Friday, July 29, 2011

Ravenous wolves colonise France, terrorise shepherds

This article details one of the reasons I suggest that people consider owning firearms for protection.  Even in the Pacific Northwest where I live there are rabid bands of feral dogs roaming around that occasionally hit the news because someone gets attacked.  It is wise (if you can afford to purchase a firearm and they are legal in your area) to have some means of providing "kinetic defensive options" not just to protect against bad guys but against wildlife that could make a comeback if some of the systems of support that currently hold them at bay collapse.  Something to think about...

More on the flailing economy

Why do I post so much about the economy, you may ask?  The reason is in my mind it is the one disaster that (if things continue as they are now) we can be certain WILL come to fruition yet allows for some preparations.  I tend to be a little more "Chicken Little" here on the blog than on my podcast, but when I read things such as the following you can understand why:

QUOTE: "It has long been clear that America's recovery sagged worrisomely in the first half of 2011. This morning's  second-quarter GDP report reveals, however, that despite concern, most observers were too optimistic in their assessment of the economy's strength. Even more distressing, a series of revisions to past figures reveals a recession that was substantially worse than previously understood, which has left America in a bigger hole than imagined."


QUOTE #2: "If nothing else, this awful report helps to solve a number of lingering mysteries concerning the crisis. Arguments that unemployment must be structural, given the failure of projected growth rates to generate new hiring, now look silly. Projected growth rates were simply overstated, and current unemployment is exactly what we'd expect given such a feeble recovery. Those overly optimistic assessments of the likely impact of interventions, from fiscal stimulus to QE, also make much more sense now. Policymakers were fighting a fire far more intense than they recognised."

You see?  We were never truly in a recovery.  It was a misrepresentation by the government aided by their supporters in the media.  Now that it's becoming obvious to everyone, well, why do you think Gold continues to surge in price as people abandon ship?

Dow plunges, Gold soars as GDP data is revised downward

When I saw the revisions to the GDP data for the last couple of quarters this morning something clicked.  I'm now fairly certain we are going into a deep recession/depression and that a credit rating downgrade is waiting in the near future.  Also, from what I can tell Gold continues to reach record highs (up $10+ an ounce as I write this).  I no longer think the "default" issue being tossed about in DC even matters.  The economy has fallen off a cliff...  And the ride could be about to get bumpy....  (See, I told you I occasionally get a bit alarmist on the Blog... :) )

Thursday, July 28, 2011

10 Long-term storage foods that can outlast you

Take a look at some of these for your long-term food storage pantry.  They are not all healthy, nor are they the only food choices you would want to store.  But some of them (honey, salt) have been seen to have great value during all of human history so there's no reason to think that would change in a modern disaster.  Not that I'm saying run out and stock up on Vanilla Extract mind you... :)

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Downgrade Day: What It Will Look Like

QUOTE: "The once-unthinkable is now looking more like all-but-inevitable: the United States is probably going to lose its top-notch credit rating. And make no mistake: the economic impact should the country be stripped of its coveted triple-A rating will be swift and severe. Stocks and bonds will likely tumble and interest rates will jump higher. There will be no lag time between the downgrade announcement and when the shock waves begin to be felt. 
“It starts instantaneously,” said Greg McBride, senior financial analyst at “You won’t be able to grab a cup of coffee before the selloff gets underway.” All of the big three credit rating firms – Standard & Poor’s, Moody’s Investor Services and Fitch – are threatening to downgrade U.S. debt if Congress fails to address the massive debt load and budget deficits that imperil this country’s long-term financial stability. With the bickering in Washington, D.C., reaching a fever pitch this week there is growing sentiment that a downgrade is imminent."

So there's the tinfoil hat part of me wondering if we are going to see a default/downgrade in order to place the blame for poor economic performance on that event and take the focus away from the policies of the past three years.  I know that seems a bit nutty, but think about it....  If you're the current occupant of the White House do you think you're going to win in 2012 running on your record?  You might be looking for a game-changer and considering how the 1995 US Government Shutdown went you might be willing to take your chances.
All I'm really saying is prepare for the worst outcome of all this and hope/pray for the best outcome to somehow materialize. 

