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Sunday, June 30, 2013

Four Collapse Scenarios

A long but very good read from James Corbett, called Four Economic Collapse Scenarios (and How to Prepare for Them) :

Without a doubt one of the most frequently asked questions I hear from my readers and listeners is: “So when do you think the economic collapse will happen?” That question has a number of related follow ups, of course. Like: “When the collapse comes, what will I need to have?” and “Will my 401k be there when I retire?” and “How much of my money should be in x?” where x is alternately stocks, bonds, real estate, commodities, alternative currencies, survival goods, or, most often, precious metals. Given that I have talked repeatedly and at great length about the mathematical certainty of the coming collapse, these types of questions are hardly surprising. I can certainly relate to the people who are motivated to ask about the collapse and how to prepare for it. After all, when you strip away all of the distractions from the market (the daily dips and spikes in individual stocks or indices, the movements in the dollar and the yen and the euro, the latest manufacturing data or doctored unemployment numbers or bond yield figures), what else is there really to concentrate on but the end point we all know is coming?

And we do know that it's coming. We all learn the simplest law of the universe before we're even old enough to read and write: whatever goes up must come down. So too is the simplest law of economics equally self-evident: illusory wealth will eventually disappear. And there is enough illusory wealth floating around the economy now to choke a camel. There's the $86 trillion (at least) in unfunded liabilities that the U.S. government is committed to over the next 75 years, a chain of debt slavery that is put around the noose of every boy and girl in America (and those yet to be born) from the very moment of their birth. Or the quadrillion dollar derivatives bubble that has been blown by the jackals of finance capitalism, a bubble that is so large, and the popping of which would be so utterly devestating (picture a thousand financial nuclear bombs exploding simultaneously across the globe and you might start to comprehend the danger), that they have now been officially declared above the law by no less than the Attorney General himself, lest their prosecution sets off the economic time bomb.

And there's the fact that the monetary system itself requires almost every single new dollar entering the economy to be born in the form of debt paid back to the banksters themselves. Such a system cannot continue indefinitely. So I can understand if people are surprised that my usual answer to their questions about the collapse is that there's no way to predict when such a collapse will take place or even what form it will take. There are literally millions of variables at play in the collapse scenario equation, and many of them depend not just on the underlying reality of the situation (the actual unemployment figure, for instance) but on the market's perception of that reality (the manipulated numbers given out by the Burea of Labor Statistics). In my experience, this is surprising to many people because they tend to believe there is only one possible form that an economic collapse might take place, and many believe that it will certainly take place within the next year or two. But this is not necessarily so. In order to widen our perspective on that nebulous “economic collapse” term, why don't we take a look at just a few of the possible ways that a collapse might happen, and the ways that people can prepare for each of them individually.

Scenario 1: A Complete Systemic Collapse

This is the so-called Mad Max scenario and its by far the most common one that comes to mind when they hear the phrase “economic collapse.” Essentially, it involves a complete breakdown in economic transactions leading to a total dissolution of society. There are different ways that this could come about.

UrbanMan's Comments:"Bail-in is confiscating investor's funds to prop up the institution - like Cyprus.

The news renews worries over sovereign debt that causes sudden spikes in bond yields across the board, crashing Spain and Greece's ability to finance their debt. The ECB reacts by firing Draghi's bazooka, but it's too little too late to save the Euro. The contagion reaches the States where major investment banks with exposures in both Japan and Europe suddenly find their derivatives trades unwinding as counter-parties go bankrupt. The Fed tries an emergency injection of liquidity, but the markets tank anyway, wiping out billions in equity wealth and further panicking the markets. The central banks of the world attempt a coordinated stimulus to boost the markets, but by this time too many banks have gone under. Customers at banks around the world find they can't withdraw money from their accounts or make payments from them. The FDIC and its counterparts across the globe can't back up all of the obligations, and financial markets buckle completely. The economy as we know it has ceased to function.

Now obviously this scenario would not exactly unfold “overnight,” but we can imagine how it could all happen with surprising rapidity once the ball started rolling. As much as it sounds like something out of a Hollywood disaster flick, it's not outside of the realm of possibility; after all, this is essentially the type of nightmare scenario that Paulson, Bernanke, the Wall Street bigwigs and the banksters on the Federal Reserve board of governors threatened congress with in the wake of the Lehman Bros collapse. At the very least the threat of such a collapse helped sell the $700 billion bailout (that later ran into the tens of trillions) to the public.

At the same time, I hope the reader can see that this is by no means the only way our current system might break down. After all, it relies on the complete and simultaneous meltdown of every failsafe and circuit-breaker in every market around the globe. It also posits that the market will have woken up to the central banks' phony baloney funny money tricks and fail to respond to the big proclamations and promises of the printing press, unlike every other stage of this crisis.

Even from the market realist position of someone who understands that the entire monetary system is a house of cards built out of illusion by the banksters, can we really believe that this is the scenario they want to bring about? The complete overnight collapse of civilization? The reduction of the population to roving bands of criminals and vigilantes? Do they really want to rule over a wasteland? I think ot.

So, a total overnight collapse scenario: Possible? Certainly. Inevitable? Certainly not. But if this is a possibility, what can be done to prepare for it? As you might have guessed, this is the scenario that the doomsday preppers have envisioned and that they will be best positioned to survive. If the entire system falls apart at once (banking, credit, money markets, bonds, stock market) then people are essentially left with whatever they physically have in their possession or what they're able to acquire. Many people have a few days' worth of food on hand in case of some sort of natural disaster, but how many are prepared for months or even years of living without electricity, without running water, without the ability to buy food at a supermarket? I'll leave this as a rhetorical question.

What's more, while cash, stocks and bonds all become worthless in such a situation, it's by no means guaranteed that traditional stores of value like gold and other precious metals would fare any better. Given how detached modern western society has become from hard money, how likely is it that you'll find other people who even understand the value of your precious metals, let alone be willing or able to transact with them? No, in this system the only things that will be guaranteed to still be valuable are land and whatever is sitting on it. This is why people are often encouraged to have an acre or two of land out in the countryside somewhere, well away from any urban population centers. Of course, all of that land and whatever food, water, and supplies you might have on it will be worthless if it is looted and pilfered by the desperate members of the public who suddenly find themselves unable to cope. In that regard, some guns and other items of self-defense might turn out to be your most valuable possessions overall.

