Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Impeachment in Brazil: Latin America is running out of Populists.

And it cant happen fast enough. I’m honestly sick of the lot.
Dilma Rousseff was officially removed from office today. In the early 60s, Rousseff participated in the militant activities of the Comando de Libertação Nacional—COLINA (National Liberation Command) and advocated Marxist politics. She claims to have had a change of heart, going from Marxism to pragmatic capitalism. By this she means she’s the kind of Marxist that will play ball with the elite if that means that the redistribution mostly goes towards her own bank account.
First Cristina Kirchner, now Dilma and that clown in Venezuela Maduro will follow shortly.
Things are shaping up nicely in Latin America after a few dreadful decades.
Beware of Populism
Populism is a political sickness, a disease. I hails from both left and right, often in extreme sides of the political spectrum since there is where it festers best given that it needs fanaticism and lack of rational and critical thinking to survive. The Populist leader is always charismatic in his own way. Populists tend to shout. A lot. Moderation and dialogue is not their thing. Dialogue upsets them. They get their audiences engaged and their political agenda will be all about blaming those on the other side of the political spectrum and assure you that the only way to fight such a powerful enemy (Populists cant think in terms of political adversaries) is to concentrate as much power as possible on his own person. He’s the messiah, he’s the only possible saviour. A Populist will spend very little time talking about the people working with him and presenting them as individuals with their own ideas and potential. The Populist rather thinks in terms of people that work FOR him, not WITH him, as in him being equal among others working for the people they are supposed to represent. The people he represents, public resources and funds, it all belongs to him in his mind. The Populist doesn’t even consider the possibility of working with political adversaries for the good of the people. That’s simply unthinkable for him. The Populist is essentially a corrupt individual, capable of everything in order to care for what matters the most in his vision of the world: Himself.
Fernando “FerFAL” Aguirre is the author of “The Modern Survival Manual: Surviving the Economic Collapse” and “Bugging Out and Relocating: When Staying is not an Option”.

Monday, August 29, 2016

Important Survival Lessons from the Venezuela Collapse

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Freedom in the 50 States

Enjoy and thanks for your great weekly advice.
That’s pretty interesting information. It’s also well presented and easy to navigate.
I did a good amount of research for my second book “Bugging Out & Relocating” and the same best ranking States keep coming up.
New Hampshire is usually top 5 in key categories and its logical to see it do well here as well.
I think anyone considering relocating within USA should take a good long look at this map and data. The factors used to score freedom directly affect quality of life.
Fernando “FerFAL” Aguirre is the author of “The Modern Survival Manual: Surviving the Economic Collapse” and “Bugging Out and Relocating: When Staying is not an Option”.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Coup d’état in Argentina likely?: Yes

