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

Monday, June 20, 2011

Urban Survival Planning - Urban Dangers

Recently the website was brought to my attention. Urban Danger is releasing a film entitled "Urban Danger" which they bill as a product far from a “survivalist” film, but one that takes a common-sense look at our roots, finding practical solutions to problems we face today. In the film you will meet many people from all walks of life who show you the common-sense preparations they are making for difficult times ahead. And in the process, they have found a superior quality of life. They have found what “real living” is all about.

As I have written before, it isn't about "Survival", it's about "Surviving with as much quality of life or with the least amount of disruption possible." To be sure, we really cannot predict the amount of changes that will occur, only time will tell.

You can go to the website and order the DVD or watch it on-line. advertises the following concerning the movie:

The Dangers

On this DVD you will find information about the dangers we are facing. We must understand the problem before we can work on a solution. The problems range from massive chemical exposure to nutritionally empty food. From crime and violence to utter dependence on large corporations for necessities of life. From impure air and water to debilitating levels of stress. And from threatened terrorist attacks to an almost total loss of connection with our Maker. And the list goes on...

While almost all of these dangers are much more acute in urban and suburban areas, some may affect even those living in country areas if they have not taken the proper precautions. So before we cover the solutions, let's gain a better understanding of the problems.

While Urban Danger does look at some of the problems and hazards facing city dwellers, its main thrust is finding solutions to the problem. If you are unsure or at all skeptical about the dangers of urban areas, you should check out another great DVD that has been recently released:

America's Cities: The Coming Crisis - Expert witness from extremely credible people is found on this powerful movie regarding the precarious and perilous position our cities are in. It is a must see.

The Solutions

Solutions--that is what this website is all about. Can we do anything or do we simply give up and try to not think about the dangers? Friends, there IS something you can do! Some of the solutions are surprisingly simple, some may take a little more effort. But all will be well worth it! Remember, this is not only about trying to survive from the many perils, this is about quality of life. This is about getting back to basics. About actually having a family once again. About providing the best possible environment for you and your children to develop in. About being able to help others in times of need rather than being the one helped. About giving rather than receiving!

The dangers are certainly an impetus for us to act and act now! But even without all of these dangers, making the move to change your lifestyle yields such a multitude of blessings that it would still be well worth it. If you haven't gathered it by now, the solution is about much more than simply relocating down the road. It is a change of pace. Removing stress from one's life. Re-assessing your priorities in life. Placing God first in your life and your family next, with everything else taking its rightful place behind. Taking responsibility for your family's necessities of life. Not being imprudent enough to depend on the systems of the world to provide those necessities. And sharing the blessings you have found with as many as you can. This is the solution.

Below you will find a number of main categories which contain practical information on how you can take action and provide a proactive solution for your family before it is too late.

The below video gives the read some insight into the products.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Urban Survival Planning - Disease and Infection Threat

I think my two main medical worries during a collapse, which is large or sustained enough to severely degrade available medical support, would be:
1 - my ability or inability to treat common infections, and
2 – pandemic disease made mobile by mass migration of the population looking for food and safety.

The average Survivalist’s ability to procure and stock antibiotics is pretty limited. I suspect many individuals and survival groups are intending to minimize the threat of infection by robust preventive measures, such as a high level of cleanliness, and the use of non-traditional treatments such as herbs and home remedies.

If you watch the excellent After Armageddon Video Series I have on the left hand side of this page, you will see the video’s main character dying from an infection years after the initiation of the collapse (which was caused by a pandemic).

Although I cam concerned about pandemic disease, other than being careful with your handling protocols for strangers and stragglers and appropriate use of personal protective gear, there is not a lot that we can do about it in regards to stocking medication and being prepared to treat.

What is really scary is the new generation of super-infections that are resistant to most antibiotics, especially the common medications we are able to stock. The below is an article by Lisa Collier at Healthline on antibiotic resistant superbugs that I thought may give us all pause for thinking.

Antibiotic Superbugs CRKP & MRSA: Who's at Risk?

Misuse of antibiotics has led to a global health threat: the rise of dangerous—or even fatal—superbugs. Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is now attacking both patients in hospitals and also in the community and a deadly new multi-drug resistant bacteria called carbapenem-resistant Klebsiella pneumoniae, or CRKP is now in the headlines. Last year, antibiotic resistant infections killed 25,000 people in Europe, the Guardian reports.

Unless steps are taken to address this crisis, the cures doctors have counted on to battle bacteria will soon be useless. CRKP has now been reported in 36 US states—and health officials suspect that it may also be triggering infections in the other 14 states where reporting isn’t required. High rates have been found in long-term care facilities in Los Angeles County , where the superbug was previously believed to be rare, according to a study presented earlier this month. CRKP is even scarier than MRSA because the new superbug is resistant to almost all antibiotics, while a few types of antibiotics still work on MRSA. Who’s at risk for superbugs—and what can you do to protect yourself and family members? Here’s a guide to these dangerous bacteria.

Understanding different types of bacteria.

What is antibiotic resistance? Almost every type of bacteria has evolved and mutated to become less and less responsive to common antibiotics, largely due to overuse of these medications. Because superbugs are resistant to these drugs, they can quickly spread in hospitals and the community, causing infections that are hard or even impossible to cure. Doctors are forced to turn to more expensive and sometimes more toxic drugs of last resort. The problem is that every time antibiotics are used, some bacteria survive, giving rise to dangerous new strains like MRSA and CRKP, the CDC reports.

What are CRKP and MRSA? Klebseiella is a common type of gram-negative bacteria that are found in our intestines (where the bugs don’t cause disease). The CRKP strain is resistant to almost all antibiotics, including carbapenems, the so-called “antibiotics of last resort.” MRSA (methacillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus) is a type of bacteria that live on the skin and can burrow deep into the body if someone has cuts or wounds, including those from surgery.

Who is at risk? CRKP and MRSA infects patients, usually the elderly—who are already ill and living in long-term healthcare facilities, such as nursing homes. People who are on ventilators, require IVs, or have undergone prolonged treatment with certain antibiotics face the greatest threat of CRKP infection. Healthy people are at very low risk for CRKP. There are 2 types of MRSA, a form that affects hospital patients, with similar risk factors to CRKP, and another even more frightening strain found in communities, attacking people of all ages who have not been in medical facilities, including athletes, weekend warriors who use locker rooms, kids in daycare centers, soldiers, and people who get tattoos. Nearly 500,000 people a year are hospitalized with MRSA.

Keeping hospital patients safe. How likely is it to be fatal? In earlier outbreaks, 35 percent of CRKP-infected patients died, Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) reported in 2008. The death rate among those affected by the current outbreak isn’t yet known. About 19,000 deaths a year are linked to MRSA in the US and rates of the disease has rise 10-fold, with most infections found in the community.

How does it spread? Both MRSA and CRKP are mainly transmitted by person-to-person contact, such as the infected hands of a healthcare provider. They can enter the lungs through a ventilator, causing pneumonia, the bloodstream through an IV catheter, causing bloodstream infection (sepsis), or the urinary tract through a catheter, causing a urinary tract infection. Both can also cause surgical wounds to become infected. MRSA can also be spread in contact with infected items, such as sharing razors, clothing, and sports equipment. These superbugs are not spread through the air.

What are the symptoms? Since CRKP presents itself as a variety of illnesses, most commonly pneumonia, meningitis, urinary tract infections, wound (or surgical site) infections and blood infections, symptoms reflect those illnesses, most often pneumonia. MRSA typically causes boils and abscesses that resemble infected bug bites, but can also present as pneumonia or flu-like symptoms.

How are superbugs related? The only drug that still works against the CRKP is colistin, a toxic antibiotic that can damage the kidneys. Several drugs, such as vancomycin, may still work against MRSA.

What’s the best protection against superbugs? Healthcare providers are prescribing fewer antibiotics, to help prevent CRKP, MRSA and other superbugs from developing resistance to even more antibiotics. The best way to stop bacteria from spreading is simple hygiene. If someone you know is in a nursing home or hospital, make sure doctors and staff wash their hands in front of you. Also wash your own hands frequently, with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer, avoid sharing personal items, and shower after using gym equipment. The CDC has reports on Klebsiella bacteria and MRSA, discussing how to prevent their spread and has just issued a new report on preventing bloodstream infections.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Urban Survival Planning - Growing Your Own Food

Growing your own food. Our ancestors, or at least their neighbors, did it. Doesn’t sound too hard, does it? After all, most of us are planning on being able to grow our own food and most of us stock plenty of non-hybrid seeds to achieve that goal. I sure have a good stock of non-hybrid seeds. Plus I always buy a pack or two other vegetable seeds when I am in the local hardware store. Been doing that for so long, I now have a large ammunition can full of hybrid seeds packages. I plan to use the hybrid seeds first and especially at locations that I may have to vacate (Bug Out from) so I won’t waste the seed generating capability of the non-hybrids. I can also use the hybrid seeds as barter material.

Many people I talk to are basing their stockpile of food, e.g.. dehydrated – vacuum packed – canned goods,....on what they feel is a necessary 6 months supply. Their reasoning is that, worst case, food supplies will dry up in the fall – too late to plant, so they only need six months supply to get them through to where they can grow their own food in the spring.

I have two comments to that:

1. Growing food is not as easy as you think. I would not base my existence and my family’s survival on being able to grow all the food I need.

