Thursday, December 4, 2008

ave time to read? Read it ..worth it

Paul Joseph Watson

The man who predicted the 1987 stock market crash and the fall of the Soviet Union is now forecasting revolution in America, food riots and tax rebellions - all within four years, while cautioning that putting food on
the table will be a more pressing concern than buying Christmas gifts by 2012.

Gerald Celente (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gerald_Celente), the CEO of Trends Research Institute, is renowned for his accuracy in predicting future world and economic events, which will send a chill down your spine considering what he told Fox News this week.

Celente says that by 2012 America will become an undeveloped nation, that there will be a revolution marked by food riots, squatter rebellions, tax revolts and job marches, and that holidays will be more about obtaining
food, not gifts.

"We're going to see the end of the retail Christmas....we're going to see a fundamental shift take place....putting food on the table is going to be more important that putting gifts under the Christmas tree," said Celente, adding that the situation would be "worse than the great depression".

"America's going to go through a transition the likes of which no one is prepared for," said Celente, noting that people's refusal to acknowledge that America was even in a recession highlights how big a problem denial is
in being ready for the true scale of the crisis.

Celente, who successfully predicted the 1997 Asian Currency Crisis, the subprime mortgage collapse and the massive devaluation of the U.S. dollar, told UPI in November last year that the following year would be known as "The Panic of 2008," adding that "giants (would) tumble to their deaths," which is exactly what we have witnessed with the collapse of Lehman Brothers, Bear Stearns and others. He also said that the dollar would
eventually be devalued by as much as 90 percent.

The consequence of what we have seen unfold this year would lead to a lowering in living standards, Celente predicted a year ago, which is also being borne out by plummeting retail sales figures.

The prospect of revolution was a concept echoed by a British Ministry of Defence report last year, which predicted that within 30 years, the growing gap between the super rich and the middle class, along with an urban underclass threatening social order would mean, "The world's middle classes might unite, using access to knowledge, resources and skills to shape transnational processes in their own class interest," and that, "The middle classes could become a revolutionary class."

In a separate recent interview, Celente went further on the subject of revolution in America.
"There will be a revolution in this country," he said. "It's not going to come yet, but it's going to come down the line and we're going to see a third party and this was the catalyst for it: the takeover of Washington, D.
C., in broad daylight by Wall Street in this bloodless coup. And it will happen as conditions continue to worsen."

"The first thing to do is organize with tax revolts. That's going to be the big one because people can't afford to pay more school tax, property tax, any kind of tax. You're going to start seeing those kinds of protests start
to develop."

"It's going to be very bleak. Very sad. And there is going to be a lot of homeless, the likes of which we have never seen before. Tent cities are already sprouting up around the country and we're going to see many more."

"We're going to start seeing huge areas of vacant real estate and squatters living in them as well. It's going to be a picture the likes of which Americans are not going to be used to. It's going to come as a shock and
with it, there's going to be a lot of crime. And the crime is going to be a lot worse than it was before because in the last 1929 Depression, people's minds weren't wrecked on all these modern drugs - over-the-counter drugs, or crystal meth or whatever it might be. So, you have a huge underclass of very desperate people with their minds chemically blown beyond anybody's comprehension."

The George Washington blog has compiled a list of quotes attesting to Celente's accuracy as a trend forecaster.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Monday September 29 2008

Notes from JWR:

明星合成图Today we present another entry for Round 18 of the SurvivalBlog non-fiction writing contest. The contest prizes include:

明星合成图The writer of the best contributed article in the next 60 days will be awarded two transferable Front Sight"Gray" Four Day Training Course Certificates. This is an up to $4,000 value!
Second Prize: A three day course certificate from OnPoint Tactical. This certificate will be for the prize winner's choice of three-day civilian courses.
Third Prize: A copy of my "Rawles Gets You Ready" preparedness course, from Arbogast Publishing

Round 18 ends on September 30th, so get busy writing and e-mail us your entries--either for this round or for the next. Remember that articles that relate practical "how to" skills for survival will have an advantage in the judging.

What Will You Do When Your Stored Food Runs Out?, by Woodsman

What Will You Do When Your Stored Food Runs Out?, by Woodsman

Among the multitude of preparations conducted by would-be survivalists, gardening is often minimized in value compared to the physical purchases of beans, bullets, and band-aids. However, in any long-term TEOTWAWKI event, gardening would probably become nearly the sole means of subsistence for your family and as such, it is critical that you make the efforts now to learn the ins and outs of how to produce a year's worth of fruit and vegetables from your own land.
Prior to moving to our retreat, my family lived in a moderate-sized city and neither of my parents grew up with any genuine country-life experience, be it with gardening or anything else to do with growing your own food. Due to God's providence, we fell into company with a master gardener, himself concerned about world events, and over the first winter after we moved to our retreat we jointly plotted how the first garden would be planted. Since then, we have learned how to consistently produce enough vegetables to carry us through a year, and many lessons were learned the hard way. The following article sums up many of those lessons as well as other important principles. It is my hope that you would carefully consider them in regards to your own garden.

First, A Word on the Importance Of Gardening
Gardening ought to become a priority for everyone. No matter how many buckets of grain you have stored away, no matter how many cans of freeze-dried food are in your closet, you can count on running out eventually, and the food supply grid may not yet be restored. A large garden, plus orchards of fruits like raspberries, strawberries, and apples, and hopefully a few chickens, pigs, goats, and cows, will supply you with a large portion of the food necessary to survive.
Those of you who are, like us, preparing on a shoestring budget, can go a long way in stocking up by growing your own vegetables and canning, dehydrating, or otherwise storing them for future use. It will be much cheaper and in many cases, healthier as well (and WTSHTF, you'll need all the health you can get!). This year we put a lot of effort into the garden, and by the end of this season we will have two years of canned vegetables and fruits stored away. Not only will this leave us with our current goal of a complete, well rounded, one extra year's food supply, but it will also safeguard us in case next year's garden does not produce as well. Two years ago, we canned two year's worth of carrots, and last year, we hardly harvested any. That extra year of canned carrots saw us through that lean year until now, when we once again have a large quantity of carrots that we will be soon canning in massive quantities.
Even if a major TEOTWAWKI event never occurs in our lifetimes, we can all clearly see the faltering economy and the skyrocketing prices of food. We can begin combating inflation right now by taking control over what we eat and growing it ourselves. My family of six lives on a food budget of less than $200/month, and we eat heartily with no lack of good tasting, nutritional food.

Garden Location
Your garden should be located where it will obtain full sunshine. It should not be in a low area with poor water drainage, or on a relatively steep slope, and should be convenient for frequent access.

Summer Fallowing
After the initial confusion and frustration over when to plant seeds, how many to plant, and how far apart to place them, the main lesson we learned the first year was the value of consistently summer fallowing a new piece of ground. Throughout our first garden season, we battled quack grass and numerous other weeds that filled our entire plot. Looking back, I remember that we did a very poor job of weeding and the amount of vegetables obtained suffered greatly because of being choked out by weeds. During that season, however, we used a garden tractor pulling a small disc to regularly run over a larger garden plot that we planned to use the next season. Every time the weeds began to show above the surface, we took the disc over them. Of course, it wasn't until the next year that we truly realized the benefits of this technique. When the next season rolled around and several weeks had passed since the first seeds were planted, my family was delighted to discover that there was almost no quack grass in the entire garden, and the only weeds to deal with were less noxious ones like pigweed, lamb's quarters, and shepherd's purse. Those were easy to chop off with a hoe several times per week.
A year ago, we took a shortcut and planted quite a few fruit trees into an area that we had not kept well fallowed, and within a month or two we were once again reminded of the value of keeping the weeds tilled down for a season previous to planting. Grass and thistles sprang up everywhere and even now we are forced to work hard to keep on top of everything. Please, if you're going to garden in a new plot, fallow it regularly for a year before planting there. If you have to, do like we did and plant in one (albeit weedy) spot while you prepare another section for next season.

Extend the Season
Unless you live far enough south that you can garden practically the entire year round, it is important to take certain steps to extend your season, allowing a head start on planting to ensure a virtual guarantee of a harvest—prior to the frost! There are many varied ways of doing this, but most methods involve some form of greenhouse and starting seeds early indoors. If your house has plenty of windows on the southern side, and plenty of ledges for trays of seeds to sit on, it is a great way to extend the season all the way back to February for the longer-season transplantable plants like tomatoes, peppers, herbs, and the like. An attached greenhouse is convenient and will have much more space.