Hello Fernando:
I have read your work for quite some time. You have given me a lot of ideas over the past couple years on my attempt to go “Galt” and I thank you.
You are the only person at the moment that I could think of to answer a really bizarre question, is Argentina in the midst of a coup?
My wife’s family is from Argentina. She has an aunt visiting from B.A. who phoned home to check on the dog and a neighbour told her that there was a possible coup taking place…..
I have not seen or heard anything anywhere, but then again propaganda being what it is today….what would one expect?
I understand this email is coming from out of nowhere, and completely understand if you wish to ignore it. But if you are able to confirm or deny you will keep my wife’s aunt from life support ( and me supporting her for the rest of my life). Please – no need to publish any of this in your blog. —- unless you think it fits a discussion/narrative on propaganda.
Hello Edward,
Thanks for your email. Actually, yes, your question is pretty accurate.
Coups aren’t that rare in Argentina. A coup d’état literally mean “blow of state”. In December 2001, it is well known that while the social agitation was very real and people were indeed angry, Peronist leaders were the ones that gave the situation that extra push. President Fernando de la Rúa sure lacked the political skills to keep the country under control but the various Peronist governors and leaders across Buenos Aires were the ones that allowed the looting to get out of control forcing the president to resign.
It’s actually the same populist and nationalist politicians which are attempting the same thing now, most of them aligned with the previous Kirchner government. I cannot emphasize enough how important it is to never EVER give up reason, logic and sensible debate to extremist nationalist and populist ideas no matter how good they may seem to some. You cannot expect anything good to come out of someone you already know is corrupt and lacks any kind of moral compass.
Right now we have Mauricio Macri for president. In spite of his flaws, he’s by far the best president we’ve had since the return of democracy after the last military junta.
Your aunt’s neighbour is right. They are trying to get rid of him. They will try to either kill him or overthrow him. The thing is, killing him would leave his sidekick vice president Gabriela Michetti in charge, and she would continue his work. Now if they manage to overthrow him along with his entire political party and everyone associated to it, then the corrupt Peronists can take control of the country again. The main objective here is pretty simple. It’s a matter of survival. Former president Cristina Kirchner is against the ropes. Every day a new offshore account is found, another of her dogs is caught with gym bags full of cash, even her daughter was caught with 9 millions USD in cash in a safe deposit box. We’re talking billions of dollars here that she stole through different channels. Every day she’s closer to going to jail. There’s even accusations of treason given her dealings with Iran. If she doesn’t manage to overthrow Macri she will go to jail along with her two children and accomplices. This is no secret though and most main media groups in the country are already connecting the dots and showing how indeed there is a deliberate plan to create instability among the population and question the legitimacy of the government. I doubt they will be successful, mostly because the cat is out of the bag and the population knows this. They know what they are trying to do. Still, the may manage to do it if the government doesn’t stop the operation against them in time. December is usually the hottest month in Argentina, both weather and political wise. Most episodes of political violence occur during the summer holyday of November and December.
Who knows. All I know is that I cant wait to see the Kirchners and their accomplices rotting in jail.
Fernando “FerFAL” Aguirre is the author of “The Modern Survival Manual: Surviving the Economic Collapse” and “Bugging Out and Relocating: When Staying is not an Option”.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Relocating: The Great life experience of living Abroad

Monday, August 15, 2016

British Pound beats Argentine Peso for Worst currency of 2016

Never in a millions years would I have thought I would end up writing that headline one day but there it is.
The British pound has beaten Argentina’s peso to a title nobody wants: the world’s worst performing currency.
Yes, The British Pound is the worst performing currency for 2016, doing worse so far this year than any other major currency. That means it’s even worse than Argentina’s peso, which so far this year is down 11.7% against the dollar. Since voting to leave the European Union the pound has plunged 14% against the U.S. dollar. It’s down about 12% since the start of the year, and is trading at its lowest level since 1985.
If this doesn’t make your spider sense tingle I don’t know what will. People in developed countries just do not understand what it means for a currency to devaluate 5% ,  let alone 10 or 15%. I don’t blame them. It just isnt that common in 1st world countries. I on the other hand know exactly what it means.
There’s no free ride folks. This has devastating consequences. Its not a matter of if, the devaluation already happened and people will pay for it. They will pay it at the grocery store, older people will pay it with their pensions. For each point of devaluation, a proportional number of middle class people fall into poverty.
For those that are about to learn a lot of this the hard way, get my book  “The Modern Survival Manual: Surviving the Economic Collapse” so as to minimize the blow as much as possible and get ready for what’s coming.
Fernando “FerFAL” Aguirre is the author of “The Modern Survival Manual: Surviving the Economic Collapse” and “Bugging Out and Relocating: When Staying is not an Option”.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Zero Tolerance ZT0561: The Beauty and the Beast

