtained before the attack occurred.

Unlike Red Dawn and similar fare, there are no absurd heroics, or unrealistic depictions of the town forming a militia to fight off the Chinese hoards. This feels much more authentic. It depicts the kind of anarchy that reigns following major natural disasters, like Hurricane Katrina. Individuals and small groups might band together for good or ill, but organized resistance is nil.

There is no ability to communicate or travel, and food and water are almost nonexistent. Many people do what average citizens would do facing starvation and uncertainty, they put on the bracelets. It becomes obvious that many within government at all levels have conspired with the enemy, but it also becomes obvious that for most, their treason will not pay off.

While some might take comfort in the fact that this is "just a movie," according to Defense Tech, an American-designed, Chinese-made microchip used in defense applications was recently discovered to have a virus hardwired into it. The article states:

Basically, Chinese cyber spies can use the chip's built-in malware to decipher military passcodes and gain remote access to the chip and reprogram it to do their bidding; 'permitting a new and disturbing possibility of a large-scale Stuxnet-type attack via a network or the Internet on the silicon itself,'...

This discovery has led experts to worry that all Chinese manufactured chips may have similar vulnerabilities.

Furthermore, the events depicted in the movie are almost indistinguishable from what would happen following an Electro-Magnetic Pulse (EMP) attack. EMP is the result of either an unusually large solar storm or high altitude detonation of an atomic bomb. It roasts electrical circuitry. As in the movie, aircraft would fall from the sky, transportation would cease, and energy, food and water supplies would vanish. Iran has conducted missile tests believed to be test runs for EMP attacks.

Evans' neighbor Albert, a good friend of his deceased grandfather, has the only vehicle that still works, an old 1976 Ford truck, built before computer chips were used in autos, but this is quickly commandeered by the local police. Like most good characters in a movie however, the truck makes a reappearance later on.

There are some gimmicks the tech-savvy will enjoy. Albert brings over an old short wave radio, but the battery is dead. If Evans can just reach his old NSA boss, he knows he can get help. He rigs up a potato battery to run the radio. Don't laugh; they work! The only thing that bothered me was where the heck did he get all those potatoes?

It also bothered me that they didn't appear to be using the apparently plentiful potatoes as a source of food or water when these ran short. They could have, and did give a few potatoes to two kids who came to the door begging.

But this was a small detail. The movie was fast moving and kept me on the edge of my seat. I appreciated the realism. While watching Communist thugs getting blown away by vengeful high school kids in Red Dawn was gratifying, it was also unrealistic.

A genuine takeover would not go well for such resistors. Dragon Day depicted more of the things that would really happen: friends, neighbors and authorities turning against you -- even the U.S. military, I am afraid to say, as would likely happen in such a situation. At least it would now that Obama has purged patriotic leaders from the military. This movie showed a family doing its best to innovate and survive in a chaotic situation -- much more believable.

I don't want to spoil the rest of it for you so I'll just leave it there. If you are into this kind of survivalist, end-of-the-world-as-we-know-it type film, Dragon Day will not disappoint. The acting is convincing and the entire storyline, right down to the way different people might react in such a situation, really rings true. With all the stuff going on around us in the real world, this movie is all the more frightening. No sugarcoats here. See it in theaters November 1st.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

The The Future Not Bright - More Reasons for the Impending Economic Collapse

From an article by Michael Synder, called "35 Facts To Scare A Baby Boomer", posted on the The Economic Collapse Blog, hich is a really good source for,..well,, predictions and reasons that we face a economic collapse.

If you have some people you are dripping prepping to, and we all know some of those people. Peeople who are can't stand by themselves,...people on the fence on gun issues, or just don't see the need for "military style" weapons in the hands of the common citizenry,....people who have maybe three days food in their house. Anyway,........without further ado, Michael Synder's excellent article.

If you want to frighten Baby Boomers, just show them the list of statistics in this article. The United States is headed for a retirement crisis of unprecedented magnitude, and we are woefully unprepared for it. At this point, more than 10,000 Baby Boomers are reaching the age of 65 every single day, and this will continue to happen for almost the next 20 years. The number of senior citizens in America is projected to more than double during the first half of this century, and some absolutely enormous financial promises have been made to them.

So will we be able to keep those promises to the hordes of American workers that are rapidly approaching retirement? Of course not. State and local governments are facing trillions in unfunded pension liabilities. Medicare is facing a 38 trillion dollar shortfall over the next 75 years. The Social Security system is facing a 134 trillion dollar shortfall over the next 75 years. Meanwhile, nearly half of all American workers have less than $10,000 saved for retirement.

The truth is that I was being incredibly kind when I said earlier that we are "woefully unprepared" for what is coming. The biggest retirement crisis in history is rapidly approaching, and a lot of the promises that were made to the Baby Boomers are going to get broken.

The following are 35 incredibly shocking statistics that will scare just about any Baby Boomer...

1. Right now, there are somewhere around 40 million senior citizens in the United States. By 2050 that number is projected to skyrocket to 89 million.

2. According to one recent poll, 25 percent of all Americans in the 46 to 64-year-old age bracket have no retirement savings at all.

3. 26 percent of all Americans in the 46 to 64-year-old age bracket have no personal savings whatsoever.

4. One survey that covered all American workers found that 46 percent of them have less than $10,000 saved for retirement.

5. According to a survey conducted by the Employee Benefit Research Institute, "60 percent of American workers said the total value of their savings and investments is less than $25,000".

6. A Pew Research survey found that half of all Baby Boomers say that their household financial situations have deteriorated over the past year.

7. 67 percent of all American workers believe that they "are a little or a lot behind schedule on saving for retirement".