2. Growing food is so important, and if successful, allows you to save at least some of your stockpiled food, that starting to grow food need to be immediately when a collapse hits, if not starting now. You need to be able to preserve your crops as well, through canning and dehydration.

Starting now allows you to do a rehearsal for when you really need it to survive. And the simple fact is that growing some of our own food is enjoyable and rewarding. Note: I have had some people tell me “I ain’t no farmer! I’ll barter with someone for the food they grow”. I say okay and good luck. I’m thinking in the back of my head,……if you’re hungry enough to eat another person, I think you’d be hungry enough to grow your own food.

Being prepared to start growing food immediately when a collapse hits means you need the ability to erect and grow crops out of a green house as in many places the growing seasons may even be a short 3 months. On my immediate purchase list when indicators are strong that a collapse is imminent, are materials to build a green house. It would be great to have an acre crisis garden under glass, but the simple reality is that this is just not affordable without multiple survival families putting up the funding and effort. But what is possible is a small enough green house that you can afford to build or purchase and maintain.

Probably a lot of you have heard about Northern Tool and Equipment with all their excellent deals on solar panels, wind generators, fuel storage units and such. Northern Tool also offers a wide variety of greenhouse kits. I am now looking at buying one these kits and either erecting it now, or building it when the time makes it necessary.

Much like the novel “One Second After” where the people started much too late in planning for a continued food supply…..don’t get caught like this. It is obviously much better to be ahead of the curve, especially where you you help other people and keep them from becoming a burden on you.

Northern Tool advertises this hobby greenhouse as having a strong aluminum frame that supports UV-stabilized twin-wall polycarbonate panels. These 4mm-thick walls provide excellent heat retention and create even, diffused light that your plants will love. The corrosion-resistant aluminum frame is easily assembled and stays sturdy thanks to bolt-together connections. This kit includes a galvanized base kit to anchor the greenhouse to a concrete or wood foundation. With an adjustable roof vent and sliding door provide it provides ventilation.

There are many other models to choose from. The fact remains if you buy a greenhouse kit or build your own, this will come in handy unless you have many years of stocked food in your supply.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Reader Response on Getting Your Friends and Family Ready received a comment from Secunda on the post "Urban Survival Planning - Getting your Relatives and Friends Ready", …..“Good post. We too have friends and acquaintances who have nothing prepared; no food set aside, no extra water, and have no disaster plan - and they live in earthquake country! Usually when we get together and the subject of an earthquake, hurricane, or, since last week the unrest in Egypt , becomes a topic my spouse and I are careful to couch our preparedness comments under the aegis of the virtue of self-reliance. They seemed to feel less threatened when we mention a basic or two every home should have. Sadly though, it has been my experience that for 90% of the population they do not know how thin the separation is between civilized living and barbarism.”

UrbanMan’s reply: Good idea linking self reliance for disasters like Earthquakes. This way is much more palatable than preaching economic collapse and Armageddon, ha ha. However from my experience most people, even my friends and family who live in earthquake and hurricane country, always think “hey, it never gets that bad”, or worse yet, “they (the infamous they) always get things back on track fast.”

Not bragging, but I have taken several people from total obliviousness to any possibility of surviving on their own, to a path of preparedness – and some of these guys were armed professionals who carry a gun every day. Sometimes I get the question, “How do you know about this?”, and my response is “How you do not?” I simply read, study and analyze like most people reading this site. And I grew up both as a child and as an adult learning that you had to take care of yourself as you are second priority at best with anyone else.

Still, it is in our interest to get friends and family as prepared as possible so they won’t be such a burden on us when they inevitably show up a day or two after the collapse. Maybe take some of these sheep to the gun range. I have taught several women how to shoot and they now love it and own their own guns. Take someone hiking and when they see your Camel-Bak HAWG bag or whatever, they’ll want one also. Show them a steel and magnesium fire starter – well they have to have one,…etc.

I’d say Jim, who writes the “Survival Chronicles of Jim” posts for this site – is my pinnacle case. Jim is a computer guy who didn’t even own a gun 15 months ago and now you can see how far he came from Day One to now through the 22 Chapters he has written on his journey to preparation.

In fact I talked to Jim this morning in the wake of this giant storm. He said he stayed home for two days with intermittent power shortages and felt extremely prepared. Of course, in a collapse with decayed or non-existent infrastructure such as electrical and water utilities, law enforcement and emergency responders, we’ll will have to take much, much more on our shoulders than simply waiting out a bad storm.

And you are absolutely right about a thin line between civilized living and barbarism. Once people are without water or food for a couple days I think you would see brutal behavior running rampant. Who could blame the people who have no food to feed their family? There would be large sub groups here. Some looking extra long at legal and ethical means to procure food,water and shlter for their family and others (may we should call them entitlists) who were too stupid, to lazy or too self absorbed in their pitiful lives to prepare when they had the means - these are the people I be inclined not to help.

You know, I guess you could come right out and make a proclamation to your family and friends,...."Just to let you all know, I am a survivalist. I have been planning, preparing, stocking material and all the little mundane things one needs to do to be prepared to survive a terrible collapse or even Armageddon. Do not show up to my house after the collapse starts unless you bring assets - food, water, gear, guns, skills and a willingness to work as a team."

Anyway Secunda, thanks for the reply- stay safe and stay prepared friend.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Urban Survival Planning - Winter Storm Lessons

There's a good chance some of you are in geographic location that is or recently experienced a pretty bad winter storm. Winds in excess of norms; temperature lows 20 to 30 degrees colder; maybe some sleet and/or snow. Maybe you experienced power outages. Maybe the power authority in your location conducted rolling electrical backouts due to the large surge in power needs. Maybe you attempted to get kerosene or electrical heaters but Wal-Mart, Target, etc., but they were all out.

All the above just happened to me. Power outages throughout the day; and with normal low temperatures for this time of year of 30 degrees and highs in the high 40's or low 50's,......the drop to a low of 5 and a high temp of 12 was quite a change. Been that way since yesterday and supposed to continue for a couple days.

Getting back to the house today I thought I was sitting pretty. Had extra wool blankets; military three piece sleeping bags; LED lantern kit powered by rechargeable batteries; plenty of food to get through even a long period of vehicle immobility due to bad weather; and, 80 gallons of stored water.

But like probably most of us believe, we prepare and are better off for it, but we will never really be satisfied with our preps. Always something we missed.

I used this opportunity to look at my preparations for the coming collapse and wargammed several additional stressors. What I wrote down for my preparation tasks list (you do have one don't you?) is the following:

No matter how good your foot wear is, sitting in one place such as in an LP/OP or on security for your Survival Site, just ain't good enough when the temps are 5 degrees F and the wind is honking at 12-15 mph. I am going to look into battery powered heating socks and have my friend make some canvas cover wool snuggie type half sleeping bags so the person in the static position can put his/her feet and legs into it but quickly get out of them.

Water froze in my Camelbak in my truck. I recently saw some surplus military artic no-freeze canteens which I have used before in a past life and in a place I want to forget.

Although I have watch caps galore, I think some fold-able behind the head ear muffs that can be worn underneath the knitted wool watch caps is in order. The wool and cotton variant watch caps just don't cut the wind.

Gloves. I have some pretty damn good gloves but a second and third pair, per person, of the Extreme Cold Weather (ECW) design is on my list as is several pair of military wool inserts, both the five finger and mitten w/ separate trigger finger type.

I have a pretty good stock of hard wood to burn in my fireplace. I am going to add to that significantly and place a 3/4 inch steel plate I have laying around in the fireplace so it can get hot and radiate heat. It was actually pretty comfortable going without power for 3 hours at night and sitting in front of the fire place reading a book bu LED lantern light.

Although I only had enough of the AA rechargeable batteries charged to run five LED Lanterns. Note to self: more rechargeable batteries and keep more charged. Although no power in the house, I could have charged them from my truck with the 12v adaptor, but sitting in front of the fireplace, with a book and two ounces of Woodford Reserve Whiskey was pretty comfortable. Not that I think the real collapse would permit much of this activity.

Not that I needed any, I called Wal-Mart and Lowe's to see if they had any electrical or kerosene heaters in stock. Both told me they were bought out. One of the sales people told me flashlights are going quick. Oh, a word about flashlights. Love the Surefire line of flashlights; I have several models from hand held to weapons mounted lights, however those CR123 batteries sure lose power quick. Knew this was not the best bet for long term survival a couple of years ago and started to procure LED flashlights, like the excellent Pelican brand (and others), that use AA or AAA batteries so I can re-charge them. So if you only have non-rechargeable battery powered flashlights, then maybe consider some AA or AAA powered flashlights.

Lastly a friend called me on cell and told me his lost power and couldn't use his electric stove. No problem for me, I have gas and when the electric is out, you can still light the burners with a match. Anyway, he has a gas grill and extra tanks, like I do and I'm sure most of you do as well, now he knows knows he needs a gas camp stove or the burner and hose element so he can cook in the house or the garage with it. Heater elements are also available for these portable gas tanks - I've used many of then inside of tents in shitty locations to stay warm.....okay, maybe not warm, but at least to keep from freezing.

Did this massive storm prompt anybody else to think of something new?