The Zero Tolerance 0560/0561 is a knife that combines great materials, American craftsmanship and an outstanding esthetical design (fancy words for pretty).
And pretty it sure is. Maybe the prettiest folder ever made. In my opinion even more so than Rick Hinderers Xm-18 which inspired it. People will say they like the Elmax steel (more on that later) or that they appreciate Rick Hinderer’s design, based on his experiences in both rescue and firefighting. As someone with decades of experience with knives, using them, buying them and yes, even making them and reading books specifically about knives I can tell you this: Looks is what catches the attention of 99.9% of buyers when they first see a knife, and this is particularly true about the ZT0560. Very few folders have such eye-pleasing lines, proportions, colours and texture.
Is it all about looks though? Of course not.
The design is sound. The 3D machined titanium scale is very solid and comfortable, providing a good frame lock. By the way, if its not locking solid and disengages when lightly smacking the spine of the blade then send it back for replacement because its not supposed to do that. They need to tighten the locking bar or maybe address the contact surface of the bar. The Lock Bar Stabilizer prevents the accidental over travel of the lock bar during closing of the knife. The steel insert in the lock bar prevents both the sticking of the lock bar due to titanium-steel contact. It also means it wont wear down nearly as much after years of hard use. If it gets used that much, which is unlikely, its just a matter of replacing the insert. Steel is premium Bohler-Uddeholm ELMAX steel with extremely high wear and corrosion resistance. This super steel is stainless but acts like carbon steel allowing relatively easy sharpening in spite of its outstanding edge retention ability, which sometimes comes at the cost of much more work needed for sharpening. The blade geometry is a wide, drop point shape. Thick, but pretty classic. The bevel angle is pretty steep, which makes sense for a work knife although a more narrow bevel should be put in it to take full advantage of the high quality steel. This will come at a cost though, super steel or not, a more narrow angle means less steel behind the edge. Mess with this only if you know very well what you are doing and intent to use the knife for cutting and carving in softer materials. Otherwise, leave it as it is. There nothing wrong with it.
The blade has thumb studs but its clearly intended to be used as a flipper. My knife came with an unusually strong detent. After flipping it about a thousand times its just now starting to let go enough and feeling comfortable to deploy. So yes, a break in period makes it better. The squeaking sound is also gone now. After that, the knife opens smoothly thanks to the KVT ball-bearing opening system. I’m still using the first interphalangeal joint in my index finger rather than the pad for stronger deployment of the flipper.

The ZT0561/0560 has a four position deep pocket carry clip. Scales are machined titanium on one side and G10 on the other.
The design, while pretty, is not perfect. For example the thumb studs are all but useless for opening the knife. ZT says they aren’t intended to be used, rather worth as a blade stop when the knife is opened, the studs resting on the scales. If you still do use it, the studs easily catch the flesh of your finger pad. This also happens with the jimping on the flipper and the web of your hand between the index and thumb(why put jimping there at all?) Clearly, flipping is the intended method of use. The G10 scales have some sharp edges. These can be easily fixed with some sand paper, same thing for the (again) jimping that is a tad too aggressive in the handle. Although its easy enough to fix, you shouldn’t have to do any of this on a +USD200 knife.
Finally, maybe the thing that bothers me the most but doesn’t seem to be bothering others: The KVT ball-bearing opening system. Yes, its supposed to be super smooth but with the strong locking bar that slows it anyway I just don’t see the point vs traditional washers. You don’t really gain anything over correctly worn in phosphor bronze washers, while being less abuse resistant. Don’t get me wrong, it will work for cutting your entire life if you look after it. But washers are stronger if you even need to pry with your ZT. Can you pry with your ZT0560 if you need it? Yes you can, you can pry the hell out of it. If it wasn’t the case I wouldn’t have bought the knife and I wouldn’t be writing this. Its just that with the ball-bearing system you are more likely to deform the titanium contact surface. Washers are simply tougher and I always prefer tougher.
But I read that this knife sucked…
I always do a lot of research before buying anything, especially when I’m spending this kind of money on a knife.
As good as the ZT0560/0561 may be, its not perfect. Many users have reported problems with the steel being too soft, rolling or chipping. After researching some more it seems the problem was with the heat treatment of the earlier version around 2012 or so. In some cases, sharpening the knife fixed the problem (soft metal on the outside, but ok on the inside) in others the heat treatment itself was the problem and the knife needed to be sent back for replacing the blade. Even in the early models, this was very rare and most people were extremely happy with the performance of Elmax steel. These last few years such a problem is unheard of as far as I know.
If you want something similar, a bit smaller, a lot cheaper and without the KVT system, check out the ZT0566.