8. Today, one out of every six elderly Americans lives below the federal poverty line.

9. More elderly Americans than ever are finding that they must continue working once they reach their retirement years. Between 1985 and 2010, the percentage of Americans in the 65 to 69-year-old age bracket that were still working increased from 18 percent to 32 percent.

10. Back in 1991, half of all American workers planned to retire before they reached the age of 65. Today, that number has declined to 23 percent.

11. According to one recent survey, 70 percent of all American workers expect to continue working once they are "retired".

12. According to a poll conducted by AARP, 40 percent of all Baby Boomers plan to work "until they drop".

13. A poll conducted by CESI Debt Solutions found that 56 percent of American retirees still had outstanding debts when they retired.

14. Elderly Americans tend to carry much higher balances on their credit cards than younger Americans do. The following is from a recent CNBC article...

New research from the AARP also shows that those ages 50 and over are carrying higher balances on their credit cards -- $8,278 in 2012 compared to $6,258 for the under-50 population.

15. A study by a law professor at the University of Michigan found that Americans that are 55 years of age or older now account for 20 percent of all bankruptcies in the United States. Back in 2001, they only accounted for 12 percent of all bankruptcies.

16. Between 1991 and 2007 the number of Americans between the ages of 65 and 74 that filed for bankruptcy rose by a staggering 178 percent.

17. What is causing most of these bankruptcies among the elderly? The number one cause is medical bills. According to a report published in The American Journal of Medicine, medical bills are a major factor in more than 60 percent of the personal bankruptcies in the United States. Of those bankruptcies that were caused by medical bills, approximately 75 percent of them involved individuals that actually did have health insurance.

18. In 1945, there were 42 workers for every retiree receiving Social Security benefits. Today, that number has fallen to 2.5 workers, and if you eliminate all government workers, that leaves only 1.6 private sector workers for every retiree receiving Social Security benefits.

19. Millions of elderly Americans these days are finding it very difficult to survive on just a Social Security check. The truth is that most Social Security checks simply are not that large. The following comes directly from the Social Security Administration website...

The average monthly Social Security benefit for a retired worker was about $1,230 at the beginning of 2012. This amount changes monthly based upon the total amount of all benefits paid and the total number of people receiving benefits.

Could you live on about 300 dollars a week?

20. Social Security benefits are not going to stretch as far in future years. The following is from an article on the AARP website...

Social Security benefits won't go as far, either. In 2002, benefits replaced 39 percent of the average retirees salary, and that will decline to 28 percent in 2030, when the youngest boomers reach full retirement age, according to the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College.

21. In the United States today, more than 61 million Americans receive some form of Social Security benefits. By 2035, that number is projected to soar to a whopping 91 million.

22. Overall, the Social Security system is facing a 134 trillion dollar shortfall over the next 75 years.

23. As I wrote about in a previous article, the number of Americans on Medicare is expected to grow from 50.7 million in 2012 to 73.2 million in 2025.

24. Medicare is facing unfunded liabilities of more than 38 trillion dollars over the next 75 years. That comes to approximately $328,404 for each and every household in the United States.

25. Today, only 10 percent of private companies in the U.S. provide guaranteed lifelong pensions for their employees.

26. Verizon's pension plan is underfunded by 3.4 billion dollars.

27. In California, the Orange County Employees Retirement System is estimated to have a 10 billion dollar unfunded pension liability.

28. The state of Illinois has accumulated unfunded pension liabilities of more than 77 billion dollars.

29. Pension consultant Girard Miller told California's Little Hoover Commission that state and local government bodies in the state of California have 325 billion dollars in combined unfunded pension liabilities.

30. According to Northwestern University Professor John Rauh, the latest estimate of the total amount of unfunded pension and healthcare obligations for retirees that state and local governments across the United States have accumulated is 4.4 trillion dollars.

31. In 2010, 28 percent of all American workers with a 401(k) had taken money out of it at some point.

32. Back in 2004, American workers were taking about 30 billion dollars in early withdrawals out of their 401(k) accounts every single year. Right now, American workers are pulling about 70 billion dollars in early withdrawals out of their 401(k) accounts every single year.

33. Today, 49 percent of all American workers are not covered by an employment-based pension plan at all.

34. According to a recent survey conducted by Americans for Secure Retirement, 88 percent of all Americans are worried about "maintaining a comfortable standard of living in retirement".

35. A study conducted by Boston College's Center for Retirement Research found that American workers are $6.6 trillion short of what they need to retire comfortably.

So what is the solution? Well, one influential organization of business executives says that the solution is to make Americans wait longer for retirement. The following is from a recent CBS News article...

An influential group of business CEOs is pushing a plan to gradually increase the full retirement age to 70 for both Social Security and Medicare and to partially privatize the health insurance program for older Americans.

The Business Roundtable's plan would protect those 55 and older from cuts but younger workers would face significant changes. The plan unveiled Wednesday would result in smaller annual benefit increases for all Social Security recipients. Initial benefits for wealthy retirees would also be smaller.

But considering the fact that there aren't nearly enough jobs for all Americans already, perhaps that is not such a great idea. If we expect Americans to work longer, then we are going to need our economy to start producing a lot more good jobs than it is producing right now.

Of course the status quo is not going to work either. There is no way that we are going to be able to meet the financial obligations that are coming due.

The federal government, our state governments and our local governments are already drowning in debt and we are already spending far more money than we bring in each year. How in the world are we going to make ends meet as our obligations to retirees absolutely skyrocket in the years ahead?

What is going on in Detroit right now is a perfect example of what will soon be happening all over the nation. Many city workers stuck with their jobs for decades because of the promise of a nice pension at the end of the rainbow. But now those promises are going up in smoke. There has even been talk that retirees will only end up getting about 10 cents for every dollar that they were promised.

