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Showing posts with label Survival Planning. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Survival Planning. Show all posts

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Pandemic Disease as a Collapse Catalyst

Note:  Since I wrote this story preparing to post it there have been two related incidents involving disease or pandemic catalysts:  1 - vials of  small pox being found in the closet of the National Institute of Health,...obviously some employee planning, maybe years ago, to steal this deadly virus, and 2 - a case of Pneumonic Plague found in Colorado - and this disease killed millions of people in the Middle Ages. 

Friends of mine in Texas have been sending me e-mails and links about the mass of illegal aliens, many of whom are "unaccompanied alien children", that are flooding the border. We have all seen the news article of the federal government busing groups of these illegals to military bases and other towns where they will be released after being given a date to come back for an immigration court hearing. I am being told that 99 - 100% of these released aliens do not come back or otherwise appear for an immigration hearing nor does the federal government know where these illegal aliens are.

Some of the other related stories are that there are many sick illegal aliens having H1N1 Flu, Scabies, Dengue fever and even TB, then not only being released but being bused to locations in the interior U.S. before being released.

As we know about communicable diseases and the incubation timeline, some aliens who are sick or carrying a communicable disease will be asymptomatic for a numbers of days until they become disease spreaders.

Imagine a terrorist group either unwittingly infecting aliens right before they cross into the U.S. Or infecting jihadist volunteers who enter the U.S. to spread a disease. What would that be like if that disease was a weaponized disease?

At the very least this should bring to light medical screening processes and standards for prepper groups if/when they encounter refugees knocking at the gates. Do you have procedures? Protective equipment? AT the very least rubber gloves and masks!  Any test equipment aside from visual inspection? If you plan on the possibility of accepting refugees, do you have a quarantine process?

I was sent this news article written by Todd Starnes of Fox News concerning this threat of contagious diseases, and the Federal governments desire to minimize reports of the border being over run and the disease threat these illegal immigrants bring.

Medical staff warned: Keep your mouths shut about illegal immigrants or face arrest

A government-contracted security force threatened to arrest doctors and nurses if they divulged any information about the contagion threat at a refugee camp housing illegal alien children at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas, sources say.

In spite of the threat, several former camp workers broke their confidentiality agreements and shared exclusive details with me about the dangerous conditions at the camp. They said taxpayers deserve to know about the contagious diseases and the risks the children pose to Americans. I have agreed to not to disclose their identities because they fear retaliation and prosecution.

My sources say Americans should be very concerned about the secrecy of the government camps.

“There were several of us who wanted to talk about the camps, but the agents made it clear we would be arrested,” a psychiatric counselor told me. “We were under orders not to say anything.”

The sources said workers were guarded by a security force from the BCFS, which the Department of Health and Human Services hired to run the Lackland Camp.

The sources say security forces called themselves the “Brown Shirts.”

“It was a very submissive atmosphere,” the counselor said. “Once you stepped onto the grounds, you abided by their laws – the Brown Shirt laws.”

She said the workers were stripped of their cellphones and other communication devices. Anyone caught with a phone was immediately fired.

“Everyone was paranoid,” she said. “The children had more rights than the workers.”

She said children in the camp had measles, scabies, chicken pox and strep throat as well as mental and emotional issues.

“It was not a good atmosphere in terms of health,” she said. “I would be talking to children and lice would just be climbing down their hair.”

A former nurse at the camp told me she was horrified by what she saw.

“We have so many kids coming in that there was no way to control all of the sickness – all this stuff coming into the country,” she said. “We were very concerned at one point about strep going around the base.”

Both the counselor and the nurse said their superiors tried to cover up the extent of the illnesses.

“When they found out the kids had scabies, the charge nurse was adamant – ‘Don’t mention that. Don’t say scabies,’” the nurse recounted. “But everybody knew they had scabies. Some of the workers were very concerned about touching things and picking things up. They asked if they should be concerned, but they were told don’t worry about it.”

The nurse said the lice issue was epidemic – but everything was kept “hush-hush.”

“You could see the bugs crawling through their hair,” she said. “After we would rinse out their hair, the sink would be loaded with black bugs.”

The nurse told me she became especially alarmed because their files indicated the children had been transported to Lackland on domestic charter buses and airplanes.

“That’s what alerted me,” she said. “Oh, my God. They’re flying these kids around. Nobody knows that these children have scabies and lice. To tell you the truth, there’s no way to control it.”

I don't mean to upset anyone's Independence Day vacation plans, but were these kids transported to the camps before or after they were deloused? Anyone who flies the friendly skies could be facing a public health concern.

The counselor told me the refugee camp resembled a giant emergency room – off limits to the public. “They did not want the community to know,” she said. “I initially spoke out at Lackland because I had a concern the children’s mental health care was not being taken care of.”

She said the breaking point came when camp officials refused to hospitalize several children who were suicidal. “I made a recommendation that a child needed to be sent to a psychiatric unit,” the counselor told me. “He was reaching psychosis. He was suicidal. Instead of treating him, they sent him off to a family in the United States.”

She said she filed a Child Protective Services report and quit her job. “I didn’t want to lose my license if this kid committed suicide,” she told me. “I was done.”

The counselor kept a detailed journal about what happened during her tenure at the facility. “When people read that journal they are going to be astonished,” she said. ‘I don’t think they will believe what is going on in America.”

So it was not a great surprise, she said, when she received a call from federal agents demanding that she return to the military base and hand over her journal.

She said she declined to do so. “I didn’t go back to Lackland,” she said. Both workers told me while they have no regrets, they want to remain anonymous for fear of reprisals.

“They’re going to crush the system,” the nurse told me. “We can’t sustain this. They are overwhelming the system and I think it’s a travesty.”

BCFS spokeswoman Krista Piferrer tells me the agency takes “any allegation of malfeasance or inappropriate care of a child very seriously.” “There are a number of checks and balances to ensure children are receiving appropriate and adequate mental health care,” she said.

Piferrer said the clinicians are supervised by a federal field specialist from HHS’s Office of Refugee Resettlement. She also said BCFS have 58 medical professionals serving at Lackland.

“Every illness, whether it is a headache or something more serious, is recorded in a child’s electronic medical record and posted on WebEOC – a real-time, web-based platform that is visible to not only BCFS but the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services,” she said. As for those brown shirts, the BCFS said they are “incident management team personnel” – who happen to wear tan shirts.

My sources say Americans should be very concerned about the secrecy of the government camps. “This is just the beginning,” one source told me. "It is a long-term financial responsibility.”

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Survival Planning, Prepping and Bugging Out With a Handicapped Family Member

Urban Survival Skills received this request for advice concerning prepping and bug out with a disabled child. I edited the letter to provide some semblance of OPSEC for the writer but want to post this to reach a larger group for potential advice to this prepper with a special needs child.

I am a single parent of a severely disabled child. My child is wheelchair bound, tube fed, in diapers, and developmentally at a pre-schooler level. My child is on medication for seizures. I'm stockpiling Nutren, diapers, and feeding supplies at our family farm which is a fairly short drive away (approx. 28 miles) though a suburban area. I am very concerned about getting myself and my child to the famr as well as having meds for long term care in the case of disaster. Could you please give advice on:

1) How do I know when to bug out?
2) Bug out bags. My child is 80 lbs and I'm 115 lbs. I can put a bag on the wheelchair chair and carry a bug out bag myself, but what weight? What are top priority items?
3) I have a small 4 wheel drive vehicle if driving is an option. Any advice on choosing route, stopping for extra fuel, etc.?
4) I have safety concerns about walking alone with my child. Advice? I am still learning to shoot and getting a gun soon. I am in pretty good shape, but small.
5) What can I do to get seizure meds for long term?

We are working on getting the farm prepared with food, water systems, generators, etc. at the my relatives adjoining property. Getting there with my child safely is my biggest concern. Any advice you have is appreciated. Thank you!
Okay readers, lets help this person out. Here is my initial response:

When to Bug Out. This is an individual call and not a one size fits all protocol. It is based on how safe and prepared you are where you are currently at, and, how far you have to go and the associated risks involved with that movement. I can advise that it would be too late when there are riots in the streets over food, or lack of food; too late when mass of refugees flood the routes; too late when cell phone communications are down; and, too late when martial law and therefore freedom of movement is restricted.

  It may be time to Bug Out when utilities (water and electricity) are intermittent and there are long lines at gas stations and grocery stores with associated shortages. It may be time when your and instincts tell you things are not going to get better. I advise multiple means of communications between you and your family members or friends that are going to bug out and rally on the farm. Develop a brevity code as well so if and when you have comms (voice or text) you can minimize transmission times and therefore chances of misunderstandings or intermittent service cutting you off.

Bug Out Bags. I think the priority are all the meds and supplies necessary for your child. Food, water and all gear necessary to support a walk from your house to the Bug Out location (the farm). This may include food that does not have to be cooked. Depending upon where you live and the seasons, factors, you may need sleeping bags or cold weather gear and things like that. In your case a short walk to your Bug Out location (the farm) could be accomplished in one day, but if you are pushing a wheelchair this may turn into 2 maybe even 4 days depending again on factors outside your control such as weather, threat, etc.

If you have selected Bug Out routes you may elect to emplace a small cache or two to support the movement to your Bug Out location (the farm) as support in case you can't make the distance as planned or the threat is too much that it reduces your travel speed.         