When the ground is beginning to thaw but the weather is still cold, a hoop house works well. Ours consists of a framed 12'x8' wall and rebar extending out behind that in multiple half circles, connected by horizontal pieces of rebar. Six mil plastic is placed over the rebar and nailed down with slats to 2x8s running the length of the structure. A barrel wood stove is used to keep it warm on the cold nights. Once the temperature is warm enough, we remove the plastic. In the fall, we often decide to reinstall the plastic as a temporary shelter for tools and implements that we're using, and to allow more time for any vegetables that are not fully ripe.

Stagger Production
A key to not becoming overwhelmed by all the produce is to stagger production. Corn can be planted in one-week intervals; beans can be staggered by at least a couple weeks, and peas can be planted very early so as to ensure their harvest prior to the larger crops. Root crops, such as onions, carrots, and potatoes can wait until the very end of the garden season to be harvested.

Mulch is important in a garden for several reasons. Number one, it retains moisture in the ground so any rain you do receive is used for maximum benefit, and it is not necessary to personally water as frequently. Second, mulch will help keep soil compaction down to a minimum. Third, it will add organic matter to your soil to help replace the nutrients that are drawn out over the years of leaving the soil bare to the elements and harvesting plants from it. To a certain extent, mulching also keeps weed levels reduced but you need to make sure you use a thick enough layer or else you will regret it later. When hay or straw mulch is put on too thinly, the weeds will come up as numerous as ever and it is much more difficult to hoe and nearly impossible to roto-till without clogging the tines on the tiller.

Watering Your Garden
As I mentioned above, your garden will hopefully be located near a water source. This can be your well, but in our case we have been told that our well water is not good for the soil as it will leach nutrients out from it. Thankfully we have a good-sized body of water a couple hundred yards from the garden. It's not ideal to have the garden located that far away, but it frosts much earlier down in the valley so we are safer to do it on top of the hill. However, we do plan on plowing up a smaller plot next to the water and planting the shorter-season vegetables and root crops down there. If electricity failed and we couldn't operate our pump system, at least we wouldn't have to carry buckets as far. (By the way, stock up on as many 5 gallon pails as you can afford, it seems there is a use for them all the time and you will never have too many.)

Currently, we have a two horsepower electric pump at the water, and a two inch black poly pipe running from there up the hill. Various smaller pipes extend from that central pipe into different areas of the garden, with fittings that allow one-inch hoses to be inserted for further reach. Of course, our system isn't exactly a self sufficient setup unless it was run by solar or wind power. That is certainly possible, but with electricity currently remaining cheap and in abundant supply you will still be able to beat the effects of inflation by a long shot.

Lots of Water!
Everything should be kept well watered. Don't allow anything to become really dry, especially the peppers and tomatoes. If they begin to wither, it's too late for them or at least your harvest will be significantly delayed. Believe me, I know what I'm talking about from experience! Just stick your finger in the dirt and if it doesn't feel moist. You know what to do. When you do water, it's not necessary to do it every day unless it is extremely hot and the soil dries out rapidly. You need to water the plants heavily, so that it soaks down for at least three or four inches. That means probably an inch of water or more at a time. Don't worry about it puddling. You'll figure it out after you do it a few times and keep checking the moisture level with your finger. Water is the life-giver, and without it, your garden will be slowed, yield will decrease, and your plants may even die. Don't hesitate to use a lot! Like our master-gardening friend said, you'll be sick of watering long before you put enough water on to drown the plant. Of course, you must be careful with smaller plants but the larger ones tend to be plenty hardy.

Storing Food
You will need between 150 and 200 canning jars per person to store a year's worth of vegetables and other food items. In addition, you should stock up on as many canning lids as possible because it is much more difficult to preserve large quantities of vegetables without them. It is possible to reuse them but they tend to not seal consistently, so it is best to use new ones. Make sure you have a wood stove handy to be able to can on if the power is out.
Of course, the other methods of sustainable food storage include using a root cellar and dehydration. The short bibliography at the end of this article gives references to detailed books on these subjects, which are beyond the scope of this paper.

Seed Saving
The only sustainable way to garden is to save your own seeds every year. Although seed saving is relatively basic, it does involve some forethought and planning on your part. First, you must plant only open-pollinated seeds. The hybrids that most stores carry will not stay true to their kind. There are many sources of open pollinated “heirloom” seeds, but our favorite is currently Baker Creek, found on the web at Rareseeds.com. While you're at it, get an extra two or three years worth of seed in case your garden doesn't do well, or for bartering purposes.
It is easiest to plant only one variety of each vegetable to prevent cross-pollination, but you will probably want to hedge your bets by planting more than that. It is much more labor-intensive to do so, but possible. I highly recommend Suzanne Ashworth's book, “Seed to Seed,” for detailed information on preventing cross-pollination, harvesting, and seed storage. Depending on what plant it is, you will use hand pollination, time distancing (such as planting an early variety of corn, and then a week or two later longer season variety), and physical distancing although most plants require such far separation that it is impractical for the homesteader.
Seeds, once dried, are best stored in air-tight glass containers in a cool, dark area. As long as the electricity still functions, this means a freezer or refrigerator. Prior to planting, you can test the germination rate of your seeds by placing a small amount in a moist paper towel that is placed inside a plastic bag and set in a warm portion of your house—in our case that means near the wood stove Wait a few days and check it to see how many seeds successfully germinated. If only half of them did, and you are not able to purchase new seeds, you will have to plant twice as many.

It may seem obvious, but plain-old diligence is the key to raising your food supply. Observe the “windows of opportunity” and take advantage of them accordingly. You need to research ahead about how to do it, order your seeds in plenty of time, plant the seeds as soon as it is the right “window of opportunity” for planting, and then weed your garden daily. No, daily weeding isn't a chore when you keep up with it, but it definitely becomes a pain when you leave it for very much longer. Just run through with a hoe for a half hour or so a day and you will go a long ways in keeping a well-maintained, eye-pleasing vegetable garden.
Don't put anything off until later, because with most garden-related duties they must be done as soon as you discover it is necessary. There is a certain period of time within which you must plant. There is a certain time wherein you need to harvest the corn. Beans will be too big if you leave them too long. Potato bugs will kill your plants if you don't pick them off right away and keep them off. Carrots won't grow very large if you don't thin them while they're small. For everything, there is a time and a season and life runs a lot smoother when you stick within the parameter of those windows.

My family uses a simple technique to stay oriented and getting everything accomplished on time, and it's something that I recommend to everybody I talk to. Keep a running list of everything that needs to be done. One column on the page could list longer-term projects like “build chicken coop,” or “dig root cellar,” and the other side will be filled with smaller items such as “pick beans,” “weed strawberries,” “give goats water,” or “put away the pitchfork.” Even the smallest item is placed on the list and then crossed off as someone completes the task. In the mornings, I'll often look at the list and place a little star beside the items that are most critical to get done that day, and we will focus our energy on those. The younger boys will be assigned a few of the easier projects, and the rest of us will tackle the difficult or otherwise labor intensive ones. It's rewarding to come in at night and review the list and see all the rows crossed off. The next day, we might take a new sheet of paper and write down a few new things we just thought of and also include the projects we did not complete the day before. List keeping is simple, takes a small amount of time, and does wonders in keeping everyone productive all day long.

How Do You Get It All Done?
It may seem overwhelming trying to keep up with a garden large enough to supply your family with a year's worth of food, but as long as you tend to it each day, it isn't as difficult as one might think. If you have children who are old enough to understand instructions, you can put them to work doing some of the more mundane tasks while you take on the more advanced projects that require precision. I'm 17 years old, and my 14 year old brother and I actually do most of the garden maintenance (although Dad helps a lot with watering frequently in the mornings while we do chores). The two younger boys help with various projects that need more help, such as picking and snapping beans or cutting up apples in preparation for making applesauce. Mom mostly handles the indoor work; primarily cooking the meals to keep us going, canning the thousand or more jars we do each year, and processing other foods in preparation for freezing.
Of course, if you are serious about survival, it is important to actually live the self-sufficient life. This means severely reducing trips to town, for both shopping and various extraneous events. Get rid of the television, and minimize time spent on non-productive entertainment. We are a homeschooling family, and that gives us a flexible schedule with plenty of time to focus on what is important to us.
If you live in town and can't do everything you would like to, you can still eliminate wasteful uses of time, plant every spare space you have, and read many good how-to books. You can visit the country to practice outdoor skills, and help out a farmer to get some good exercise.