Rural America "disappearing"

QUOTE: "Rural America now accounts for just 16 percent of the nation's population, the lowest ever. The latest 2010 census numbers hint at an emerging America where, by mid-century, city boundaries become indistinct and rural areas grow ever less relevant. Many communities could shrink to virtual ghost towns as they shutter businesses and close down schools, demographers say."

 I've always had this sneaking suspicion that "The Powers That Be" (whoever you believe them to be) want everyone sequestered together in large urban enclaves.  I'm not sure why, maybe to control what people do, maybe to concentrate resources, who knows....  My hope is that the Self-sufficiency/Preparedness movements are slowing that momentum down and perhaps can reverse it at some point.  There are, of course, many downsides to living in big cities as well as some positives (mostly job opportunities and certain types of services that smaller communities might not be able to provide).  Given the choice, I'll stick with small towns or even farm life over urban squalor and the "Rat Race".  

Mexican troops 'involuntarily' cross into US

Hmmm....  I sure hope that we don't continue to see these sorts of "involuntary" incidents.  Especially after the "Fast and Furious" scandal unfolding as I write this, the folks south of the border are probably not real happy about things right now. 
Is it too over-the-top to consider making survival plans about your country (wherever it might be) being invaded by a foreign power?   Probably, but the way things are going in the world these days almost nothing would be a surprise...

Survival and Austere Medicine: A Useful .PDF Guide

On tomorrow's episode I discuss becoming a "Survival Medic".  That is, what you do when you don't have your first aid kits at hand and ways to deal with problems that might come up.  Take a look at the .PDF shown above which appears to cover some of the same subject matter from a slightly different viewpoint.  Regardless, it looks like something worth adding to your Digital Survival Library.

More on the gunrunning scandal mentioned on today's show

I mentioned this a while back, but then pulled back a little to let the facts come out.  As I said on the show today if this had happened under a president of a party not affiliated with the major media this would probably be considered "worse than Watergate".  I am coming to the realization that our worst suspicions might be correct: That this was an operation known about at the highest levels (ie. the White House according to the Congressional testimony) and was done specifically to tamp down on American citizens' gun ownership rights, such as the recent ATF demands that multiple-rifle sales be reported in sort of a "proto-registration" scheme.  Keep an eye on this folks, it could get mind-blowingly interesting, especially once the debt ceiling stuff falls off the radar.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

The $1 Billion Armageddon Trade Placed Against the US Bond Market

QUOTE: "This means someone is confident that the United States is either going to default or is going to lose its AAA rating. That someone is willing to bet the proverbial farm that U.S. interest rates will be going up.I believe what happened is a debt-ceiling deal was done in Washington and leaked to a major proprietary trader. Everyone knows the debt negotiations in Washington have been an extreme game of brinksmanship between political parties, but now someone knows how that game played out. This had the hallmarks of one of the largest bond shops in the world knowing something the rest of the market didn't. The number of shops or even central banks that can take on this level of market risk is extremely small. Some that come to mind are hedge fund manager John Paulson, Bill Gross's PIMCO, and the U.S. and Chinese central banks.Paulson already scored big - about $6 billion big - on a similar trade years ago when he bet against subprime mortgages, the investments that helped bring down Lehman Bros. and many other investors. Whoever was behind it wanted a trade on ASAP, and didn't care about the ripples they would cause."

So let's assume the author of this article has figured out something important that the rest of the media is missing/ignoring.  What does that mean for you and me?  It appears that one way or another the US will likely loose its AAA credit rating and thus the interest on the debt is going to be taking up even more of the nation's budget.  In addition, it looks like it's very possible there could be a default.  And what will happen if the US defaults?  From what I can tell poking around on Google, it appears a lot of people are asking that very question. (NOTE: Despite his hyperventilating to the media and those on the left, the President is telling his bank buddies that we won't default.  So what is this whole 'crisis' about then?)

Monday, July 25, 2011

How not to practice "survival skills" in the wilderness

QUOTE: "Two of the teens, participating in a survival skills course, suffered life-threatening injuries, according to Alaska State Troopers, and two had injuries that were labeled "serious, but non-life-threatening." Three others were reported to have minor injuries or exposure-related issues."