Bug Out Vehicle. A 4x4 is ideal, especially one that's good on gas and has a short wheel base for mobility. If you never let your vehicle get below 1/2 tank of gas you'll have plenty to make the Bug Out movement, based on the travel distance you mentioned. But I would advise an extra 5 gallon fuel can or two. Keep these full and rotate fuel every month. Or you can just get them filed when you think the collapse is beginning and when fuel is till available. You should have several routes if possible. When you have to Bug Out, choose the route based on the current events and threats. You need to drive routes as a rehearsal. You should also look at several foot routes in case you have to move over land on foot. Look for routes that provide cover and concealment and will not be routes for the refugee traffic or obvious routes for anyone else.  This is going to be hard to move a wheel chair over.  Maybe you can look at an ATV with a small trailer to move your child with?    

Walking Alone/Security/Weapon Choice.   By all means learn how to shoot and buy a gun. Actually a handgun and a rifle would be good. Weight and bulk of ammunition is going to impact what you can carry overland on foot. Think about pre-positioning additional ammunition and firearms at the farm. But if you are planning on Bugging Out by yourself, driving or walking, you will need to protect yourself. A semi-auto, magazine fed rifle such as an M-1 carbine, Mini-14, M-4/AR-15 type clone - these are all lightweight (as they come) and would allow you the firepower to defend yourself against multiple bad guys. And here's a hint, almost everybody will be a bad guy.

I have recently been in contact with a lady who just could not afford a modern magazine fed rifle such as an M-4/AR-15 type.  She already had a .22 LR revolver, so she ended up buying a Ruger 10/22 semi-auto .22 LR rifle and a couple of large capacity magazines for it.   Certainly a person would not want to have their safety dependent upon a rimfire cartridge,....but the first rule of a gun fight is to have a, gun and ammo compatibility plus affordability was paramount to this lady.      

Lastly, Medications. I know this is a primary concern of yours. Medications have a shelf life, which is usually several years after the expiration date if you store it in a safe and controlled manner. Research what Vet (animal) meds could possibly be used to mitigate or treat your child's seizures.   Locate the nearest Vet. Many rural vets operate out of a truck with a refrigerator. Vets can also serve as make shift Doctors too in an emergency. You may be able to stock up some meds if you don't use them but continue to get scripts for them but be aware that this is likely illegal. 

You may need to have some silver in order to barter for some meds during a collapse.  Consider having a silver bullion in 1 ounce rounds of bars in case this is the case.  

You have tough conditions to work out, but I know you can do it as you have no other choice.  Get to know your neighbors around the farm (your Bug Out location).  If the houses are close enough you may be able to string a couple of TA-1 military phones and wire between to facilitate communications.  Make sure that stocking food, seeds and having a safe water source are taken care of at the farm as well. 

I hope readers will respond with some additional advice. Many, if not most, of the readers will have better ideas.  Good luck and be safe.       

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Government Martial Law Exercise Exposing Post Collapse Plans

I received two e-mails from individuals worried about a Homeland Security and Department of Defense exercise involving martial law and targeting "anti-government patriots". Nobody sent me a link so I actually had to do some research, ha ha, which only involved calling a government buddy of mine who sent me a link to on an article written by Paul Joseph Watson with the title: "Homeland Security Exercise Targets “Free Americans Against Socialist Tyranny”.

This is not spinning me up. The government can plan and theorize all they want,...martial law is going to fail, even in the "gun free" zones they have established in Detroit, Washington D.C., Chicago and Connecticut. But, just like Fox News, we'll post the info and let the reader sort it out and make their own determinations.

Homeland Security Exercise Targets “Free Americans Against Socialist Tyranny

Watson states that leaked Homeland Security documents obtained by Infowars reveal details of a joint DHS/FEMA national exercise set to take place this week (24-29 March 2014) and one of the components of (this exercise) revolves around an effort to counter online dissent by a group called “Free Americans Against Socialist Tyranny,” which is disgruntled at the imposition of martial law after an earthquake in Alaska.

UrbanMan's note: The title "Free Americans Against Socialist Tyranny" brings up mental images of cammie clad, rifle toting gents slinking about a government facility in order to effect some type of sabotage or ambush. However, the key pretend threat group for this exercise is a anti-authority, anti-government group who uses on-line ventures to conduct cyber type propaganda and may try to cyber attacking of the defense network including the NORAD grid.

Watson says that the (government exercise) document again underscores the federal government’s obsession with characterizing libertarians and conservatives as some kind of extremist radical threat.

The (exercise) document (PDF) was leaked by an individual affiliated with Stewart Rhodes’ Oathkeepers organization and passed on to Infowars. It is entitled National Exercise Program – Capstone Exercise 2014 – Scenario Ground Truth.

The document is intended for “U.S. Department of Homeland Security Trusted Agents Only” and is “disseminated only on a need-to-know basis.” Even the role players involved in the exercise itself are prohibited from seeing the files.

The exercise is designed to evaluate readiness in preparation for a catastrophic incident, natural disaster or major act of terrorism. Some of the scenarios which will be in play during the exercise include a series of earthquakes, tsunamis and a nuclear weapons accident.

On page 125 of the document, a scenario is outlined whereby a group calling itself “Free Americans against Socialist Tyranny” responds to “The U.S. Northern Command mission of Defense Support to Civil Authorities” (or the imposition of martial law) by launching a protest campaign on social media and potentially engaging in cyber attacks.

According to the scenario, the campaign is driven by suspicion that “the government is responsible for the Alaska earthquake and a “hacktivist” manifesto.”

And we they wonder why we view the government as the enemy. This only feeds the beast.

Another link: DHS-FEMA-National-Exercise-Program-Capstone-Exercise-2014-Scenario

Sunday, December 15, 2013

What's Your SHTF Plan?

This article came from Bob Rinear from the International Forecaster. Bob is common sense and represents a large segment of people who understand we are in bad place and bad things can happen. He understands that some sort of minimal preparation is necessary to weather some problems. He is certainly not a "hard core" prepper, but I think there are many more like him in this country that those of us who are perhaps more prepared. Anyway a good read and I have commented where I thought it appropriate. Cheers, UrbanMan.

Bob's article: 

(At a weekend getaway)....we figured we needed a cocktail or two at the outside lounge before calling it a day, and soon we found ourselves in a pretty deep discussion with a couple that was visiting from Ohio. One thing led to another and somehow we got into chatting about the reality of our economy. Well, “Ron” was pretty versed in what was happening in the economy, with Obama and his administration, and how ugly things really looked. I thought I met my long lost brother.

But he hit me with a question that so many people ask me when we talk about what’s really going on. Basically he asked “What are you going to do when the SHTF?” (for those not so vulgar that’s short for when the crap hits the fan) So I thought that I’d offer up some points of view about what you all have to decide. What are YOU going to do? If we experience a currency collapse, and it spins out of control, what are your plans? Do you have any at all?

First off we have to measure the level of ugly you think we might experience. Right there you’ve got a major problem because we really don’t know. Are we going to have a “mad Max” type of a situation with roving bands of animalistic gangs killing, raping and stealing? Is Obama’s homegrown Homeland defense army going to take over the streets? Martial law? Or, are we just going to have a period of real poor economic activity but “life goes on, relatively normal, just harder?”

I don’t know that answer folks. Maybe it is some brain defect I have, but I really don’t want to envision a total societal collapse. Everyone is so completely dependent on the connected society that’s been built; things get ugly quickly when just a few things don’t work. Remember I lived through sandy and saw what no power, no water, no cell phone towers, no gas stations did to some people. Most adopted a spirit of community, and tried to help their neighbor. Some “lost it” and acted completely out of character. Fist fights over a tank of gas was common. Thieves hit affected areas just hours after the storm.

That was a storm that only affected a few states and really…only the coast lines of those states. What if we’re talking no ATM’s, No power, no pumping stations…across MOST of the nation? Can you imagine the stealing, the fights over food and water? A man who was once the nicest guy in the neighborhood could turn into a pretty desperate bad guy when he can’t find any food to feed his kids. Is that possible? It isn’t impossible; we simply pray that isn’t the situation.

So, again…I think you have to plan for the level of “ugly” that you think an economic collapse will bring. Frankly I tend to think that deep down inside, people know that they’ve given up their ability to survive if something horrid were to happen. By that I mean that over the past 50 -60 years we’ve jammed folks into suburbs, but we made them sterile. We outlawed the family garden. We outlawed having a chicken coop. We’ve bought into gated communities where you can’t plant a lousy tomato plant, hang your laundry on a clothes line, or park your pickup in the driveway.

UrbanMan Comment: If you don't plan for worst case you run a much higher chance of being consumed by it.

People know they’re screwed if things don’t keep working the way they’ve had it. So, for the “most” part I tend to think that people will quietly go along with what ever the “authorities” tell them to do. I think riots could and will happen, but mostly in cities. But, we have to figure that at some point, some form of normalcy evolves. Again, unless we go into “mad Max” and it’s every man for himself, Killing and shooting for a can of corn, we’ll come out the other side of the economic collapse. It might not resemble what we have now, but some form of stability “should” ensue.

It is the period between when an economic collapse hits, and some form of solutions to it are presented that you have to plan for. I don’t know how long that period would be, and again you all have to judge that for yourself. Some will decide nothing will ever happen, and others will decide that we’re going into every man for himself, never to see society recover. I’m in the middle, whether that’s right or wrong. I think that when they yank the dollar, and we see a coordinated global depression, things could get ugly for a while. If banks were to be closed for a couple weeks, and social security was now impossible to use, and the welfare, food stamps etc didn’t work, yeah.. things could get ooogly quickly. I don’t want to be there.

I live in a town, in a development. Lets face it, it is indefensible. A band of thugs looking for stuff to steal ( or kill, or rape etc) could come from the front, back or sides. Think about your particular house for a moment. Even if you’re armed, can you really defend your property 24/7 front, back and sides? Not a chance. You might not have power. You have to sleep.