In conclusion, I want to encourage everyone to begin gardening on their own, regardless of location or how much land they own. Even if you are in an apartment, you can grow plants on a balcony and begin to learn the techniques of growing food.
Food is necessary for our survival, and nothing makes more sense than controlling your own food—because when you control your own food, you are free from the chaos that most of the country may soon face. You will not only be able to continue to live relatively comfortably long after your stored food runs out; you will become part of the solution to the crisis. You will be there to show other people how to provide for their own families.
Now is the time to learn how to garden, not after TEOTWAWKI. Go out in your backyard, till out a plot, and get busy!
Reference Books
-Square Foot Gardening, by Mel Bartholomew/ (for smaller gardens)
-Seed to Seed, by Suzanne Ashworth and Kent Wheely
-Preserving Food Without Freezing or Canning, by the Gardeners and Farmers of Centre Terre Vivante
-Encyclopedia of Country Living, by Carla Emery/ (The best general reference we've found, on gardening but also on everything else related to homesteading)
-Root Cellaring, by Mike and Nancy Bubel

Letter Re: Investing in Foreign Currency CDs

Today the dollar posted its largest one-day decline against the euro since that currency was created.

I am rebalancing my investment portfolio to account for the market’s recent gyrations – and the fact that our government is attempting to make the dollar even more worthless than it currently is. Several years ago I was in a similar mood and found EverBank, a bank that issues a number of CD products tied to foreign currencies (effectively getting your saving out of dollars into something that’s not dollar-denominated).

I am not preparing for a complete meltdown or the end of civilization: I am preparing for a prolonged economic depression. My main goal is to preserve the value of my capital while earning at least some return on my investments. My investment portfolio is modest, but large enough that I can’t practically or safely (from a diversification standpoint) convert it into tangible assets. I have as much gold and equities as I’m comfortable holding, so I am looking for safe places to spread my remaining cash. At least to some extent, I’m going to use world currencies to do this. They could very well get dragged down in a global depression but in any event would probably fare better and recover faster than the dollar.

EverBank’s site for the CD products offers both single-currency and multi-currency CDs. Any readers with investment portfolios large enough to truly diversify should take a close look at one or more of these products.

One more thing… When choosing to deal with an unknown bank, make sure they are FDIC insured by using the FDIC’s bank finder: Whether the FDIC will even exist in coming years is debatable, but at least if an institution is FDIC insured, you know it’s not a bunch of Nigerian “419” scammers with a fake bank-like web site. The FDIC does insure CDs denominated in other currencies, but does not protect against a rise in the value of the dollar against your chosen currencies. That is, much like SIPC [Securities Investor Protection Corporation] insurance, the FDIC protects you against malfeasance on the part of the bank but not against investment risk. Best, - Matt R.

JWR Replies: Although I advocate in investing tangible barterable first, I do recommend diversifying out of US dollar-denominated investments. Everbank has a good reputation but keep in mind that there is risk when investing with any fiat currency. (In our generation the national currencies are all unredeemable for precious metals and they all suffer, from one degree to another to the gradual gnawings of inflation.) The best time to transition from dollars to another currency is naturally when the dollar has a short term spurt of strength. Watch the US Dollar Index (USDI) closely, and dump your dollars during a good week. (The recent dollar bounce, for example, was a good opportunity. There will likely be others, but in my estimation the USDI is headed south of 72 soon, and the dollar might remain relatively weak for many years.

Letter Re: Advice for an Unprepared Greenhorn

I'd like to add one piece of advice to the "Greenhorn" reader who hasn't gotten started, but knows he must. After getting the basics you listed, he should start on a food preparedness action plan to feed his family in a crisis. The blueprint for all that is in the great preparedness course you created. I know it's not cheap, but the mistakes it helps you avoid will more than offset the cost, even for someone on a tight budget. And for thatreader who wrote in to share his story, it's free. Just send me his address, Jim, and we'll immediately send him a complete Rawles Gets You Ready" preparedness course with our compliments. Best, - Jake Stafford, Arbogast Publishing

Odds 'n Sods:

"BeePrepared" wrote us to recommend the Hippo Roller as a method to transport large amounts of water without a vehicle.

o o o

Cheryl (our Economic Editor) sent us this raft of news and commentary. The first item should not come as a surprise to you, since I've been warning about the derivatives threat for years: Bailout Secret: To Prevent $68 Trillion Derivatives Collapse -- Financial TEOTWAWKI: LIBOR TED Spread Flashes Trouble. ("I don't want to name names, ... but there is a silent bank run going on. There are no lines in the street, but it is a run nevertheless. It is large investment funds and corporations quietly pulling their money from some of the best banks in the country.") -- Credit Markets Hit By Cat 5 Financial Hurricane -- Greenspan Calls For Action On Financial Crisis -- The Real Reason Behind The Rush (The Fed is close to illiquidity) -- This "Greater Depression" Could Last A Decade -- Markets Face Major Crash If Bailout Fails -- Economists Against The Paulson Plan -- Wachovia Explores Sale With Wells Fargo, Banco Santender & Citi

o o o

Eric sent this from The Telegraph: Bailout failure 'will cause US crash'

o o o

Jack B. sent us this news story from Nanny State Britannia: Residents could be hit with £5,000 rubbish collection fine for leaving bin out. It is high time to take the hint and Take The Gap!

Jim's Quote of the Day:

"Bureaucracy is the epoxy that greases the wheels of progress." - James H. Boren, political science professor at Northeastern State University

Sunday September 28 2008

Letter Re: Advice on Fuel Drums and Fuel Transfer Pumps?

Do you have any idea where I can get a 50 gallon fuel drum with a manual pump like the one that your previous writer discussed? - SF in Hawaii

JWR Replies: You should first consult your local fire code, for capacity limits. This is generally not a problem outside of city limits, but laws vary widely. Needless to say, you should store any fuel cans or drums in a detached storage shed that is away from your house, not in an attached garage!

In North America, the fuel drums thatthe reader mentioned are usually made in 55 gallon capacity. Your local fuel distributor should have new ones, or you can scrounge used clean ones locally if you post a query on Craig's List. The fuel-rated pumps are often D-handle design, like these. Again, used ones are less expensive.

Or, of course you could also use a 12 VDC electric fuel transfer pump, like the ones that I make. (OBTW, every family should keep one of these pumps handy.)

Unless you are certain that you will be using the fuel within a few weeks, besure to se stabilizer, such as Pri-G.

It is best to buy winter-formulated gas, and rotate it annually. (Also in winter.) This is because winter gas has extra butane added, o aid cold weather starting. This formulation extends the storage life of gasoline.

Drums that are 20 gallons or smaller can be moved with a standard dolly and lifted off a pickup tailgate by two men. But moving anything larger requires special handling equipment, and is a back ache waiting to happen. Filling (or re-filling) a large drum that is kept at home can best be accomplished discreetly by using your vehicle's fuel tank and a 12 VDC fuel transfer pump. Just make several trips over the period of a week, and it won't be noticeable.

Buy the materials for camouflaging your fuel drum(s) in advance. I generally recommend scrounging an appliance box (such as a small refrigerator box) so that the drum won't be noticed by visiting workmen or meter readers. Or you could build a false wall at the end of a long shed. One other alternative is to use a "hide in plain sight" (HIPS) approach. This might be to re-paint the drum white, with herbicide markings. This won't look too out of place for drum up to 30 gallon capacity stored in the corner of a gardening shed. You can also leave a full two-gallon lawnmower gas can in the same shed, as "bait" for burglars, to distract their attention. Re-painting a fuel drum is a fun and creative family stencil cutting and painting project.

Letter Re: Impressions of Medical Corps Training

Dear Mr. Rawles:
Thanks for a wonderful book and blog site. They are very, very helpful. I also wanted to thank you for a posting I saw last spring on your web site about the Medical Corps class led by Chuck Fenwick, called Field Medicine in a Hostile Environment. Because of that posting, I took Chuck's course in Ohio in May and found it to be invaluable. I couldn't believe all the techniques and information imparted in such a short period of time. Although not on the curriculum, when I asked if he'd show us how to give injections, he added that to the curriculum. Chuck is extremely knowledgeable and you know he's experienced it all. His workshop was life-changing for me and the 40 + attendees. I feel like I'm ready to be of assistance to anyone who may experience injuries of almost any sort. I can imagine nothing worse than seeing a loved one hurt and not know what to do to help them. Now I've got peace of mind in that area thanks to you and Chuck.