 Well, they're still alive so I guess they passed the course.  :)

Washington Post: Somalis flee famine along ‘roads of death’

QUOTE: "Tens of thousands of Somalis, mostly women and children, are on the move, fleeing the worst famine in a generation in this Horn of Africa nation. Resilient Somalis have endured two decades of civil war and two consecutive seasons of failed rains. Now, after their livestock and crops have died, and with their babies suffering from malnutrition and food prices skyrocketing, they have given up any pretense that they can survive on their own."

How bad can it get?  Read the article.  Many of us have been blessed to live in places where traumatic events like those described in this article are religated to far-off distant places.  Still, never assume that "it can't happen here".  That's why people prepare the best they can and leave the rest in the Creator's hands. 

Friday, July 22, 2011

NYT: Farm Thieves Target Grapes, and Even Bees

The current state of the economy means we're going to continue to see the effects of this Depression, such as theft of pretty much anything of value, especially food.  Even leftist mouthpiece Paul Krugman admitted yesterday that we are in a Depression.  I'm concerned that as more people 'wake up' and realize what is happening that the events described in this article are going to be happening on a much greater scale.  My belief is we should try to help others as much as we can, but that no one has the right to come and steal what you have set aside for your family.  So take precautions now and plan for the worst, while still hoping this whole thing turns around. 

Terror hits Norway

Muslim group claims responsibility

When, oh when, is the West going to realize what it is up against?  How many times do we have to see this before we take it seriously?  The 1993 attack on the World Trade Center, the 1998 embassy bombings, the USS Cole in 2000, 9/11, Bali, the London Underground, and so on.... 
But don't worry, 'Big Sis' is trying to protect you from those real nasty white, middle-class potential 'terrorists'... 

UPDATE:  Horrific situation in Norway, 80+ killed, Now they're saying it was a domestic incident.  Tragic regardless. 

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Interesting study on "Stopping Power"

This was sent to me by a listener, although I came across a reference a few days ago but didn't take time to read it at the time.  Now I wish I had.  Fascinating article.  I've read numerous articles on stopping power (the idea of how a caliber performs at ending a threat) and this takes a different perspective but provides solid supporting evidence.
My main takeaway from it after reading the article is the following quote: "The results I got from the study lead me to believe that there really isn't that much difference between most defensive handgun rounds and calibers. None is a death ray, but most work adequately...even the lowly .22s. I've stopped worrying about trying to find the "ultimate" bullet. There isn't one. And I've stopped feeling the need to strap on my .45 every time I leave the house out of fear that my 9mm doesn't have enough "stopping power." Folks, carry what you want. Caliber really isn't all that important." 

New Terror Report Warns of Insider Threat to Chemical, Oil or Nuke Facilities

QUOTE: 'Sabotage by an insider at a major utility facility, including a chemical or oil refinery, could provide al Qaeda with its best opportunity for the kind of massive Sept. 11 anniversary attack Osama bin Laden was planning, according to U.S. officials.
A new intelligence report from the Department of Homeland Security issued Tuesday, titled Insider Threat to Utilities, warns "violent extremists have, in fact, obtained insider positions," and that "outsiders have attempted to solicit utility-sector employees" for damaging physical and cyber attacks.
"Based on the reliable reporting of previous incidents, we have high confidence in our judgment that insiders and their actions pose a significant threat to the infrastructure and information systems of U.S. facilities," the bulletin reads in part. "Past events and reporting also provide high confidence in our judgment that insider information on sites, infrastructure, networks, and personnel is valuable to our adversaries and may increase the impact of any attack on the utilities infrastructure."

Hmmmm....  If they know where the threats are then why aren't they removing those threats?  Makes you wonder...

More on the US heat wave and its impact on the power grid

AP Story about the stress on the power grid caused by the current heat wave

QUOTE: "Utilities say they're ready for high power demand and widespread electricity shortages or outages are unlikely. Lines and equipment are not fully taxed and there is more generating and transmission capacity available than usual because of the weak economy. Also, not many major storms are in the forecast, meaning fewer downed power lines."

You can see there are a few positive notes there so hopefully the grid won't get completely overwhelmed, but think of all the air conditioners running full speed and you can imagine the potential strain.