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!".

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Inflation or Deflation?

Occassional I get questions on the differences between inflation and deflation as it relates to it affecting the economy, causing a economic collapse and therefore regulating people to daily survival. I struggle to explain either and am much better at explaining the effects. Kinda like explaining a sharp stick jammed into your eye,........I can't explain the medical effects other than the fact that it would subsequently hurt like hell, affect your vision and depth perception, and maybe be a cause for life threatening infection.

Then along comes this good article from Tyler Durden on Zero Hedge. Titled "Will It Be Inflation Or Deflation? The Answer May Surprise You", this article is easy to read and understand and may give the prepper some ammunition to explain causes and effects as it relates to the need to prepare for a collapse. The enitre article with graphs and charts cane be found on Zero Hedge.

Is the coming financial collapse going to be inflationary or deflationary? Are we headed for rampant inflation or crippling deflation? This is a subject that is hotly debated by economists all over the country. Some insist that the wild money printing that the Federal Reserve is doing combined with out of control government spending will eventually result in hyperinflation. Others point to all of the deflationary factors in our economy and argue that we will experience tremendous deflation when the bubble economy that we are currently living in bursts. So what is the truth? Well, for the reasons listed below, we believe that we will see both.

The next major financial panic will cause a substantial deflationary wave first, and after that we will see unprecedented inflation as the central bankers and our politicians respond to the financial crisis. This will happen so quickly that many will get "financial whiplash" as they try to figure out what to do with their money. We are moving toward a time of extreme financial instability, and different strategies will be called for at different times.

So why will we see deflation first? The following are some of the major deflationary forces that are affecting our economy right now...

The Velocity Of Money Is At A 50 Year Low

The rate at which money circulates in our economy is the lowest that it has been in more than 50 years. It has been steadily falling since the late 1990s, and this is a clear sign that economic activity is slowing down. The shaded areas in the chart represent recessions, and as you can see, the velocity of money always slows down during a recession. But even though the government is telling us that we are not in a recession right now, the velocity of money continues to drop like a rock. This is one of the factors that is putting a tremendous amount of deflationary pressure on our economy...

The Trade Deficit

Even single month, far more money leaves this country than comes into it. In fact, the amount going out exceeds the amount coming in by about half a trillion dollars each year. This is extremely deflationary. Our system is constantly bleeding cash, and this is one of the reasons why the federal government has felt a need to run such huge budget deficits and why the Federal Reserve has felt a need to print so much money. They are trying to pump money back into a system that is constantly bleeding massive amounts of cash. Since 1975, the amount of money leaving the United States has exceeded the amount of money coming into the country by more than 8 trillion dollars. The trade deficit is one of our biggest economic problems, and yet most Americans do not even understand what it is. As you can see below, our trade deficit really started getting bad in the late 1990s...

Wages And Salaries As A Percentage Of GDP

One of the primary drivers of inflation is consumer spending. But consumers cannot spend money if they do not have it. And right now, wages and salaries as a percentage of GDP are near a record low. This is a very deflationary state of affairs. The percentage of low paying jobs in the U.S. economy continues to increase, and we have witnessed an explosion in the ranks of the "working poor" in recent years. For consumer prices to rise significantly, more money is going to have to get into the hands of average American consumers first...

When The Debt Bubble Bursts

Right now, we are living in the greatest debt bubble in the history of the world. When a debt bubble bursts, fear and panic typically cause the flow of money and the flow of credit to really tighten up. We saw that happen at the beginning of the Great Depression of the 1930s, we saw that happen back in 2008, and we will see it happen again. Deleveraging is deflationary by nature, and it can cause economic activity to grind to a standstill very rapidly.

During the next major wave of the economic collapse, there will be times when it will seem like hardly anyone has any money. The "easy credit" of the past will be long gone, and large numbers of individuals and small businesses will find it very difficult to get loans.

When the debt bubble bursts, cash will be king - at least for a short period of time. Those that do not have any savings at all will really be hurting.

And some of the financial elite seem to be positioning themselves for what is coming. For example, even though he has been making public statements about how great stocks are right now, the truth is that Warren Buffett is currently sitting on $49 billion in cash. That is the most that he has ever had sitting in cash.

Does he know something?

Of course there will be a tremendous amount of pressure on the U.S. government and the Federal Reserve to do something once a financial crash happens. The response by the federal government and the Federal Reserve will likely be extremely inflationary as they try to resuscitate the system. It will probably be far more dramatic than anything we have seen so far.

So cash will not be king for long. In fact, eventually cash will be trash. The actions of the U.S. government and the Federal Reserve in response to the coming financial crisis will greatly upset much of the rest of the world and cause the death of the U.S. dollar.

That is why gold, silver and other hard assets are going to be so good to have in the long-term. In the short-term they will experience wild swings in price, but if you can handle the ride you will be smiling in the end.

In the coming years, we are going to experience both inflation and deflation, and neither one will be pleasant at all.

UrbanMan 's comments:  While to some investors having cash on hand, and I mean in your safe, is not a wise way to have money work for you, but is averages the effects of several posibilities,..inflation and deflation, bank closures, ability to purchase items in the early days ot a total collapse until paper fiat currency isn ot accepted.   

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Just How Likely is Martial Law?

How likely is Martial Law?  Ten fold more likely than it was at the beginning of the century, that's how likely. Thanks to Long Island Press and Steve for forwarding this to us.