The reason I'm writing today is because I've noticed he's bringing his class to Texas, just outside the Austin area, in December. This may be the last time this course may be offered if TSHTF soon, and I think that if many Texans knew about the class, they'd be forever grateful. There are a lot of us down here in this great state who feel that readiness for the schumer is very important. I recommend this class to anyone and everyone. No one can afford not to have these skills.

Thanks again, Mr. Rawles, for letting your readers know about this life-changing and life-enhancing workshop. Blessings, - Mary C

Letter Re: Saving Your Life and Saving Your Relationships--Don't Drive Your Loved Ones Away

You are "spot on" with your comments regarding "Saving Your Life and Saving Your Relationships--Don't Drive Your Loved Ones Away."

We are in our early sixties, married for 20+ years, and retired for several years. I'm the "captain," and handle our finances (with the Admiral's advice and consent...).

That said, the fact is we see the World differently. I am for the most part externally oriented. The Admiral is mostly internally oriented with regard to our home and events, but she indulges me to a certain degree as I wander around studying the situations and circumstances. Often these situations and events seem pretty remote from our lives, from her perspective. Figuratively speaking, her version of a threat is someone one banging on the front door. My version of a threat is someone casing the neighborhood.

A few years ago I earnestly began my study of American economics and culture, and came to some pretty unpleasant assessments. In fact, it was pretty grim. When I began sharing this information with the Admiral I was disappointed with her less-than-enthusiastic responses. I learned (pretty quickly) that she just didn't want to hear this stuff and it dumbfounded me how she could "ignore" such vital information! We chose to discuss our difference in perspectives and agreed to honor one another's position(s). I was certainly able to continue my observation and assessment efforts, as long as I didn't go overboard and begin cutting gun ports in the walls. (My little joke.) She indicated that she is interested in what I learn, but she just wasn't emotionally equipped to handle the rather constant barrage of data that I was laying on her.

Recognizing these differences we've come to a comfortable understanding. She knows a lot more about what I think and why, and she's helped keep me from going too far around the bend. I feel we're pulling our wagon together; and sharing Life's load and challenges. Married Life is not about doing it all your way, and compromises are often necessary. (I know something about that too - but that's another story.)

To wrap this up, what I learned is to identify what information you want to convey, distill it, and find an appropriate time to transmit the information (probably not at bedtime or during cocktails with friends!). What the Admiral was recoiling to was the constant bombardment of stuff she basically didn't want to hear to begin with.

One more comparison. During many years in the military I was often tasked to brief flag officers. These folks don't usually time or inclination for all the detailed information and data behind an analysis (that's why it's called is a briefing ). Generals (...and my Admiral) expect their personnel to have reviewed all the information available and arrive at an assessment in often competing situations. And it requires a lot of work to determine what needs to be said if you only have three or thirty minutes before the General.

There are times and situations where a bombardment of information is appropriate; but there are more occasions when a carefully chosen information shot will work better.
Thanks for a well done and very informational web site. Best, - Captain

Odds 'n Sods:

Some Treehuggers concede that we may be right, after all, even if we do use Excessive and Gratuitous Acronym Diversions (EGADs).

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From our Economic Editor, starting with the most disturbing news: Bloomberg Analyst Marc Faber: $700 Billion Bailout Could Balloon To $5 Trillion -- WaMu Is Gone, But Trouble Spots Remain (The banks to watch: Wachovia, Comerica, Marshall & Ilsley) -- Wachovia, Citi In Merger Talks -- Stocks Rebound On Renewed Bailout Hopes -- The US Banking Collapse Was A Controlled Demolition Let's Play Wall Street Bailout (Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D-Ohio rants well) -- They Want Mama To Make It All Better

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Even the oh-so conservative Wall Street Journal is starting to take on an alarmist tone: Few Good Scenarios in View as Crisis Spreads. Buckle up!

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Kevin A. recommended some commetary by Jim Willie, over at The Silver Bear Cafe: Corruption, Whispers & Receivership

Jim's Quote of the Day:

"I returned, and saw under the sun, that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favour to men of skill; but time and chance happeneth to them all.

For man also knoweth not his time: as the fishes that are taken in an evil net, and as the birds that are caught in the snare; so are the sons of men snared in an evil time, when it falleth suddenly upon them."- Ecclesiastes 9:11-12 (KJV)

Saturday September 27 2008

Two Letters Re: Advice for City Folks on a Budget?

Dear Mr. Rawles,
I am writing to ask for your advice and for your charity, and also because I think this subject may be of interest to many of your readers. I discovered your web site a week ago and have found it to be both very informative and also very alarming! It was major wake-up call for me.

In my opinion, I am not at all prepared for the upheavals that are already underway and that lie ahead of us.

I would very much like to change that situation, but it all (considered as a whole) seems so overwhelming. I don't know what to do, where to start and how to go about it. Also, I don't feel that I have the same resources and freedom as some of your other readers.

I also have the feeling that many, perhaps most, of your readers may be in exactly the same situation as me:

I am a 50 year old average guy with a wife and two young children to support. I work in a medium sized metropolitan area and live in an average house in the suburbs, about 10 miles out of town, on a 1/5th acre lot. My kids go to public school, my wife works part-time and I work full-time. We depend on the income from my job to support the family. It is not the kind of job that allows me to just uproot myself and live out in the sticks. My wife and I make just enough to pay the bills and set aside a little bit for my 401(k) [retirement savings account]and my kids' college education. We do not own any real estate aside from our home. We have about $50,000 in savings, $90,000 in home equity and about $190,000 in my 401(k) .

In my opinion, we are not prepared at all for any sort of natural, economic, social or political upheaval or disaster:
- We don't own a ranch or farm or remote property of any kind.
- We don't own gold or silver.
- We don't own any weapons and don't know how to use them.
- We don't have any food or emergency supplies stored up.
- Our house is not "hardened" or "secure".
- We don't have a generator, etc.
- We are not EMTs and don't know how to grow crops or butcher a hog.
- We don't have a G.O.O.D. plan or vehicle or provisions.

In short, we are probably just like most of the other average families in the USA (and perhaps like most of your readers) except for our awareness of the problems that may be coming and our desire to be prepared.

My wife and I both believe in being "prepared" but my idea and hers are different. My wife things that the problems we are facing are temporary, so she would like to be prepared too, but she doesn't want to rock the boat or uproot our family to do it. I am alarmed and would like to be very well prepared, but I don't want to wreck my marriage and family in the process.

Mr. Rawles, please tell us what we can do given the situation I've described. What specific steps should we take and in what order? What would you do if you were me in my shoes?

I know you get a lot of letters, but I sure hope you answer this one on your web site. For my sake, for my family's sake and for the sake of what may be hundreds or thousands of people just like me that read your web site and want to do something but don't know what to do, how to do it, where to start and what's most important to do first, second, third etc.

Thank you in advance for your kind consideration. - Mike H.

Hello Jim,
I've been reading your blog off and on for several months, but I've yet to see anything substantial for us poorer citizens. When it comes to TEOTWAWKI, then it's all well and good if you were wealthy enough to be able to afford a nice out-of-the-way location to save yourself, but what of us who are stuck in an apartment in the city, like Denver? Or worse, people in metropolises like Chicago and New York? Where could millions of people all possibly go to get away from it all? All we can do is to arm ourselves to the teeth and wait it out? We'd like to get out of the city too, but we aren't able to buy property, which is why we're stuck in apartments, rather than homes. I'm afraid that if such a disaster should come our way, then we will be on our own. Even if we have a network of people, they are often driving distances that are impractical in a time of extreme crisis. Do you have any suggestions for those of us with extremely limited incomes? I've searched your site, but if you did have something, I may have missed it.
Thanks, - Ken R.

JWR Replies: I realize that buying a rural retreat is not within the means of most SurvivalBlog readers. There have been quite a few articles on both urban survival and budget conscious survival, and they are available in the archives, all of course free of charge. OBTW, a brief description of how to search the archives can be found here. Here are a few SurvivalBlog letters and articles that I found in just a fewminutes of searches, using "urban" and "budget" in my search phrases. (There are many more available.):

Budget Preparedness--Survival Isn't About Stuff, It is About Skills

Letter Re: Hunkering Down in an Urban Apartment in a Worst Case Societal Collapse

Letter Re: An Urban/Suburban "Stay Put" Survival Strategy

Ten Things That Will Get You Killed While Bugging In, by Paul C.