QUOTE #2: "The heat wave began a week ago in the Plains states and is expected to spread east through the weekend. It is lasting longer than most heat waves and is spread over an unusually wide area, according to Travis Hartman, the Energy Weather Manager at MDA Earthstat, which proves forecasts for utilities and other weather-dependent businesses."

 Looks like it will still be hanging around for a while, so if you are in one of the affected regions be safe and wise.  This is one of the emergencies you prepare for. 

U.N.: Somalis dying in world's worst famine in 20 years

USA Today story on famine in Somalia

QUOTE: "Tens of thousands of Somalis are feared dead in the world's worst famine in a generation, the U.N. said Wednesday, and the U.S. said it will allow emergency funds to be spent in areas controlled by al-Qaida-linked militants as long as the fighters do not interfere with aid distributions."

I hate to say it, but this is the first in-depth news I've heard about this particular area.  Famines in that area are certainly not unheard of, but "worst in 20 years"?  Very sad, and a stark reminder of the overall global food situation.  

Spokane Sustainable Preparedness Expo

Looks interesting enough that I might plan to try to drive up there to check it out.  The basic info is:

July 31 - 2011 ~ 11AM - 6:30PM

Spokane County Fair & Expo Center
404 North Havana St
Spokane Valley, WA 99202

Here are a few of the topics they plan to cover:

  • Crosscut Saw Sharpening & Use
  • Knives & Sharpening
  • Natural Remedies
  • Herbal Preparations
  • Renewable Energy Design, Sales, & Installation
  • Wood Gasifier Generators
  • Independent Water Systems
  • Heating with Wood
  • Spinning Wheel, Drum Carder, Drop Spindle
  • Homespun Fibers
  • Homeschooling
  • Primitive Home Hygiene
  • Drip Irrigation for Home Gardening
  • Organic Gourmet Garlic
  • Greenhouses
  • Organic Gardening
  • Water Bath & Pressure Canning
  • Food Dehydrating
  • Bread Making
  • Grain Mill & Grain Storage
  • Preserving Juice & Nuts
  • Freeze-dried Foods
  • Bee Keeping
  • Soap & Candle Making
  • Emergency Communications
If you live anywhere within driving distance it may be worth checking out. As I said, I'm thinking about it myself!

Heat "dome" traps much of US in pressure cooker

As I have sat here under cloudy skies the past few days I've actually been thankful to have such overcast conditions after taking a look at what the rest of the country is going through.  If you are in one of those areas make certain that you are drinking lots of water and take whatever steps you can to avoid heat stroke, etc.  So often we look at survival as dealing with world-changing cataclysmic events, but often the mundane like summer heat is a greater threat. 

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

TIME: What's causing the rice in global food prices?,8599,2083276,00.html

QUOTE: '"Taking a look around us today, it would be easy to conclude that Malthus was prescient. Food prices are near historic highs, driven upward by an ever larger, ever hungrier population. Every report of drought or flooding raises fears of global shortages. About 925 million people go to bed hungry every night. And every day we add 219,000 mouths to feed, while the land, water and other resources needed to produce additional food edge closer to their apparent limits. This intensifying "natural inequality" leaves some experts sounding like modern-day Malthuses. "No civilization has ever survived the ongoing destruction of its natural support system," says Lester Brown, president of the Earth Policy Institute. "And neither will ours."'

 A little bit of "overpopulation" fear-mongering perhaps, but there's no question that there is upward pressure on food prices (like the 37% overall increase in the past year I discussed a couple weeks ago on this blog).

Another quote: 'So was Malthus right? Not exactly. Even though the world's population has increased about sevenfold since his time, food production has more or less kept pace, at least enough that we don't suffer mass starvation. (Millions have starved for political reasons.) Nevertheless, the global food industry is at a crucial point. In the 2010-11 season, we consumed more grain than we produced, and food prices rose dramatically as a result. Globally, food costs 39% more today than just a year ago, according to the U.N.'s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). Grain reserves are in decline relative to our needs.'

 "Millions have starved for political reasons?"  That's enough to make it a little worrisome what the White House is pushing these days.... 

