Thursday, December 31, 2009

Detroit: Socialist Lab

I watched the videos of you driving around Argentina and,

really, it doesn't look so bad compared to Detroit:

Then again, Detroit had a head start and far more
 devastating riots back in the 1960s. 
Hi Brian, thanks for the video. Hope it helps people make better decisions on next elections. Situations aren't similar. What happened in Detroit is terrible but what happens in the settlements here is extreme poverty. Not talking about abandoned towns and homes, but people building shacks with pieces of wood, many just with cardboard and plastic sheet on flooded junkyards full of rats. Some even make wooden platforms and live there, over the flooded filth. Check the video again and hear what I say when I head to Camino Negro. Sorry, didn't get out of the car and walk around filming. Few sane people would on their own.

                                    Villa Miseria Ingeniero Bunge, in Camino Negro.
The place I drove by wasn't empty,  but rather full of extremely poor people, many of which would steal everything I had on me so dont expect me to get out of the car and risk my neck filming around a Bs. As. "villa". :-) Who knows? I've done some stupid stuff in the past, so maybe I will one day, just don't hold your breath. Excellent video, hope everyone watches it and votes right next time! 


Financial Terms

Anonymous Seth said...
FerFal, Wanted to address the belief in hyper-inflation that most preppers seem to have. I think it's just as likely (more in the short/intermediate time frame) that we'll have deflation. It's not like the Fed is printing money and dumping it on the street. They loan it to the big commercial banks who try to loan it to the public. If the public doesn't want to borrow more money, inflation doesn't happen! And especially not hyper-flation. On the other hand, deflation has been happening already and appears to be accelerating. As more people/businesses default on their loans, asset prices will continue to drop. Consider also price wars that various retailers have engaged in this past year. If you are prepping for hyper inflation, you may want to consider diversifying away from such an exclusive viewpoint.
December 30, 2009 10:58 AM

Thanks Seth. Preparedness means learning new stuff, new skills and trades. At first just because its a good idea, then after wards because you dont have a choice. Learning about these terms and definitions is important, the tricks used to cook the books and make the figures look nicer.

Selling food and other products in slightly smaller containers with odd shapes forms that "look" big but actually trick the eye is used a lot here. Most people wont read the actual volume or weight.

Seth, deflation wont be a problem, worry much more about inflation. As you well notice, people have no other option but to ask for loans, this will be unstoppable as more and more people become poor and try to claw their way out of that hole.


Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership


There is a very strident pro-2nd amendment organization based in the US called Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership (JPFO). I recognize that most American Jews are screaming liberals, but one of the problems with stereotypes - sometimes they are dead ass wrong.

JPFO's pro-gun stand is profound, absolute and dare I say radical. They denounce the anti-gun polices of Jewish politicians like Sen.Barney Frank and Sen.Charles Schumer comparing these Jewish politicians to Adolph Hitler. Wow! These JPFO folk are really something out of the ordinary.

Occasionally they have articles on other items, and today they had a short article on Argentina - would be interested in your comments.


Don't Cry For Me, America


In the early 20th century, Argentina was one of the richest countries in the world. While Great Britain's maritime power and its far-flung empire had propelled it to a dominant position among the world's industrialized nations, only the United States challenged Argentina for the position of the world's second-most powerful economy.

It was blessed with abundant agriculture, vast swaths of rich farmland laced with navigable rivers and an accessible port system. Its level of industrialization was higher than many European countries: railroads, automobiles and telephones were commonplace.

In 1916, a new president was elected. Hipólito Irigoyen had formed a party called The Radicals under the banner of "fundamental change" with an appeal to the middle class.

Among Irigoyen's changes: mandatory pension insurance, mandatory health insurance, and support for low-income housing construction to stimulate the economy. Put simply, the state assumed economic control of a vast swath of the country's operations and began assessing new payroll taxes to fund its efforts.

With an increasing flow of funds into these entitlement programs, the government's payouts soon became overly generous. Before long its outlays surpassed the value of the taxpayers' contributions. Put simply, it quickly became under-funded, much like the United States' Social Security and Medicare programs.

The death knell for the Argentine economy, however, came with the election of Juan Perón. Perón had a fascist and corporatist upbringing; he and his charismatic wife aimed their populist rhetoric at the nation's rich.

This targeted group "swiftly expanded to cover most of the propertied middle classes, who became an enemy to be defeated and humiliated."

Under Perón, the size of government bureaucracies exploded through massive programs of social spending and by encouraging the growth of labor unions.

High taxes and economic mismanagement took their inevitable toll even after Perón had been driven from office. But his populist rhetoric and "contempt for economic realities" lived on. Argentina's federal government continued to spend far beyond its means.

Hyperinflation exploded in 1989, the final stage of a process characterized by "industrial protectionism, redistribution of income based on increased wages, and growing state intervention in the economy."

The Argentinean government's practice of printing money to pay off its public debts had crushed the economy. Inflation hit 3000%, reminiscent of the Weimar Republic. Food riots were rampant; stores were looted; the country descended into chaos.