This is what it boils down to for the total collapse scenario: guns, land, grub, shelter. The idea of “protecting your wealth” is almost meaningless in this case, as the sole purpose would be to protect your life.

But, luckily for all of us, as I mentioned earlier this is not the only (or even the most likely) scenario. So how else could an economic collapse play out?

UrbanMan's Comments: In my opinion, this scenario is likely to happen. Having cash on hand, gold and silver would allow you to purchase last minute items without worrying about the bank holidays and such. Cash will devalue fast then it will be a gold-silver-barter type market. Communications should still work - be prepared to field calls from people not in your group but nonetheless know you have prepped for something like this. This is the type of scenario that no matter how much food, gold, silver, survival supllies and firearms/ammunition you have on hand - if you do not have a secure location and/or a team to protect each other you will be at risk. If you are one of the suburban dwellers then you better start building your local community of mutually supporting neighbors fast if you haven't done it yet.

Scenario 2: A hyperinflationary death spiral

This is the possibility that hard money proponents have been touting for years; namely, that the constant pumping in of Federal Reserve QE funny money into the system would spark a bout of hyperinflation. Think Weimar Republic and wheelbarrows full of money to buy a loaf of bread. So how could this play out?

The bond bubble pops. It was bound to happen eventually, but one day for some reason (no one is quite sure why) the markets fail to listen to Chairmen Ben and the Federal Reserve crew's latest pronouncement about easing, or the lack of easing, or the possibility of continuing easing, or the probability that easing might end some day in the future, or the likelihood that an end of easing won't come unless it does, or some such thing. Bond prices drop. Interest rates rise. They turn up the printing press in order to buy more bonds, but they suddenly can't print fast enough to keep the rates down. The new money floods the markets, but the economy doesn't grow. Suddenly the US (and, in short order, the rest of the world) is awash in dollars and has nothing to buy with them.

People discover the real value of Federal Reserve Notes: they burn well in the winter. In the meantime, they discover that it's hard to stuff enough $100 bills in a wheelbarrow to buy a billion dollar loaf of bread.

This is another popular conception of what a crash would look like. On the surface it makes total sense. The Fed has more than tripled the monetary base since the 2007 crisis and their sure hasn't been a tripling of economic activity in that time. From Econ 101 we know that an expanding money supply in the face of a stagnant economy means inflation. But we're not seeing inflation anywhere near the figures we should be...not even the real statistics (i.e. John Williams' statistics) show inflation reflective of such a rapid expansion of the monetary base. So where is all the money going? At the moment, it's going into bonds. The Fed is currently engaged in two easing programs, one of which is purchasing long-term Treasuries to the tune of $45 billion a month. For those keeping track at home, that means the (privately owned) central bank of the US is outright monetizing half a trillion dollars of government debt a year in one purchasing program alone. This is part of what Andrew Haldane (the euphemisticallyentitled “Director of Financial Stability” at the Bank of England) calls the biggest bond bubble in history. If you don't know what that means but you don't like the sound of it, don't worry; you're on the right track. Essentially it means that if and when the central banks of the world take their foot off the printing press gas (or even hint that they are going to do so), yields are going to start rising. Essentially, governments will have to pay more to finance their debts. Given that the entire Eurozone crisis is focused on the sovereign debt crisis and the knife-edge balance that is going on right now to stop bond yields from spinning out of control, the idea that the central bank gravy train could come to an end is a scary thought indeed for bond markets.

Long story short: if the central banks ever find that simply printing more dollars doesn't keep those rates low, the bond bubble could pop and yields could go through the roof, requiring more and more money to be pumped in to try to keep things in check. Theoretically, this could be your hyperinflationary kick-off...

So how can you position yourself for this scenario? Well, bonds are obviously not a good place to be if the bubble should pop. And it obviously wouldn't be good to have your life savings in cash stuffed under your mattress (or your bank) in a hyperinflationary wheelbarrow-full-of-paper-to-buy-a-postage-stamp scenario. If cash becomes toilet paper, there goes your life savings. But counter- intuitively, stocks are not necessarily a bad place to be during a hyperinflationary bout. In fact, various examples of hyperinflation from history, including Weimar Germany, showed that stocks can actually fare fairly well. A JP Morgan analysis indicates that the value of the Weimar stock market tripled in value (in US dollar terms) during Germany's hyperinflationary scare. Commodities are a fairly safe bet, as their prices will tend to track the inflation. But the hyperinflationary scenario is really the goldbug's heaven. If the dollar circles the drain this will be the prudent gold investor's chance to have the ultimate last laugh as gold prices go through the roof (measured in fiat, of course).

But some argue that the hyperinflation scenario isn't going to happen. They point out that the velocity of money (the measure of how quickly money is actually moving through the economy) is at its lowest value in over half a century. This means that whatever is happening to the money supply right now, it's not adding to inflation. After all, the Fed could print a trillion dollars a day, but if they just buried the money in the ground it would have no inflationary effect at all. So some are arguing that despite all the money printing that's going on, it's not a hyperinflationary nightmare that people have to watch out for.

UrbanMan's Comments:  The almost 50 million Americans who rely on the Government for a check to keep from going hungry would soon be joined by tens of million more Americans who buying power would not be enough to sustain their life routine and indeed may not be allow for the purchasing of simple essentials.   

Scenario 3: The deflationary depression

This is a much less popular view among the economic realists who see the collapse coming, but no less of a potential nightmare if you're not positioned accordingly. And there is no question about whether such a scenario could come true. It already did. Just ask your grandparents.

Things continue pretty much as they are now. The governments run their printing presses, but that money doesn't make its way into the economy. Banks continue to park their reserves in central bank vaults rather than loan them out. People don't want to take out loans, anyway, as they struggle to dig their way out of all-time record household debt burdens. Economic activity continues contracting, retail sales continue dropping, people pinch their pennies and when they see the economy slowing down they start pinching even tighter. Businesses scale back, and layoffs start to add up until even the government bean counters can't hide it. The majority of the population is on food stamps, and less and less economic activity actually relies on increasingly scarce dollars. Instead, government handouts and/or private charity becomes the new currency. The 21st century equivalent of the Dirty Thirties is upon us.