Saturday, July 16, 2011

NEW: Chip Monk Family Survival Forum

After spending a lot of time trying figure out how to set up something for our listeners to be able to interact, we finally have a forum up and running!  The address is:

While I've been a member of numerous forums over the years I'm new to the whole "run one yourself" side of the equation so help me out by stopping by to register and make a post or two about different Survival Topics to get things started off! 

Thanks everyone!
Chip :)

Friday, July 15, 2011

US privately preparing for default?

I still don't know what will come of all this, but despite all the reassurances by politicians that the limit will be raised it's starting to look like it may not be.  What then will happen?  Catastrophe?  Fiscal sanity?  Are the two sides fighting this out in order to achieve political advantage even if there is a significant downside risk?  Could we really, truly see some major repercussions from this? 
A lot of unanswered questions out there at this point... post about raising backyard chickens

We had planned to have our chickens in before now, but some travel events caused a delay.  We are still working on getting some, even at this point in summer, and I'm trying to brush up on some of the things we need to keep in mind.  I am curious if any of my listeners raise chickens?  You can email me directly with your experiences and I might use them on an upcoming podcast episode. 

Bloomberg: Ethanol rises to three year high as heat threatens corn crop

QUOTE: 'The grain-based additive gained as temperatures reaching 100 degrees Fahrenheit (37.8 Celsius) move across the corn-rich U.S. Midwest. Ethanol is made mostly from corn in the U.S., with one bushel making at least 2.75 gallons.'

I'm curious what, if any, impact the heat wave will have on food production, such as corn not used for ethanol but for consumption?  This could be yet one more threat to the food supply, along with all the others we've seen over the past year or two. 

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Return to Gold Standard as World Order unravels

QUOTE: '"It is very scary: the flight to gold is accelerating at a faster and faster speed," said Peter Hambro, chairman of Britain's biggest pure gold listing Petropavlovsk. "One of the big US banks texted me today to say that if QE3 actually happens, we could see gold at $5,000 and silver at $1,000. I feel terribly sorry for anybody on fixed incomes tied to a fiat currency because they are not going to be able to buy things with that paper money."' 

QUOTE #2: 'A new Gold Standard would probably be based on a variant of the 'Bancor' proposed by Keynes in the late 1940s. This was a basket of 30 commodities intended to be less deflationary than pure gold, which had compounded in the Great Depression. The idea was revived by China's central bank chief Zhou Xiaochuan two years ago as a way of curbing the "credit-based" excess.'
Perhaps what is mentioned in that second quote will be the new World Reserve Currency?  China and Russia have been talking about this idea for some time.  Regardless, it's becoming apparent that the Dollar is on its way out and that something is going to take its place.  Maybe this will be it?

"Carmaggedon" hits LA

I was actually pleasantly surprised to see authorities advising residents to stock up on food in some of the articles about this topic. It's too bad they don't offer such wise advice all the time...  Also, if it's like this because of a road closure what might it be during a real full-blown TEOTWAWKI-type event?  Something to think about if you live in the LA area, which some of our listeners do...

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

After Greece, Italy, Spain.... The US?

QUOTE: "Moody’s Investors Service put the U.S. under review for a credit rating downgrade as talks to raise the government’s $14.3 trillion debt limit stall, adding to concern that political gridlock will lead to a default."

This could get real interesting over the next few weeks.  

Greece downgraded to one notch above default

Looks like Italy and Spain might be next....

More terrorist attacks in Mumbai-At least 21 killed

KEY QUOTE RIGHT AT THE END: "But an attack linked to Pakistan will almost certainly put pressure on India to pull out of talks and take a hardline stance."

Both India and Pakistan have nukes.  As always, there's a non-zero chance this stuff couple escalate.  Wars and rumors of wars coming soon?  Let's hope and pray not, but this is more ugly news for Mumbai following the horrific attacks a few years ago.

Edible insects.... Yummy!

Today I discussed on the podcast the idea of wild edibles...  Of the creepy, crawly variety.  Now, for most of us those aren't our first choice when it comes to protein sources, but it is probably still worth knowing what you can and what you shouldn't eat when it comes to bugs.  The above page gives some *wonderful* illustrations to reinforce this point. ;)

CNBC: Will Congress allow US default to get a deal?