Monday, January 31, 2011

Urban Survival Planning - Don't Forget the "No Comms" Plan

To be well prepared communications technology wise to survive a total collapse, most survival planners would develop a list of communications equipment that may look like this:

Hand Held FRS/GMRS radios. Used for small group to small group communications such as from someone on security at a listening post/observation post to other in the Survival Group. Used for inter-team communications such as conducting a patrol around the Survival site.

Solar Crank AM/FM/SSB radio with Wx alert channel. Not only can you pickup any AM or FM radios stations and weather alerts would be excellent in the advent of an internet disruption, but you can listen to Ham radio operators and pickup intelligence helping you piece together an assessment of the situation sometimes from faraway locations.

CB radios. A capability to think about, since they are so common. Listening to CB transmission, which are predominantly in vehicles, can provide an excellent source of intelligence concerning events in and around your Survival location as well as on major lines of communications (highways, interstates and other roadways).

HF Ham Radio System and Upper grade UHF/VHF transceivers. Which are often outside the grasp of your basic Survivalist, both in scope of use and cost.

Anyway, we’ll be writing more articles on communications and radio systems. What I wanted to address this post was that no matter how robust your communications capabilities are,…no matter how many radios in various frequencies and modulations you possess, the thinking Survival Planner needs to have a plan for no communications. This is typical called the “No Communications” plan.

An example would be a lack of communications for whatever reason (dead batteries, radios out of range, broken equipment, etc.). What would be your planned actions and protocols for a patrol returning to your Survival site? Maybe you have a procedure, where at the time the patrol is expected to return, someone at the Survival base hoists a flag, or opens curtains or whatever visual signal you determine annotating that the site is safe to return to. The patrol would in turn have an arm and hand signal or another visual signal such as the lead man wearing a red cap or walking into the site with his weapon held in front vertical, muzzle down. Lack of either signal would mean the site or the patrol is under duress. And duress simply means someone is making you do something,….consider it a gun to your head. Some people simply call this a “safe” signal and lack of a safe signal would be mean duress.

Maybe the Patrol has a procedure where in the absence of the safe signal, the action would be to withdrawal and linkup with anyone who may have vacated the Survival Site at a pre-determined Emergency Rally Point or Emergency Rendezvous Point (ERP) that you have planned in case the Survival Site gets over ran.

Another example of a “No communications” plan may be between you and other members of your Survival Group who are now living apart. Maybe your plan is to communicate as things gets worse and at some point communicate to coordinate a move to your interim Survival Site or Safe Site. Maybe you plan for several communications means: landline telephone (primary), cell phones (alternate), and radios (contingency on a pre-planned contact time each day or night). You still need a “no-comms” plan which may be in the event of no communications for a period of 48 hours, Survival Group members will initiate a move to the planned Survival Site, stopping a certain distance away to covertly approach and look for the “safe” signal, then approach the house with the return or replying “safe” procedure.

Another example, would be Jim’s (from Survival Chronicles of Jim) example. His son is attending college about 60 miles away. Jim’s simple “No Comms” plan is in the event of a decayed situation or a full out collapse, AND, after two missed communications contacts which are scheduled for 8:00 pm each night, is that on what would be the night of the third missed scheduled contact, Jim will meet his son at a turn in off the access road near the Interstate. Jim will pull in with his vehicle and flash the lights three times. Jim’s son will in turn flash the lights four times then make his approach. Jim will wait 30 minutes, if his son does not show, then Jim will leave a small bag of water and food ten feet behind a road sign. They will repeat this 24 hours later if possible. Then his son is on his own to get to Jim’s Survival location. Failing all this, Jim’s son knows that the Bug Out location is the family cabin about 200 miles North, and he knows the safe signal that will be displayed if it is safe to approach the cabin.

Jim and his son also have a challenge and password.

So your “No Communications” plan is used in the event of all communications systems being down. The “No Communications” plan are procedures based on missed communications from a schedule and compromise a series of actions and visual signals in order for Survivors to eventually link up in safe manner.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Reader Response on Military Set to Intervene on the Coming Food Crisis received the following anonymous comment on the post Food Riots Possible - Military Prepared to Intervene......"I do expect the problems to get worse and surely food will be one of those problems. As tempting as it is to jump on the bandwagon here I just don't buy this story. The funny thing is that I don't think Obama is really as smart as he thinks he is and therefore I doubt he has a clue about food problems. When and if that happens Obama and his administration will be caught flat-footed and will in all likelihood blame it all on something Rush or Beck said on air."

UrbanMan replies: 10-4 on Obama and his cabinent, legitmately appointed and confirmed by congress and the others (the Czars) all not being smart enough to get us out of this mess....but I think we are at the point that there is nothing the Administration nor Congress can do. The collapse WILL hit, the only questions are how soon and how bad; will it be influenced by other incidents such as war (possibly with Iran or North Korea, or wars between two non U.S. actors); or a calamity inflicted upon the U.S. like a pandemic or a terrorist attack - physical or otherwise like a cyber attack on the banking system.

side note: As I write this Gen. (ret) Colin Powell who was also former Secretary of State under President George W. Bush, was on T.V. saying the economy was getting better.....well, I guess he skipped Economic AND History at West Point.

The post on Food Riots Possible - Military Prepared to Intervene was intended to get people to think how they can mitigate the coming food shortage, riots by the hungry and possible homeless hundreds of thousands, and living in a military controlled environment. The military is prepared to act in side the United States in peacekeeping, population control, anti-riot roles with law enforcement powers. Go check the "Insurrection Act."

The military, including the National Guard, Reserves and Active Duty components are much too small to effect the control that will be necessary upon the large scale food riots and resulting problems across the U.S.

So what do we do? Well, the safest thing is to re-locate to a small population density area that is agricultural in nature, AND, prepare for shipment of food stuffs and other commodities to stop. However, that is just not possible for most of us. We have need our jobs and our lives entrenched where we are. SO, it all boils down to the basics,, water, shelter, protection,...and a plan.

I was asked the other day just how much food stocked was necessary. My answer was as much as you can afford and physically stock. I don't think anybody can say "stock six months", or "stock 12 months supply". I do think the first objective would be to stock food to take you from late summer through the next harvest season which would be around nine months in most locales. But nine months does not take into consideration what if you can't grow enough food? What happens if commodities trade does not grow enough to provide the critical levels to survive?

All the food, water, and firearms won't be enough if you live in a riot infested and hence government targeted area. The government and it's principal actors, the military, is not going to be surgical in their application of control. I envision a confiscation and re-location program particularly in the denser populated areas to be necessary for government control to be effective.

Here's where your plan is necessary. You simply have to have a plan, preferably with contingencies (remember the PACE planning?), where you have a safe place to Bug Out to. This may be a rendezvous (aka RV or rally point) where other like minded people and families will meet you, may be a place where you have done some level of preparation on, such as pre-position of supplies and caches. It has to be defensible to some degree and have water accessible. And you have to execute that plan before you are caught up in military operations ordered by the Government to control the hungry masses before anarchy reaches critical mass.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Urban Survival Planning - Required 1099's when buying Gold and Silver

In case you haven't heard, one of the add ins to the Obamacare Healthcare Law that was passed a few months back,...passed without being read by anyone I might add, was a requirement for business and vendors to issue 1099 forms to anyone they do business with in commodities of a value of $600 or more.

So I have heard some Survivalists saying "Fine, then I won't make gold or silver purchases of more than $600 at any one time." And that would be okay, but I recently heard that this new reporting requirement was $600 or more in any one calendar year!

SO my view on this is that buying large amounts, over $600, of precious metals (PM's) in any one calendar year now creates an automatic register with the IRS, so if the Government rescinds the current law on PM ownership or otherwise restricts ownership and mandates a turn in of Gold and Silver, they will have a curent list of people owning gold and silver and can track turn in.

I also think that this would be such a large endeavor as to make it unrealistic to enforce, but I for one do not ant my name on a Federal Warrant or even a watch list for suspected PM ownership withour compliance of turn in.

I am interested in other Survivalist's views on this.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Urban Survival Planning - More on the Electro-Magnetic Pulse (EMP) Threat

If you are a Survivalist and/or a reader of this site and other Survivalist sites, you either have heard about, or have read the Survival novels “Lights Out” and “One Second After”. As I have said many times before, these well written novels, as well as the Survivor classic “Patriots” (and others) serve as a Wargaming and lessons learned experience for those of us planning and preparing for The End Of The World As We Know It (TEOTWAKI) or otherwise known as the Coming Collapse. Since we as Americans have not faced a catastrophic event plunging us into a collapse and therefore widespread Survivalist scenario, we draw possibilities, lessons, techniques and ultimately “wargame” what can happen from the stories of these novels.

As with the story lines in ”Lights Out” and “One Second After”, nuclear devices are detonated creating an Electro-Magnetic Pulse (EMP) across wide portions of the United States, collapsing our delicate financial and communications infrastructure which lead to a collapse of utilities and emergency response infrastructure. I hope this article on EMP from STRATFOR enlightens and educates on the EMP threat. Be Prepared.

Gauging the Threat of an Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP) Attack

Over the past decade there has been an ongoing debate over the threat posed by electromagnetic pulse (EMP) to modern civilization. This debate has been the most heated perhaps in the United States , where the commission appointed by Congress to assess the threat to the United States warned of the dangers posed by EMP in reports released in 2004 and 2008. The commission also called for a national commitment to address the EMP threat by hardening the national infrastructure.