If the hyperinflationary scenario seems intuitive at first glance, this one has to be counter-intuitive. After all, central banks are flooding the world in easy money. How can this possibly lead to a more scarce (and more valuable) dollar? Of course, the other half of the equation is what the public is doing, and for the last few years we've been in an overall deleveraging cycle as people struggle to pay down their debts. In the first quarter of this year household debt fell to 2006 levels.

But in an economy where money is debt, the extinguishing of debt is the extinguishing of money. Less debt, less money in circulation. The government can continue to inflate its bond bubble all day long (and feed into a new housing bubble while they're at it), but it's ultimately the banks and the people that decide if the economy is going to expand or contract...and the more people deleverage and the less they spend, the more the economy will contract.

So if we do enter a deflationary depression, who are the winners and losers? Well, unsurprisingly this is just about the mirror image of the hyperinflationary scenario. Goldbugs would be the big losers at first, as dollars become more scarce and thus rise in value, so would precious metals decline in value. But as the effects of the depression kick in and people struggle to meet debt obligations, currencies could collapse and precious metals could once again be a hedge of last resort. Stocks would plunge as businesses downsize and revenues dive. There would be an upside on bonds, but given that we're already in a bond bubble there isn't very much to that upside. Cash could actually be a safe place to have your money in a deflationary depression, assuming you're not holding one of the currencies that collapses.

This is a nightmare scenario for the average person as people struggle to find work and people hoard dollars rather than spend them into the economy, creating the vicious cycle of contraction. Hyperinflationists argue this is virtually impossible because central banks can always print as much money as they want to make sure the economy never ceases up completely, but deflationists argue that monetizing government debt (which central banks are “good” at) is a different kettle of fish from monetizing household and business debt, which runs into the tens of trillions. Essentially they argue that there's a point at which even central banks would blink at the prospect of straight-up monetizing all of that debt, and if so the deflation cycle kicks in. And we all know that the only way out of the Dirty Thirties was World War II...

Scenario Four: Expect the unexpected

Life's funny sometimes. You can spend all your time wargaming out every possible scenario and carefully thinking about the logical consequences of different events...but it still doesn't mean you'll be prepared for what actually happens. Imagine where you thought your life was going to be like in 2013 back in 2003. It probably didn't look anything like where you really are. Sometimes you just never know what will happen.

By some miracle, a researcher discovers an abundant source of clean, virtually limitless energy. Cold fusion or zero point energy or some such thing. By another miracle, they don't suffer an unfortunate “accident” before they can share their discovery with the world. The world economy is transformed overnight. All of that part of the economy that is geared toward finding, extracting and producing energy collapses. Limitless free energy transforms nations, enabling even the poorest countries access to technologies that their infrastructure could never have supported before. With free energy, humanity outgrows wars for resource control and squabbles over patches of land or lines on a map and begins to fulfill humanity's real destiny of populating the stars. A new era of human existence begins.

Alright, that is a fanciful scenario to say the least, but hopefully it gets the point across. Some random, completely unexpected event can come along and utterly change the course of human history. Or smaller game-changers can, at the very least, throw off calculations completely. Dire forecasts of dwindling oil and gas reserves in the past decade, for example, have been utterly thrown off by fracking and the shale gas revolution and the tar sands and other things that were not part of the old equations. Similarly, what if 3D Printing lives up to its promise and revolutionizes manufacturing as we know it? If 3D Printers become the norm and become adept at manufacturing useful everyday items, the transformation of the economy at large would be almost incalculable. So what could we expect for different investment classes in such a scenario?

Well, we couldn't expect anything, of course. That's the very point. If some game changer arrives that could transform or even abolish entire sectors, there is no way to prepare for such a thing. In effect, it's luck of the draw whether cash, stocks, bonds, land, precious metals or commodities would surge, plummet or be rendered irrelevant.

UrbanMan's Comments: Many possibilities in the realm of what we don't expect or what may be too dire to consider,...civil war along racial, economical or political lines,...nuclear attack, non-nuclaer WMD attack by terrorists, Pandemic,.....but after all, that's what we are preparing for,...whatever happens.


In conclusion, it's always good to keep in mind that there is more than one way to skin a cat and there's more than one way for an economy to collapse. If we end up in a Mad Max scenario that would look quite different to a deflationary depression, even if certain factors look similar in both cases.

This is the very reason why any investment advisor (of which I am not one) will tell you to diversify your portfolio. You never want all of your eggs in one basket because if you bet the farm on the stock market and stocks plunge, you've lost it all. What percentages you want to invest in what asset classes will depend on all sorts of variables, of course, from how much you have to invest, to your risk appetite, to what future economic scenario you think is most likely. For the ultimate in stability, Libertarian writer Harry Browne advocated a portfolio consisting of 25% long term bonds, 25% cash, 25% stocks and 25% gold. That way, there is not a single one of these collapse scenarios where you would lose it all. The downside, of course, is that there is no scenario where you win across the board, either.

Such a strategy may or may not be for you, but regardless of what you choose, be sure to think carefully about what you are looking for and what you think is the most likely collapse scenario.

UrbanMan's Comments: My portfolio - 50% Planning and team building; 10% stored food; 10% gold, silver and barter items; 10% survival firearms and ammunition; 10% equipment and material; 10% sustainable water sources......okay, okay, percentages are off,...I'm just trying to make a point that survivalibility of 401K and other investments are NOT the tip of the spear in your collapse and survival planning.   

Thursday, June 27, 2013

AK-47 versus the AR-15 as a SHTF Gun

The Blaze posted an article from Tactical Gear which was a comparison on the AK-47 and the AR-15, with the tag line "Which is the better rifle?"

The article gave statistics concerning recognizability, numbers in production, countries (military forces) in use, and share of the global firearms market which of course are all immaterial to the survival prepper.

This article did compare such fairly important topics such as: Maximum Effective Range; Caliber; Muzzle Energy; Standard Length; Rounds per Minute (rate of fire); and, Accuracy. What are these factors and how important are they?