UrbanMan Comment: Absolutely right. That's why you have to have a survival team. Food prep and procurement, water collection and filtration, providing security, sleeping, etc., are all essential tasks can be done better and safer with a decent sized team. Three people will survival better than one. Six better than three. You are limited by your resources on the size of your team. But I have always said a survival team will grow unexpectedly with strap hangers as people you know will make their way to you after the crisis is apparent or the situation appears to be dire. Be prepared for that.

So what did I tell “Ron” at the Westin during a great conversation over cocktails? I told him that we’ve got some acreage out in the middle of nowhere. We put in a manual water well that you pump with the old lever style. We have an RV that’s tuned and gassed. At the first signs of REAL trouble, where it looks like things are going to get really ugly we’re “outta here”. We’ll be armed, have food stores for approximately 3-4 weeks, got water, and have enough gold and silver coins to feel good and a wad of cash.

UrbanMan comments: Roger the location and water. Precious metals and cash are a good idea too. Food? Three weeks really? How about 6 months at a minimum, and a way to procure, grow food after that.

Our immediate neighbors are hunters, and good old fashioned down to earth types that will indeed “protect” their property. It’s a good crowd to be around if things get really silly.

Perfect? Hardly, But it does get us out of a crowded town, for enough time to see what is really going to transpire. I don’t WANT to plan for anything deeper than that. A get away until things settle down. If I’m wrong and we really go Mad Max and civil society is not going to happen again, well… I’d have to figure things out on the fly at that point. But as I wrote last year after living through Sandy, just having some “basic” survival items on hand can really make a big difference in your lifestyle during a “disaster”.

UrbanMan comments: "I don’t WANT to plan for anything deeper than that." That's right, you and many others I suspect. I don't want to plan for anything bad to happen either, but I do.

Each of you will have to ponder the future and decide if “nothing” will happen, “something” will happen, or something “terrible” will happen. Then you’ll plan accordingly. As I said, I don’t want to plan for total apocalypse, I wish not to “go there”. But a place to bug out to for a bit if things got whacky is what I decided on. It is a very personal decision for everyone, and my guess is that 90% will do nothing… and could end up right. I actually hope and pray they are.

UrbanMan comments: I agree with you that each of us will have to decide and take appropriate actions based on that decision and within our means. And I agree that 90% will do nothing,..or not be prepared for the worst cases scenario.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Neighborhood Gardens and Survival Growing

Someone one sent me the poster (at top left above) depicting the differences in urban living between the U.S. and Switzerland. But there is a glimmer of hope for the U.S., between the bad news of drought and other natural disasters affecting our agricultural capability as well as the propensity of smaller farms to  be sold off to either larger farms or suburban development groups,...... there is a growing urban/suburban gardening/farming movement that is good for many reasons......

1 -  Growing your own vegetab;es will teach and provide growing experience to people who otherwise would not get it.  This increases these people's chances of long term surival in a decayed society if they can make it to the point where they can grow crops for survival and bartering.

2 -  The more people in the inner cities growing crops are less people that are shooting and looting.  Seriously, imagine some overall shithole like Detroit where large city blocks can be converted to urban farms and inner city youths diverted from criminal enterprises to something that actually has some value.  I know, it's a pipedream - much more money in drugs, but nonetheless one can hope.

My survival group....and again, we are a loose knit group, sharing information, support and planning, with the overall plan to consoldiate when the need arises.....anyway, my survival group took a hit the other day when we found out we are losing out most experienced and talented grower.   One of our eight families, who plan on bugging in together in one of two suburban locations, is now moving. The good news is that they will be moving to a farm located on the edge of suburban sprawl but they do have a decent moving body of water and two ponds on the property. This will be an option for Bug Out for the remaining seven families as it is within one long day's unencumbered movement via vehicles and possible movement by foot within one week. However the bad news is that the majority of our vegetable - farming growing expertise is leaving with this family. We all probably know someone who we say has a "green thumb" and their counsel is valuable to address all manner of issues relating to growing food. 

Two of our member families,...and one is me,...had started and lost iterations of vegetables already this year. The only good thing is that the year is early enough to re-plant but we move our timeline for harvest back a month.....maybe six weeks.   If this was a SHTF situation and we needed those vegetables to eat then we would be up shit creek without the proverbial paddle. But I guess that's what we stock bulk, canned and survival foods for the hard times.

In the e-mails I receive relating to growing our own food for survival, I received a tip from a reader who used a home improvment chain store gift card to purchase several rolls of various types of small mesh fencing both for his or his neighbors future growing needs or for barter.

While I have four rolls of common barb wire fencing stored away, I made a mental note to do the same as this mesh fencing is not only useful for fencing in gardens and protecting them from varments, it is useful to create obstacles that can be use to slow up or deny entry and/or force channelization for defensive purposes, or even create holding areas for livestock.

Back to growing food,...................the ability to grow your own food is going to be not only a huge asset but most likely the difference between survival or not.  The below article, entitled "America the Vulnerable - History warns we're sleepwalking towards collapse", by James H. Kunstler was published on Peal Prosperity.

Food production system in the Soviet Union had been so direly mismanaged for so long – most of the 20th century – that a whole counter-system of work-arounds had been established in the form of nearly universal household gardening. Even families who lived in the ghastly Modernist apartment slabs of Moscow had access to garden plots in the vast un-suburbanized Russian countryside, and they could get there on public trains and buses. The more privileged had dachas ranging from humble shacks to fancy villas, each with a garden. The Russian people were used to the necessity of growing their own food and had the skills for preserving it to offset the idiocy of the official distribution system in which citizens wasted whole days waiting on line for a cabbage, only to be told they had run out.

When the Soviet system collapsed, the effect on society was far less than catastrophic, perhaps even salutary, because a large cohort of people with an interest in growing food, who formerly only pretended to work in dismal bureaucratic jobs, were now available to reoccupy and reactivate the de-collectivized farming sector that had been a drag on the Russian economy for generations.  After a period of adjustment, one thing was self-evident: no more lines at the Russian grocery stores.

By contrast, in the U.S., even farmers don’t have kitchen gardens. This is not a myth. I live in an agricultural backwater of upstate New York where dairy farming modeled on industrial agri-biz reigned for decades (it’s in steep decline now), and as a rule, the farmers do not grow gardens.

When even farmers don’t grow any of their own food, you can bet that a lot of knowledge has already been lost. American supermarkets operate on a three-day resupply cycle. The system is much more fragile than most Americans probably suppose. My guess is that few even think about it. The resupply system has never failed, except briefly, in localities hit by natural disasters. However, a financial crisis could cripple the food distribution system of the entire nation. Truckers who don’t get paid won’t deliver. Trouble in the Middle East oil nations could provoke an oil crisis – something we haven’t experienced since the 1970s.  There are many ways for this complex system to fail – the point being that when it does, there will be no backup, as was the case in the former Soviet Union.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

How the Collapse of the Dollar Could Occur

US Dollar Collapse? Here Are 9 Ways It Could Happen, by Chris Ferreira on Economic, which defines nine ways the dollar collapse could occur. He is spot on concerning the slow, gradual decline until a major event triggers the collapse. Until then most people will be fooling themselves, thinking market correction, chances to buy cheap and sell high, until it becomes apparent that there are other things more important than their financial holdings,....and those things of course are the ability to feed yourself and your family,.....and the ability to protect the same.

We all know that the US dollar is losing value through inflation every year; in fact, the dollar has lost over 97% of its purchasing power over the last century. When “real money” (i.e. backed up with intrinsic value) was used, a cup of coffee in the 1920s costed about a few cents. In a fiat world, where money’s value is ambiguous, a cup of coffee can cost upward to a 100 trillion dollars, as was the case in Zimbabwe in recent times. Just how much more can the remaining 3% be debased from the US dollar, and how fast can it happen?

A slow, gradual decline can occur without any one person ever even noticing the effects– until, that is, a “black swan”event comes along and triggers the psychology of investors to quickly reverse their thinking, and here a collapse can literally happen overnight. A “black swan,” a term coined by Nassim Nicholas Taleb in his bestselling book The Black Swan, is “an event, positive or negative, that is deemed improbable yet causes massive consequences.” In his book he describes the psychology biases that makes people individually and collectively blind to a rare event. He also notes that the more complex a system is, the more prone it is to failure as there is more room for glitches and errors. This analogy can be used to describe the complexity of the US global empire, complete with its massive debt and 900 military bases around the world. This article is taking a “black swan” approach to the US dollar.

Here are nine events that could trigger a black swan event that would result in a US dollar collapse. The reasons below are not in order of importance, and all them can prove to be negative for the US dollar.

1. The Fed Chooses to engage in currency wars by being the spender of last resort and printing money to oblivion. When people think of a collapse, they often think of a deflationary setting. But a collapse can also occur when the face value of the currency goes up–or skyrockets upwards, as did the currency in Zimbabwe, when everyone was suddenly eligible to be a “trillionaire.” (Webster needs to update their dictionary with this word). When the face value of a currency skyrockets, the purchasing power decreases, and these are usually the ingredients for hyperinflation and collapse.

It took the US 200 years to issue $3 trillion dollar in M3 money supply. Greenspan increased this to $10 trillion dollars in his eighteenth year as Fed chairman. How much has it increased under Ben Bernanke, in his seven years as chairman of the Fed? Your guess is as good as mine, actually, because the exact number is unknown: the Fed no longer reports this statistic as of 2006, exactly when Bernanke entered office. What a coincidence!