There is little doubt that efforts by the United States to harden infrastructure against EMP — and its ability to manage critical infrastructure manually in the event of an EMP attack — have been eroded in recent decades as the Cold War ended and the threat of nuclear conflict with Russia lessened. This is also true of the U.S. military, which has spent little time contemplating such scenarios in the years since the fall of the Soviet Union . The cost of remedying the situation, especially retrofitting older systems rather than simply regulating that new systems be better hardened, is immense. And as with any issue involving massive amounts of money, the debate over guarding against EMP has become quite politicized in recent years.

We have long avoided writing on this topic for precisely that reason. However, as the debate over the EMP threat has continued, a great deal of discussion about the threat has appeared in the media. Many STRATFOR readers have asked for our take on the threat, and we thought it might be helpful to dispassionately discuss the tactical elements involved in such an attack and the various actors that could conduct one. The following is our assessment of the likelihood of an EMP attack against the United States .

Defining Electromagnetic Pulse

EMP can be generated from natural sources such as lightning or solar storms interacting with the earth’s atmosphere, ionosphere and magnetic field. It can also be artificially created using a nuclear weapon or a variety of non-nuclear devices. It has long been proven that EMP can disable electronics. Its ability to do so has been demonstrated by solar storms, lightning strikes and atmospheric nuclear explosions before the ban on such tests. The effect has also been recreated by EMP simulators designed to reproduce the electromagnetic pulse of a nuclear device and study how the phenomenon impacts various kinds of electrical and electronic devices such as power grids, telecommunications and computer systems, both civilian and military.

The effects of an EMP — both tactical and strategic — have the potential to be quite significant, but they are also quite uncertain. Such widespread effects can be created during a high-altitude nuclear detonation (generally above 30 kilometers, or about 18 miles). This widespread EMP effect is referred to as high-altitude EMP or HEMP. Test data from actual high-altitude nuclear explosions is extremely limited. Only the United States and the Soviet Union conducted atmospheric nuclear tests above 20 kilometers and, combined, they carried out fewer than 20 actual tests.

As late as 1962 — a year before the Partial Test Ban Treaty went into effect, prohibiting its signatories from conducting aboveground test detonations and ending atmospheric tests — scientists were surprised by the HEMP effect. During a July 1962 atmospheric nuclear test called “Starfish Prime,” which took place 400 kilometers above Johnston Island in the Pacific, electrical and electronic systems were damaged in Hawaii , some 1,400 kilometers away. The Starfish Prime test was not designed to study HEMP, and the effect on Hawaii , which was so far from ground zero, startled U.S. scientists.

High-altitude nuclear testing effectively ended before the parameters and effects of HEMP were well understood. The limited body of knowledge that was gained from these tests remains a highly classified matter in both the United States and Russia. Consequently, it is difficult to speak intelligently about EMP or publicly debate the precise nature of its effects in the open-source arena.

The importance of the EMP threat should not be understated. There is no doubt that the impact of a HEMP attack would be significant. But any actor plotting such an attack would be dealing with immense uncertainties — not only about the ideal altitude at which to detonate the device based on its design and yield in order to maximize its effect but also about the nature of those effects and just how devastating they could be.

Non-nuclear devices that create an EMP-like effect, such as high-power microwave (HPM) devices, have been developed by several countries, including the United States . The most capable of these devices are thought to have significant tactical utility and more powerful variants may be able to achieve effects more than a kilometer away. But at the present time, such weapons do not appear to be able to create an EMP effect large enough to affect a city, much less an entire country. Because of this, we will confine our discussion of the EMP threat to HEMP caused by a nuclear detonation, which also happens to be the most prevalent scenario appearing in the media.

Attack Scenarios

In order to have the best chance of causing the type of immediate and certain EMP damage to the United States on a continent-wide scale, as discussed in many media reports, a nuclear weapon (probably in the megaton range) would need to be detonated well above 30 kilometers somewhere over the American Midwest. Modern commercial aircraft cruise at a third of this altitude. Only the United States , United Kingdom , France , Russia and China possess both the mature warhead design and intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) capability to conduct such an attack from their own territory, and these same countries have possessed that capability for decades. (Shorter range missiles can achieve this altitude, but the center of the United States is still 1,000 kilometers from the Eastern Seaboard and more than 3,000 kilometers from the Western Seaboard — so just any old Scud missile won’t do.)

The HEMP threat is nothing new. It has existed since the early 1960s, when nuclear weapons were first mated with ballistic missiles, and grew to be an important component of nuclear strategy. Despite the necessarily limited understanding of its effects, both the United States and Soviet Union almost certainly included the use of weapons to create HEMPs in both defensive and especially offensive scenarios, and both post-Soviet Russia and China are still thought to include HEMP in some attack scenarios against the United States.

However, there are significant deterrents to the use of nuclear weapons in a HEMP attack against the United States , and nuclear weapons have not been used in an attack anywhere since 1945. Despite some theorizing that a HEMP attack might be somehow less destructive and therefore less likely to provoke a devastating retaliatory response, such an attack against the United States would inherently and necessarily represent a nuclear attack on the U.S. homeland and the idea that the United States would not respond in kind is absurd. The United States continues to maintain the most credible and survivable nuclear deterrent in the world, and any actor contemplating a HEMP attack would have to assume not that they might experience some limited reprisal but that the U.S. reprisal would be full, swift and devastating.

Countries that build nuclear weapons do so at great expense. This is not a minor point. Even today, a successful nuclear weapons program is the product of years — if not a decade or more — and the focused investment of a broad spectrum of national resources. Nuclear weapons also are developed as a deterrent to attack, not with the intention of immediately using them offensively. Once a design has achieved an initial capability, the focus shifts to establishing a survivable deterrent that can withstand first a conventional and then a nuclear first strike so that the nuclear arsenal can serve its primary purpose as a deterrent to attack. The coherency, skill and focus this requires are difficult to overstate and come at immense cost — including opportunity cost — to the developing country. The idea that Washington will interpret the use of a nuclear weapon to create a HEMP as somehow less hostile than the use of a nuclear weapon to physically destroy an American city is not something a country is likely to gamble on.

In other words, for the countries capable of carrying out a HEMP attack, the principles of nuclear deterrence and the threat of a full-scale retaliatory strike continue to hold and govern, just as they did during the most tension-filled days of the Cold War.

Rogue Actors

One scenario that has been widely put forth is that the EMP threat emanates not from a global or regional power like Russia or China but from a rogue state or a transnational terrorist group that does not possess ICBMs but will use subterfuge to accomplish its mission without leaving any fingerprints. In this scenario, the rogue state or terrorist group loads a nuclear warhead and missile launcher aboard a cargo ship or tanker and then launches the missile from just off the coast in order to get the warhead into position over the target for a HEMP strike. This scenario would involve either a short-range ballistic missile to achieve a localized metropolitan strike or a longer-range (but not intercontinental) ballistic missile to reach the necessary position over the Eastern or Western seaboard or the Midwest to achieve a key coastline or continental strike.

When we consider this scenario, we must first acknowledge that it faces the same obstacles as any other nuclear weapon employed in a terrorist attack. It is unlikely that a terrorist group like al Qaeda or Hezbollah can develop its own nuclear weapons program. It is also highly unlikely that a nation that has devoted significant effort and treasure to develop a nuclear weapon would entrust such a weapon to an outside organization. Any use of a nuclear weapon would be vigorously investigated and the nation that produced the weapon would be identified and would pay a heavy price for such an attack (there has been a large investment in the last decade in nuclear forensics). Lastly, as noted above, a nuclear weapon is seen as a deterrent by countries such as North Korea or Iran , which seek such weapons to protect themselves from invasion, not to use them offensively. While a group like al Qaeda would likely use a nuclear device if it could obtain one, we doubt that other groups such as Hezbollah would. Hezbollah has a known base of operations in Lebanon that could be hit in a counterstrike and would therefore be less willing to risk an attack that could be traced back to it.

Also, such a scenario would require not a crude nuclear device but a sophisticated nuclear warhead capable of being mated with a ballistic missile. There are considerable technical barriers that separate a crude nuclear device from a sophisticated nuclear warhead. The engineering expertise required to construct such a warhead is far greater than that required to construct a crude device. A warhead must be far more compact than a primitive device. It must also have a trigger mechanism and electronics and physics packages capable of withstanding the force of an ICBM launch, the journey into the cold vacuum of space and the heat and force of re-entering the atmosphere — and still function as designed. Designing a functional warhead takes considerable advances in several fields of science, including physics, electronics, engineering, metallurgy and explosives technology, and overseeing it all must be a high-end quality assurance capability. Because of this, it is our estimation that it would be far simpler for a terrorist group looking to conduct a nuclear attack to do so using a crude device than it would be using a sophisticated warhead — although we assess the risk of any non-state actor obtaining a nuclear capability of any kind, crude or sophisticated, as extraordinarily unlikely.

But even if a terrorist organization were somehow able to obtain a functional warhead and compatible fissile core, the challenges of mating the warhead to a missile it was not designed for and then getting it to launch and detonate properly would be far more daunting than it would appear at first glance. Additionally, the process of fueling a liquid-fueled ballistic missile at sea and then launching it from a ship using an improvised launcher would also be very challenging. (North Korea, Iran and Pakistan all rely heavily on Scud technology, which uses volatile, corrosive and toxic fuels.)