Maximum Effective Range

The maximum effective range (MER) is supposedly the range in which a a trained shooter can effectively engage a man sized target, and for testing is usually the full size Army "E" type shiloutte. The AK-47's MER is 400 yards versus the AR-15's (or M-4) MER of 600 yards. MER is, in this case, largely an affect of accuracy and in this case the sights on the rifle, from which the AR series rifles have greatly superior sights.

Caliber, Muzzle Energy and Stopping Power

The AK-47 fires the 7.62x39mm cartridge also called the M43 Russian, while the AR-15 fires the 5.56x45mm or the .223 Remington cartridge. Or basically, the AK-47 with a bullet of 122 grains at 2,400 feet per second versus the AR-15 shooting a 55 to 62 grain bullet (among other weights) at 2,900 feet per second.

Which would you rather shoot a bad guy with if your life depended upon it? The AK-47, handsdown, as more stopping power as it produces more muzzle energy and is more likely to leave all it's energy in the target than over penetrate the target and taking some of that energy with it.

Standard Length

The standard length measurement is basically nonsense since both platforms can be configured with folding or collapsible stocks to reduce the length. However, argueably, a fixed stock allows for a better stock/cheek weld for longer range accurate shots. It the rifle has a collapsaible or fixed stock, then it has moving parts and generally a higher failure rate than non-moving parts. No sweat on either. Select the configuration for your requirements. If you travel extnsively and figure that you may be shooting from vehicle then a shorter overall length may be a good idea. Rounds per Minute (rate of fire)

The Tactical Gear comparison listsa the AK-47 at 600 rounds per minute versus 700-950 for the AR-15. This is based on selective fire and really a non-starter as far as consideration for a SHTF gun as most people own semi-automatic only versions and would have to be facing the chinese-mongol hoards to burn a barrel out.


The Tactical Gear article listed the AK-47 as having 10 Minute of Angle (MOA) accuracy.  That equates to 10 inch groups at 100 yards - this gun is more capable than that.  They list the AR-15 as 7 MOA which is 7 inches at 100 yards - again this gun is more capable than that, both cases, if the shooter is. 

Sights and training greatly affect accuracy of any given rifle.  As well as different bullet weights, bullet designs and loads which are available for most rifle calibers.  The AK-47 does not have a long list of different bullet weights and loads like the .223 Remington, however individual long guns will "like" certain brands and loads better than others.  Given these facts, most rifles possess sufficient accuracy for the average prepper.  I have no problem whatsoever with the accuracy of AK-47's out to 400 yards.  Past 400 yards, one would wonder if you really need to take that shot.  Certainly when faced with the giant horde of vicious mobs hell bent on your destruction and taking what you own, the earlier you begin reducing those numbers the better off you will be in most cases.  The trick is to start fights only when you absolutely need to and have a good chance of winning.

So the bottom line,......while the AR-15 is inherantly more accurate than the AK-47, the AK-47 has sufficient accuracy to serve as a primary SHTF long gun.        

Ease of Controls and Trainability

I think the ease of use and training someone to be proficient should be considered in the selection of a SHTF long gun.  The AR-15, hands down, is easier to change magazines and manipulate the selector lever, safe to semi.  The AK-47 selector is a thumb buster and requires right handed shooters to take their strong hand grip off the pistol grip to push the selector up to safe or down for semi-automatic.   

Other Neglected Comparisons

Weight of ammunition and magazines.  While there is at least one company, Palm, making polymer, P mag type lightweight magazines  for the AK-47, the greatest amount of AK-47 on the market are steel and therefore heavy. Adding the greater weight of 30 rounds of 7.62x39mm versus .223 Remington, a basic load for the AK-47 will be heavier for the Prepper armed with an AK-47.

The AR-15 and all the vendors making after market accesories offers a wide range of products to customize the AR-15 or variant to the needs of the prepper.  And certainly shooters have a propensity to modify the AR-15 to an extreme degree.  What is telling if one ever gets the chance to attend a tactical carbine course, is that the gun and it's configuration, modifications and bells and whistles on day one after much different than the last day of training.  In the tactical carbine courses that I have taught, I have never failed to see shooters stripping their guns of the weight of accessories as the training went on, ending up with probably what they ought to carry on the gun in the first place. 

The bottom line is that any serious prepper, should have a magazine fed rifle be it the AK series, AR variant, M1A, HK-91 or 53, Galil, etc.  I thinks the coming times will demand it.        

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Survival Chronicles of Jim - Chapter 26

From UrbanMan: I have received a few e-mail asking about what happended to Jim from the Survival Chronicles of Jim Chapters. Others ask if Jim is real. Oh yeah, Jim is really. Jim is not his real name, but we all have our secrets. Jim was working for friends of mine as a computer tech on contract and as he contract expired he now is working out of his house as a systems developer or some such computer gobbleygook but it requires him to travel 3.5 hours one way a couple days a week with a one or two night stayover in a hotel. I sent Jim the book "Going Home" by A. American, a good read by the way, so he could see some situations for wargamming if he had to make it back home.I asked Jim to send me an e-mail with my intent of publishing it on this site.


All set up in my routine now. Still have rental houses to manage from afar and my other home based business, but my software and database work for a major company requiring me to travel 3 1/2 hours by car and staying overnight and sometimes several nights during the week. At least my car is a business expense and tax deductible!.....not to mention a rolling survival platform, or at least I started developing this concept.