With QE 3 and QE 4, the Fed now prints a total of $85 billion a month, most of which is reportedly being held in reserves. Even with these rock bottom low interest rates, credit demand is weak. There is plainly too much uncertainty.

If the stock market were to crash again as it did in 2008, and the Fed were to consequently launch QE5, then QE6 and so on… This would hardly be, in reality, a “black swan” event since it is probable, but nevertheless, it could eventually lead to hyper-inflation and a total collapse of the dollar, where people would lose purchasing power of the dollar as in the case of Zimbabwe. This is more likely to occur if the US dollar also loses its reserve currency status.

2. The Fed’s printing press “jams” and ceases to stops printing money. As I’ve stated before, the Fed will most likely not stop printing money. During the December 2012. FOMC meeting, this belief was supported. The most important reason why the Fed needs to continue printing money is so that it can hold interest rates artificially low to stimulate the economy. Normally, higher interest rates would increase the value of the dollar, as this would cause people to deleverage from investments and increase the demand for dollars. However, the structural imbalances the economy has undertaken from a decade of artificial low interest rates would implode the economy from high interest rates now. Undoubtedly, if the Fed stops printing money, this will mostly cause higher interest rates. This will lead to increased bankruptcies, higher unemployment, more foreclosures, lower tax revenue for the US government, and increased interest on the national debt. In this situation it could lead to the bankruptcy of the US as they could default on their own debt.

Interest rates in the 80′s were increased signficantly to kill inflation, however the US debt was nowhere near what it is today (even in terms of % of GDP). At the present moment, the US is paying over $1 billion a day just in interest payments to service its debt. A slight increase in interest rates would significantly increase these payments and leave the US with even more debt than it already has, increasing their trillion dollar per year deficits. This is a scenario whereby the US could default just as Argentina did in the early 2000′s.

If they were to stop printing money, the Fed could trigger a dollar collapse, especially if foreigners decide to no longer lend the US any more money, and start dumping US debt from their foreign reserves.

3. Rise of “Gotham City” and the Vigilantes. We know that the US is currently the largest debtor nation in the history of the world, operating on yearly trillion dollar deficits. What if the US citizens were to “wake up” and collectively stop paying their taxes? What if they were to collectively choose to no longer support political decisions that serve to perpetually increase the debt? An increase in debt ruins the prospects for future generations, after all. Taxes are essentially the life-line of any government. A cut on this life-line is like cutting the main artery to the heart. Without a tax base, government can no longer pay its bills.

A significant internal revolution by citizens would entail a collective refusal against the paying of taxes and the continual raising of the debt ceiling. Perhaps these citizens might even become bond vigilantes and sell US bonds, especially if other countries became US bond vigilantes and sell their US bonds, as well. This would likely collapse the dollar, and send the US dollar into hyper-inflation.

4. China, the largest financier of the US debt, drops the debt bomb. The Chinese can drop the debt bomb on the US just by selling a fraction of their US treasury holdings. As of June 2012, the Chinese owned $1.16 trillion in US debt (US government treasury bonds). Japan owns $1.11 trillion and the OPEC nations, $261 billion. In the last few years, China has been lowering their purchases of US debt and replacing it with other assets. To circumvent this problem, the Fed of late has been stepping in to purchase treasury bonds to make up for the lost demand of the foreigners.

China’s power is the direct result of the symbiotic trade relationship with the US. The US buys goods from China in US dollars, and China ships them the products and uses the US dollar surpluses to buy US debt, among other assets.

It may not be in the interest of China to drop the debt bomb, but it definitely has the power to do it. If this is the case, there would be so much US debt on the market that other US debt holding countries could also throw their debt on the market as well as a result of panic and fear. Triggering an international run on US debt. The US Dollar will surely collapse in this scenario.

5. China, Japan, Russia, Iran, Germany, Brazil, Australia, Chile, UAE, India, and South Africa are bypassing the dollar and creating bi-lateral trade warfare.

What if now the Chinese, instead of dropping the debt bomb, create enough bi-lateral trade agreements to avoid the US dollar altogether with foreigners? In fact China, among other countries, has already done this by trading with the Chinese Yuan instead of the US dollar. If China, Japan, Russian, Iran, Germany, Brazil, Australia, Chile, USE, India, and South Africa would continue to do so, other larger countries may follow suit and before you know it, the majority of trade would be transacted in non-US dollars. At this point, the US dollar would no longer be needed, and its world reserve currency status would collapse along with its purchasing power.

What could also trigger a large decline in the US dollar would be if a relatively large oil-producing country (like Saudi Arabia) refuses to use the US dollar to sell its oil, choosing instead something more tangible (like gold). William R. Clark’s excellent book, Petrodollar Warfare, treats this issue precisely, going in depth into the Petrodollar collapse and how the US maintains its dollar supremacy with its current imperialistic foreign policy. If a major OPEC nation refuses to sell its oil in US dollars, this could result in a total loss of confidence in the US dollar, precipitating its collapse.

6. “Good-bye Dollar, Hello SDR!” The U.N. and IMF implement a New World Reserve Currency George Soros states in a recent video interview (see here) that the US needs a “New Financial World Order,” on the pretext that the current system is “broke” and creating huge trade imbalances. The Guardian stated the following:

“The International Monetary Fund warned that the colossal United States trade deficit was a noose around the neck of the economy, emphasizing that the once mighty dollar could collapse at any moment.”

Soros, a member of the Bretton Woods Committee–the same institution that created the IMF–is now promoting the Special Drawings Right (SDR) as a potential new world currency.

The progress for the SDR has been very slow and has not received much acceptance among other nations. However, note that the US currently controls the IMF by its voting powers (17% nominal interest, and a required of 85% majority for decisions). As more and more people lose confidence in the US dollar in general due to reckless monetary and fiscal policies, the IMF can instead back the SDR with gold to promote stability and confidence. That is certainly one realistic possibility considering that they reportedly own over 2,800 tons of gold. A shift in reserve currency from the US dollar to the SDR or other another currency would undoubtedly collapse the US dollar. It’s trade imbalance is sustained by it’s reserve status.

7. A “too-big-to-fail” corporation fails: A derivative shock-wave. The Financial Stability Board (FSB) released a list of 29 “too big to fail” corporations operating around the world. According to the FSB, these banks are considered to be “systemically important financial institutions” and a failure of any one of these corporations could result in “financial systemic failure.” Of the 29 corporations on the list, 17 are based in Europe, eight in the U.S., and four in Asia.

Bank of America

Bank of China

Bank of New York Mellon

Banque Populaire CdE


BNP Paribas



Credit Suisse

Deutsche Bank

Goldman Sachs

Group Crédit Agricole


ING Bank

JPMorgan Chase

Lloyds Banking Group

Mitsubishi UFJ FG

Mizuho FG

Morgan Stanley


Royal Bank of Scotland


Société Générale

State Street

Sumitomo Mitsui FG


Unicredit Group

Wells Fargo

A failure of any one of these banks, but especially one in the US, could create a bank run, further destroying the ability to provide credit and increasing the likelihood of a dollar collapse.

What is most likely to create a bank failure is a derivative failure. Actually, a current derivatives scandal is threatening to take down the world’s oldest bank:

“Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena, the world’s oldest bank, was making loans when Michelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci were young men and before Columbus sailed to the New World. The bank survived the Italian War, which saw Siena’s surrender to Spain in 1555, the Napoleonic campaign, the Second World War and assorted bouts of plague and poverty.

But MPS may not survive the twin threats of a gruesomely expensive takeover gone bad and a derivatives scandal that may result in legal action against the bank’s former executives. After five centuries of independence, MPS may have to be nationalized as its losses soar and its value sinks.”

The precise, total amount of global derivatives in the market is not exactly known, but estimates range from 650 trillion to 1.5 quadrillion dollars. This amount dwarfs the world’s GDP at approximately $70 trillion. (Refer to this article to see what $16 trillion looks like.) It is no wonder why Warren Buffet calls derivatives the “financial weapons of mass destruction.”

According to the Controller of Currency and National Banks, here are the stats for the following banks as of September 2012:

JPMorgan Chase
Total Assets: $1.85 trillion dollars
Total Exposure To Derivatives: $71.07 trillion dollars

Total Assets: $1.365 trillion dollars
Total Exposure To Derivatives: $55.51 trillion dollars

Bank Of America
Total Assets: $1.448 trillion dollars
Total Exposure To Derivatives: $43.79 trillion dollars

Goldman Sachs
Total Assets: $120.43 billion (not trillion)
Total Exposure To Derivatives: $41,23 trillion
Note that JP Morgan alone has more derivative exposure than the world’s GDP. A derivative collapse is definitely an event that could take down the whole financial system and collapse the US dollar. 8. A run on the gold and silver bullion exchanges. Andrew McGuire, a former Goldman Sachs trader, disclosed that the London bullion Market Association (LBMA) trades on a net basis each year of $5.4 trillion dollars, a little less than half the size of the US economy. The LBMA is the biggest gold commodity market in the world.

But how can the LBMA do this be when the gold market is such a tiny market? The world production of gold is about 2,500 metric tons of gold (88,184,905 oz) which at today’s price of $1,667 is approximately $147 billion in yearly production value.

The LBMA is the equivalent of a fractional reserve system in that it is leveraged 100 to 1. For every ounce of real gold that is sold, 100 ounces of paper gold is sold, meaning there are 100 claims on each and every ounce of gold. These numbers were verified by Jeffrey Christian, a gold expert and founder of CMP Group (a commodities research, consulting, investment banking, and asset management company). The leverage is absurd.