Such a scenario is challenging enough, even before the uncertainty of achieving the desired HEMP effect is taken into account. This is just the kind of complexity and uncertainty that well-trained terrorist operatives seek to avoid in an operation. Besides, a ground-level nuclear detonation in a city such as New York or Washington would be more likely to cause the type of terror, death and physical destruction that is sought in a terrorist attack than could be achieved by generally non-lethal EMP.

Make no mistake: EMP is real. Modern civilization depends heavily on electronics and the electrical grid for a wide range of vital functions, and this is truer in the United States than in most other countries. Because of this, a HEMP attack or a substantial geomagnetic storm could have a dramatic impact on modern life in the affected area. However, as we’ve discussed, the EMP threat has been around for more than half a century and there are a number of technical and practical variables that make a HEMP attack using a nuclear warhead highly unlikely.

When considering the EMP threat, it is important to recognize that it exists amid a myriad other threats, including related threats such as nuclear warfare and targeted, small-scale HPM attacks. They also include threats posed by conventional warfare and conventional weapons such as man-portable air-defense systems, terrorism, cyberwarfare attacks against critical infrastructure, chemical and biological attacks — even natural disasters such as earthquakes, hurricanes, floods and tsunamis.

The world is a dangerous place, full of potential threats. Some things are more likely to occur than others, and there is only a limited amount of funding to monitor, harden against, and try to prevent, prepare for and manage them all. When one attempts to defend against everything, the practical result is that one defends against nothing. Clear-sighted, well-grounded and rational prioritization of threats is essential to the effective defense of the homeland.

Hardening national infrastructure against EMP and HPM is undoubtedly important, and there are very real weaknesses and critical vulnerabilities in America ’s critical infrastructure — not to mention civil society. But each dollar spent on these efforts must be balanced against a dollar not spent on, for example, port security, which we believe is a far more likely and far more consequential vector for nuclear attack by a rogue state or non-state actor.

This report is republished with permission of STRATFOR.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Urban Survival Planning - 5 Doomsday Scenarios for the U.S. Economy

This is an article by Derek Thompson and Daniel Indiviglio. While they are not imbedded within the Survival Prepping community, nor seem to have a real great grasp on the depths of choas that the potential for economic collapse has, but despite the title of this piece, this goes to prove even the mainstream of America are deeply concerned about the possibility of a economic collpase and therefore plunging us into chaos and a path for survival. But of course, if you are reading this site, you are already concerned and hopefully already taking prudent measures.

When I see stuff like this across the news wires on Yahoo!, Google news, and even on-line and hard copy newspapers, it motivates me to prepare just that much harder. It does take guts to be in the mainstream and write about Doomsday events, Economic Collapse and the resulting chaos from anarchy as you can very easily be seen as a nut. Most of us are past that.

It's been a brutal summer for the economy. The housing sector, like a balloon batted in the air one last time by the government credit, resumed its inevitable fall. Economic growth slowed to a lead-footed 1.6 percent, and job growth is even more anemic. Meanwhile, consumers are cranky, the trade gap is gaping.

Most signs point to a slow and steady recovery, but what if the pessimists are right, again? What if the United States isn't in the slow-lane to recovery, but rather on the precipice of another decline -- a double dip?

To see where this re-recession might begin, Dan Indiviglio and I imagined five financial earthquakes, each with a single epicenter: housing, consumers, toxic assets, Europe, and the debt. The following five scenarios are listed in order of likelihood.

1. Housing's Mini-Bubble Pops

Perhaps nothing poses as a big of a concern to the U.S. economy as its housing market. It's unclear how the government's efforts to stabilize the market through a buyer credit, ultra-low mortgage rates, and mortgage modification programs will pan out. Did it just create another mini-bubble that's beginning to pop now that the support has been withdrawn?

Here's the scenario. Weak home sales and continuing foreclosures result in climbing real estate inventory. This has two effects. First, it makes new homes even less attractive which further reduces construction jobs. Second, it puts downward pressure on home prices, which makes it harder for struggling homeowners to sell their home to avoid foreclosure and also keeps strategic default rates high, exacerbating the problem. Lower home values encourage Americans to save more and spend less, since their wealth is effectively reduced. The Dow drops and credit markets tighten even further, suffocating private investment just as homeowners bunker down and slash spending. Growth turns negative.

2. You Break the Economy

You, the American consumer, are reloading savings after a debt-fueled decade. But as any general will tell you, when an entire squad reloads at once, it leaves everybody vulnerable. It's the same with the economy.

Here's the scenario. Consumer sentiment continues to fall slowly, and spending turns negative again. Small businesses hold off to replenish their inventories or add new workers. Wages and hours freeze, and unemployment takes a leap toward 10 percent in October. Congress is paralyzed, because it's only weeks away from the mid-terms. The stock market sees business revenue trending flat, joblessness rising and Congress doing nothing, and it sparks a 300-point sell-off. Americans frightful for their savings cut back spending even more the next month, and overall growth turns negative.

3. Toxic Assets Return

If you closely followed the bank bailout, then you know it wasn't originally billed as simply throwing money at the banks. Instead, the Treasury intended to purchase the toxic assets from banks, which were the source of investors' uncertainty concerning bank stability. But the Treasury couldn't figure out a way to do this quickly enough to make it effective. As a result, the banks were largely stuck with these bad assets. We just don't know how bad, yet.

Here's the scenario. The residential real estate market's problems continue. Even once foreclosures begin to decline, we see waves of defaults, as modification program participants re-default at rates of 30% to 50%. Commercial mortgage-backed securities continue to deteriorate, as some businesses struggle with weak consumer demand. Home and commercial real estate values keep declining, and so do the value of the assets that back them. Banks with exposure to these toxic securities see another round of losses, and investors question their stability. The market plummets, credit freezes, and growth turns negative.

4. Europe Falls Apart

Europe seems to have avoided an all-out collapse of confidence in its ability to pay back its debt. But things can change, and fast fast. Indeed, the Greek debt crisis went from ignorable wire stories to front page news in a matter of days.

Here's the scenario. Slow growth in weak Eurozone states like Greece, Spain, and Italy turns negative and spooks investors, who demand higher returns on government debt. Europe's bond rates spike. Countries announce further austerity -- tax increases and spending cuts -- which strangles our biggest export market. The EU central bank responds by announcing a plan to write down troubled debt, which dings some Americans banks.

In a flight to quality debt, the dollar appreciates. This hurts our exports even more. As the trade deficit gapes open and manufacturing's good run dead ends, the stock market plummets, taking household wealth down with it. Families looking to restore balance sheets cut back on spending, and the American producer loses the American consumer and the European buyer. Growth turns negative.

5. Debt Finally Catches Up to Us

Interest rates on U.S. debt are low today for one big reason. Investors trust the United States, at least more than they trust other countries. If the people giving us money suddenly have as little faith in America as Americans, that could change, and quickly.

Here's the scenario. The IMF recently said the United States has a 25 percent chance of seeing dramatically higher interest rates in the near future. But the bond market can strike without warning, as it did in Europe earlier this year. If uncertainty with our political process gets reflected in our interest rate, we'll have a harder time affording debt, 55% of which has to be rolled over in the next three years. Pension and mutual funds with government debt would be written down, causing Americans to save even more of their paychecks. We'd be left with two bad choices: tax cuts to juice consumption or tax hikes to please our lenders. But at that point, it would be too late to avoid a double dip.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Urban Survival Planning - Lessons Learned from Katrina

Possibly the best real life Urban Survival example, since the Great Depression, that we can draw lessons learned from is Hurricane Katrina and aftermath of this devastating storm on the greater New Orleans area.

The aftermath killed almost 1,500 people; flooded 80 percent of the city; 70 percent of all occupied housing was damaged; and, over 150 billion in total damages.

These are my observations.

Alot of people died needlessly. They waited too long. Granted they received misleading information from the local government and the local/state government were way too slow in communicating the scope of the impending disaster to the population. People and government just did not have a plan. So the Lesson Learned here is that YOU must have a plan. It must rely on your ability to read indicators. It must rely on your ability to execute. If you have a survival group and they are going to rally at your location or a mutual third party location, consider actions and plans after this that are achievable without all planned parties. They may just not show up.

You cannot count on U.S. Government assistance. This was a pretty small collapse type scenario after all. Only the Greater New Orleans area was damaged. Imagine if this was a natural disaster or a nuclear detonation event or a total power infrastructure collapse over an area five time the size or even larger? The Government would be exponentially slower to respond with less assets per given size of area. Lesson Learned. You are responsible for yourself. Do not count on the Government. If they provide help fine,...just don't count on it,...not in a timely manner and not at all.

On Tuesday morning the storm was over and the Sun came out. With it came looters and killers. Much earlier than anyone ever predicted. Most government experts thought the majority of looting and criminals acts would not start until several days after the storm subsided, but again this was not the case. Lesson Learned. You absolutely have to have the ability protect yourself and your family. I have said it before and I'll say it again,...Survival is a Team Sport. You need a group to survive. A group of people who are alike minded, prepared, equipped and who share the same morale values you have. Choose wisely and equip yourselves. You don't need squad automatic weapons. You need some serviceable firearms with a decent amount of ammunition on hand. I would think that a rifle and handgun for each adult person in your group with one hundred rounds of ammunition per firearms would be a minimal,...a very minimal amount. Some weapons are more preferable than others, but you have what you have. Shotguns would be a good choice of a "special" weapon. Great for defending entry points against massed intruders. Stock buckshot, slug and birdshot for it.