The manhunt for the Boston Marathon bombing suspects offered the nation a window into the stunning military-style capabilities of our local law enforcement agencies. For the past 30 years, police departments throughout the United States have benefitted from the government’s largesse in the form of military weaponry and training, incentives offered in the ongoing “War on Drugs.” For the average citizen watching events such as the intense pursuit of the Tsarnaev brothers on television, it would be difficult to discern between fully outfitted police SWAT teams and the military.

UrbanMan's Note: Didn't we see US Army HMMWV's with Military Police logos patrolling the Boston streets during the lock down? Likely they were from Fort Devens. I wonder what their authority was?

The lines blurred even further Monday as a new dynamic was introduced to the militarization of domestic law enforcement. By making a few subtle changes to a regulation in the U.S. Code titled “Defense Support of Civilian Law Enforcement Agencies” the military has quietly granted itself the ability to police the streets without obtaining prior local or state consent, upending a precedent that has been in place for more than two centuries.

The most objectionable aspect of the regulatory change is the inclusion of vague language that permits military intervention in the event of “civil disturbances.” According to the rule: Federal military commanders have the authority, in extraordinary emergency circumstances where prior authorization by the President is impossible and duly constituted local authorities are unable to control the situation, to engage temporarily in activities that are necessary to quell large-scale, unexpected civil disturbances.

Bruce Afran, a civil liberties attorney and constitutional law professor at Rutgers University, calls the rule, “a wanton power grab by the military,” and says, “It’s quite shocking actually because it violates the long-standing presumption that the military is under civilian control.”

A defense official who declined to be named takes a different view of the rule, claiming, “The authorization has been around over 100 years; it’s not a new authority. It’s been there but it hasn’t been exercised. This is a carryover of domestic policy.” Moreover, he insists the Pentagon doesn’t “want to get involved in civilian law enforcement. It’s one of those red lines that the military hasn’t signed up for.” Nevertheless, he says, “every person in the military swears an oath of allegiance to the Constitution of the United States to defend that Constitution against all enemies foreign and domestic.”

One of the more disturbing aspects of the new procedures that govern military command on the ground in the event of a civil disturbance relates to authority. Not only does it fail to define what circumstances would be so severe that the president’s authorization is “impossible,” it grants full presidential authority to “Federal military commanders.” According to the defense official, a commander is defined as follows: “Somebody who’s in the position of command, has the title commander. And most of the time they are centrally selected by a board, they’ve gone through additional schooling to exercise command authority.”

As it is written, this “commander” has the same power to authorize military force as the president in the event the president is somehow unable to access a telephone. (The rule doesn’t address the statutory chain of authority that already exists in the event a sitting president is unavailable.) In doing so, this commander must exercise judgment in determining what constitutes, “wanton destruction of property,” “adequate protection for Federal property,” “domestic violence,” or “conspiracy that hinders the execution of State or Federal law,” as these are the circumstances that might be considered an “emergency.”

UrbanMan's Note: The title "commander", in my opinion would mean a Company Commander at the lowest level. That means a Captain, likely in is mid's 20's having the unilateral power to execute military operations in a civilian environment. This is very concerning.

“These phrases don’t have any legal meaning,” says Afran. “It’s no different than the emergency powers clause in the Weimar constitution [of the German Reich]. It’s a grant of emergency power to the military to rule over parts of the country at their own discretion.”

Afran also expresses apprehension over the government’s authority “to engage temporarily in activities necessary to quell large-scale disturbances.”

“Governments never like to give up power when they get it,” says Afran. “They still think after twelve years they can get intelligence out of people in Guantanamo. Temporary is in the eye of the beholder. That’s why in statutes we have definitions. All of these statutes have one thing in common and that is that they have no definitions. How long is temporary? There’s none here. The definitions are absurdly broad.”

The U.S. military is prohibited from intervening in domestic affairs except where provided under Article IV of the Constitution in cases of domestic violence that threaten the government of a state or the application of federal law. This provision was further clarified both by the Insurrection Act of 1807 and a post-Reconstruction law known as the Posse Comitatus Act of 1878 (PCA). The Insurrection Act specifies the circumstances under which the president may convene the armed forces to suppress an insurrection against any state or the federal government. Furthermore, where an individual state is concerned, consent of the governor must be obtained prior to the deployment of troops. The PCA—passed in response to federal troops that enforced local laws and oversaw elections during Reconstruction—made unauthorized employment of federal troops a punishable offense, thereby giving teeth to the Insurrection Act.

Together, these laws limit executive authority over domestic military action. Yet Monday’s official regulatory changes issued unilaterally by the Department of Defense is a game-changer. The stated purpose of the updated rule is “support in Accordance With the Posse Comitatus Act,” but in reality it undermines the Insurrection Act and PCA in significant and alarming ways. The most substantial change is the notion of “civil disturbance” as one of the few “domestic emergencies” that would allow for the deployment of military assets on American soil.

To wit, the relatively few instances that federal troops have been deployed for domestic support have produced a wide range of results. Situations have included responding to natural disasters and protecting demonstrators during the Civil Rights era to, disastrously, the Kent State student massacre and the 1973 occupation of Wounded Knee.

Michael German, senior policy counsel to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), noted in a 2009 Daily Kos article that, “there is no doubt that the military is very good at many things. But recent history shows that restraint in their new-found domestic role is not one of them.”

At the time German was referring to the military’s expanded surveillance techniques and hostile interventions related to border control and the War on Drugs. And in fact, many have argued that these actions have already upended the PCA in a significant way. Even before this most recent rule change, the ACLU was vocal in its opposition to the Department of Defense (DoD) request to expand domestic military authority “in the event of chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear, or high yield explosive (CBRNE) incidents.” The ACLU’s position is that civilian agencies are more than equipped to handle such emergencies since 9/11. (ACLU spokespersons in Washington D.C. declined, however, to be interviewed for this story.)