The LBMA can be compared with other exchanges. The world’s gold market is backed up by approximately 2.3% of real gold. If a mere 2.5% of people would start demanding their gold, the physical gold market would explode, subsequently crushing the dollar, as the value of the dollar is inversely proportional to the price of gold.

Hedge fund manager Kyle Bass pointed out that the New York Comex has only approximately 3% of the bullion on hand to cover future contracts positions. and this game will continue if people do not demand delivery of their gold. The emperor has no clothes!

9. A central bank gold rush and foreign gold repatriation from the Fed – Gold Audit Venezuela has actually just recently received their last shipment of gold bars from the US.

“This was the largest type of operation to transport this type of metal in the last fifteen years,” said Merentes. “The repatriation of our gold was an act of financial prudence and sovereignty.” (Bloomberg)

The Germans and the Dutch have also recently requested their gold to be repatriated from the US. However, unlike Venezuela, Germany was told to wait seven years to get their gold back. That sounds odd, right?

Now the Swiss, under their recently launched Swiss Initiative to Secure the Swiss National Bank’s Gold Reserves, are hinting that they might want to get their gold back on Swiss soil. The Swiss government has a long standing tradition of backing their currency with gold.

This gold repatriation is turning out to be much bigger than a political statement. It is a total non-compliant/non-confidence vote for the US and the US dollar.

Which country is next? Mexico? They have 96% of their gold stored in the US and London.

A central bank gold rush to repatriate a country’s gold from the US can cause a huge upward demand for gold, pushing the price of gold upward and crushing the US dollar. (Especially if the Fed doesn’t have their gold and has been leased out into the market).

We have just gone through nine black swan events–events, remember, that are highly improbable but yet, when they do happen, have massive consequences.

Chris Ferrerra promises a Part 2 of this article, which he will go through five other “black swan” events that could cause the US dollar to collapse.

Friday, December 14, 2012

US Power Grid Vulnerable to Attack, Disaster and Collapse

US Power Grid Vulnerable to Just About Everything by Jen Alic of

As Washington hunts ill-defined al-Qaeda groups in the Middle East and Africa, and concerns itself with Iran’s eventual nuclear potential, it has a much more pressing problem at home: Its energy grid is vulnerable to anyone with basic weapons and know-how.

Forget about cyber warfare and highly organized terrorist attacks, a lack of basic physical security on the US power grid means that anyone with a gun—like disgruntled Michigan Militia types, for instance--could do serious damage.

For the past two months, the US Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has been tasked with creating a security strategy for the electric grid and hydrocarbon facilities through its newly created Office of Energy Infrastructure Security. So far, it’s not good news.

“There are ways that a very few number of actors with very rudimentary equipment could take down large portions of our grid,” warns FERC Chairman Jon Wellinghoff. This, he says, “is an equal if not greater issue” than cyber security.

FERC’s gloom-and-doom risk assessment comes on the heels of the recent declassification of a 2007 report by the National Academy of Sciences.

The National Academy of Sciences on 14 November warned that a terrorist attack on the US power grid could wreak more damage than Hurricane Sandy. It could cause massive blackouts for weeks or months at a time. But this would only be the beginning, the Academy warns, spelling out an “end of days” scenario in which blackouts lead to widespread fear, panic and instability.

What they are hinting at is revolution—and it wouldn’t take much.

UrbanMan's comment:So what would happen if the grid went down starting widespread fear, panic and instability,....and as the article says, possible revolution?

Several immediate effects come to mind: lack of power for heating in cold winter months could potenially create tens of thousands of casualties - mostly elderly as well as create angry groups of rioters and looters, mainly youths and young adults to begin with.

The combined Army and National Guard could not control these mainly urban population centers as well as food supply depots, lines of comunciations and existing working power stations or protect the workers attempting to repair  the problem.  It would be a huge problem to provide power to run the plants that produce, package and ship the nations food supply. Look around your community and imagine no food for four or five days, about ten to fourteen days? What would your community look like?

So what is being done to mitigate risk? According to FERC, utility companies aren’t doing enough. Unfortunately, FERC does not have the power to order utilities to act in the name of protecting the country’s energy infrastructure. Security is expensive, and more than 90% of the country’s grid is privately owned and regulated by state governments. Private utilities are not likely to feel responsible for footing the bill for security, and states may not be able to afford it.

One key problem is theoretically a simple one to resolve: a lack of spare parts. According to the National Academy of Sciences, the grid is particularly vulnerable because it is spread out across hundreds of miles with key equipment not sufficiently guarded or antiquated and unable to prevent outages from cascading.

We are talking about some 170,000 miles of voltage transmission line miles fed by 2,100 high-voltage transformers delivering power to 125 million households.

"We could easily be without power across a multistate region for many weeks or months, because we don't have many spare transformers,” according to the Academy.

High-voltage transformers are vulnerable both from within and from outside the substations in which they are housed. Complicating matters, these transformers are huge and difficult to remove. They are also difficult to replace, as they are custom built primarily outside the US. So what is the solution? Perhaps, says the Academy, to design smaller portable transformers that could be used temporarily in an emergency situation.

Why was the Academy’s 2007 report only just declassified? Well, its authors were worried that it would be tantamount to providing terrorists with a detailed recipe for attacking and destabilizing America, or perhaps for starting a revolution.

The military at least is preparing to protect its own power supplies. Recently, the US Army Corps of Engineers awarded a $7 million contract for research that demonstrates the integration of electric vehicles, generators and solar arrays to supply emergency power for Fort Carson, Colorado. This is the SPIDERS (Smart Power Infrastructure Demonstration for Energy Reliability and Security), and the Army hopes it will be the answer to more efficient and secure energy.

Back in the civilian world, however, things are moving rather slowly, and the focus remains on the sexier idea of an energy-crippling cyberattack.

Last week, Senator Ed Markey (D-Mass.) urged House Energy and Commerce Committee chairman Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.) to pass a bill—the GRID Act--which would secure the grid against cyberattacks.

"As the widespread and, in some cases, still ongoing power outages from Superstorm Sandy have shown us, our electric grid is too fragile and its disruption is too devastating for us to fail to act," Markey wrote. "Given this urgency, it is critical that the House act immediately in a bipartisan manner to ensure our electrical infrastructure is secure."

This bill was passed by the House, but has failed to gain any traction in the Senate.

FERC, of course, is all for the bill, which would give it the authority to issue orders and regulations to boost the security of the electric grid's computer systems from a cyberattack. But it’s only a small piece of the security puzzle, and FERC remains concerned that authorities are overlooking the myriad simpler threats to the electricity grid. These don’t make for the easy headlines, especially since they are not necessarily foreign in nature.

UrbanMan's comment:  Survialists have to consider developing some type of power solutions. A minimum level would probably be small solar panels to charge batteries for FRS or other radios, flashlights, small lanterns, etc. Beware of some of the cheap solar panels kits. Most are made in China.

I have several small wattage ridig solar panel kits, all but one still in the box, and I will use for barter or I may rig into my Bug In location grid. Right now they are boxed in order to trade or to pack for Bug Out. 

And I have some individual solar powered motion detection lights that I have installed on the sides of my house for perimeter security, and if necessary can use for lights at night inside buildings as they are portable if you install these, with wing nuts rather than lock washers and bolts.

Solutions from Science offers some higher end solar systems that are still portable. This is solidly constructed kit. Getting what is advertised. Click on Solutions from Science to get more information on this solar generator.

Monday, December 3, 2012

More Comments: Survive the Collapse by Bugging In

Lot's of debate on whether to Bug In or Bug Out.  I don't think anyone can cast a blanket solution for either.  Way too many factors depending on the situation.  Here is an Anonymous comment regarding a previous post that analyzed the question: "Bugging In - Not the Answer?":

”There will be hundreds of thousands of people with the same idea as you. Hunting, fishing, foraging...etc. I live in a small city next to Lake Erie, and I know that thousands of people will be using the lake and the rivers for their survival. I will not go anywhere near there in a real survival situation. The wooded areas will be teeming with "wanna-be" hunters trying to bag dinner for their family when the food runs out. I have very few places I can bug out to, and I have a feeling that there will be a mass exodus from this area if we lose utilities, and trucked in food anyway. That is unless the National Guard, police, and other agencies do not shut down or restrict travel. My job, and skills will keep me local anyway, as I will be part of the emergency response personnel working. So bugging in is my only viable route. Plus, I have aged parents living locally, who can't travel to well. My father can barely walk. I have built a family plan that has turned into a neighborhood plan. We will all stick together, or die separately. That's my two cents. “

UrbanMan replies:: Thanks for your comment, it is worth much more than two cents. You evidently saw the reader comment “get a field guide, learn edible plants and go live in the woods” and the responding comment that “get a field guide for edible plants?,… yeah and they will find you dead in the woods,…..with your field guide open laying besides you.”

Both are true comments.  I am prepping for a Bug In at my suburban location. You are helping my point about people make the conscious decision to Bug In, despite additional disadvantages or risks. Has to be a conscious decision weighting all the threat factors and your resources. In your case, it sounds like the major risks of trying to survive by yourself or in a real small group are mitigated with the development of a neighborhood plan.

The major disadvantage of a larger survival group, prepping and living separately, is that some will prep harder than others, and some will hold a grudge on people would did not prepare as well as they should have. Basically, your plan is like mine, aside from my core group of now, eight families consolidated at my house. The neighbors I have been talking to will be offered support, more on the advice side than the giving them supplies side.  But every decision will be weighed based on the security and safety of the group.

If a person plans well, given geographic variables such as anticipated refugee routes, and areas that will be a target of looter gangs such as warehouse areas, shopping malls, even smaller strip malls and individual retail stores, then I think it is possible to be reasonable safe if an adequate survival team is developed,  precautions and procedures instituted, supplies stocked and contingency plans developed.