We all saw the Katrina video footage of a very fat lady refusing MRE's from the National Guard on or about Day Four. "I don't want this shit!" Most of us laughed, knowing that MRE's wouldn't be out favorite choice either. But actually they are good eating, decent nutrition and were free to boot. The Lesson Learned here is don't make yourself dependent upon others for food. And this include after the food run outs, you need to be able to grow and procure your own food. In fact, right after I post this, I am going to vacuum pack another bucket of white and brown rice, black and pinto beans, dried split peas, beef bullion cubes, salt, garlic powder, and powdered chicken soup.

Some people were rescued or otherwise made their way to the Superdome where one of the main government care and relief centers was set up (precursor to FEMA camps?). There they were disarmed and some became further victims of criminal elements that were uncontrolled in this facility. Lesson Learned. Never give up your guns! Enough said about that.

Katrina postscript. Five years later, the post Katrina population of New Orleans is still 100,000 less than it was at it's peak, pre-Katrina. There are still almost 64,000 unoccupied buildings or homes in New Orleans, up from less than 20,000 pre-Katrina.. Violent crime which stood at 948 crimes per 100,000 population in 2004 have risen to 1,019 per 100,000 (2008 data).

Be prepared. Be prepared for everything.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Urban Survival Planning - Hyper-Inflation Predicted and Explained

This is part of an article by Gonzalo Lira, entitled "Hyperinflation, Part II: What It Will Look Like", the entire article can be read at:

My apologies to Gonzalo Lira, but I decided to post only a portion of it as it gets fairly technical and I think readers are more interested in the indicators and the effects of Hyperinflation, rather than the technical market reasons.

I argue that Treasury bonds are the New and Improved Toxic Assets. I argue that, if there was a run on Treasuries, the Federal Reserve—in its anti-deflationary zeal, and its efforts to prop up bond market prices—would over-react, and set off a run on commodities. This, I argue, would trigger hyperinflation.

There are two issues that many people have a hard time wrapping their minds around, with regards to a hyperinflationary event. These two issues are an greatly increased money supply, hence deflating it's value, and, a big increase in the price of commodities while equities, real estate and other assets fall:

“Where’s all the dough gonna come from?” After all, as we know from our history books, hyperinflation involves people hoisting bundles and bundles of high-denomination bills which aren’t worth a damn, and tossing them into the chimney cause the bundles of cash are cheaper than firewood. If the dollar were to crash, where would all these bundles of $100 bills come from?

The second issue was, Why will commodities rise, while equities, real estate and other assets fall? In other words, if there is an old fashioned run on a currency—in this case, the dollar, the world’s reserve currency—why would people get out of the dollar into commodities only, rather than into equities and real estate and other assets?

Apart from what happened with the Weimar Republic in the 1920’s, advanced Western economies have no experience with hyperinflation. (I actually think that the high inflation that struck the dollar in the 1970’s, and which was successfully choked off by Paul Volcker, was in fact an incipient bout of commodity-driven hyperinflation—but that’s for some other time.) Though there were plenty of hyperinflationary events in the XIX century and before, after the Weimar experience, the advanced economies learned their lesson—and learned it so well, in fact, that it’s been forgotten.

During the period 1970–’73, Chile experienced hyperinflation, brought about by the failed and corrupt policies of Salvador Allende and his Popular Unity Government. Though I was too young to experience it first hand, my family and some of my older friends have vivid memories of the Allende period—vivid memories that are actually closer to nightmares.

The causes of Chile’s hyperinflation forty years ago were vastly different from what I believe will cause American hyperinflation now. But a slight detour through this history is useful to our current predicament.

To begin: In 1970, Salvador Allende was elected president by roughly a third of the population. His (Allende’s) election was a fluke.

He wasn’t a centrist, no matter what the current hagiography might claim: Allende was a hard-core Socialist who took over the administration of the country, and quickly implemented several “reforms”, which were designed to “put Chile on the road to Socialism”.

Land was expropriated—often by force—and given to the workers. Companies and mines were also nationalized, and also given to the workers. Of course, the farms, companies and mines which were stripped from their owners weren’t inefficient or ineptly run—on the contrary, Allende and his Unidad Popular thugs stole farms, companies and mines from precisely the “blood-thirsty Capitalists” who best treated their workers, and who were the most fair towards them.

One of the key policy initiative Allende carried out was wage and price controls. In order to appease and co-opt the workers, Allende’s regime simultaneously froze prices of basic goods and services, and augmented wages by decree.

At first, this measure worked like a charm: Workers had more money, but goods and services still had the same old low prices. So workers were happy with Allende: They went on a shopping spree—and rapidly emptied stores and warehouses of consumer goods and basic products. Allende and the UP Government then claimed it was right-wing, anti-Revolutionary “acaparadores”—hoarders—who were keeping consumer goods from the workers. Right.

Meanwhile, private companies—forced to raise worker wages while maintaining their same price structures—quickly went bankrupt: So then, of course, they were taken over by the Allende government, “in the name of the people”. Key industries were put on the State dole, as it were, and made to continue their operations at a loss, so as to satisfy internal demand. If there was a cash shortfall, the Allende government would simply print more escudos and give them to the now State-controlled companies, which would then pay the workers.

This is how hyperinflation started in Chile. Workers had plenty of cash in hand—but it was useless, because there were no goods to buy.

So Allende’s government quickly instituted the Juntas de Abastecimiento y Control de Precios (“Unions of Supply and Price Controls”, known as JAP). These were locally formed boards, composed of loyal Party members, who decided who in a given neighborhood received consumer products, and who did not. Naturally, other UP-loyalists had preference—these Allende backers received ration cards, with which to buy consumer goods and basic staples.

Of course, those people perceived as “unfriendly” to Allende and the UP Government either received insufficient rations for their families, or no rations at all, if they were vocally opposed to the Allende regime and its policies.

Very quickly, a black market in goods and staples arose. At first, these black markets accepted escudos. But with each passing month, more and more escudos were printed into circulation by the Allende government, until by late ’72, black marketeers were no longer accepting escudos. Their mantra became, “Sólo dólares”: Only dollars.

Hyperinflation had arrived in Chile. One of the effects of Chile’s hyperinflation was the collapse in asset prices.

This would seem counterintuitive. After all, if the prices of consumer goods and basic staples are rising in a hyperinflationary environment, then asset prices should rise as well—right? Equities should rise in price—since more money is chasing after the same number of stock. Real estate prices should rise also—and for the same reason. Right?

Actually, wrong—and for a simple reason: Once basic necessities are unmet, and remain unmet for a sustained period of time, any asset will be willingly and instantly sacrificed, in order to meet that basic need.

To put it in simple terms: If you were dying of thirst in the middle of the desert, would you give up your family heirloom diamonds, in exchange for a gallon of water? The answer is obvious—yes. You would sacrifice anything and everyting—instantly—in order to meet your basic needs, or those of your family.

So as the situation in Chile deteriorated in ’72 and into ’73, the stock market collapsed, the housing market collapsed—everything collapsed, as people either cashed out of their assets in order to buy basic goods and staples on the black market, or cashed out so as to leave the country altogether. No asset class was safe, from this sell-off—it was across-the-board, and total.

Now let’s return to the possibility of hyperinflation in the United States:

If there were a sudden collapse in the Treasury bond market, I argued that sellers would take their cash and put them into commodities. My reasoning was, they would seek a sure store of value. If Treasury bonds ceased to be that store of value, then people would invest in the next best thing, which would be commodities, especially precious and industrial metals, as well as oil—in other words, non-perishable commodities.

Some people argued this point with me. They argued many different approaches to the problem, but essentially, it all boiled down to the argument that commodities and precious metals have no intrinsic value.

Actually, I think they’re right. In a strict sense, only oxygen, food and water have intrinsic value to human beings—everything else is superfluous. Therefore the value of everything else is arbitrary.

Yet both gold and silver have, historically, been considered valuable. Setting aside a theoretical or mathematical construct that would justify the value of gold and silver, look at it from a practical standpoint: If I went to a farmer with five ounces of silver, would he give me a sack of grain? Probably. If I offered him an ounce of gold for two or three pigs, would he give them to me? Again, probably.

Where there is a human society, there is a need to exchange. Where there is a need to exchange, a medium of exchange will soon appear. Gold and silver (and copper and brass and other metals) have served that purpose for literally millennia, but then they were replaced by paper.

Right now, there are two forms of paper currency: Actual dollars, and Treasury bonds. One is a medium of exchange, the other a store of value.

If Treasuries—the store of value—were to collapse in price, people in a Treasury panic would buy commodities. This ballooning of non-perishable commodities would be as a means to store value. Because that’s what people do in a panic—they batten down the hatches, and go into what’s safest. And this rush to commodities, I argued, would trigger hyperinflation.

Now, I said I would answer two questions—one was why commodities would outpace all other asset classes in a Treasury panic and subsequent hyperinflation. The other question was, “Where’s all the dough to feed my fireplace gonna come from, in a hyperinflationary event?”

The first wave of dollars in a hyperinflationary event will come from people’s savings accounts.