You have a knife that have the same great built quality, ELMAX steel, but a 3.25 inch blade rather than 3.75 with Speed Safe assisted opening system.
Fernando “FerFAL” Aguirre is the author of “The Modern Survival Manual: Surviving the Economic Collapse” and “Bugging Out and Relocating: When Staying is not an Option”.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Someone please tell Mr. Trump...

That thanks to the United States Constitution, ALL Americans are “2nd Amendment people”.
And if by “2nd Amendment people” he meant law-abiding gun owners, tell him that none of us is a deranged criminal willing to murder political adversaries.
Fernando “FerFAL” Aguirre is the author of “The Modern Survival Manual: Surviving the Economic Collapse” and “Bugging Out and Relocating: When Staying is not an Option”.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Survival 101: Put together a basic food stockpile

Dry Organic Whole  Wheat Pasta, 99.9% Ethanol and a Super Cat Stove.
Food is critical for survival. That’s no secret. Air, water, food and shelter, those are the rules. Although air related preps do exist (respirators) and are critical (try not breathing for a few minutes see how that works out for you) its pretty much all around you all the time. Shelter is key as well. Exposure kills, but we have evolved a good bit and its not as hard to find adequate clothing and shelter although both are vast survival topics. Something similar goes on with water. Yes, water is essential and water purification itself is tremendously important. I’ve been without running water and its no fun. Far worse than not having power.
Now food. Food’s the thing. You need air every few seconds, you need water every few hours, and food too you need every day. But the thing about food is that even today it’s a) not as plentiful, not when compared to water let alone air b) Its far more expensive.
Lack of food is the thing that has killed millions throughout history. It still does. Its easy today to lose perspective of how important it is but in places like Venezuela where most barely have a couple servings of food in storage, they know the truth.
I never went through anything quite that bad but got a bit of a taste of it myself in Argentina, especially right after the economic collapse. All of a sudden all prices doubled, then tripled, then quadrupled. Suddenly it became damn hard to buy anything. Its ok if you have a hard time buying a new phone of stupid crap like that but having a hard time buying enough food to keep you going is serious business. What are you going to do? Ask friends and family? (Who happen to be going through the same thing themselves)? Beg? Eat out of the trash? Oh wait, you’ll grow your own right. That’s nice, and by all means do, but let me tell you one thing: When things are SO bad that a country can’t get its act together to keep rice and oil stocked, then finding seeds/fertilizer/supplies/tools and the long etc needed for gardening is almost impossible. If anything having a garden helps, but it not a solution to the food problem. There’s a reason why when famines occur millions die. Very few people are truly self-reliant food wise, and even those that are they need a good amount of supplies and infrastructure to keep their operation running long term. Now if you’re one of those fully self-sufficient persons in all aspects of survival including food production then more power to you. If you’re just another mere mortal wondering how to tackle this issue in a simple manner keep reading.