And by 1994, Argentina's public pensions - the equivalent of Social Security - had imploded. The payroll tax had increased from 5% to 26%, but it wasn't enough. In addition, Argentina had implemented a value-added tax (VAT), new income taxes, a personal tax on wealth, and additional revenues based upon the sale of public enterprises. These crushed the private sector, further damaging the economy.

A government controlled "privatization" effort to rescue seniors' pensions was attempted. But, by 2001, those funds had also been raided by the government, the monies replaced by Argentina's defaulted government bonds.

By 2002, ".government fiscal irresponsibility. induced a national economic crisis as severe as America's Great Depression."

In 1902 Argentina was one of the world's richest countries. Little more than a hundred years later, it is poverty-stricken, struggling to meet its debt obligations amidst a drought.
We've seen this movie before. The Democrats' populist plans can't possibly work, because government bankrupts everything it touches. History teaches us that ObamaCare and unfunded entitlement programs will be utter, complete disasters.
Today's Democrats are guilty of more than stupidity; they are enslaving future generations to poverty and misery. And they will be long gone when it all implodes. They will be as cold and dead as Juan Perón when the piper must ultimately be paid.
References: A tear for Argentina's pension funds; Inflation in Argentina; The United States of Argentina.

Hi, Yes, I knew about JPFO, thanks for sharing.


Economic Collapse - Housing‏

I was wondering what you think will happen in the US regarding housing. I don't understand if we have hyperinflation how people will be able to afford their rent or mortgages. If prices for food and gas and clothing double or triple, and local / property taxes increase to enable the local government to stay in business, then I can't afford my mortgage. But if I lose my house, then how will I afford rent, when the costs for the owner of the apartment will be in the same shoes? I am thinking that the federal government will have to pass some law whereby instead of being evicted from our homes, the banks will be required to let us stay on as renters, with some sort of deal to make it affordable.... What insight can you share, as a landlord yourself?


Hi Mike,
I’m no landlord, I administer some property for my family but don’t own it myself, at least not exclusively. :-)
A number I would live by regarding prices is 50%. After the REAL price drops to ½ , investors usually start getting interested. That’s what happened in the 30’s and in most other crisis and economic collapse. Now, before you comment with a 80% price drop, read again. I’m talking about REALISTIC prices, not over inflated ones. Here in Spain, close to Barcelona for example, a good but small 2 room flat will cost 300.000 Euros . Now is that realistic? No, not in my opinion.

Why not? Because if you compare the property, its size and location to similar properties in similarly important cities, you notice the price is still inflated a lot. The real price would be around 200.000-250.000 USD, but not more. 50% of that is how far it would be likely to drop during a crisis.
A development in the middle of nowhere that starts turning into a ghost town? Well, my friend, maybe it was never worth the 300.000 USD you paid for it. Location, location, location.

Crisis+Bad enough location, it may not be worth nothing at all.
Mike, the answer to your questions is simple: You just turn poor. You end up in welfare, you end up living under a bridge for real. That’s poor around here.
There may be some new deals made b the government to help, but also understand there’s only so much they can do before they start making more damage than actually helping the economy. There WILL be more poor people because of the situations you describe.


Monday, December 28, 2009

Reply:Predictions for 2010

Greg A said...

You are very mistaken if you are referring to the US economy "improving" in 2011. I recently read your book and found many good suggestions; however I had already taken all of those precautions and more. 99% of people here in the US are TOTALLY unprepared for what is coming in the next couple of years. I am a CPA/ Economist by Profession and I wonder as to what your reasoning is for your projection of an "improving" economy in 2011.

Hi Greg, sounds like you have things sorted out. You already have taken all the precautions I mention and more. A couple years worth of food, other gear and supplies, firearms and weapons training, hand to hand fighting training and physical conditioning. A hardened and defendable home, financial security and alternative plan b and c in other countries. If you don't mind me asking, what other precautions did you take (when you say "and more)?

I prefer to be rather cautious regarding how bad things will get. You usually end up sounding like a fool when you predict terrible events every year and your prophecies dont become true. Even if they do to some degree, if you spent your entire life crying out like Chicken Little, even when things do happen, you didn't predict anything, it was just bad things happening sooner or later.
It's simply impossible to predict with accuracy such events, you can only see if things will be better or worse, the general trend.
Yes, 2010 will be bad, but how bad it will get is impossible to tell, too many variables.

Why do I believe 2011 may start to look better? First, its USA, not some pathetic collapsed nation. After another year of unemployment things may change.
Second, other European counties are just now getting fully into the crisis, a process that started already in USA last year. Therefore, the recovery of USA will be sooner than the one of many EU countries.

3rd, the housing prices wont go down much more. After next year prices will level themselves and maybe by 2011 maybe will even start going up a little bit due to the speculative market that took advantage of the low prices, plus the people that found real estate to be a way to protect money from inflation.
Maybe 2011 wont be the inflection point and it will take until Obama leaves, that's another possiblity depending on how bad Obama messes things up, but again, I prefer to keep a positive attitude.