Letter Re: Advice on a Budget Water Filter

Selecting a Rifle for a Budget-Constrained Prepper

Letter Re: Preparedness on a Very Tight Budget (Also see: Follow-up letter from J.F., and Follow-up letter from R.L.)

Letter Re: Advice for a Canadian with a "Just One Gun" Budget

Letter Re: Will Peasant Farmers Fare Better than the Rich in TEOTWAWKI?

SurvivalBlog is intended for people from all walks of life. One point of clarification: My own income is quite modest. In fact, if I still lived in a high cost region, then I wouldn't be able to afford a mortgage payment on a three bedroom house. It is only because I've been preparing very gradually and systematically for 30 years that I now have a squared-away retreat here in The Unnamed Western State. And it is only by God's grace that I have a wife that is agreeable to living in the boonies, and that I'm able to work from home.

Regardless of your income level, start with a list of lists. Tailor your procurement plan based on your personal circumstances and to match what you see as the most likely chain of events. Just be systematic, and set your priorities carefully. The smaller your budget, then the more important this is.

In answer to the question on 401(k) accounts: Many 401(k) accounts can be rolled over into IRAs. If that is the case, then I recommend doing a rollover into a Gold IRA, available through Swiss America Trading Company. I have had a gold coin IRA since 1998. Once established, these accounts are measured in an "ounce" value witha "Beginning Cost Basis" noted for when your dollars were first converted into U.S. Gold Eagles. In my case, most of the one ounce Gold Eagle bullion coins they put in storage for me cost $315 each (IIRC, this waswhen spot gold was $298 per ounce). Gold has nearly tripled since then. Thecoinsarephysicallystoredby Goldstar Trust, a bonded vault company in Texas. The annual storage and administration fee is now $90 per year, but in my opinion that is a small price to pay for knowing that when I eventually cash out my IRA it will be in tangible form, rather than an investment vehicle denominated in dollars. I have no way of knowing how much the US Dollar will depreciate in the next 15 years, but it is pretty safe to say that gold will still have the same--or nearly the same--buying power that it does today. I strongly recommend that if you have an IRA or 401(k) account that you conduct a fund rollover into a Gold IRA.

Letter Re: Questions on Short Term Survival in and Urban Office Building

Dear Mr. Rawles,
First off, I just want to say that I really appreciate what you're doing with your blog site. I've learned so many useful things and feel that I am beginning to have a basic understanding of how to prepare for and live in and a survival situation.

Second, I'd like to give you a quick bit of background about myself so you can hopefully help me with my dilemma/question...

I am a young adult working on the 9th floor of a large building in Manhattan [on Long Island, New York City, New York]. I do not own a car and so I use public transportation, typically the subway. My apartment is about a 30 minute walk from work. In my apt I have started building up my survival gear, food, Bug Out Bag, etc...But I realize that I spend most of my days not in my apt but in my office, working. So I've decided to start planning my office survival gear because if Manhattan was ever attacked with some form of nuclear, biological, or chemical weapons, and I'm still alive, I don't believe there would be time for me to get back to my apt before being affected (as subways, buses, and foot traffic will be clogged and slow). I figure my best bet for survival would be to hunker down for the first 48-to-72 hours in my building probably the library.

What are your thoughts/advice on staying in the building??
Also what kind of survival gear can I bring to work that would be discreet but really help me in my first 48 hours of survival?

This is what I have so far, which my employer has provided in a fanny pack for everyone:

[Mylar] bags of water. (We also have water coolers)
flashlight and batteries
emergency blanket
small first aid kit

Any advice would be appreciated and thank you for your time. Regards, - Flora in New York City

JWR Replies: Hunkering down in an urban environment can be difficult. We've addressed that before in SurvivalBlog.

Your office or cubicle probably has a locking desk, file cabinet, and/or a credenza. Typically, with the high turn-over rate in most corporations, keys forfurniture gets lost. Ask your facilities department to either re-key your locks, or have them cut new keys for them, based of their manufacturer's code numbers. (Typically stamped in small digits next to the lock key way.) With this semi-secure storage space available, there is no reason why you cannot gradually build up a substantial supply of food, and have a place store items such as a flashlight, sleeping bag, foam mattress pad, and so forth. Even the interior of modular cubicle walls have a remarkable amount of space for items up to two inches thick. (One advantage of being an over-worked technical writer for many years was that it gave me a lot of late night hours to explore such possibilities. You would not believe what I stored inside my cubicle walls!)

Keep in mind that in a blackout, your building will be quite cold, at least for half of each year So be sure to store an insulated pad, down jacket, a pile cap, and gloves in your office.

Buy a USGI protective mask (preferably an M40 or a recent USAF MCU series) and at least four spare filter canisters, from a reliable vendor such as JRH Enterprises. Since these only filter the available air, they are not nearly as capable as a compressed air system like firefighters typically use. The latter will operate even in oxygen-deprived environments, but a mask will at least increase your chance of getting out of a high-rise building alive, in the event of a fire. One trick, BTW, is attaching two filters simultaneously (on both sides of the mask), to increase the available air flow during heavy exertion.

Find out where any extra bottled water for your building is stored. There, or near there, is the logical place to find your "hunker down" room.

Scout out your building thoroughly. It might be worthwhile getting to know someone on your building Facilities Department staff. Buy him lunch, and have a chat. Find out where the roof accesses are, and if they are kept locked. See if there are any back rooms, machinery rooms, or passageways that are not well known. These rooms are often kept locked. One little-known method if gaining access to such spaces is to climb up through a suspended (or "drop") acoustic panel ceiling, go over a partition, and climb back down into the locked room. You might even keep a small folding ladder such as a QuikStep ladder handy for just this purpose. (Tres Batman.) For some ideas on discovering unused spaces in buildings, see the Web Urbanist site, and related "urban exploration" web sites and their forums. (Of course, all the usual legal disclaimers apply.)

Weapons that are legal to possess in New York City have been discussed previously in SurvivalBlog. If nothing else, you should keep a cane or stout full-size umbrella in your office at all times. BTW, it is also wise to carry either of these whenever you are on city sidewalks or on the subway. They will look quite innocuous, but with the right training will give you a great advantage in a brute force fighting situation. For training, start with the Gordon Oster DVD, and the book "Raising Cane" by Octavio Ramos. Then take a FMA cane fighting class. Those would all be money well spent!

Odds 'n Sods:

Cheryl, our Economic Editor, sent us these: Congress Restarts Troubled Bailout Talks -- Stocks Mostly Decline As Investors Remain Tense Over Bailout -- WaMu Becomes Biggest Bank To Fail In US History -- Wachovia In Huge Mortgage Mess -- UK Banks May Get $180bn From US Bailout -- Wachovia Shares Begin Dive After WaMu Death -- JPMorgan Buys WaMu For A Mere $1.9 Billion ("To put the size of WaMu in context, its assets are equal to about two-thirds of the combined book value assets of all 747 failed thrifts that were sold off by the Resolution Trust Corp. - the former government body that handled the S&L crisis from 1989 through 1995.") -- Wall Street Should Be Looking For Bail, Not A Bailout -- Risk Of Paulson Failing Has Markets Frozen In Fear -- Money Market Conditions Deteriorate Further -- Central Banks Take Action. -- Withdrawals by customers ultimately sank WaMu . And here is one more from Jonathan Prynn, of England's Evening Standard, courtesy of Dan S.: Stand by for Black Monday

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Et tu, WaMu? WaMu Failed, Seized By FDIC, Bought By JPMorgan."The Army Aviator" notes: "That was a good call that Jim Sinclair made as to how it's amazing that the largest bank failure (WaMu) [occurred on a Thursday] just when they are trying to get that bailout Schumer passed--instead of announcing it at the usual Fridayafter the market closings. Gosh, the crooks aren't even good crooks. Sloppy, sloppy, sloppy."

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Budget crunch: Palm Bay, Florida Police May Stop Responding To Some Crimes. (A hat tip to Eric for the link.)

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More about the gasoline shortage in the southeast: Tempers flare at pumps and Gas Shortage In the South Creates Panic, Long Lines

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Katya was the first of several readers that sent us this: Gold coin sales halted after retail rush

Jim's Quote of the Day:

"Government is the great fiction, through which everybody endeavors to live at the expense of everybody else." - Frederic Bastiat, Essays on Political Economy, 1872

Friday September 26 2008

Note from JWR:

Based on the tone of many recent e-mails, I can see that the anxiety level of SurvivalBlog readershas definitely gone up a notch. With headlines like these, it is no wonder.