QUOTE: “Each party’s base appears unwilling to accept capitulation, raising the incentives for brinkmanship," he said. "It appears increasingly likely that neither side will be willing to concede ground until it is unavoidably clear that a crisis is imminent.”

Looks like it's becoming more and more likely this will go down to the wire.  Part of me says, let it default to show what an unsustainable path we are on.  The other side of me thinks "This is relatively uncharted waters.  Can we take that chance?" 
Stay tuned, folks.  We'll know in a couple of weeks regardless.

WSJ: Gold soars to yet new highs

Gold continues to climb and climb, with no end in sight.  Yes, there are temporary dips but with the various political issues out their devaluing currencies I doubt this is the end of Gold's ascension.  I'm not saying rush out and buy the stuff, but rather looking at what it tells us about the events happening in our world at present.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Chip's newest gardening adventure-Buckwheat!

This is my second post in a row pertaining to my issues with Gluten Intolerance, but since I believe that problem is much more common than most people think I thought I would briefly discuss another aspect.  I'm about to launch a new effort growing buckwheat in one large corner of our main garden plot.  People say it is easy to grow and nutritious so I'm excited to try it out.  Below are a couple of quotes from the above article:

QUOTE #1: "Buckwheat is one of the best sources of highquality protein in the plant kingdom. It's easy to grow, harvest, and process; it prospers on soils too poor for other crops; and it's not susceptible to any major disease or pest problems. On top of all that, buckwheat is an excellent smother crop for weed control, a superb green manure crop, and a legendary nectar source for honeybees."


QUOTE #2: "Yet few gardeners use it! In all the years we've planted buckwheat for bread and pancake flour, we've never heard of any other gardener raising the crop. So this article is our chance to speak up for an old friend, one that has served us faithfully . . . providing fine flavor and wholesome nutrition while asking for just a little care in return. We think buckwheat is the backyard grain you can bring in a usable harvest from as little as 40 square feet! It well deserves a place in American gardens."

I'll be rototilling and planting over the next couple of days.  We'll see how it goes, but I'm hoping for some good results I can share with you... ;)

Gluten-free long term survival foods

This is what we've picked up for our long-term gluten-free survival foods.  As I am a Celiac I can't rely on most of the common long-term storage foods out there, and although I haven't tried these yet they usually garner positive reviews.  If anyone has any specific experience with Augason Farms products, I'd love to hear from you and have you share your thoughts.

(NOTE: I've also heard that this company is good for flours, deserts, etc, but we have yet to try any of their products.)

Gold hits yet another new high

QUOTE: "Gold jumped to a record high Tuesday after the minutes from the Federal Reserve's June policy meeting indicated the central bank might be open to more monetary stimulus."

 I'm not a big PM guy for short-term preparedness needs (as mentioned on a podcast episode a while back) but for long-term "wealth preservation" it makes some sense.  I fully expect to see gold shoot through the roof at some point in the relatively near future, but I don't think we're quite there yet.  Still, you can see it's heading up again.

The Street: This time it's different.... Sell stocks!

QUOTE #1: "The mistake many have made and are continuing to make is that they view the jobs weakness of 2009-2011 as cyclical. It is not -- rather, it is a structural phenomenon. Employment will not resume (relative to bullish expectations and relative to past cycles) as the overall economy recover."

QUOTE #2: "The wrong tools are being used to deal with elevated unemployment that is being influenced by new factors that include globalization, austerity, the shedding of municipal jobs (associated with local, state and federal fiscal imbalances), technological innovation and the use of part-time employees as a permanent part of the workplace, reflecting mounting health care costs and the costs of regulatory burdens."

Too many people are looking at what's taking place through the lens of things we have experienced in the past.  The lesson of this article (which I mostly agree with) is we.... are.... in.... uncharted.... waters....  

New CMFSP Episode up with Listener Questions

On the above episode I cover several topics including:

* Mainstay Ration Bars as a survival food (see recent review at for more info)
* Fall/Winter planting (link to Territorial Seed Company)
* Debt Ceiling issues (some stories from today on that topic: #1 , #2, #3 )
* Current production .308 bolt firearms options (Marlin X7 (I mispoke-the XLR is a lever action) , Savage-Stevens, Remington 770, Savage 110 (see link for Savage-Stevens), Remington 700, Winchester 70, Ruger 77 )
* Mossberg 500/590 and Remington 870
* Discussion on Cabela's forum about different slug types


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Monday, July 11, 2011

What recovery? Media starting to admit something smells fishy....