You know that probably a large extent of your procedures, be it security procedures, individual or team responsibilities, additional training requirements, communications plans, will most likely be decided after the need or threat already exists,…meaning after the initiation of the collapse. Most people will simply not get it until the need is starring them right in the face. Let’s hope it is not too late. I think the bigger survival team you have within your neighbor will make it easier to rally non-team families and members into your group for the greater good.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Federal Government Stockpiling Ammunition?

There are several articles coming across the net about government agencies stockpiling ammunition. This is generating some concern from the citizenery especially with right wing beliefs that the current Adminstration may attempt some election shenagians or events that would allow the current office holders to remain in power.

And another popular right wing belief is that the government knows it is sinking rapidly and is preparing for population and riot controls.

Recent revelations about Department of Homeland Security purchasing 450 million rounds of .40 S&W Jacketed Hollow Point ammunition and the Social Security Administration buying 174,000 .40 S&W rounds have gotten alot of tonges wagging and fingers typing across the blogosphere.

450 million rounds of .40 caliber, purchased by DHS, over a several year (maximum of five) period of time equates to less than 1,400 rounds per year, per DHS law enforcement officer or agent. With annual qualification and training requiring less than 300 rounds per individual, there is some room to believe that 450 million is an excessive number of rounds. Factor in ammunition requirements for the various tactical teams and specialized units then you come pretty close to validating the requirement.

Then there is the Social Security Administration buying 174,000 thousands rounds for it's approximately 300 enforcement agents with arrest powers. That around 580 rounds per agent, hardly an excessive amount in my opinion. Another angle is why does the Social Security Administration need armed agents and why are they carrying hollow point ammunition, banned by the Geneva Convention and the Land Of Warfare? Social Security agents also investigates crimes.  Well, hollowpoint ammunition is easily justified and has been in current use by law enforcemnt agents for the past,..what? 30 years or so? Hollow point ammunition is actualy safer, providing you hit what you mean to as it has a less chance of over penetrsation and posing a danger outside of the intended target.

174,000 rounds for 300 agents is pretty minimal for training and duty carry equating to 580 rounds per man per year. That would roughly be used as 240 rounds for qualifications; 45 rounds or so for duty carry; and, 290 for training.

While as American Citizens we have a duty to remain vigilant against government encroachment of their powers and the subsequent reduction of our freedoms,....the ammunition purchases circulating around the web are not something we need to be overly concerned about.

I am more concerned the planned hiring of, what?, 16,000 additional IRS agents.  I am more concenred about the price and availability of food.....the probability of food shortages and masses of dis-advantaged people rioting in the streets over hyper-inflation and the collapse of the dollar.   I am more concenred about my own survival stocks and that includes ammunition for my family's own security.   So should you.   

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Survival Bug Out Houses for the Collapse

I have a service which searches for and forwards to me links to specific real estate articles with key words. This is one of the collapse indicators I use for planning. However imagine my surprise when I was sent a link to an article about houses built for specific extreme temperatures. One of the factors in planning your secure Bug Out location is how you are going to heat and cool your living areas after the collapse of infrastructure.

As good as some solar panels are for recharging batteries and the fact that solar panels should be in everyone's survival equipment load list, they cannot power, by themselves, conventional HVAC systems. That largely leaves housing construction design and materials to bridge the gap.  Anyway a Yahoo article you can use.

Unrelenting winter nights and endless summer days. Temperatures that can plummet to 120 below or more. Snow, ice, and rock. There are few environments on earth more hostile than the frozen Antarctic wastelands. But even with winds of up to nearly 200 mph, it’s not impossible for people to survive in the coldest place on the planet. In fact, humans are able to live in almost every world climate, driest deserts and densest jungles included—and it helps if you’ve got the right kind of shelter.

With permanent bases from countries all over the world, there are a number of approaches to building design in the harsh Antarctic region. Construction company Misawa Homes, which built most of the Antarctic facilities for the Japanese government’s Showa Station, opted for single-shell housing technology — useful when trying to keep out some of the coldest temperatures on earth. On the other end of the climate spectrum, rainforests demand a much different approach to adaptive construction. One house in the outskirts of São Paulo, Brazil, is specially built to its jungle environment. The Iporanga “tree house” stands three stories tall, is partially wrapped in glass walls, and is tightly nestled into the forest, with the trees all but scraping the windows. The house, with its modest use of concrete and steel, plays chameleon by blending into the leaves which surround it. Read on for more about these and other homes built for extreme climates:

Frozen Wasteland Cocoons East Ongul Island, Antarctica Outdoors.
The thermometer reads 80 below and the winds whirl at 120 mph. Indoors, it’s toasty warm. The ultimate in form following way behind function, these Antarctic boxes are also wrapped in a “single shell,” with features to withstand the most unforgiving climactic conditions on the planet. With a design based on the company’s wooden-panel adhesion system, the polar dwellings are built to take an estimated 100 years of Antarctic punishment.

Iporanga Jungle Tree House Near São Paulo, Brazil. 
Chimps have got it figured out: if you’re going to live in a rainforest, it’s better to be perched up in the trees. Brazilian architecture company Nitsche Arquitetos Associados designed this home in the thick forest outside São Paulo in 2006. Five bedrooms on the top level of this three-story home provide both a high lookout from which to survey the surrounding jungle and privacy due to the height. But the main level is unquestionably the main attraction of the home, with a hyper-modern living room, dining room and kitchen. Structural elements, such as I-beams, are as exposed as the residents within. Though much of the home is made of steel, glass and concrete, the house never feels out of place, thanks to the way in which outside foliage plays a central role in the design scheme.

Rondolino Residence Near Scotty's Junction, Nevada. 
Nottoscale, a San Francisco-based architectural company, used its own prefab building system to put together this one-bedroom, 1,200-square-foot desert house. Situated on a 40-acre lot, the home is completely dwarfed by its surroundings and looks every bit like the prefab home (with a modern sensibility) that it is. But the home isn’t the point – the location is. “Isolation is much of the beauty of the property,” says the firm’s website. Another beautiful aspect? Its environmental efficiency. The desert dwelling is heated with a hydronic radiant system and features high-performance insulation. The home’s minimalist approach includes a simple 900-square-foot deck.

Hof House Skakafjördur Fjord, Iceland.
Located 60 miles south of the Arctic Circle, this sturdy home efficiently protects its residents from outside elements. Built on an estate that includes a church, barn and a cowshed, the home is built with natural and recycled construction materials such as cedar and concrete walls designed to visibly age according to the weather. Geothermal and solar sources heat the entirety of the home. The grass turf on the roof, which was salvaged from some of the ground on which the home was built, isn’t the only material the architects reused: stone from the old house was cut to pave ground surfaces outside the new one, and old telegraph poles were used for building windows. The home was designed by Icelandic architectural firm Studio Granda.

Aleutian Island Geothermal Bunker Atka, Alaska.

This eco-smart bunker is built to withstand the harsh Aleutian Island environment while using as much energy and water as it produces. Though the home doesn’t actually exist yet (it's still in the design phase) its ingenious design won the Living Aleutian Design Competition, which asked architects to design a home that was net-zero water and energy usage and made use of locally sourced materials. In an environment that brings frequent 100 mph winds and punishing rains, the concept home would hunker down against the elements, drawing heat from geothermal sources below, and energy from wind turbines that harness the elements. Architecture collective Taller Abierto won the contest in May, and along with it $35,000 plus the opportunity to follow up and actually build a home in Atka, Alaska.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

I re-learned a lesson just the other day on the importance of PACE plan planning . PACE, of course, stands for “Primary, Alternative, Contingency and Emergency” or otherwise just an acronym to remember to have contingency plans. The idea is to have an alternate method of plan to immediately (and hopefully seamlessly) transition to when the primary plan cannot be executed. Much like carrying a rifle and a handgun, if the rifle runs dry or has a malfunction, the shooter can transition to the handgun, often times, much quicker than resolving an empty rifle or malfunction.

The lesson I learned was in route planning. I work in an office close to the heart of the city. I have a 26 mile drive (21 miles line of sight) to get from my suburban home to work. Like a lot of people going to and from work each day, I have alternate routes based on any construction or traffic delays, but in my survivalist mindset these are also Bug Out Routes.

I fully understand that a catastrophic event like a nuclear attack or terrorist strike, or industrial accident like a train wreck releasing toxic chemicals, or some crazy government announcement could cause a mass migration effect from the city and block even the highest speeds avenues of approach (the road network).

I have analyzed my routes and the chokepoints be they bridges, four lanes going to two lanes, intersections around Wal-marts, etc., that could be clogged up with panicked people and all sorts of possibilities.

The “E” of my Bug Out Route PACE plan is moving on foot. Twenty One miles carrying my “all the time” Bug Out bag and bits and pieces of kit from my supplemental bag in my trunk. In a perfect world, I could easily make this trek in seven to eight hours. If I have to bypass crowds or identified threats, or hunker down to let threats by-pass me then this journey could take over night. In fact, there would be some situations where using the cover of darkness may be preferable. I carry two cell phones, one from work and the other a personal cell phone, and a FRS radio in my Bug Out Bag so I can keep my people informed of my progress.

So, back to the lesson I learned,.....several days ago I left work to find traffic backed up bumper to bumper for miles. The radio said there was a massive accident involving a tractor-trailer and several cars. As I was mentally planning to access an alternate route I also heard on the radio that were accidents at locations which would have blocked off my access to these routes. I could have just sat in traffic waiting for the accident to clear and later I found out that it would have been a 2 to 2 ½ hour wait, and as it was I thought “jeez, now I have found some holes in my route planning,…who would have thought there was a possibility of accidents blocking all my planned route, but then again these accidents could have just as easily been a mass of people leaving the city.”