If Treasuries tank, and the markets all barrel into commodities, then prices will rise for regular consumers—this should not be a controversial inference. What would consumers do, with suddenly much higher gas prices, and soon much higher food prices? Simple: They’ll bust open their piggy banks, whatsoever those piggy banks might happen to be: 401(k)s, whatever equities they might have, etc.

But if the higher consumer prices continue—or become worse—what will happen to the 320 million American consumers? They’ll start buying more gas now, rather than wait around for tomorrow—and the market will react to this. How? Two way: Prices of commodities will rise even further—and asset prices will fall even lower.

If American consumers are getting hit at the gas station and the supermarket, they’ll start selling everything so as to buy gas, heating oil (most especially) and foodstuffs. The Treasury panic will thus be transfered to the average consumer—from Wall Street to Main Street by way of $15 a gallon gas prices, and $10 a gallon heating oil prices.

All other consumer prices would soon follow the leads of gas, heating oil and food.

Would there be Federal government intervention of some sort? Most definitely—people would be screaming for it. Would food rationing be implemented? Probably, and probably by way of the current Food Stamps program. Troops on the streets, protecting gas stations and supermarkets? Curfews to prevent looting? Palliative dollar printing? Yes, yes, and very likely yes.

That last bit—palliative dollar-printing: That’s the key. When palliative dollar-printing happens, it will be the final stages of hyperinflation—it’s when sensible people ought to realize that the crisis is almost over, and that a new normal will soon appear. But this stage will be f@#$*^ awful.

Palliative dollar printing will take place when the Federal government simply runs out of options. The whole boatload of fools in Washington, on seeing this terrible commodity-driven crisis unfold, with consumer prices shooting the moon, will scream for dollars to be printed—and their rationale will be perfectly reasonable, I can practically hear it now: “We've got to get cash into the hands of the average American citizen, so he or she can buy food and heating oil for their families! We can’t let Americans starve and freeze to death!”

Now, this fairly Apocalyptic scenario is simply horrifying.

If Treasuries tank and commodities shoot up so high that they essentially break the dollar, civilization will not come crashing down into anarchy. At worst, there’ll be a three-four years of hell—economic hell. Financial hell. But then things will settle down into a new normal.

This new normal might well have unsavory characteristics. I tend to be a pessimist, and just glancing through history, I can see that just about every period of hyperinflation has been stabilized by some subsequent form of autocratic or totalitarian government. The United States currently has all the legal decisions and practical devices to quickly transition into an authoritarian or totalitarian regime, should a crisis befall the nation: The so-called PATRIOT Acts, the Department of Homeland Security Agency, the practical suspension of habeas corpus, etc., etc.

But as I said in my previous post, and reiterate here: Speculations about the new normal are pointless at this time. The future will happen soon enough.

What I do know is, One, a hyperinflationary event will happen, following the crash in Treasuries. Two, commodities will be the go-to medium for value storage. Three, all asset classes will collapse in short order. And Four—and most importantly—civil society will not collapse along with the dollar. Civil society will stumble about like a drunken sailor, but eventually right itself and carry on with a new normal. disagrees somewhat with Lira,...there is a good possibility that the "new normal" won't happen, and if it does, it may take much longer than a few years.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Urban Survival Planning - Intelligence Prep 301: Electronic Intelligence Collection Devices Part I is continuing on with Intelligence support for Survival. Previously I have talked about general Intelligence Preparation of the Battlefield and how it applies to Urban Survival; debriefing your own patrols; interviewing refugees and other people for intelligence information; and developing Situation Maps to maintain your intelligence perspective and situational awareness.

This post is Part I on using electronic devices to augment your intelligence collection. In my mind the two most effective electronic devices that are easy to use and can bring good intelligence and information benefits to your Survival Group in order to develop your situational awareness are Radio Scanners and Game Cameras. In this post, Electronic Intelligence Devices Part I, we will focus on Game Cameras.

Game Cameras are simply a combination of motion detector and digital camera. Which detect motion and will snap a photograph, a series of photographs or even a short video of the movement that triggered the motion detector.

Game Cameras can send pictures to a cell phone via wireless connectvity, or send the image or video to a computer terminal with a wirless radio signal. However these models of game cameras are fairly expensive.

I'm going to focus on Game Cameras less than or around $100, within the budget of most Survival Planners and Preppers. With these economy Game Cameras you will get the same range, pixel resolution however the images have to be downloaded from the cameras either using a USB cable or swithcing out SD Cards.

Not necessarily useful for monitoring six lane roads as the extended range required would be near the outer limits of the game camera, unless you used one camera on each side of the road, still these game cameras would certainly work on natural lines of drift, county roads, suburban streets or anyplace else you need electronic intelligence and surveillance devices to determine ectent of traffic...especially the two legged kind.

The series of segments depicted in the strung together videos below were taken with a game camera set up along the Arizona Border showing illegal aliens and drug smugglers - notice the burlap wrapped bundles of marijuana fashioned into back packs. This will give you an idea of the auaity of video these game cametras are capable well as probable piss you off.

Moultrie D-40 Game Camera

With an infrared motion sensor with a range of 30 feet and 22 degrees, the camera delivers clear footage of moving game, day or night, with multiple operational modes. With an average battery life of 60 days, the Moultrie Game Spy D-40 gives you the ability to spy out the game even when you're away for days at a time. Adjustable elastic mounting cords make it easy to mount the camera in trees or other stationary locations. The camera responds rapidly with FDA Class 2 laser aiming and a passive infrared sensor that activates as soon as motion is detected. Pictures are clear and easy to read in full color day and night, with 4 megapixel images that can be shot in low, medium, or high resolution.

Auto mode activates the motion sensor, allowing you to leave the camera alone to capture images while you are not present. In automatic mode you have the ability to capture still images day and night with or without flash operation, 10-second AVI clips-video images during the daytime that will automatically switch to still photos with the flash in low light situations, and capture multi-shot images of up three shots. The camera is also equipped with a handheld-removable manual operation, and a setup mode that allows you to customize menu settings. The electronic flash can be set to automatic or in off-security mode. The flash range is from five to 45 feet.

Designed for multi-day, automatic use, the Game Spy D-40 has a built in memory of 16 MB of video and picture storage. Up to four GB of additional SD memory can be added. The camera images can be accessed via the 2-inch LCD display or output to a TV or a computer via USB. Imprints time, date and camera ID on every photo or video The camera imprints still and video images with date, time, and camera ID so that you always know exactly when the stand is active. Has an weather-resistant, airtight camera housing.

Moultrie D-55 Game Camera

Billed as high-end scouting equipment on a budget. Moultrie 's Game Spy D-55 flash scouting camera gives you a feature-rich game camera at an affordable price. Loaded with features including 5.0 megapixels, camouflage housing and much more. Possess rapid response time; a 50-ft flash; Infrared (IR) sensor for immediate game capture; Temperature, moon phase, time, date and camera ID on every photo; Color day and night pictures; Video clips during the day (5/15/30 seconds); Display showing battery life remaining, pictures taken and remaining, and delay timer; IR aim for quick and precise camera setup; Picture delay, set 1-60 minutes; Multi-shot pictures (up to 3 shots) with 5 seconds between multi-shots; Three picture resolutions to choose from; Two video resolutions; SD Memory Card Slot – up to 16GB; Includes weather-resistant casing, USB cable and mounting strap; External power port for optional Moultrie PowerPanel; Operates on 6 C-cell batteries.

Powering Game Cameras

You will have to have to ability to re-charge batteries or re-configure power supply to the game camera. Having the ability to recharge the larger D and C batteries wuld be important. Given the battery life on these Game Cameras, a modest supply of re-chargeable batteries would be needed. Please visit for rechargers and rechargeable batteries options.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Urban Survival Planning - Intelligence 201: The Situation Map

Following on the Urban Survival Planning – Intelligence Prep of the Battlefield 101 of 14 August 2010, this post concerns with developing an operational intelligence capability for your Urban Survival Group.

Simply, if you don’t utilize intelligence information to plan operations, then you are planning in an intelligence vacuum and will greatly decrease your chances of success.

You should consider intelligence for two geographical areas: the Area of Operations (AOR) , which is the immediate area around your Survival Base that you can direct power to or directly threatens you; and the Area of Influence (AI) which the area outside your AOR that events or actions occur in and can affect you in the near future. An example of an AOR would be your street and maybe one street parallel to you in each direction, or how far you could observe and engage with small arms. The AI would be an area outside of your AOR which may include many blocks away and even miles away. Again the AI is defined as th area outside your AOR that events can occur in that may threaten or impact on your AOR.

An example of an event in your AI could be gangs or mobs looting homes, which once finished it is likely they would move in your direction. Another example would be routes into your AOR that refugees would travel once the inner city unraveled.

This goes back to Survival being a team sport. You have got to be organized, even if loosely. If you don’t get it done pre-collapse, you’ll need to do it post collapse but it will be harder. You need to have some type of connectivity with any people or groups around your AOR and AI, for information and intelligence sharing. Not only for intelligence and information sharing, but for mutual support as well. Consider, if you have enough radios, providing a trusted neighbor with a radio for contact at selected times to pass off information or to coordinate movement or support.

Your Survival Group may assign one member as the Intelligence Officer, but in any case you will need to collect, collate/sort and store information of anything of value which may include: empty houses; houses that have been looted or intentionally burned; dead bodies; water sources and conditions; sign of any activity especially threat groups; covered and/or concealed routes; concentrations of refugees; locations of possible material of value; and, anything that pertains to your safety and continued survival.