Again, the present circumstances do not dictate doing anything drastic. Wait, watch, and above all be ready.This would be a good time to top off your storage food and fuel reserves. Don'tquit your day job!

From The Memsahib: Saving Your Life and Saving Your Relationships--Don't Drive Your Loved Ones Away

We received the following sad letter from an anonymous SurvivalBlog reader that illustrates how women can be driven away by men that are insensitive to the emotional differences between men and women.

Hello Jim,
I especially enjoyed The Memsahib's article directed towards single people needing to get out there and volunteer / network, and the article regarding balancing prepping with continuing to enjoy life. I think it's a good idea to pay especially close attention to the articles she writes as I find that I've not had balance over the last few years as I've become more aware of the need to become self sufficient and the challenges that goal presents for a city slicker. I've managed to get caught up in scurrying around to prepare and cutting corners on all types of expenses (vacations, toys, fancy dinners, and even cable television) and I've managed to row myself right up "single creek" and lose a good fiance by forgetting to enjoy life in the here and now. Looking back, with a little balance, and teamwork things might have been different, but in my rush to prepare I lost track of everything else. That may sound extreme, but it's easy to do with the current state of affairs. To many of us reading SurvivalBlog preparing is a means to a self-evident end and it inherently makes sense given the hard facts, but a touch of balance is also equally as important.

With the torrent of bad economic news being shouted from the headlines, many SurvivalBlog readers have consciously or subconsciously increased their state of readiness. I'm writing this as a reminder. Husbands, please be aware that your wives might be having difficulty dealing with your ratcheting-up of readiness. When you mention a news item, you will likely hear your wife saying "I don't want to hear about this!", or "I can't handle hearing about that right now", especially if she has other pressing concerns such as pregnancy, aged parents to care for, health issues, or stress at her work. If she is able to communicate this to you, then you need to respect her boundaries. Hopefully you are a united team and you can explain to her that you will continue to prepare but spare her all the incessant doom and gloom talk . Husbands who have blown the budget with survival gear in the past are going have a much more difficult time in this situation. Your wife might have difficulty trusting you. We know a husband who spent thousands of dollars (all their savings) on preps pre-Y2K without saying anything to his wife. If his wife had not been a Christian who believed divorce is never an option, the marriage would have been over.

For many years, Jim and I have had the "No Gloom and Doom Talk After 8 p.m." rule. We all need a good night's sleep, and having conversations about TEOTWAWKI close to bedtime can be troubling. This rule helps me sleep better because there is then plenty of time before bed to focus on our blessings.

If you want to better understand this psychology, then refer to these archived SurvivalBlog articles:

Letter Re: Help With a Non-Preparedness Minded Spouse

Ten Letters Re: Help With a Non-Preparedness Minded Spouse (follow-up e-mails)

Letter Re: My Wife Ignores My Preparedness Goals

Letter Re: Advice for an Unprepared Greenhorn

Hello Mr. Rawles!
I love your blog, and visit at least weekly, more often daily.
The current economic situation is sickening. I mean, actually making my stomach hurt, as I am not prepared. I just recently was hit on the head with the motivation to get prepared. The only problem with that is that I don't even know where to start. Food? Weapons and Ammunition? Medical supplies? I am the patriarch of a family of 4. My wife and I, and our two children, both 10 and under. What I could use your advice on is just what I mentioned before, where does someone like me start. We have very little money, we live in the city, and we have no supplies except a Remington 870 Express [12 gauge shotgun] with a couple boxes of ammunition and food from the grocery store for a couple weeks and our camping supplies which amount to a couple days in the woods. I'm extremely worried that I simply won't be able to help my family survive the coming collapse. I want to be prepared, and I'm motivated.
Thank you for any time you could donate with your advice! - MWS

JWR Replies: Start out by getting a good quality water filter such as the Katadyn VARIO currently on sale at Ready Made Resources and stocking up on canned foods.
If you don't yet already have one, buy a spare riot "Police" length20" barrel with rifle-type iron sights for your Model 870, with "IC" (improved cylinder) choke, or better yet the "Rem Choke" removable choke tubes. These barrelsare available with a durable finish to match your "Express" variant.

Buy at least 200 rounds of #4 buckshot, 25 rounds (five boxes of 5) of rifled slugs, and when you can budget for it, a case of #6 birdshot shells for bird hunting and small game hunting

Since your resources are limited, your greatest opportunity to increase your chances of survival will be teaming up with like-minded folks in your area. For some suggestions, see my static page on Finding Like-Minded People in Your Area.

Be sure to take advantage of low cost training through the American Red Cross, the Appleseed Program, and the WRSA.

Pray hard, study hard, and train hard.

Letter Re: Making Alternatives to Commercial Chemical Light Sticks

Hi Jim,
I just read your novel"Patriots" and studied the Rawles Gets You Ready" preparedness course, and both are excellent. [In them,] you talk about chem lights (otherwise known as glow sticks) for in your car for changing tires, handy around campsites, and what not. The shelf life on these, as you mentioned, is very short (couple of months in a car [in a hot climate]) and they are not cheap (or maybe just I am cheap). I found this video on making an LED version of them that is reusable.

Seems to me like a good idea for recycling the older ones that are now dead. You can buy LED glow sticks as well which may be cheaper and easier from places like this. I have no affiliation with them and have never bought from them, but just wanted to show an example.
Thanks, - Rutger (Temporarily in Costa Rica)

JWR Replies: Perhaps the easiest method for creating a glowing wand was suggested by The Gun Plumber over at The FALFiles: "After the light stick is expended, cut the end off, dump the liquid and glass ampoule [and discard safely], then tape the plastic tube to your Mini MagLite flashlight to make an IR wand--the plastic tube is the IR filter! As previously mentioned in SurvivalBlog, there are some huge tactical advantages to using infrared light sticks if you own any Starlight-type (light amplification) night vision gear.

Letter Re: A Girl Scout Troop Leader Wants to Get Her Girls Prepared

The Boy Scouts of America have an Emergency Preparedness merit badge that hits a lot of good points. There is a lot of redundancy on the web concerning this merit badge, but it does broach some basic concepts aimed at a youth’s perspective. Sincerely, - Bill in Austin, Texas

Odds 'n Sods:

Several readers sent us this article, suggesting a correlation with my recent Pre-Crash Checklist: China banks told to halt lending to US banks

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Cheryl found this for us: Shipping Container Homes

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Rod McG. sent us this: In Israel, Kibbutz Life Makes a Surprising Comeback

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Dan and Becky flagged this: confirmation that the growth of the Mother of All Bailouts is not slowing: House clears $25 billion for car makers

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Some news and commentary gleanings from our Economic Editor: WaMu's Hopes For Capital Drying Up -- Deal Near On Bailout Plan -- Buffet Says Act or Face "Financial Pearl Harbor" -- Buffet Favors Bailout: Here's Why -- US Faces "One H*ll of a Deep Downturn" -- Ron Paul's Federal Reserve Abolition Act -- One of Biggest Car Dealerships Closing -- Congress Reaches "Agreement in Principal" on $700 Billion Bailout -- Asia Needs Deal To Prevent Panic Selling Of US Debt -- FDIC May Need $150 Billion By End Of 2009 -- Barrick Sees Large-Scale Gold Buying On Bailout -- US Federal Reserve Funnels $30 Billion Into Overseas Money Markets -- Credit Stress Intermarket Money Market Freeze Evident in TAF, TED Spread Everywhere

Jim's Quote of the Day:

"During the hyperinflation in post WWI Germany, what used to be a comfortable nest egg was suddenly the value of a postage stamp. If one held just a portion of their savings in precious metals, the crisis was greatly softened. Gold will never be worth nothing, even if the exact price fluctuates. There is a famous photograph, however, of a German woman during this time period burning piles of tightly bound banknotes to keep warm." - Congressman Ron Paul

Thursday September 25 2008

Letter Re: What Are the Economic Collapse Indicators to Watch For?

Some of us may be stuck within the city limits until 'the last possible moment' before an event such as WTSHTF. Can you suggest a day-to-day procedure or strategy to now follow for monitoring specific and reliable news outlets or information sources in determining when our G.O.O.D. action plan should be initiated? . Obviously, many people such as myself, have all the 'other' recommended Rawles preparations in place but are still at a disadvantage from those that were able to set up their retreat ahead of time and to have evacuated from a city. It's the best that I can do, at this point.