But while outcomes of military interventions have varied, the protocol by which the president works cooperatively with state governments has remained the same. The president is only allowed to deploy troops to a state upon request of its governor. Even then, the military—specifically the National Guard—is there to provide support for local law enforcement and is prohibited from engaging in any activities that are outside of this scope, such as the power to arrest.

Eric Freedman, a constitutional law professor from Hofstra University, also calls the ruling “an unauthorized power grab.” According to Freedman, “The Department of Defense does not have the authority to grant itself by regulation any more authority than Congress has granted it by statute.” Yet that’s precisely what it did. This wasn’t, however, the Pentagon’s first attempt to expand its authority domestically in the last decade.

Déjà vu

During the Bush Administration, Congress passed the 2007 Defense Authorization Bill that included language similar in scope to the current regulatory change. It specifically amended the Insurrection Act to expand the president’s ability to deploy troops domestically under certain conditions including health epidemics, natural disasters and terrorist activities, though it stopped short of including civil disturbances. But the following year this language was repealed under the National Defense Authorization Act of 2008 via a bill authored by Vermont Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) who cited the “useful friction” between the Insurrection and Posse Comitatus Acts in limiting executive authority.

According to the DoD, the repeal of this language had more to do with procedure and that it was never supposed to amend the Insurrection Act. “When it was actually passed,” says the defense official, “Congress elected to amend the Insurrection Act and put things in the Insurrection Act that were not insurrection, like the support for disasters and emergencies and endemic influenza. Our intent,” he says, “was to give the president and the secretary access to the reserve components. It includes the National Guard and, rightfully so, the governors were pretty upset because they were not consulted.”

Senator Leahy’s office did not have a statement as of press time, but a spokesperson said the senator had made an inquiry with the DoD in response to our questions. The defense official confirmed that he was indeed being called in to discuss the senator’s concerns in a meeting scheduled for today. But he downplayed any concern, saying, “Congress at any time can say ‘we don’t like your interpretation of that law and how you’ve interpreted it in making policy’—and so they can call us to the Hill and ask us to justify why we’re doing something.”

Last year, Bruce Afran and another civil liberties attorney Carl Mayer filed a lawsuit against the Obama Administration on behalf of a group of journalists and activists lead by former New York Times journalist Chris Hedges. They filed suit over the inclusion of a bill in the NDAA 2012 that, according to the plaintiffs, expanded executive authority over domestic affairs by unilaterally granting the executive branch to indefinitely detain U.S. citizens without due process. The case has garnered international attention and invited vigorous defense from the Obama Administration. Even Afran goes so far as to say this current rule change is, “another NDAA. It’s even worse, to be honest.”

For Hedges and the other plaintiffs, including Pentagon Papers whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg, the government’s ever-expanding authority over civilian affairs has a “chilling effect” on First Amendment activities such as free speech and the right to assemble. First District Court Judge Katherine Forrest agreed with the plaintiffs and handed Hedges et al a resounding victory prompting the Department of Justice to immediately file an injunction and an appeal. The appellate court is expected to rule on the matter within the next few months.

Another of the plaintiffs in the Hedges suit is Alexa O’Brien, a journalist and organizer who joined the lawsuit after she discovered a Wikileaks cable showing government officials attempting to link her efforts to terrorist activities. For activists such as O’Brien, the new DoD regulatory change is frightening because it creates, “an environment of fear when people cannot associate with one another.” Like Afran and Freedman, she too calls the move, “another grab for power under the rubric of the war on terror, to the detriment of citizens.”

“This is a complete erosion of the rule of law,” says O’Brien. Knowing these sweeping powers were granted under a rule change and not by Congress is even more harrowing to activists. “That anything can be made legal,” says O’Brien, “is fundamentally antithetical to good governance.” As far as what might qualify as a civil disturbance, Afran notes, “In the Sixties all of the Vietnam protests would meet this description. We saw Kent State. This would legalize Kent State.” But the focus on the DoD regulatory change obscures the creeping militarization that has already occurred in police departments across the nation. Even prior to the NDAA lawsuit, journalist Chris Hedges was critical of domestic law enforcement agencies saying, “The widening use of militarized police units effectively nullifies the Posse Comitatus Act of 1878.”

This de facto nullification isn’t lost on the DoD.

The DoD official even referred to the Boston bombing suspects manhunt saying, “Like most major police departments, if you didn’t know they were a police department you would think they were the military.” According to this official there has purposely been a “large transfer of technology so that the military doesn’t have to get involved.” Moreover, he says the military has learned from past events, such as the siege at Waco, where ATF officials mishandled military equipment. “We have transferred the technology so we don’t have to loan it,” he states.

But if the transfer of military training and technology has been so thorough, it boggles the imagination as to what kind of disturbance would be so overwhelming that it would require the suspension of centuries-old law and precedent to grant military complete authority on the ground. The DoD official admits not being able to “envision that happening,” adding, “but I’m not a Hollywood screenwriter.”

Afran, for one, isn’t buying the logic. For him, the distinction is simple.

“Remember, the police operate under civilian control,” he says. “They are used to thinking in a civilian way so the comparison that they may have some assault weapons doesn’t change this in any way. And they can be removed from power. You can’t remove the military from power.”

Despite protestations from figures such as Afran and O’Brien and past admonitions from groups like the ACLU, for the first time in our history the military has granted itself authority to quell a civil disturbance. Changing this rule now requires congressional or judicial intervention.