I carry the large bag with rollers and backpack straps (UrbanMan's note: a FPG deployment bag) that you gave me. This is my Get Home Bag, a la the "Going Home" novel you sent me. I know you told me to think about keeping my SKS in my vehicle with me, and although I keep all my accessories for this rifle in my Get Home bag, I have yet to take the gun on any of my work trips. Maybe it's an idea I have to get used to. At least I have my Walther pistol. In my Get Home bag I have these items:

  • Load Bearing Molle Vest with Camel-Bak with mag pouches for my SKS ammunition. I have the conversion kit for the SKS to use those banana magazines, with the the metal lip extension so it locks into place, but have not converted it yet.
  • Silva Compass
  • Spare Fire Starting Kit
  • Green Fleece
  • Gortex Rain Suit
  • Snugpak Sleeping Bag
  • 8 civilian type versions of military meals
  • Pack of assorted nut snacks and granola bars
  • 6 packets of instant soup and a tube of bullion cubes
  • Trauma Medical Kit
  • 2 camouflage ponchos
  • Hammock net that I can use to thread plants into for a camoufalge or an impromtu fishing net
  • Small butane stove with one fuel cartridge with cooking pot
  • 40 feet of green para-cord
  • A Small Fishing Kit*
  • Firearms Cleaning Kit
  • Field cap
  • Aviators gloves
  • Empty five quarter canteen so I have extra water carrying capacity
  • Wire saw
* The fishing kit was an adventure. Not knowing anything, I went into a Sporting Goods chain store and was looking around, not knowing what to get. One of the sales guys helped me but when he asked what I was looking for, I had to tell him "Basically, an small adventure fishing kit in case I have to survive something like a plane crash in a remote area." He looked at me like I was an idiot, but I ended up buying hooks, lead weight, fishing line, and a couple of small, multi-colored lures. I learned that there is a whole culture behind fishing.

I carry that soft computer case you gave me with the molle webbing attachment as my urban Bug Out Bag. I only really have to carry a laptop, x drives, a couple of software discs, and some cables so I have plenty of room for the three boxes of SKS ammunition and my little Walther .22 pistol. I used the extra ammunition pouches attached to the outside of this case to carry bottled water in. Usually I leave the pistol and the ammunition inside my vehicle when I am in a building. I have my little fire starting kit in a zip lock bag, several bags of nuts and a couple nutrition bars, a folding knife and a "AA" Pelican flashlight and extra batteries. I carry 6 one ounce Silver rounds and a roll of old quarters for their silver melt value. Not to mention I rarely travel without several hundred dollars in cash.

Taking your advice I have driven different routes from my house to my work site. On the route that minimizes the high traffic areas and the interstate segments, it will take me an additional 45- 60 minutes of driving time because of all the slowdowns, speed traps, small communities and single lane roads. Like you said this longer driving route will probably become my primary way to get home in any major collapse event due to the most lower chance of traffic jams and refugees.

I haven't bought a suitable map yet nor have I reconned the best places to lay up whether I was traveling home by vehicle, bicycle or on foot. I'm dating a woman in my home city. While she has a key to my house, I haven't really briefed her on my preparations. She has seen the water dispenser with ten full 5 gallon bottles of water lined up and she said something to the effect that "Gee, you're not going to run out of water soon!"  

UrbanMan's Comment:  After recieving this from Jim, I advised Jim to ensure he carried water with him, other than his bottled drinking water, during his business trips.  A five gallon water jug or the equivilent in one gallon containers can be loaded and un-loaded for these weekly trips without too much butt pain to ensure at any point during his transit he has water.  If he can stay with his vehicle ad make it home, great.  But if he is forced to dump his vehicle, he would have the water to fill his water containers and begin the walk (worst case) home.  I also advised Jim to store a camouflage net for his vehicle in case he had to pull off his route and hole up because of traffickability issues of threat.  

My last advice for Jim is to take the alternate route a few times and stop in these small communities to get the feeling from the population and perhaps make his face known - may come in handy if that becomes his Going Home route....and Jim, take your rifle with you!  


Saturday, June 22, 2013

Economic Collapse is Coming - Time to Leave the U.S.

The Dollar Vigilante's Jeff Berwick is back chatting about a myriad of economic and stock market-related issues with Cambridge House Live's anchor, Bridgitte Anderson. Taped at Cambridge House International's Vancouver Resource Investment Conference.

This is more opinion and food for thought on the coming financial-economic collapse. Cast your knowledge net wide, collect and analyze that information, discard what is bunk and plan/prepare. 

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Poverty - A Catalyst for Collapse

The Real Numbers: Half Of America In Poverty — And It’s Creeping Toward 75%

I don't know about the 75%, but those in poverty increase everyday and the only remedy being applied is government handouts which not only cannot continue unabated but at some point may stop abruptly. Make up your own mind from this article from Liberty

Where does that leave you and your family? In the majority of population in poverty looking vainly for a way to survive? Are you one of the 1% who are prepared to last a period of time in a "no food" available environment? If so, how long? 30 days? 6 months? Two years? Are you and your family going to be victims of those without? - and make no mistake about it - those without will do anything to sustain themselves - wouldn't you?

Anyway, the article from Liberty Crier:

The Census Bureau has reported that one out of six Americans lives in poverty. A shocking figure. But it’s actually much worse. Inequality is spreading like a shadowy disease through our country, infecting more and more households, and leaving a shrinking number of financially secure families to maintain the charade of prosperity.

1. Almost half of Americans had NO assets in 2009

Analysis of Economic Policy Institute data shows that Mitt Romney’s famous 47 percent, the alleged ‘takers,’ have taken nothing. Their debt exceeded their assets in 2009.

2. It’s Even Worse 3 Years Later

Since the recession, the disparities have continued to grow. An OECD report states that “inequality has increased by more over the past three years to the end of 2010 than in the previous twelve,” with the U.S. experiencing one of the widest gaps among OECD countries. The 30-year decline in wages has worsened since the recession, as low-wage jobs have replaced formerly secure middle-income positions.

3. Based on wage figures, over half of Americans are now IN poverty.

According to IRS data, the average household in the bottom 50% brings in about $18,000 per year. That’s less than the poverty line for a family of three ($19,000) or a family of four ($23,000).

Census income figures are about 25% higher, because they include unemployment compensation, workers’ compensation, Social Security, Supplemental Security Income, public assistance, veterans’ payments, and various other monetary sources. Based on this supplemental income, the average household in the bottom 50% brings in about $25,000, which is just above the $23,000 poverty line for a family of four.

Even the Census Bureau recognizes that its own figures under-represent the number of people in poverty. Its Supplemental Poverty Measure increases, by 50%, the number of Americans who earn between one-half and two times the poverty threshold.

4. Based on household expense totals, poverty is creeping into the top half of America.

A family in the top half, making $60,000 per year, will have their income reduced by a total tax bill of about $15,000 ($3,000 for federal income tax and $12,000 for payroll, state, and local taxes. The Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Census Bureau agree that food, housing, and transportation expenses will deduct another $30,000, and that total household expenditures will be about $50,000. That leaves nothing.