Additionally, the economic news events these days are so wild and crazy that it's hard to discern what main event, 'red flag' or 'markers' should precipitate an exit out of the city without further doubt or hesitation. Brushing up on 'common sense and logic' doesn't hurt here, but it's the expectation that some specific chain-of-events will take place that categorically shout now that I'm speaking of. Can you give us your personal view on what these catalyst events could be? Thank you, - Ken R. (A 10 Cent Challenge subscriber)

JWR Replies: There are far too many variablesin the current situation for me to be able point to just one key "trigger" or "gating" indicator.

Be ready, but don't panic. I must caution SurvivalBlog readers: "Don't give up your day job." Unless you are retired, or have a stable and substantial secondary cash flow from investments or a home-based business, it would be highly imprudent to quit your job (or start burning vacation hours) and move to your retreat. My advice: Watch the news carefully and be ready to leave on short notice. As I've previously mentioned, it is very important to pre-position the vast majority of your key logistics at your retreat, under the watchful eye of a caretaker or a trusted neighbor. When the time comes, you may only have the opportunity to make one tripto your retreat before highways become impassable.

Here are some important indicators to watch for, in my humble estimation. (Witnessing just one of these won't be surelyindicative, but if we see several of these...) :

A sharp spike in the Federal Funds Rate
News of a failed Treasury auction, or news that Treasury rates have spiked
Overt talk of a US default by Asian or European bankers
Multiple (8+) simultaneous US bank failures on one Friday
Any large Northern Rock style bank runs in the US (with customers lined up on the streets)
A stock market drop of more than 1,200 points in one day
A large and sudden spike in inflation
Any suspension of US stock trading
Draconian new stock trading limits (for example any new "circuit breaker" rules, followed by news that the trading was halted because of the limits)
New restrictions on either precious metals purchasing reporting requirements
New limits on moving funds outside the US
Any large derivatives trading collapses.(Because of disappearing counterparties or illiquidity.)
News that hundreds of hedge funds are suspending redemptions
News that many Money Market funds are dropping below $1.00 Net Asset Value (NAV)
The US Dollar Index (USDI) dropping below 68 for more than one full week of trading.
Any sudden large interest rate moves by the FOMC. (Up or down.)
Rioting in several metropolitan centers simultaneously. Gold spiking past $1,500 per ounce
News that any major western power is no longer accepting US Dollars in payment for key commodities
News that any major trading partners are no longer rolling over the majority of their US Treasury paper
A closed session of the full congress that lasts a full day or longer.
The Treasury starts to extensively monetize debt. The resignation of either the Treasury Secretary or the Federal Reserve Chairman.
Mel Gibsonmoves to Fiji ;-)

Letter Re: Yoder's Canned Bacon and Canned Meats?

Mr. Rawles;

Thanks for the time and effort you put into SurvivalBlog.com. It is a truly valuable and unique resource.

Working on my lists of supplies and equipment, I’m wondering about Yoder’s canned bacon and other canned meats, beef, chicken, turkey, pork, sausage, etc. They advertise [an up to] 10 year shelf life (depending on storage conditions of course) and the price isn’t unreasonable. Too heavy for much mobility but for home base they appear to me to be an attractive way to store some meat products without refrigeration. Any info or thoughts on this? Thanks, - Gatekeeper

JWR Replies: The Yoder's canned cooked bacon product is a new offering, but it is actually an old concept. Given the time and energy required to cook and can it, the price per can is fairly reasonable. OBTW, canned bacon, butter, and cheese are also sold by a number of Internet vendors, including several of our advertisers: Safecastle, Best Prices Storable Foods, and Ready Made Resources. These canned foodsmake good supplements to round out a diet and break up the monotony of eating bland storage foods such as wheat, rice, and beans.

Letter Re: Gauging Bank and Thrift Safety

I wrote you a month or two ago regarding a post of yours that was concerned about failing banks. I commented that I thought the worries were overblown - there was no reason to think that FDIC wouldn't pay off the claims, just as FSLIC paid off the claims in the 1980s. I still think that's true, but I have had a personal cautionary experience that has moved me much closer to your way of thinking.

I had a brokered Certificate of Deposit (CD) issued by IndyMac. (In case you post this, for readers unfamiliar with the term, "brokered" mean I bought it through a broker, like a bond or stock. Banks that want to raise a lot of money aggressively issue brokered CDs to attract "hot" money, money that flows in quickly and can flow out just as quickly; FDIC doesn't much like such CDs, for obvious reasons.) It had a few months to go when IndyMac failed. FDIC announced that they would honor the terms and rates for non-brokered CDs, but would simply terminate brokered CDs and return principal and interest up to the day the bank failed to the owners.

So that's problem #1: FDIC just made up the rules as it went along. Why was my CD different from others? Because they said so, pure and simple. They would claim it's for the overall good, because it discourages brokered CDs, which can make banks more prone to runs, but that doesn't help me, does it? And it's not like they had announced this ahead of time. So I lose money, and there's no way I could have known to avoid it. (IndyMac wasn't on their trouble list when I bought the CD.)

Problem #2: not only didn't the money show up in my brokerage account right away, I couldn't even find out when it would show up. It was more than two weeks before it appeared, and I got no interest for that time.

Neither problem was significant in this instance; it wasn't a big CD and it didn't have much longer to maturity, and the delay wasn't very long. But it was a powerful experience in terms of opening my eyes to what might happen under greater financial stress. If FDIC can delay returning the money for two weeks with no interest, they can do it for two months, or however long they need to. Clearly, beyond the basic insurance act of eventually returning money earned up to the date of bank failure, everything else is up to the FDIC's whim. That doesn't give me a good feeling.

The best way to avoid this is to choose strong banks. One resource I've found useful in the past is thestreet.com ratings. This used to be called Weiss Research, and they are clearly an independent source of analysis of bank strength and safety. Their home page says: "We don't accept compensation from the companies we rate for issuing the rating. Nor do we give the companies an opportunity to preview the ratings or suppress their publication if they're unfavorable. We are totally independent and unbiased because our loyalty is to you -- the customer."

If you go to The Street.com's Rating Page and select Banks and Thrifts, you can then type in the name of a bank you want to check, and click Go. They will list the matches, with letter grades from A+ on down. You can then click on a bank name and download a more detailed report, but for my purposes the letter grade has been enough to tell me whether I'm about to make a mistake. Keep up the good work! - Michael A. in Seattle

Jim's Quote of the Day:

“How fabulous,” writes Brian Reade in the British tabloid The Mirror. “Thanks to the way it props up the USA’s two biggest mortgage firms, more than half of American homes are now effectively owned by the state... Who’d have imagined that when the most right-wing of neo-cons leaves office 50% of the Land of the Free will effectively be [public housing]”? - Bill Bonner

Wednesday September 24 2008

Letter Re: My Preparedness Measures Pay Off During Fuel Shortage

Mr Rawles
You mentioned the current gasoline shortage in the southeast. The local news media reported that 70% of the gas stations are empty and have been for three days. To me it seems closer to 95%. Here is example: In south Nashville, there is a major road called Nolensville Road. In a five mile mile stretch from Thompson Lane to Old Hickory Boulevard there are 26 gas stations. Not one of them has had gas for several days. Within a two mile radius of that stretch of road there are 55,000 residents. That is a lot of people without gas. There have been fistfights at some of the gas stations that have gas, but that is not being reported on the local news.

As an enthusiastic SurvivalBlog reader for the past two years, I am not worried because I am very prepared. For example, I keep 100 gallons as my bug out supply to reach my retreat. In fact, I only need 10 gallons to get both of my cars to the retreat. I think my wife finally seen the light about being prepared. She had always looked a little strange at me when I would rotate my gas supply every six months. There have been times that she thought I was a little nuts. But there was a big smile on her face when I drug out those 5 gallon cans to filled her tank up yesterday. I was also able to give 10 gallons to my neighbor--who is a single mother and a school teacher--so she could go to work. Thank You, - Mike M. in Tennessee

Letter Re: Home Canning and Stocking Up

Dear Sir,
I would like to thank you for your time and effort in providing a “one stop shop” for such a large volume of information.

Principally due to your site, my family and I have begun to increase the size of our pantry with both purchased food/supplies and other materials as well as increase the amount of food we are home canning. One observation I have made in all our preparations is the amount of food (from local gardens, backyard fruit trees, farmyard orchards) that goes to waste in our area. It is amazing the amount of produce on local backyard fruit trees and in gardens that either because of a lack of time or lack of knowledge, people allow to spoil. We have “put the word out” that we are interested in any fresh fruit/vegetables that people have and due to that, we now have more fruit and vegetables than we have canning jars and freezer space.