“This is where journalism comes in,” says Freedman. “Calling attention to an unauthorized power grab in the hope that it embarrasses the administration.” Afran is considering amending his NDAA complaint currently in front of the court to include this regulatory change. As we witnessed during the Boston bombing manhunt, it’s already difficult to discern between military and police. In the future it might be impossible, because there may be no difference.

UrbanMan's Note: There is a large potential for a confrontation between local National Guard and Reserve units and the Active duty military deployed to the communities that the NG and Reserve live in. More likely if the Active Duty military is perceived as being heavy handed or ends up killing a few civilians. The government's first recourse is to recognize ths potential and to activate then deployed National Guard and Reserve unit's far away from their home communities and states.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Ammunition Reloading a Necessary Survival Skill?

 Justin wrote to us to ask" "I have a nine millimeter handgun, a 38 special revolver and a 30-06 deer rifle with a scope as my SHTF weapons. I realize that this is not really adequate but I can't afford anything else right now. My questions are - How much ammunition for each would you consider a adequate ammo stockpile? I have a hard time finding ammunition and in the crunch I think it will be harder to find so should I learn to reload? Looking around it appears that I can start reloading my own ammunition for the guns I have for about a $100. Sincerely Justin."  

UrbanMan's reply: Justin, I know where you are coming from. I visited Wal-Mart a couple days ago and the only center fire ammunition they had on hand was 4 boxes of 6.8mm SPC and several boxes of .270. Knowing how to reload ammunition is a good skill. It requires tools, material and above all knowledge. I'll address these things first, then talk about where this skill fits in the survivalist's preparation for the collapse arsenal.

The basic reloading process is using a series of dies to re-move the spent primer and re-size the case; bell or expand the case mouth (to accept a bullet); seat a new primer; place a powder charge in the case; then seat and crimp a new bullet.

Reloading tools: These range from Lyman 310 hand tools and dies (around $120) - think of a pair of pliers with a die that will do one of the reloading functions a single case at a time. Another hand tool would be the Lee Loader (around $50) - this is what I first learned on. You will need a plastic mallet for the Lee Loader.

Both of these hand tools are compact and very useable. There are many videos on You Tube showing the basic process. A handy tool to have with any of these hand tools is an auto-primer tool where you can prime around 20 empty cases a minute.  The picture at left is the Lyman 310 hand tool and a set of dies. 

Buffalo Arms has Lyman 310 tools, visit them here.

You can step up to a single stage press that also does one case at a time albeit faster for around $225 counting a set of dies. The Daddy of re-loading is the progressive press with a turret that moves around with each pull of the lever and does all the functions - you just insert an empty case, pull the lever, ensure you have powder, primers and bullets filled up in their respective hoppers.

I don't think anyone makes them better than Dillon Precision. I own two of their smaller presses. You can pay anywhere from $300 to $2,000 for their re-loading presses. The picture at right is the basic Dillon Press.  Agfain all good equipment and Dillon offers much more on their website, including a subscription to their monthly catalog/newsletter.

Visit their website here - Dillon Precision.

There are a host of "make life easier" accessories for reloading. You could spend several hundred dollars on these if you were so inclined - things like powder scales, case trimmers, primer pocket cleaners, tumblers to clean brass, lube pads, etc.

Reloading Material: You need primers, powder and bullets to reload ammunition. This makes you dependent upon some manufacturer, distribution network and vendor. I have not reloaded any ammunition for years now, but my friends that still do tell me that reloading supplies are hard to come by. Storage of re-loading components is a little bit stricter than manufactured ammunition. Reloading components will be much harder to come by after a collapse and then you may not be bartering for material that has been stored correctly. It make be rotten like the jar of mayo in your Grandma's frig.

Sure you can learn how to make your own primer mix, powder mix and cast your own bullets, but I'd rather sit on a pungi stick than do this. And the results, meaning the ammunition - not the pungi stick,.... are probably going to be less than adequate.

Knowledge. The reloading learning curve is straight up. The more you reload the more problems you'll be exposed to and the more you will learn.  I think it is easy to teach someone how to reload on a basic tool and make them safe about. One of the biggest risks is the wrong measurement of powder. This is where scales come in and you would need a reloading book that lists the caliber, bullet weight and powder you are going to be using. Again, YouTube publishes many re-loading videos for your understanding and training. I would begin here to see the process.  

How Much Ammunition to Stockpile? Short answer is as much as you need and as much as you can afford. Sorry I can't give you answer based on numbers, but I will say that for my "obsolete or non-main rifles", such as .30-40 Krag, .30-30's, .30 carbine, and several others, I have between 300 to 1,200 rounds put away.  If you can buy one box, 20 rounds, of .30-06 each paycheck, then you may minimize the pain and soon have a good stockpile.

For your main "battle rifle or carbine" I would start at well over a thousand rounds. However, your .30-06 deer rifle, while a great caliber is not a battle rifle. I would highly consider a magazine fed rifle or carbine,....AR-15/M-16/M-4 family, AK or SKS series - something like this. 

Bottom Line. Yes, I think reloading is worth learning and having some hand tools to do so. But it would be behind other priorities of having adequate SHTF firearms, stocked ammunition, food, water, necessary survival gear and a host of other things.

Thanks for your question Justin - it was a good one. Be safe and prepare well.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Survival Group Leadership and Control Issues

Jerod, not his real name but he will recognize his question, wrote to UrbanSurvivalSkills asking about leadership and control of a survival group. Apparently he is in a group with too many Chiefs and not enough Indians. He said there are six full time "preppers in his neighborhood which Jerod considers the "group", plus a couple guys he calls gun freaks, plus a couple of friends and relatives, with most of them having sat around and discussed what a collapse may look like and how to be prepared.