Nothing, that is, except debt. The median debt level rose to $75,600 in 2009, while the median family net worth, according to the Federal Reserve, dropped from $126,400 in 2007 to $77,300 in

5. Putting it in Perspective

Inequality is at its ugliest for the hungriest people. While food support was being targeted for cuts, just 20 rich Americans made as much from their 2012 investments as the entire 2012 SNAP (food assistance) budget, which serves 47 million people.

And as Congress continues to cut life-sustaining programs, its members should note that their 400 friends on the Forbes list made more from their stock market gains last year than the total amount of the food, housing, and education budgets combined.

Arguments about poverty won't end. Neither should our efforts to uncover the awful truth.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Preparing Defenses for a Bug Out Location

I received this e-mail from a reader named Jeremy: "Dear UrbanMan, I really like your survival skills blog posts I wish you would do more of them on tactical subjects and defense subjects. I have a ten acre parcel in the woods with a gravel road leading to a hunting cabin that I was awarded from my father's will. The hunting cabin is about all done in as it needs a new roof and repair of the wooden floor which is over dirt. I have a bumper pull RV that I'm going to move next to the cabin. This is all going to be my Bug Out location. I do not have water on the property but there is a stream that is about 400 feet away actually off my property but there is no one closer than a farm house with some milk cows(?) about 3/4 miles away. My road is gravel and connects to a state road about 1/2 mile away. What kind of things do you recommend that I do to make my defenses better? "

UrbanMan replies: Sorry about the loss of your father but in his death he has probably made you safer with willing you a Bug Out site with running water, albeit a bit of a walk away. Your RV can give you a place to live if you decide to re-furnish the cabin, as the cabin would be handy as you can heat it with wood and you probably can't do that in the RV!

While I have not seen your property nor an map of the area, here are some general recommendations on basic factors for you to consider, and forgive me is I go outside the requested "defenses" request.

On Defenses

I woulds consider these factors:

Observation - the ability to see your threat is a two way street sometimes. Early warning devices such as magnetic, IR beam and camera sensors should be considered but also consider simple methods such as a trip wire which connects a circuit to ring a bell, light a bulb or other visual/audio means if someone drives up your gravel road. Observation also means a vantage point whether it's a ground based LP/OP with a covered and concealed route back to your buildings, and/or, a high point such as the roof of your cabin (after you fix it) or some other type high point. Again, plan for a protected route back to the buildings.

Fields of Fire - It would be nice to have say a 500 yard cleared area around your cabin/trailer so you can see and engage threats before they knock on your door. Map out and make plans for any dead areas that would provide cover for any attackers.

Obstacles - Fences, barriers, barbed wire, etc., are not necessarily used to keep bad guys out, they are used to sort the curious from the evil - the evil will keep on coming. Obstacles and barriers however can serve to channelize the threat into position where it is easier for you to engage them.

Consider anti-vehicle barriers as well, so people can't drive right up to your building or use them as moving cover upon an assault. 5 foot long buried posts with about 2 feet of it sticking out of the ground can be one barrier for vehicle, but consider a defense in depth. That may be followed up with spike strips for tires and as a anti-personal obstacles. Barbed wire can be yet a third barrier, Consider setting up barbed wire right behind the spike strips from your potenntial threat's point of view....they may get tunnel vision on the barbed wire and not be looking for the spikes. Concealment. This also includes disguise. Do something to make it look like your gravel road connecting to the state road looks not to be used. You may want to look at sterilizing any signs of use,...maybe putting up a gate with a rusty locked to look unused.

The below sketch is an example of begijnning a baseline defense in depth, provided you have cleared fields of fire, and have negated any advantage of dead space - that is space that attackers can use to approach and attack that offers cover and/or concealment from your buildings or positions.  Also consider blindsides to your buildings from observations.  Every position should be mutually supporting from others.   

Water Supply

First of all water is a most valuable commodity. It would be nice to have a way, maybe a solar or hand powered pump to pump water from the stream to you buildings/trailer. I woulds consider purchsasing some water storage tanks, 750 gallon to 2,500 gallon, and maybe even several of them to place behind your bldgs/trailer and the access road - so people upon the most likley approach will not necessarily see them. Anybody doing a visual reconnaissance around your property would see them anyway. Having some sort of overhead cover on these water storage tanks to replicate a shed or garage from overhead observation. Even as GoogleEarth updates their archive imagery every couple of years, some bad guys looking for sites to raid or to occupy may see your water storage tanks from the web is they are not covered or disguised.

Food Supply

You will have to grow your own food. This means an appropriate area that you can water and protect; adequate seed supply on hand and the necessary tools. Probably means a green house in the winter time as well as the ability to can your harvests.


If I was you I would find out more about your neighbors with the dairy cows. They may have chickens (think eggs) or other livestock, and be a great source for living off the land such as planting a survival garden. If you can build rapport with them then you may be able to mutual support each other through hard times.

Good luck Jeremy. 

Friday, June 14, 2013

Prepared to Survive: Urban Grown Food Supply

UrbanMan's note:  I have previously written about urban farming where there is a trend for urban situated dwellers to have gardens to supplement their food supply.  Everyone in America should be doing this no matter where they are at.  Of course, remaining in a city during the collapse is a very risky proposition, but there are no doubt many people who have basically no choice, and while growing vegetables and such in an urban environment would take some effort and a continuing water supply - it is doable for those who have no choice and offers a small effort to alleviate the growing trend of U.S. based small farms disappearing.   

Urban Grown Food Supply from a BBC article, "Can city farms feed a hungry world?",

There will be billions more hungry people in 2050. Growing our food on vertical farms or under radical new lighting systems may be key to ensuring they have enough to eat.

Challenges for the cities of 2050

What’s for dinner? For that matter, what’s to eat, full stop? In a few decades time, that second question may become pressing. Mankind’s awareness of our food supplies has been heightened by massive crop failures due to millennial level floods, protracted droughts, and numerous food-borne disease outbreaks caused by microbes such as salmonella, E. coli strain 0157, toxoplasma and listeria. Consumers the world over now demand to know where their food comes from and how it is produced.