Then I thought “what if this was one of those collapse events and I would absolutely need to get home”, what would I do? I briefly thought about parking the car, grabbing my BOB and heading out on foot. There was no threat and it would be good to rehearse this plan, but I really needed to find an alternate route as of yet unknown to me. I remembered an medical office building construction site, adjacent to a park which was adjacent to a golf course.

I ended up taking that route,..was able to navigate over a couple curbs in my vehicle and eventually accessed the gold course parking lot then a suburban street which lead around all the wrecks on the main avenues. I called my wife and had her turn on our FRS base station and tested my FRS hand held at intervals back to my house, until I was about 400 yards from my house when I eventually made commo with her. I have made an intentionally decision not to routinely carry one of our VHF radios, but now may have to re-look that.

An additional benefit from determining a new vehicle route on the fly is that this route now becomes my primary foot route as it provides more cover and concealment, and hole-ups places. Not to mention water sources at both the park and golf course. My lesson learned from all this to practice what I preach,…..develop a PACE plan AND rehearse the damn thing to determine possible holes and necessary changes.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Conversation between Survivalists

I spent a couple hours this past weekend talking with another like-minded survivalist,…I’ll call him “Greg”. We call ourselves that, rather than the term "preppers", as we are both getting on in years and the term survivalists is an older term. I was actually introduced to the concept circa 1979.

Greg stopped by to show me his surplus 7x57mm Mauser that he had just bought and also bought some 500 odd surplus rounds for it. I was a little surprised as I know him to own several modern rifles including M4 variants, M1A1 types and even a semi-auto AK or two. He said if for nothing more, he can use it for barter or trade, or equip any strap-hangers who he absorbs into his group. He also bought $150 worth of dehydrated food this month.

I asked him if something was telling him to step up his preparations and he said he may be compensating because both his daughter and son are going off to college and he may be trying to quiet his anxiety with them being gone by stocking more. We spent some time discussing potential for a collapse coming from economic collapse, terrorist attack, natural disasters including disease pandemics and general off shoots that would occur such as violence and anarchy initially along economically divided groups which may degenerate into violence along racial lines, sadly enough.

One of Greg’s points is that the population shifts on relative small economic factors. The media is fomenting a notion that the economy is getting better,…gas prices dropped a little,….and among the sheep population there is very little of a foreboding sense. What people fail to comprehend is the effects of the global economy on the U.S. Greece is having a hard time putting together a coalition government to address debt and spending reform. France just hired a socialist who vowed to tax the wealthy at 75%. The economies of Spain and Portugal are tanking and now even Germany is having problems. We may see the Euro go the way of the dinosaur.

All in all a depressing day actually. But one that caused me to re-visit the fact that I haven't done too much in the past couple of months, but caused me to head down to a hardware store on Monday afternoon and buy a 550 gallon hard impact plastic water blivet which looks strange as hell in the corner of my suburban back yard, but not as strange as the looks of one of my neighbors when a friend of mine and me off loaded it and worked it into the back yard over my fence. I plan to fill it with a garden hose and always keep it full, re-filling it as I use it for the garden, which incidentally I planted early because of the early Spring. I have egg plant, cucumber and squash all coming up now.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Nuclear Survival Possible?

I received this e-mail from frankj: ”With the recent building of nuclear devices by North Korea and Iran plus who else we don’t know about, I am thinking that the chances of a nuclear attack from an Armageddon scenario to some localized attack maybe some damn terrorists given a bomb by Iranians all would spell a catastrophe. Some of my prepper pals say that we can about just kiss our butts goodbye in a nuclear attack because the fall out would kill about everything. What do you think the chances are for us to see a nuclear attack?”

UrbanMan’s reply: Frank, you are doing well to think about all collapse possibilities. Perhaps protection and survival plans for a nuclear event would be the hardest to plan and prepare for without a lot of resources,…read money. I think location is a key to survival in a nuclear event. Away from high value targets,…..away from fall out patterns from predictive wind patterns,…and away from refugee routes – and, there will always be survivors.

Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) recently published a study from the analysis of the specific implications of nuking the intersection of 16th and K streets NW. The key to the question, it seems, is the size of the bomb. Ten kilotons is considered “small” by nuclear weapon standards and would presumably leave survivors, according to the study. …Within a half-mile radius of the detonation, called the “severe damage zone,” buildings would be destroyed, radiation would be high and the survival rate would be low. The White House, Capitol and Mall would be destroyed. As little as three miles out, the impact would be less severe, including broken windows and minor injuries. But the real disaster would be nuclear fallout, the result of radioactive dust poisoning many in the District, Northern Virginia and Maryland.

I also found a government report on the potential of a nuclear attack on the National Capital Region. I am posting the easier to understand key points below. In any event, the first rule of survival is to understand the threat so you can develop a plan and counter measures.

Contamination vs. Exposure

Fallout contamination is salt- and sand-sized particles that contain unstable (radioactive) atoms that give off energy in the form of penetrating eadiation. Although contamination particles can be stopped by clothing and other barriers, the gamma radiation emitted by the unstable atoms penetrates through clothing, roofs, and walls and can deposit energy in living tissue. It is the exposure and absorption of this energy that is the primary concern and is measured as described below.

Roentgens, Rads, and Rems. Units of Radiation Exposure

• Roentgen (R): A unit of gamma or x-ray exposure in air. It is the primary standard of measurement used in the emergency-responder community in the US. 1,000 milliroentgen (mR) = 1 Roentgen (R).

• Roentgen per hour (R/h): A unit used to express gamma or x-ray exposure in air per unit of time (exposure rate) and the unit most commonly seen on radiation-detection equipment used by responders.

• rad: A unit expressing the absorbed dose of ionizing radiation. Absorbed dose is the energy deposited per unit mass of matter. The units of rad and gray are the units in two different systems for expressing absorbed dose. International unit conversion: 1 rad = 0.01 gray [Gy]; 1 Gy = 100 rad.)

• rem: A unit of absorbed dose that accounts for the relative biological effectiveness (RBE) of ionizing radiations in tissue (Also called equivalent dose). Not all radiation produces the same biological effect, even for the same amount of absorbed dose; rem relates the absorbed dose in human tissue to the effective biological damage of the radiation. International unit conversion: 1 rem = 0.01 Sieverts [Sv]; 1 Sv = 100 rem.)

For the purpose of this guidance, 1 R (exposure in air) = 1 rad (absorbed dose = 1 rem (whole-body dose). Whole-body doses are calculated for the middle of the body (1.5 m off the ground and 70% of the body-surface exposure), also referred to as the “midline deep dose.”

Estimated fatalities and symptoms associated with acute whole body absorbed doses:

150 initial rad dose - 5 percent chance of dying within 180 days from radiation exposure.

300 initial rad dose - 30-50 percent chance of dying within 180 days from radiation exposure.

600 initial rad dose - 95 percent chance of dying within 180 days from radiation exposure.

It will be initially difficult for those directly affected to assess the scale of devastation. On a clear day, a mushroom cloud might be visible from a distance, but the cloud is unlikely to keep a characteristic shape more than a few minutes and will be blown out of the area in one or more directions in the first few hours.

The most critical life-saving action for the public and responders is to seek adequate shelter for at least the first hour. Another urge to overcome is the desire to flee the area (or worse, run into fallout areas to reunite with family members), which can place people outdoors in the first few minutes and hours when fallout exposures are the greatest.

Those outside or in vehicles will have little protection from the penetrating radiation coming off fallout particles as they accumulate on roofs and the ground.

Sheltering is an early imperative for the public within the broken glass and blast damage area, which could extend for several miles in all directions from a blast. There is a chance that many parts of the area may not be affected by fallout; however, it will be virtually impossible to distinguish between radioactive and non-radioactive smoke, dust, and debris that will be generated by the event.

Potentially dangerous levels of fallout could begin falling within a few minutes. Those outdoors should seek shelter in the nearest solid structure. Provided the structure is not in danger of collapse or fire, those indoors should stay inside and move either below ground (e.g., into a basement or subterranean parking garage) or to the middle floors of a multi story concrete or brick building. Those individuals in structures threatened by collapse or fire, or those in light structures (e.g., single story buildings without basements) should consider moving to an adjacent solid structure or subway. Glass, displaced objects, and rubble in walkways and streets will make movement difficult.

Leaving the area should only be considered if the area becomes unsafe because of fire or other hazards, or if local officials state that it is safe to move. Fallout is driven by upper-atmospheric winds that can travel much faster than surface winds, often at more than 100 miles per hour. Outside the area of broken windows, people should have at least 10 minutes before fallout arrives for the larger multi-kiloton yields. If the detonation were to happen during daylight hours on a day without cloud cover, the fallout cloud might be visible at this distance, although accurately gauging direction could be difficult as the expanding cloud continues to climb and possibly move in more than one direction.

Providing that atmospheric conditions do not obscure visibility, dangerous levels of fallout would be easily visible as particles fall. People should proceed indoors immediately if sand, ash, or colored rain begins to fall in their area.

At 20 miles away, the observed delay between the flash of an explosion and “sonic boom” of the air blast would be more than 1.5 minutes. At this range, it is unlikely that fallout could cause radiation sickness, although outdoor exposure should still be avoided to reduce potential long-term cancer risk. The public at this distance should have some time, perhaps 20 minutes or more, to prepare.