While this group individually purchases equipment and material, Jerod says there are some issues with what types of food, equipment, material that some of the more vocal members "highly suggest" buying. Jerod said there are some disagreements with an outline on what they first steps should be following a collapse, mostly around providing security around their neighborhood. He said about 1/3 of the group wants to determine a military type chain of command.  One of the guys wants everyone to make a list of what and how much they have and Jerod keeps blowing that off, concerned about exposing everything to everyone.

UrbanMan replies: Jerod, I appreciate you giving me permission to use your e- mail, however I took your rather long e-mail and condensed it down. We agree that living and surviving by yourself or with just your family is worst case because of the lack of support, but this is a two edged sword as a larger group will create leadership and control you have found out. 

I understand your survival group (in my words) to be several individuals and in some cases families, living on different properties who are loosely prepping together and are prepared to provide support to each other, but who are not planning on moving or bugging out to a central location when the collapse hits.

If you are planning on joint support for all and from all, particularly in response to time sensitive events, I hope you are all located close enough and have a tested communications system or a general plan in order to access support from each other.

Leadership in a group, especially of Type A individuals, can be very difficult as many of these people may be thinking with their ego's and their feelings as opposed to applying critical thinking skills for the benefit of the group. This can be further made difficult due to these individuals being concerned about the safety of their love ones, therefore reluctant to accept a differing point of view or decision. And legitimately there can be a difference of opinion, among honest men, on how to proceed.

It's pretty simple if you own a house or a Bug Out retreat and a bunch of people show up to survive with you,'s your way or the highway. Much different if you are one of many households occupying a neighborhood street and know you must organize to survive but disagree on how to do so.

American para-military forces or militia, certainly during the French and Indian Wars, and the Revolutionary War used to elect their leaders. Now, while that sounds a valid like a way to go, it can also split the team based on personal loyalties. Think about this: If the leader made a decision that, you thought, placed your family at risk, would you not do something about it?

At some point a survival group will need to have a decision making process, especially facing dire circumstances like security, disease control, water and food procurement, refugee control or visitor vetting.  Be it a linear chain of command, a committee or whatever. This has to be a timely process as well.

I am of the mind that a small committee is generally the best method of decision making within a grouping of independents elements. Maybe your core individuals get together and everyone has a say to what they admire or desire in a leader. This will help each person mentally evaluate the others as potential leaders or decision makers. Then the group votes on establishing, say a three person committee to make necessary decisions. If this is succesful, then the group votes by ballot on those three people.

Another thing you may be able to do is to have each group member write one or two key issues (in a tactful way) as topics for discussion. Group members who are not respect nor reasonable in this process will expose themselves as the same. If the group cannot be reasonable as a group then it may be time for you to disassociate yourself from the group. This may bring hard feelings and it would best be resolved with you moving before a collapse every started.

I hope I gave you some things to think about. Good luck in any case.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Crying Wolf on the Coming Collapse?

We received the following comments from Phil: "I've been reading the archives on this site and since 2009 there have been dire warnings of imminent collapse and yet we still muddle on, better some days worse others. How do you (meaning all of us) justify constant preparations and increased vigilance when the threat level remains constant. Once conditions have remained the same for a period of time it becomes the "new normal" and as I am sure you are aware, once you train to a fine edge you either deploy or stand down and after a period of R&R, begin training once again for the next deployment. The military can do business that way but many "preppers" cannot. After all, life is what happens to you while you are making plans for the future. While I realize the need for being prepared,you can begin to sound like the boy who cried wolf and people around you begin to waiver and act as if the crisis has passed. What do you do to keep your family's motivation current? TTFN Phil"

UrbanMan's reply: Very good thought provoking question from Phil. And Phil is right - a razor sharp edge cannot be maintained. I think the answers in maintaining vigiliance are as different as is the different categories of preppers. For some people preparation for the collapse is a fulltime endeavor. For others it is a part time deal and yet others it is a spare time affair. The differences between part time and spare time in my book is the amount of committment (dedicating time and resources) to get measurably better in a given period.

The full time preppers probably don't need any outside motivation, which is usually in the form of dire warnings of the impending collapse.

The spare time and part time preppers are the ones who dedication wanes from time to time as the "new normal" as Phil calls it just becomes "normal".

I would consider myself a part time prepper. I suspect that for me and the vast majority of preppers, life just gets in the way. Add that to the basic human nature of having faith in things getting better or at least the possibility of things getting better and the likely trait of not dwelling on bad news all the time,......well, this all just provides a rationalization not to go into the full time prepper mode or otherwise dedicate a lot of resources towards this goal.

There will be some people out there who will argue that the collapse has already begun, albeit slowly. Others will argue that an economic collapse is only being postponed - the Fed's printing of fiat currency and floating that into the market is one of the factors keeping the collapse at bay - but that this postponement will only make the effects of the collapse stronger and just that much more difficult to rise out of.

But I don't think the threat has remained constant. I am of the mind that the collapse has begun, very slowly and the major effects or the tipping point, where the effects of the collapse pick up speed, are being postponed. Additionally, there are more threats streams we are facing, and to be sure some of them may not occur. As of these additional threats, I am thinking of the potential of a terrorist action such as a nuclear device detonated in the U.S. or a substantial attack on a nuclear or chemical plant that causing extensive contamination and undoubtably a severe US Government response with population controls and possible martial law; the possibility of natural disaster or the continuation of a historic drought being a catalyst or just perhaps adding to the economic burden and food shortage.

I think the whole essence of prepping is that we are preparing for a contingency. Just like when we carried long guns for a living, we also carried a handgun. Even though we may have never had a history of using that handgun and could rationalize not carrying it, but we realized that there were circumstances where it could save our lives. ..... remember the phrase: "I would rather have it and not need it, then need it and not have it"?