One of the best ways to collect intelligence and information is to conduct debriefs on people passing by or people who are remaining in their homes. Debriefing your patrols is vitally important. You can annotate this information on a Situation Map (SITMAP) or a series of SITMAPS, so you can keep the area situation updated.

The below imagery shows the patrol that the Survivors conducted, see post on Opn’l Planning – The Patrol Order, after they returned to Base and were debriefed. The information they collected gave them a better picture of the AOR and AI around their base. In the absence of being able to access computers and print new images or maps, you can make sketches or even use chalk on a painted or a cement wall.

I have both blown up 36 inch x 36 inch charts, laminated so I can draw on them with dry erase markers. I have both maps and imagery, and multiple copies so I can provide other individual or groups with the same map or imagery for the purposes of being on the same sheet of music when talking about or reporting locations.

I can annotate events and other information using pieces of yellow stickies or plain paper and scotch tape and post them to my map or imagery creating a SITMAP or situational picture of my AOR and AI.

It is also useful for operational planning such as deciding where to put obstacles in place, or to establish LP/OP's, etc.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Urban Survival Planning - Operational Planning: The Patrol Order is continuing on with Urban Survival Operational Planning with the Patrol Order. The post the day before this post, outlined conceptual planning or developing the Concept of Operations (CONOPS). Which essential is a concept briefed to Survival Group members so their input can modify and refine that concept. Once that is completed, the mission planner plans the operation in detail and this results in the Patrol Order.

The Patrol Order is where details and contingencies are articulated. Remember PACE (Primary, Alternate Contingency and Emergency. The more procedures are standardized into a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) the less time it takes to plan and formulate a Patrol Order.

The Patrol Order format can look something like this:

Task Organization. Who is participating on the operation and how the unit is organized to complete the mission.

Situation.What is the general situation in the immediate area and expanded area. Consider the effects of weather and terrain also.

Mission. What are you going to be accomplishing (considering the 5 W’s).

This is the detailed flow of the operation. Specific routes, actions and contingencies are planned for and briefed. This covers from launch from the Survival Base Camp through the mission and return.

Service and Supply. Equipment Common to All. Special Equipment and who will carry it.

Command and Signal. Chain of Command. The Communications plan, including lost or no communications plan. Verbal Passwords, authentications and visual signals are planned for as well.

Again, a sand table (terrain model), sketches and/or maps should be used to articulate the operational plan. This facilitates everyone’s understanding of the operation.

After the Patrol Order is briefed and understood, the Mission Leader may give the Patrol members some time to finish and finalize preparations, then conduct an inspection of the Patrol members to ensure everyone has the required equipment, and has minimized light and noise makers on their kit.

Rehearsals should be considered for any critical part of the operation.

The same Urban Survival Group from the post on CONOPS has already briefed the CONOPS, refined and modified the conceptual plan and is now ready to brief the Patrol Order.

Again, Jim is the mission planner and patrol leader for this patrol). Other members of this Survival Group include: Bob, John, Larry, Steve, Laura, Teresa and Sally.

Jim: “Okay everyone, this is the Patrol Order for tomorrow’s security patrol. “

“The Task Organization for this patrol is myself as Patrol Leader, Larry as second in command and Sally as patrol member and also serving as the patrol medic. Base Camp Organization is the five remaining Survival Group members, under John in command, with Steve as second in Command. Along with Teresa, Laura and Bob, this group will maintain security and conduct normal daily Survival Base Camp functions. While the patrol is out of the base camp, John will maintain two personnel on security manning the NORTH and SOUTH Observation Posts. “

“The Situation is that since we have come together here in my home for our Urban Survival Base Camp three weeks ago, we have ventured out in the neighborhood to see what the situation is. We have seen most of our neighbors pack up and leave. In fact, we have helped ourselves to the gasoline in the vehicles they left behind, as well some of the food they also left behind. We have heard sporadic gunfire, nothing to indicate pitched battles, but we just don’t know the extent of the situation. If there are alike organized pockets of survivors,…anyone who is need of medical assistance or even food. “

“Our Mission is to conduct a foot patrol around the neighborhood, beginning tomorrow morning at 0730 hours, following the route I have drew on the map, in order to: determine extent of remaining population; determine presence of criminal or threat elements based or operating nearby, if any; determine presence and/or make contact with any alike organized Survival Group; offer assistance to selected personnel in need; and, catalog any material, equipment or supplies that may be of use to us."

“OK, Execution of the Operation follows. The Patrol will depart here tomorrow at 0730 hrs, moving in a three person column formation. Larry on point, followed by me, then Sally as tail gunner. Interval will be 15 yards between Patrol Members in the suburbs; once we get into the woods along the power lines, I want to close up the interval to 10 yards. Standard Arm and Hand signals in effect”.

“We will move NORTH up Cedar Street then EAST on Oak Street, then parallel the State highway SOUTH to the power line, then parallel the power lines WEST to Jackson Blvd. We’ll established an Objective Rally Point (ORP) here one block away from Jackson Blvd, determine through observation and listening any activity on Jackson Blvd. From here we’ll determine the best route to approach Jackson Blvd. If it doesn’t seem safe enough, then we will observe activity on Jackson Blvd., at a distance from concealed positions. I really want to determine the status of the Dollar store one block NORTH of where the power lines cross Jackson, and, the Auto Zone store three blocks NORTH of that. “

“We then follow Jackson Blvd NORTH to Peterson Street, then EAST on Oak Street and come back into our base, no earlier than late afternoon and no later than sunset. Total distance is 8 miles and at no time should we be more than 1 mile away from the base."

Bob: “Jim, are you going to go into the Dollar Store or the Auto Zone, if it appears to be safe enough?

Jim: “No. Once we return and have a after operations brief on our Patrol, if it seems another Patrol specifically to enter and recover material from the Dollar Store or Auto Zone is in order, then we’ll plan a separate Patrol and most likely it would require five people so we could keep at least three outside in a security and observation role. Again, we will not be entering any store, that would require crossing Jackson as they are on the WEST side of the Blvd and pose too big of danger for only a three person Patrol.”

“If run into an significant threat element, we will break contact and return back to base attempting not to come straight back, but to break line of sight contact with any threat. If we find a residence that we think maybe occupied, we will hail the house from a covered position. We will be prepared to provide people with a radio FRS channel so they can talk to us on the radio, if they have one, rather than them or us exposing ourselves without any assurances someone will not shoot.”

“If we find someone who needs help and if it seems safe enough, Sally and myself will approach so Sally can determine needs and provide some medical treatment with me as near security. Larry will remain outside any structure or otherwise in a location to provide far security, early warning and covering fire.”

“We will be prepared to hole up if the threat situation requires it, but considering that then we will have our force split, so we won’t make this decision lightly. If possible and necessary we would move in darkness back to base.”

“Service and Supply. All three of us on this Patrol will carry rifle and handgun, at least 60 rounds for the rifles and three re-loads for the handgun; Basic Bug Out Bag to include individual medical kit, three days worth of meals in case we have to hole up someplace; Motorola Radio; and, six quarts of water. For Special Equipment: I'll carry a pair of the larger binoculars, Steve carry a smaller pair. I'll carry the small tool kit with screwdrivers, large and small crescent wrenches; Sally will carry the larger patrol first aid kit, with extra bandages, small one time use anti-biotic tubes and aspirin. We’ll all carry notebooks and pencils, but Sally will be the recorder for when we conduct observation from a static position."

“I have already briefed the Chain of Command for the Patrol as remaining here at Base. Again, we will communicate primarily using the Motorola FRS radios on Channel 4 with the alternate channel being Channel 12. All of us will have our radios turned on as we move. We will attempt to communicate with the base, every hour on the hour, once we depart the Base. If we haven’t made contact within 3 hours, then we’ll attempt to minimize any line of sight issues, gain some high ground and re-try communications. However, if the operation is unfolding well, no threat and such, then I will not abort the Patrol due to no communications, unless we hear gunfire from around the Base or we see any element, Threat or Non-Threat, moving towards the Base.”

“Our standard signals will be effect. Approaching the base at night or dusk using one person and three one-second blinks using a red lens flashlight every thirty seconds, until within verbal range, then we’ll go to challenge and password, which for tomorrow and until the Patrol returns will be the: Challenge - Disco Light and the Password – Helen of Troy.”

“In the event we are being chased back to Base, the running password will be Helen. In the event we are captured and forced to approach Base, under threat of death, the duress code will be the word ‘radio’ built into a phrase, other wise if we need to articulate or communicate the word radio, we use the word Motorola instead.“

“Any questions? No? Good. The Patrol will meet here tomorrow at 0630 hours for a quick breakfast and an inspection of gear and equipment, prior to the Patrol moving out at 0730 hrs. This concludes the Patrol Order.”

What occurred in the dialogue above was a Jim taking the CONOPS from earlier, developing a more detailed plan, then briefing it to the Patrol and rest of the Survival Group. Everytime this is done, it helps train the other members of the Survival Group in planning.

Read it again and see if Jim planned and briefed in all areas of the Patrol Order: Task Organization, Situation, Mission, Execution, Service and Supply, and Command and Signal. What do you think he missed?