Lentils, Canned Olive oil and whole Grain Rice
Crunching numbers…
I’m no cook. I’m no Mr. Pantry either. Some people love the food and cooking side of prepping but that aint me. Like any Argentine worth his salt I can cook any dead animal with charcoal or firewood and I make a mean pizza, but other than that and a handful of basic recipes that it. This is more about having calories to keep you alive. So with that in mind here’s the idea: Stores are closing, there wont be any power, what do you stock up today to keep you alive? Oh, to make things interesting, its just one food item you can pick. The rest you will have to pick yourself, grow, trade for /work for or buy later down the road. Now some folks with go for bulk red winter wheat and that’s fine, but I’ll go with this: dry pasta. Its basically the same thing as flour, only that already processed into a form that is easy to cook. Its cheap, lasts for years, cooks in 5 minutes and keeps you alive. A pack of pasta can cost about .50 cents. Around here you can get somewhat nicer organic whole grain pasta made in Italy for 1.50. This may not be the cheapest, but its affordable and good quality. Each pack has 500gr of pasta, enough for four servings. For 60 servings, enough for two months, that’s 15 pack of pasta or 7.5 kilos, which costs 22.5 Euros (roughly the same in dollars in USA). Caloric wise 100gr of pasta gives you 350 calories, which means 875 calories worth of pasta per day which isnt even close to the 2000 calories you need per day. You either need to have either four servings rather than just two per day, or (more likely ) complement your diet with something else. Rice and lentils would be my suggestion (they will need more fuel for cooking though), and plenty olive oil over whatever fresh vegetables you manage to procure. Realistically speaking though two servings of pasta per day makes sense to crunch the numbers for a basic staple that will be supplemented with other food, but a pack of 500gr a day per person is doable and this gives you either food to eat four meal of a day, or more clever, eat two and trade the other two for something else so as to vary your diet. A pack of 500gr a day per person costs 45 bucks a month, still very doable, and where using the more expensive type of pasta that costs twice as much compared to the cheaper store brand. In most American Walmart you have Great value spaghetti going for $2.07 for 908gr. (2lbs). Buying 17 packs per person should be enough for a month (eating or trading) which is just 35.19USD a month. I get it, you wont eat pasta all day for the rest of your life, but at this rate a year supply of pasta is $422.28, 1800 calories a day. In case youre wondering, you can live on that. Thin, but alive. Throw in some fruit, vegetables or multivitamins to cover vitamin C requirements and avoid scurvy and you’ll be better than you imagine. With pasta as your main staple and little else to round up a more balanced nutritional diet a dollar a day per person is possible when buying bulk.
So pasta rocks. It keeps you alive, its dirt cheap, lasts for years (decades if stored away from bugs and humidity in a sealed container) and it cooks fast. Now if the world is ending, or a bit less tragic if you go Venezuela, how are you going to cook it if you don’t have electricity? A Super Cat stove and alcohol is a viable solution. Lets crunch those numbers then. You need 50ml of alcohol to get a pot of water boiling for 5-6 minutes. If you do this twice a day that’s 100ml per day, or 3 litres per month. Around here a bottle of 250 ml of 99.9% ethanol costs 0.7 cents, so its 2.8 Euros per liter. 8.4 Euros of fuel per month, 100.8 Euros a year.
This is of course and oversimplification of a topic that is pretty complex but having food in your belly makes all the difference in the world. With a dollar a day per person and 110 USD worth of fuel for cooking having 6 to 12 months worth of food really isnt as hard as some people believe it to be.
Fernando “FerFAL” Aguirre is the author of “The Modern Survival Manual: Surviving the Economic Collapse” and “Bugging Out and Relocating: When Staying is not an Option”.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