We have begun to shop around at local farm auctions and garage sales for canning jars and have enlisted several other family members in our endeavor. My father-in-law is preparing his garden ~ 2 acres, for the addition of our own fruit trees, berry bushes, asparagus and other vegetables. We have also begun to make contacts with others who are interested in bartering for materials. This has greatly increased the number of relationships with other folks in our area and has resulted in a much closer feeling of community between us and our neighbors. We live on the edge of a fairly small agricultural town in southeast Nebraska .

The biggest potential downfall is we do not have a retreat in the boonies. We do have a fairly close neighborhood that “could” be isolated (bridges over a creek and river) from some traffic. In the mean time, we continue to stock food and other materials you have suggested and prepare our property in the event of a meltdown.

Again, thank you for your time. - Brad E.

Letter Re: My Hurricane Ike Experience

Dear Mr. Rawles,
First of all, my heart goes out to all those who truly suffered with loss of life or property as a result of Hurricane Ike. I only had the minor inconvenience of being without electricity in Houston for five days. (There are still over one million in Houston and the surrounding area without power.) So I had a taste of what it is like to be off-grid and learned a few things to share with your readers. It seems a lot of people here had generators which burn lots of precious gasoline. But after a few days the gasoline runs out. We toughed it out. I did have small camping-type battery powered fans and several flashlights but can't imagine what we'd do in a situation without power for the long term. You can have only so many batteries and then what? We had water drawn in bath tub to use for flushing toilet, as water plants use electricity to pump water. Also had many frozen plastic milk jugs in freezer and big igloo to keep some things cold for a couple of days. Ice was very hard to come by. Grocery stores were closed for a couple of days and there were lines just to get into the stores when they did open. They let in a few people at a time for crowd control. I was lucky to have my nonperishable food stockpile. Remember to have extras for relatives. Gas stations were slow to reopen and had hours to wait when they did open. (Many buying gas for their generators). We had full tanks in advance of the storm. One important item we used was the car charger for the cell phone. Be sure to have one that fits your current phone model. Also, many don't realize that cordless land line phones use electricity so you need to have a standard corded phone (which I had) if you want to even find out if your land-line works. To heat water for coffee we used sterno called Canned Heat and it worked very well. I know this is merely a temporary solution to heating. I told my husband recently that I wanted to buy a camp stove and now he may agree with me. And of course no television or computer which is really tough. I used my television band radio a lot to get information.

I am now more afraid than ever of what it is going to be like if the power goes off frequently or stays off in a worse-case scenario. Luckily I didn't see civil unrest, but what if power stayed off longer? If there was any way, I would move out of the city. Since I can't leave, I will continue to prepare the best I can. Please continue to remember the trapped-in-the-city dwellers when you post ideas for survival. I think we need the most help. Thanks for all you do, - Nancy B.

A Girl Scout Troop Leader Wants to Get Her Girls Prepared

We recently got an e-mail from a Girl Scout troop leader, describing how she wants to start a project making 72-hour "bug out" bags for the troop members. Her goal is to get her troop members better prepared, yet not tip-off their parents to her own level of preparedness. She wants to avoid making herself look like some sort of "preparedness nut" or "whacko".

The important thing to keep in mind is that terminology and phrasing are crucial to how people form opinions. Do not use terms such as "Bug Out Bag" or "Get Out of Dodge Kit" or"Survival Kit." It is much better to use the term Disaster Preparedness Kit, or even better yet to phrase the title to match the locally expected disaster. (Such as "Earthquake preparedness kit" or "Hurricane preparedness kit". You get the idea....Our scouting friends in California made earthquake kits for their cars which they keep in a large Tupperware bin in the trunk. They contain bottled water, canned tuna, a can opener, granola bars, space blankets,knit hats, matches, and so forth. Suggested packing lists are available in PDF from the FEMA web site.

Letter Re: A Suggested Reading List


Thank you for all of the work that you put into your web site. I have been reading your site and preparing for the last couple of years. I thought you might be interested in the Bibliography to my [retreat] group’s operations guide.


Adams, John Joseph. Wastelands. San Francisco : Night Shade Books, 2008.
Alten, Steve. The Shell Game. Springville , Utah : Sweetwater Books, 2007.
Brin, David. The Postman. New York : Bantam Books, 1985.
Budrys, Algis. Some Will Not Die. New York : Dell Publishing Co., Inc., 1961.
Card, Orson Scott. The Folk of the Fringe. New York : Tom Doherty Associates, Inc., 1989.
Carlson, Jeff. Plague War. New York : The Penguin Group, 2008.
Frank, Pat. Alas, Babylon . New York : Harper Perennial, 1959.
Heinlein, Robert A. Farmer in the Sky. New York : Ballantine Books, 1950.
________. Time Enough For Love. New York : The Berkley Publishing Group, 1973.
________. Tunnel In The Sky. New York : Ballantine Books, 1955.
Ing, Dean. Pulling Through. New York : Charter Communications, Inc., 1983.
Kunstler, James Howard. World Made By Hand. New York : Atlantic Monthly Press, 2008.
McDevitt, Jack. Eternity Road. New York : Harper Collins Publishers, 1997.
Niven, Larry and Jerry Pournelle. Lucifer’s Hammer. New York : The Random House Publishing Group, 1977.
Party, Boston T. Molon Labé! Ignacio , Colorado : Javelin Press, 2004.
Rawles, James Wesley. Patriots: Surviving the Coming Collapse. The Clearwater Press, 2006.
Sheffield, Charles. Aftermath. New York : Bantam Books, 1998.
Stewart, George R. Earth Abides. New York : Del Rey Books, 1949.
Stirling , S.M. Dies The Fire. New York : New American Library, 2004.
________. The Protector’s War. New York : New American Library, 2005.
________. A Meeting at Corvallis . New York : New American Library, 2006.

Food Storage
Layton, Peggy. Emergency Food Storage & Survival Handbook. New York : Three Rivers Press, 2002.
Stafford , Jake and Jim Rawles. Rawles Gets You Ready: The Ultimate Emergency Preparedness Course. Genoa , NV : Arbogast
Publishing, LLC, 2006.
Boy Scouts of America , Fieldbook, 4th Edition. Irving , TX : Boy Scouts of America , 2004.
Clayton, Bruce D. Life After Terrorism. Boulder , CO : Paladin Press, 2002.
Deyo, Holly Drennan. Dare to Prepare, 2nd Edition. Pueblo West, Colorado : Deyo Enterprises LLC, 2004
Diamond, Jared. Collapse, How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed. New York : Penguin Books, 2005.
________. Guns, Germs, and Steel. New York : W.W. Norton & Company, 1997.
Emery, Carla. The Encyclopedia of Country Living, 9th Edition. Seattle : Sasquatch Books, 2003.
Kelly, Kate. Living Safe in an Unsafe World. New York : New American Library, 2000.
Kunstler, James Howard. The Geography of Nowhere. New York : Simon & Schuster, 1994.
________. The Long Emergency. New York : Atlantic Monthly Press, 2005.
McGlashan, Charles F. History of the Donner Party. Barnes & Noble Publishing, Inc., 2004.
Party, Boston T. Boston on Surviving Y2K and Other Lovely Disasters. Ignacio , CO : Javelin Press, 1998.
Rawles, James Wesley. Rawles on Retreats and Relocations. The Clearwater Press, 2007.
________. SurvivalBlog: The Best of the Blog Volume 1. Clearwater Press, 2007.
Ruff, Howard J. How To Prosper During The Coming Bad Years In The 21st Century. New York : The Penguin Group, 2008.
Starke, Linda. State of the World 2004. New York : W.W. Norton & Company, 2004.
United States Air Force. Search and Rescue Survival Training. New York : Barnes & Noble Publishing, Inc., 2003.
United States Army , US Army Survival Manual. New York : Dorset Press, 2001.
United States Marine Corps. Guidebook For Marines, 14th Revised Edition. Quantico , VA : The Marine Corps Association, 1982.

Global Warming
Gore, Al. An Inconvenient Truth. New York : Rodale, 2006.
Knauer, Kelly. Global Warming. New York : Time Books, 2007.
Lynas, Mark. Six Degrees, Our Future on a Hotter Planet. London : Harper Perennial, 2007.
JWR Adds: For a contrapuntal viewpoint, see: Meltdown: The Predictable Distortion of Global Warming by Scientists, Politicians, and the M