As if that were not enough to keep us up at all hours of the night, larger issues loom in the near future as our population continues to expand, placing greater pressure on the world’s agricultural industries to meet demands. As a species, we need to know whether modern farming is sustainable and compatible with the rest of the natural world, or is it causing irreparable damage to the environment that will eventually turn today’s serious problem of today into a food crisis of epic proportions in the near future?

To answer some of these questions, it’s important to recall how things got this way to begin with. In the beginning of the modern era of humankind, around 10,000 years ago, most of our earliest cities were located close to agricultural land. Cities needed crops.

In the Middle East, for example, einkorn wheat was first successfully cultivated around 11,000 years ago in the south-eastern part of what is now Turkey. Farming then rapidly spread through the whole of that region. It had many advantages, including the fact that when wheat yields exceeded demand, its grain could be stored without losing any nutritional value. These early cities – Ur, Nineveh, Jericho, Babylon – became established next to their farmland, and for a time flourished in concert with the fields that provided their sustenance. Yet despite the invention of farming, eventually all of these early cities fell into disrepair, their decaying fortified walls and crumbling buildings blending seamlessly back into the harsh, arid landscapes which gave rise to them.

The cause? Desertification. Drier weather patterns caused the failure of this single crop their civilisation depended upon – a mono-crop dependent upon a constant source of water to survive. It was irrigation which allowed such large amounts of wheat to be grown – but falling water levels brought the Middle East’s first agricultural revolution to an end. Only Egypt survived in the long term, thanks to the Nile River.

Today’s cities are at risk from a different set of issues. If trends in urbanisation continue at their current rates, cities could evolve into places where intolerable numbers of people may have to live, and who are forced to live well below the poverty limit, threatening to overwhelm sanitation systems and housing. Food and drinking water would be even scarcer than in many of today’s developing cities.

But this doesn’t have to happen. Most urban centres are experiencing a re-birth of their direct connections to agriculture. Within just the past 10 years, an increasing interest in city farming has been paralleled by the creation of the slow food and locallly sourced, or "locavore" movements, a foundation for the rise of urban farming initiatives.

Bright lights, big city

Included in the mix of successful city-based agricultural projects are rooftop gardens, rooftop greenhouses (both low tech and hydroponic), above-ground planting beds, the use of empty lots as farmland, and vertical farms that occupy tall buildings and abandoned warehouses. Collectively, these examples show the validity of growing food in the city. Not only could be they be carried out efficiently – such as rooftop greenhouses giving much higher yields than outdoor farms – but they could also operate without the pollution associated with outdoor farming.

Already, we have large-scale indoor farms such as EuroFresh Farms in Willcox, Arizona (318 acres (1.3 square km) of one-storey-high hydroponic greenhouses), supplying fresh tomatoes and cucumbers, and FarmedHere in Bedford Park, Illinois, a 90,000 square-foot (8,360 square metre) empty warehouse several storeys tall that was converted into an indoor farm producing tilapia (freshwater fish), a variety of leafy green vegetables, and several value-added products. Indoor farms (controlled environment agriculture or CEA) will undoubtedly replace most outdoor urban agricultural initiatives as the advantages of farming within protected environments become more widely accepted.

Judging by current trends in the development of advanced technologies, city-based CEA appears to have a bright future, as newer strategies emerge enabling indoor farming to be carried with increasing efficiency. Grow lights, for instance, have evolved from ordinary fluorescent light fixtures – expensive to operate – into a series of light-emitting diode (LED) lighting schemes. These LED lights can be adapted to emit light spectra at two dominant wavelengths (red 680nm; blue 460nm) tailored for growing green plants. The benefits of LED grow lights are obvious when compared to other outdated lighting schemes: LEDs cost less to run, and produce greater yields of most commercial crops, such as leafy greens and tomatoes. In early 2013, Phillips in the Netherlands announced it had invented an LED light with energy efficiency 150% greater than existing LED grow lights. This new development promises to significantly reduce energy costs involved in growing such crops.

Although most current vertical farming operations have chosen to specialise in cash crops consisting of leafy green vegetables (easy to grow and much in demand), in the near future, consumers are likely to ask for a wider variety of vegetables and fruits grown without pesticides, herbicides and other harmful chemical contaminants. At that point, vertical farming in tall buildings will replace less productive single-story greenhouses as the source of all city-grown produce. Some form of vertical farming now exists in Japan, Korea, Singapore, the United States, and Canada. New vertical farms are planned for a number of cities in the United States (Milwaukee, Memphis and Jackson Hole in Wyoming), and Linköping, Sweden.

Urban agriculture has the potential to become so pervasive within our cities that by the year 2050 they may be able to provide its citizens with up to 50% of the food they consume. In doing so, ecosystems that were fragmented in favour of farmland could be allowed to regain most of their ecological functions, creating a much healthier planet for all creatures great and small.

UrbanMan's note:  I ran across this other site that is just standing up and proposes to map out urban sources of food, which also brings to light the basic survival skill of recongizing edible (and poisonous) plants and fruits.  

Mapping the Urban Harvest, checki it out at

Falling Fruit is a celebration of the overlooked culinary bounty of our city streets. By quantifying this resource on a map, we hope to facilitate intimate connections between people, food, and the natural organisms growing in our neighborhoods. Not just a free lunch! Foraging in the 21st century is an opportunity for urban exploration, to fight the scourge of stained sidewalks, and to reconnect with the botanical origins of food.

Our map of urban edibles is not the first of its kind, but we aspire to be the most comprehensive, bringing together the maps of foragers from all across the internet. We are also including edible species found in municipal tree inventories - databases of street (and sometimes private) trees used by many cities, universities, and other institutions to manage the urban forest. This already amounts to 554 different types of edibles (most, but not all, are plant species) distributed over 570,559 locations. Beyond the cultivated and commonplace to the exotic flavors of foreign plants and the long-forgotten culinary uses of native plants, foraging in your neighborhood is a journey through time and across cultures.