The bottom line on the way I maintain some focus on prepping, with really no credit to myself, is through the constant media barrage on indicators,...some mild and subtle, others big. Everything from the out of control spending of this government, to the drastic elimination of gun rights in many states and the bent of the Federal Government on gun control.....BTW President Obama was on television recently apologizing to the Mexicans that the U.S. is to blame for most of the violence in Mexico due the American export of guns across the border........and who can forget about inflation and taxation decreasing our standard of living. And then the facts of almost 50 million people on welfare with no end in sight and the possibility of concentrated small armies of hungry, pissed off people means civil chaos.....................Well, I have plenty of reasons to keep prepping.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Equipment and Material Questions from Survivalists

I routinely receive singular questions from readers so it has been my practice to save them up, the ones I don't answer via e-mail, and post them with my comments.

1. "Have you seen or tasted Survival Tabs? Are you stocking Survival Tabs as part of your food supply or Bug Out bag?"

UrbanMan's reply: Short answer is no. I haven't seen Survival Tabs since we tested them circa 1984. Great idea, to carry 15 days of survival food in a plastic tub that will fit into a one quart canteen carrier - they even come with a plastic bag so you can transfer the survival tabs into the bag and use the plastic tub as a water canteen, BUT the key point here is that they taste like crap. Again, no, I do not have any Survival Tabs, nor will I be buying any. I have soup mixes, granola bars, nuts, and small food packets for my Bug Out bags.

2. "I did not see you list bandage scissors in your medical kit recommendations. The primary use for bandage scissors is to cut the clothes, such as pants, off of patients to address the wounds and injuries. Do you advocate using a seat belt cutter instead of scissors?"

UrbanMan's reply: I'm not going to go back and check, but every kit I have has either the common bandage scissor, surgical scissors and/or a multi-tool with scissors. Scissors of many types belong in the preppers stocks. From first aids needs, to harvesting vegetables to dressing game - scissors are valuable. The latest and greatest medical scissors will be shortly offered from Leatherman, the creator of the original Multi-tool. Their new product is called the Leatherman Raptor. I got my hands on one a few months ago and this is gem with the standard shears and includes a glass breaker, strap and ring cutter and even a wrench for oxygen tanks. I will be buying at least two of these when they are offered hopefully in May 2013.

3. "I do not have a flint and steel fire starter. I don't see the need if one has boxes of lighters, regular and storm matches."

UrbanMan's reply: Fair enough. I will continue to keep my several magnesium flint and steel fire starters. I also have boxes of matches, cases of MRE's with matvches in the accessory pack, bags of Bic lighters and even a couple fancy storm lighters with can be replaced with fuel. Magnesium starts last a long, long time. My way is to use them wherever I can, saving the lighters and matches. My boxes of regular and stick matches are mainly for barter, but I have enough Bic lighters to trade one where and there if/when the collapse hits and commodities barter replace precious metals to a large extent as we transition to a straight barter soceity. Consider PACE planning, that is Primary, Alternate, Contingency and Emergency measures in all aspects of your collapse survival plan, from material and food supplies, to firearms, to route planning and Bug Out plans and yes even to fire starting. So come on get yourself a megnesium fire starter - you'll enjoy starting fires feeling like Grizzly Adams!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Ruger 10-22, the Survivalist's Necessary Rifle

Anonymous has left a new comment on our previous post titled "Urban Survival Tool – Survival Rifle":   "I just bought a Ruger 10-22 "Take Down" instead of the AR-7. It was a few more dollars but well worth it. It's a very well made rifle, breaks into 2 parts right in front of the receiver, very reliable, and you can get 30 round clips for it. It comes with a very nice soft backback case that will fit in most back packs and bug out bags. Nothing against the AR-7 but the 10-22 has a lot of pluses. "

UrbanMan's comments: I too have a Ruger 10-22. I also have two other .22 LR rifles and one handgun, another Ruger product - the Mark II. There are many after market accessories made for the Ruger 10-22,...from extra capacity magazines, to stocks both full length and folding, to scopes, bases and mounts, trigger kits, muzzle breaks (as if you needed one), and many others. The Ruger 10-22 cas it comes out of the box is as good as factory original gets. I would suggest adding some extra capacity magazines and none are better for the Ruger 10-22 than those that comes from the factory.

This means the Ruger BX-25 magazine (shown at right) which is a 25 round curved box magazine if you couldn't figure out the round count from the name. Pro-Mag makes a 50 round drum magazine which is worth looking at. I have tried many of the plastic magazines even the ones with steel feed lips but I would hesitate to recommend them.

Pro-Mag, 50 round drum magazine, shown at left, is another option.  I don't have one and I think I'll be sticking with my factory 10 round magazines and the 25 round box magazine. 

Double K makes essentially a speed loader pouch, advertised on Cabela's that shows two Ruger factory 10-22 magazines fitting into where you would normally carry the speed loaders for revolvers.  I didn't even think about this, nor do I have any other pouches to keep my 10-22 factory rotary magazines, so I tried them in an old speed loader pouch - it's a tight fit but they'll work. 

While many will take exception to my calling either a .22 LR rifle or specifically a Ruger 10-22 a necessary component of the Survivalist's firearms battery, I'll stick to my guns (no pun intended) and say that one is absolutely necessary.

From training to hunting small game there are many uses. Ammunition is cheap and a lot of it is easily stored in small spaces. While I also have an AR-7. It is a true survivalist's rifle as it stays inside it's butt stock and inside one of my Bug Out bags.