The first priority should be to find adequate shelter. Individuals should identify the best shelter location in their present building, or if the building offers inadequate shelter, consider moving to better shelter if there is a large, solid multistory building nearby. After the shelter itself is secured, attention can be given to acquiring shelter supplies such as batteries, radio, food, water, medicine, bedding, and toiletries.

Although roads could be initially unobstructed at this range (around 20 miles), the possibility of moving the numerous people at risk before fallout arrives is highly unlikely, and those in traffic jams on the road would receive little protection from fallout. At long distances (more than 100 miles), the additional time before fallout arrival might tempt people to evacuate.

However, cloud spread and difficulties associated with predicting possible fallout locations will make avoiding the hazard difficult, even when driving. Although people at this distance will not experience life-threatening levels of fallout, using the extra time to seek the best-quality shelter in the area can help reduce exposures and the long-term risk of cancer.

Stay Indoors.  People should expect to remain sheltered for at least 12 to 24 hours. During that time, the intensity of fallout radiation will decrease greatly, allowing for less hazardous egress from dangerous fallout areas. Unless a given shelter location is considered unsafe due to fire or structural damage, the length of time individuals should remain sheltered depends on instructions from regional emergency management agencies. For those in good shelters, such as a large concrete, brick, or underground structure, optimal shelter times will likely be in terms of days.

In the absence of specific guidance from authorities and adequate supplies of food and water, or for those who are in smaller 2- to 3-story structures or shallow basements, evacuation should be considered after 12 hours. Upon leaving shelter, the best course is to follow routes that take advantage of sheltered passages (subways, underground connectors, or through building lobbies) that lead away from damage and heavy fallout areas. Once clear of potential fallout areas, evacuees should seek a change of clothes (including shoes) and wipe or wash exposed skin surfaces.

Fallout consists of large particles that can be easily brushed off clothing and shoes. The radiation energy given off by fallout particles decays rapidly with time. For this reason early gross decontamination (brushing for example) is better than delayed thorough decontamination (such as a shower). An event of this magnitude will vastly overwhelm available response resources.

Get Clean.  Radioactive fallout particles can spread quickly and remain on the body and clothes until removed. Those in potentially fallout contaminated areas should take off the outer layer of clothing (including shoes) and wipe or wash exposed skin and hair upon leaving a contaminated area.

• Routes make a difference for early evacuees. The exposure impact of route choice is more significant in the first few hours.

• Shelter quality determines decision time. The better the shelter, the longer the time before action is required. For poor shelters, actions should be taken in the first few hours; inadequate shelter, 4–12 hours; for adequate shelters, avoid action before 12 hours unless instructed otherwise.

• Adequate shelter, stay in place. Extended shelter-inplace inside an adequate shelter is almost always preferred over an uninformed evacuation in the first 12 hours. The gains from an informed evacuation before 12 hours are marginal, while the penalty for an uninformed evacuation can be significant.

• Poor shelter, move or evacuate. Early evacuation (at 1 hour) from lower-quality shelters in the Danger Zone can be life-saving.

– Best Strategy For Poor Shelter: Informed evacuation after approximately an hour. However, without an informed route use next strategy.

– Good Strategy for Poor Shelter: Move to a better shelter. Analysis indicates that this can result in a significant reduction of casualties even as early as 20 minutes after detonation.

– Marginal Strategy for Poor Shelter: Uninformed evacuation after approximately an hour and then leave the area, do not move toward the detonation site or directly downwind.

– Bad Strategy for Poor Shelter Extended Shelter in Place.

• In aggregate, the existing Washington , DC structures offered better than adequate protection. If all residents adopted a shelter-in-place strategy, it would reduce the number of potential acute radiation casualties by 98% (there would be an estimated 3,000 fallout casualties out of the 130,000 potential casualties of an unsheltered population).

• For Regional evacuation planning, errors in identifying the centerline and boundaries of high-dose-rate regions can result in poor evacuation routes that eliminate the benefits of evacuation.

• Preplanned evacuation routes may not be the best evacuation route as they may follow the contamination centerline.

• The current federal guidance of sheltering for 12-24 hours in in a shelter is adequate.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Food Prices Up, Shortage to Follow

Why Are Food Prices Rising So Fast?

If you do much grocery shopping, you have probably noticed that the cost of food has been rising at a very brisk pace over the past year. So why are food prices rising so fast? According to Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, inflation is still very low and the economy is improving. So what is going on here? When I go to the grocery store these days, there are very few things that I will buy unless they are on sale. In fact, I have noticed that many of the new "sale prices" are the old regular prices. Other items have had their packages reduced in size in order to hide the price increases. But with millions of American families just barely scraping by as it is, what is going to happen if food prices keep rising this rapidly?

The food prices are especially painful if you are trying to eat healthy. Most of the low price stuff in the grocery stores is garbage. Eating the "typical American diet" is a highway to cancer, heart disease and diabetes.

But if you try to stick to food that is "healthy" or "organic" you can blow through hundreds of dollars in a heartbeat. In fact, the reality is that tens of millions of American families have now essentially been priced out of a healthy diet.

Soon there will be millions more American families that will not even be able to afford an unhealthy diet.

Some recent statistics compiled by the Bureau of Labor Statistics are absolutely staggering. According to a recent CNBC article, over the past year many of the most popular foods in America have absolutely soared in price....

Coffee, for instance, is up 40 percent. Celery is 28 percent higher while butter prices rose 26.4 percent. Rounding out the top five are bacon, at 23.5 percent, and cabbage, at 23.3 percent.

Unfortunately, it looks like the trend of rising food prices is accelerating. Just look at what the CNBC article says happened in the month of April alone....
Just in April—the most recent month for which data is available—grapes went up nearly 30 percent, cabbage jumped about 17 percent and orange juice surged more than 5 percent. Meat is becoming more expensive as well. Since March 2009, livestock prices have risen by 138%.

So when Ben Bernanke tells us that inflation is very low, that really is a lie. On the stuff that people spend money on every day (like food and gas), prices have gone up dramatically. Sadly, this is not just a phenomenon that is happening in the United States. The truth is that the entire planet is rapidly approaching a horrific global food crisis.

Over the past year, the global price of food has risen by 37 percent and this has pushed approximately 44 million more people around the world into poverty.

When food prices rise in the U.S. it may be painful for millions of American families, but around the world a rise in food prices can mean the difference between surviving and not surviving.

That is why it has been so alarming that the global price of wheat has approximately doubled over the past year.

But it is not just wheat that has been soaring. Check out what a recent Bloomberg article had to say about what has been happening to many key agricultural commodities over the past year....

Corn futures advanced 77 percent in the past 12 months in Chicago trading, a global benchmark, rice gained 39 percent and sugar jumped 64 percent. There will be shortages in corn, wheat, soybeans, coffee and cocoa this year or next, according to Utrecht, Netherlands-based Rabobank Groep. Prices also rose after droughts and floods from Australia to Canada ruined crops last year. European farmers are now contending with their driest growing season in more than three decades.

Even before this recent spike in food prices the world was struggling to get enough food to everybody. It has been estimated that somewhere in the world someone starves to death every 3.6 seconds, and 75 percent of those are children under the age of five.

So what is going to happen if food prices keep on rising at the current pace? That is a very good question. We really are starting to move into unprecedented territory. Nobody is quite sure what is going to happen next.

So why is all of this happening?

Well, a lot of people are blaming the Federal Reserve. All of the "quantitative easing" that the Fed has done has flooded the financial markets with money. All of that money had to go somewhere. Much of it has pumped up the prices of hard assets such as oil, gold and agricultural commodities.

But it is not just the Fed that is to blame. The truth is that central banks all over the world have been recklessly printing money.

When the amount of money in an economy goes up, the purchasing value of all existing money goes down. In the United States , that means that your dollars will not go as far as they did before.

But it is not just monetary policy that is affecting food prices. In 2010 and 2011 we have seen an unprecedented wave of natural disasters and crazy weather. This has caused problems with crops all over the globe.

In addition, U.S. economic policies are also playing a role. At this point, almost a third of all corn grown in the United States is used for fuel. This is putting a lot of stress on the price of corn.

Also, there are some long-term trends that are not in our favor. For example, the systematic depletion of the Ogallala Aquifer could eventually turn " America 's Breadbasket" back into the "Dust Bowl". If you have not heard of this problem I would encourage you to do some research on it.

Things are going to get a lot worse, but already America is having a really hard time feeding itself. According to Feeding America's 2010 hunger study, more than 37 million Americans are now being served by food pantries and soup kitchens.

So is that number unusual?

Yes, it sure is. The number of Americans that are going to food pantries and soup kitchens has increased by 46% since 2006. That is not a good trend. Another stat that I talk a lot about in this column is the number of Americans on food stamps. Right now, there are 44 million Americans on food stamps. Nearly half of them are children.

How did we ever get to the point as a nation where more than 20 million children end up on food stamps? It is estimated that one out of every four American children is currently on food stamps, and it is being projected that approximately 50 percent of all U.S. children will be on food stamps at some point in their lives before they reach the age of 18.

So what is going to happen if the economy gets even worse?

What is going to happen if there really is a major food crisis in this country someday? Food prices have been going up for decades and they are going to continue to go up. But the frightening thing is how fast they are increasing now.

As the U.S. middle class continues to be destroyed, the number of Americans that can't afford to buy enough food is going to continue to rise. Food prices are rising much faster than wages are, and that is not likely to change any time soon.

Food is rapidly becoming one of the most important global economic issues of this decade. The farther one looks down the road, the bleaker things look for the global food situation.

I hope you are prepared for that. So what are you going to do? Watch for deals. Stock food when you can. Be prepared, and start now, to grow your own.