79 year old living in a cave and doing great: Three reasons Why

In reply to:  Argentina:  man lives in cave for 40 years
Granted he is living a rough life, but he is free. Looks like he is in remarkable shape for a guy almost 80. I am impressed with this man. He needs to write his own SHTF book.
Hi Martin. Thanks for the comment.
I did notice that as well. Let me say this just in case anyone has any kind of doubt regarding where I stand: NO, I don’t say move to a cave. I have no doubt it’s a miserable life. In Mr. Pedro Luca's own words, he wishes he would have done things different in his life (check the previous post) I also doubt this man is getting much in regards to proper medical care, but more on that later.
Having said this, I’d also like to point out three factors that probably explain why this man is looking better than most 79 year olds we know, that haven’t been living in a cave in the middle of nowhere.
1)Food & Exercise. This man is obviously on a very lean diet. The kind of staples he eats, combined with his chicken and whatever it is he hunts makes for a diet better than what 99% of Americans eat. A key aspect here is quantity. This man hasn’t got much wealth and has to ration his food carefully. I’ve written before about the advantages of a low caloric diet which considerably slows down ageing and extend life by 20-30%. If you’re reading this for the first time it may surprise you, but what will blow up your mind is googling the topic and finding out this has been proven to be true beyond doubt. Eating 20% less calories than the recommended amount for your size extends your life by pretty much the same percentage. This man clearly walks a lot as well. The article mentions him going on three hour treks to reach the nearest settlement. I’m sure he walks a lot checking his traps and hunting as well. This along with tending his fire, carrying water, caring for his animals and carrying supplies back to his cave keeps the 79 year old in good shape. Check the link below and see the video, he moves surprisingly well for a man about to turn 80.
2)No excessive medication and treatments. I’ve also written before about the problem with the corrupt medical practice around the world. I wont deny the marvels or modern medicine but I have little doubt that half of the surgery, treatments and drugs sold are pure nonsense and only done so as to make money out of the victi.. I mean patients. This has been my experience with both doctors and dentists and numerous reports and studies support such tendencies.  I bet a thousand bucks that 90% of the drugs sold around the world can be completely avoided by eating more frugal amounts of food like this man does and walking more. Lets keep it real as well. This man may drop dead today from something that if checked once a year by a doctor could have been prevented. Moderation and common sense folks.
3)This man may feel very lonely at times. Living in isolation means depression is a real risk, and even in such location it can (ironically) develop stress. Then again he does go to the nearby town somewhat often and according to the article and video he seems to be liked and respected by locals. He even gets visited by tourists, all of which he seems to enjoy so he probably has enough social interaction to keep him mentally healthy as well. I bet he’s not nearly as stressed as many people are with their nine to five routines, talking with a dozen people they cant stand each day just because they share an office.
Living a stress free lifestyle is as important as eating right. A few days ago I was reading about the countries with the best life expectancy.
According to the World Health Organization, Spain ranks #4 (Behind Japan, Switzerland and Singapore, in that order). A lot of that is attributed to the Mediterranean diet and good healthcare, but living here I assume the easy going lifestyle also has a lot to do with it. The “work to live rather than live to work” mentality takes a bit of getting used to but eventually you see that it’s the healthier attitude.
Fernando “FerFAL” Aguirre is the author of “The Modern Survival Manual: Surviving the Economic Collapse” and “Bugging Out and Relocating: When Staying is not an Option”.

Monday, August 1, 2016

Argentina: man lives in cave for 40 years

Pedro Luca holdig his shotgun in front of his cave.
79 year old Pedro Luca has been living in a cave in San Pedro de Colalao, a desolated part of the province of Tucuman located in the northwest of Argentina.
Now if you think living like this is fun, think again. Mr. Luca’s life is pretty solitary and to be honest quite miserable. He wakes up at 3AM to begin his day by starting a fire. He keeps elven roosters and two goats, hunts and traps or goes to the nearest settlement 3 hours away down the mountain to buy some supplies (candles, yeast, corn) and collect his pension of 160 USD. He collects water from a creek. Of course he has no running water or power. He has leathery, weathered skin and few teeth left. I know that part of the country well enough. It gets very cold at night. Winters over there must be terrible and the wind sandblasts your skin. And then there’s of course the pumas which wont think twice about having you for lunch if not kept at bay with fire or gunshots.

Quoting Mr. Luca: "I never asked myself why I chose to live here," he says. "There was another cave nearby but I liked this one better. Sometimes, I think that I would have liked to travel the world, see Europe. But there's a lot of sea in the middle of it all and you have to have the time to cross that sea."
Lesson of the day folks: Remember this next time you think about grabbing your INCH bag (Im never coming home bag) and running to the hills to live off the land.
Fernando “FerFAL” Aguirre is the author of “The Modern Survival Manual: Surviving the Economic Collapse” and “Bugging Out and Relocating: When Staying is not an Option”.