Since the definition of a recovery is "things returning to what they were previously" it seems fairly obvious that there has not been a recovery.  But now, even mainstream news sources are starting to get it.  Below is a quote from the above article:

"The job market is defying history. A dismal June employment report shows that employers are adding nowhere near as many jobs as they normally do this long after a recession has ended. Unemployment has climbed for three straight months and is now at 9.2 percent. There's no precedent, in data going back to 1948, for such a high rate two years into what economists say is a recovery.  The economy added just 18,000 jobs in June. That's a fraction of the 90,000 jobs economists had expected and a sliver of the 300,000 jobs needed each month to shrink unemployment significantly.  The excruciatingly slow growth is confounding economists, spooking consumers and dismaying job seekers. Friday's report forced analysts to re-examine their assumption that the economy would strengthen in the second half of 2011."

You always have to wonder what the media's agenda is whenever they admit something that goes against their narrative, but I'm not sure what it is in this case.  Are things getting so bad that there's just no way to cover it up?  Or is this part of the "raise the debt ceiling game"?  Regardless, this fits the view I've had for a while that we have not been in any cycle of a "return to normalcy" over the past couple of years and that indeed we may be in the early stages of the Second Great American Depression.  Let's pray that is not the case.  

Drought across 14 states

For some reason I hadn't found much information about this prior to coming across this article.  Wow.  Read the article.  More upward pressure on food prices is coming....  So buy what you can now!

Great thread on building a bicycle trailer

It's entirely possible that I give a little too much focus on this blog to reminders of why it's important to prep (news stories, etc.).  However, this is one of those posts where I actually direct you to interesting information showcasing ideas for building practical and useful survival tools, in this case a bicycle trailer which offers many uses in a survival context. There are several video links in the thread that showcase different types of trailers and they also provide ideas of how to build one for yourself. 

Even dollar stores strugglin in 'Obama Depression'

QUOTE: "More stores across the U.S. that offer deeply-discounted products are seeing their sales decline after years of growth amid America’s “Great Recession” — and one analyst said on Monday it’s another sign of even deeper downturn.  While the demand at stores like the 99-Cent Store or Dollar Tree is still relatively high, the biggest chains in the nation have fallen short of Wall Street’s expectations for several months, a trend that may prove even more ominous for the economy at large. “I think what’s going on in those stores is that we are in a depression for 80 percent of Americans,” top retail analyst Howard Davidowitz told KNX 1070."

Not very long ago I read some news accounts about how Wal-Mart was suffering a major loss in sales.  Now I see that trend has "trickled down" even to the dollar store-type retail outlets.  I hope I'm wrong, folks, but it feels like whatever is happening is much worse than the media will let us know about as they serve as gatekeepers for any information that could reflect badly on "their guy".  My gut feeling is most people can see what is happening and (hopefully) are doing all they can to prepare for their loved ones.

BBC: People sleeping in their cars are the new homeless
QUOTE: "In a car park across the street from luxury mansions, the evening brings a strange sight.  A few cars arrive and take up spaces in different corners. In each car, a woman, perhaps a few pets, bags of possessions and bedding.  Across the street from homes with bedrooms to spare, these are Santa Barbara's car sleepers.  Homeless within the last year, they are a direct consequence of America's housing market collapse.
In this woman-only parking lot, Bonnee, who gives only her first name, wears a smart blue dress and has a business-like demeanour.  A year ago, she was making a healthy living as, ironically, a real estate agent. But when people stopped buying houses, her commission-based income dried up, and, like many clients, she too was unable to pay her mortgage.  Soon she found herself with nowhere to live but her 4x4.  Piles of blankets are in the back of the vehicle. Personal documents are stuffed into seat pockets. Books litter the back seat. A make-up bag and gym membership card (she washes at the gym) are in the front. With her constantly, are photos of her former life.  

She can't quite believe her situation. "My God, America's heart is bleeding," she tells me.  Tears fill her eyes."