The map is open for anyone to edit, the entire database can be downloaded with just one click, and our code is open-source. We created Falling Fruit driven by our passion for food and the environment.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Worrisome Federal Law Enforcement Involvement in Tennessee

A reader sent me a link to this article entitled "Fed Govt Takes Over Tennessee Festival", published June 3, 2013 by The Liberty Paper, which is a website I have never heard of until now.  The picture of the Department of Homeland Security marked armored vehicle was from this website also.  If you look closely underneath the ":Homeland Security" letters you will see the marking "Immigration and Customs Enforcement". 

While I support the Federal Bureau of Investigation "pre-staging: around events likely to draw terrorist's atention,....radical islamists, the home grown variety or just crazies,.....I wonder what Homeland Secuity in general and specifically Immigration and Customs Enforcement has to do with an event in Nashville.  

NASHVILLE- The American public has become increasingly cautious towards the Department of Homeland Security. The federal agency has come under increased scrutiny for purchasing 1.6 billion rounds of high powered ammunition and stockpiling heavily armored vehicles to be used in the streets of America.

US Congressman Huelscamp (R-KS) has asked the DHS multiple times why they needed to purchase these bullets and tanks* and the DHS refuses to answer him and other members of Congress who are demanding answers. Proponents of big government say it is for our protection, but it is important to recall that our militia and army protect us from any foreign invasion according to the constitution.

*UrbanMan's comment:  Tanks? The above picture is an armord personnel carrier, while it has firing ports which I can't understand, it is certainly not a tank with a main cannon nor any machine gun's mounted.  

This is not the job of non-elected federal bureaucrats armed with weapons, which are outlawed to all American people accept themselves. The DHS has had its eye on Tennessee recently. A federal grant was given to the state to purchase drones. The grant spurred legislative action in the state of Tennessee to block drone activity as it was delivered during the same time of the Obama Administration’s drone controversy.

In a developing story the DHS and FBI are said to be taking over Nashville, Tennessee’s CMA Festival, which is the largest country music event in the world. Downtown hospitality industry management have warned their staff to be careful when entering and leaving the city for work, not to bring backpacks, or look suspicious in any way because DHS and FBI agents will be conducting searches and seizures. As the city prepares for the festival DHS and FBI agents have already been seen around the downtown area blocking off bridges and bringing in equipment.

Being a Southern state, Tennessee residents tend to hold a certain disdain for the federal government while holding the principle of state sovereignty in high regard. This is especially the case when they take over their capital city without regards to their Fourth Amendment rights, and push their elected Sheriffs out of the way to set up shop.

UrbanMan's comment:  "Pushng elected Sheriffs out of the way?"  Yes, there is much debate about Sheriffs in certain states,...Colorado, Maryland and Deleware(?) who have publically stated that they cannot and/or will not enforce new draconian state firearms restrictions, and the anti-gun state governmental machine who are furious about this.  There are state bills on their respective legislative floors to diminish the powers of Country Sheriffs,...this is troubling to say the least.  In any event, it bears watching from a freedom and an implementation of martial law point of view.  Protection of the public and federal agencies over steping their statutory authorities are a fine line.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Inflation or Deflation?

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

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

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

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

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

The Velocity Of Money Is At A 50 Year Low

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

The Trade Deficit

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

Wages And Salaries As A Percentage Of GDP

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

When The Debt Bubble Bursts

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

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

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

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

Does he know something?

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Neighborhood Gardens and Survival Growing

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday, June 2, 2013

SHTF Alert: Real Life Zombies

How many of us Prepper's like a good Zombie story? In fact, you don't even have to be a prepper to enjoy these type of story lines - look at the popularity of the television series "The Walking Dead".  Soon the movie industry will be releasing the movie "World War Z". However, if you are reading this you are probably like me, hardly able to watch these movies as the actors make mistake after tactical mistake. My wife always cautions me, "Honey, this is just a show,....besides Zombies aren't real". Riiiiiight, on both counts, but still,...........

This story came out on the web about a medical syndrome called "Walking Corpse Syndrome".  Before it's al said and done, we may see more of these people, walking slowly up the urban streets and suburban roads.

Man Describes Life With 'Walking Corpse Syndrome'

A man's account of living with Cotard's syndrome offers a chilling look at a rare condition that has patients convinced they're zombies.

The man, identified only as Graham in an interview with New Scientist, said he awoke from a suicide attempt feeling as though his brain were dead.

"I just felt like my brain didn't exist anymore," Graham told the magazine, recalling his bizarre state of consciousness after surviving an attempt to electrocute himself in his bathtub. "I kept on telling the doctors that the tablets weren't going to do me any good, because I didn't have a brain. I'd fried it in the bath."

Graham was diagnosed with Cotard's syndrome, a mysterious psychiatric condition marked by "the fixed and unshakable belief that one has lost organs, blood or body parts" or has no soul, according to a definition in a 2003 report in the journal Neurology.

"I lost my sense of smell and taste. I didn't need to eat, or speak or do anything," Graham told New Scientist. "I ended up spending time in the graveyard because that was the closest I could get to death."

What little is known about Cotard's syndrome has come from rare case reports dating back to 1882. But Graham's recent diagnosis gave doctors an opportunity to look inside the brain of a Cotard's patient.

What they found was extraordinary.

"I've been analyzing PET scans for 15 years, and I've never seen anyone who was on his feet, who was interacting with people, with such an abnormal scan result," Dr. Steven Laureys of the University of Liège in Belgium, who consulted on Graham's case, told New Scientist. "Graham's brain function resembles that of someone during anesthesia or sleep. Seeing this pattern in someone who is awake is quite unique to my knowledge."

So while Graham's brain was intact, his brain activity looked like that of someone in a coma.

"It seems plausible that the reduced metabolism was giving him this altered experience of the world, and affecting his ability to reason about it," Laureys said.

Graham said he struggled to find pleasure in life, calling the fact that he didn't actually die "a nightmare."

"I just felt really damn low," he said, recalling his desire to lurk in graveyards. "I just felt I might as well stay there. It was the closest I could get to death. The police would come and get me, though, and take me back home."

But over time, with the help of therapy and medication, Graham said he managed to shake his zombie-like state.

"I don't feel that brain-dead anymore," he told New Scientist. "Things just feel a bit bizarre sometimes."

"I'm not afraid of death," Graham added."But that's not to do with what happened - we're all going to die sometime. I'm just lucky to be alive now."