There are signs all around if you just choose to look about how difficult things are for a lot of people.  I get emails on a regular basis from people who basically have nothing but are wanting to figure out ways to take care of their family.  Without sounding over-the-top I'll tell you it breaks my heart and I find myself trying to think of ways to help others around us.  One way we're thinking about is to try to use our garden here at the farm to help feed others.  That is more or less our goal for next year and I'll be sharing with my listeners as our efforts unfold.  Perhaps you can take a moment and think about ways you might be able to help your friends, loved ones, co-workers, etc. also if the economic downturn continues to gain speed.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Grizzly bear attack in Yellowstone

QUOTE: '“If a bear actually makes contact, surrender!” advises the US Forest Service. “Fall to the ground and play dead. Lie flat on your stomach, or curl up in a ball with your hands behind your neck. Typically, a bear will break off its attack once it feels the threat has been eliminated. Remain motionless for as long as possible. If you move, and the bear sees or hears you, it may return and renew its attack. In rare instances, particularly with black bears, an attacking bear may perceive a person as food. If the bear continues biting you long after you assume a defensive posture, it likely is a predatory attack. Fight back vigorously.”'

"Fight back vigorously?"  Why not be prepared to do that from the beginning.  Now granted I have a slightly different perspective than the USFS as one of my uncles was mauled and nearly killed by a black bear (and still has the effects of a broken back to deal with to this day) but shouldn't people be prepared to defend themselves if they're going to venture into the woods?  Whether that's bear spray, a firearm (a .44 Mag or better for Grizzlies, although any handgun will feel small against the big bears), a SWAT Team tucked away in a back pocket, or whatever else it just makes sense to plan ahead and bring a sufficient tool to do the job.  

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Powerful 7.8 magnitude quake off New Zealand triggers tsunami

QUOTE: "The U.S. Pacific Tsunami Center said it estimated that waves would reach East Cape in New Zealand within two hours and Auckland within three hours of the quake."

To my listeners in the New Zealand area I say a hardy "stay safe, folks".  We'll pray that everything and everyone is okay

NPR: Key to disaster survival: Neighbors

Why your friends and neighbors matter in a disaster

QUOTE: 'Aldrich's findings show that ambulances and firetrucks and government aid are not the principal ways most people survive during — and recover after — a disaster. His data suggest that while official help is useful — in clearing the water and getting the power back on in a place such as New Orleans after Katrina, for example — government interventions cannot bring neighborhoods back, and most emergency responders take far too long to get to the scene of a disaster to save many lives. Rather, it is the personal ties among members of a community that determine survival during a disaster, and recovery in its aftermath. 
When Aldrich visited villages in India hit by the giant 2004 tsunami, he found that villagers who fared best after the disaster weren't those with the most money, or the most power. They were people who knew lots of other people — the most socially connected individuals. In other words, if you want to predict who will do well after a disaster, you look for faces that keep showing up at all the weddings and funerals.'

 I'm planning a podcast on this very topic in the near future, so it is ironic that I came across a link to this article at  I've long felt that the "Lone Wolf" approach isn't very doable for most people and that the idea of grouping together in small communities makes the most sense.  So....  Stop for a moment, think about anyone and everyone you know who might be a resource in a disaster (short-term or long-term) and don't worry if you don't think they're "into prepping" currently.  Peoples' minds are changing about disaster readiness these days and you just might be surprised by some of the people in your life (I know I have been). 

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Day of the Triffids in New York?

NY DEC Warns That Giant Hogweed Plant Could Cause Blisters, Blindness

 Quote: "New York State environmental officials are trying to nip a huge, dangerous plant in the bud. The giant hogweed, a monster plant with flowers the size of umbrellas and sap that causes blisters and blindness, is spreading across New York. The Department of Environmental Conservation is asking for help locating outbreaks. The agency has set up a hotline at 845-256-3111 for people to call and report sightings of the invasive species. Callers are asked to provide photos and site information, but should avoid touching the plant."

A few questions come to my mind....  Is this some sort of new infestation from somewhere else or have these plants been around a while and are just now becoming a problem?  Have people actually been hurt or blinded by these?  What does their newfound proliferation mean?  Are they spreading because of changes in weather patterns?
Was "Little Shop of Horrors" really a documentary? ;)