Sunday, December 27, 2009

Predictions for 2010

AHA from Interesting Times Magazine asked for some 2010 predictions for the next issue.
This is what I sent him:

2010 doesn’t look too good.

More unemployment in 1st world countries, more social problems and an increase in crime.

People that used to live in places where they didn’t even lock the doors will now suffer home invasions and either adapt to the new reality or become victims.

Friends and relatives that had high standards of living are now poor.

More people on the streets, more families dumpster diving.

The wave of people in Europe that lost their jobs in 2009 are now running out of “el paro”, the unemployment bill the government gives them, this will probably cause protests and maybe even some social unrest.

More people will return to their countries of origin as the 1 world countries they went to now lack job opportunities.

In USA the government will desperately go out hunting for tax money. 2010 will likely be remembered as a year of increased taxes as well as new ones. Fines and such, they will all go up in price to round up money to pay for the bailout and free healthcare.

Government control and invasion of privacy will become a more serious problem as the authorities try to control every aspect of people’s lives, and their spendings.

It’s not all bad. It will also be the time for business opportunities. Those that understand the new needs and new social sectors may find ways of making good money.

Even more people will be moving back to their parents and families living together chipping in all together to make a living.

The grandparents are now sought after for their nanny capabilities, saving money for the family doing such job.

There will be a reduction in the leisure market. People will be buying some luxury items but even the higher classes will become a bit more careful about spending in general.

Throwing money ridiculously wont be fashionable any more, and different groups and non profit organizations will be formed, not to save the whales or rainforest, but to feed the new generation of poor children.

There’s going to be an increase of small, home based business and companies, started by ex-unemployed.

2010 will still be a complicated year for most people, mostly reagrding unemployment, poverty, inflation and a new problem: higher rates of violent crime.

By the time we start 2011 we will have both a more solid economy and society. By 2011, the main problem wont be the economy, but governments that now have too much power, power that was granted to them to get the people out of the crisis.

Fernando “FerFAL” Aguirre

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Airport Security

I’m visiting my family here in Spain and the trip here has been pretty enlightening regarding what you can expect from airport security personnel.
The guys in Ezeiza Buenos Aires airport did an overall better job. The guy checking out people asked me aside after going through the metal detector and frisked me. For some reason I often get picked out for that. Either I’m incredibly good looking or I stick out in some way that some security guys notice. I’m thinking the later is the most probable reason.

Anyway, he checked my waist, arms, legs, no groin but still he at least did it and would have found any weapon hidden in those places.
Then came the Madrid airport security for the other flight to Barcelona.
It was such a mess, the security personnel consisted of several short, overweight women that didn’t have a clue. For some reason they all looked the same, 4 or 5 women that seemed to be Bolivian, pretty strange. They were loud, rude, and even worse, stupid and bad at their job.

One started yelling at me to remove my shoes, another one seemed pretty preoccupied about my wife, and asked her to remove her belt. You know, small blondie, rosary around her neck, baby in arms, another brat at her knees. You know, the typical terrorist stereotype.
I didn’t like the yelling and felt particularly pissed when I saw half a dozen other men that could have been carrying a bomb in their huge boots and jackets just walk by. The woman didn’t even seem to notice. They didn’t have the mental capacity to concentrate on more than one person at a time, so you could carry a nuke on board while they questioned my wife and I.

It was like that funny movie where the little girl gets thrown to the ground while the arab guys with rifles and suitcases full of TNT walk on board.
I lost my patience by then, told her that this was it, threw our stuff through the scanner and hurried to catch our flight.
I thought about taking an extra second to explain to them how stupid and useless they were, but they really didn’t deserve to know.

Why I’m I saying this? Because I was in such a hurry, I didn’t even notice I went on board with my OC spray RedSabre can that I always carry and my Altoids kit with a couple small blades, heck even now that I think about it I have a couple small fireckrackers in there.
So yes guys, the only thing the Madrid airport security achieves is to piss dads and soccer moms off. The guys in Buenos Aires weren’t more effective, but at least they were polite.

I wasn’t trying to prove anything, it was all a honest mistake because we rushed to the airport in the last minute, I remember thinking that I didn’t have anything I wouldn`t throw away right away if it gave me any trouble with the security check. I forgot about all that stuff, even worse, so did the airport security.
Feeling safer already?


Friday, December 25, 2009

Bad Guys with Military/Police Training

Anonymous said...

While I like shotguns for the reason they can quickly incapacitate, the .410 is not a choice. 12ga with low recoil 00Buck from Winchester is the same used by those in law enforcement who are recoil sensitive. Depending on the shotgun, the felt recoil may be similar to that of most 20ga. 12ga ammunition is common and less expensive than 20ga. I also object to the use of flashlights mounted on the shotgun. The light makes you an easy target. If a flashlight needs to be used, use it with a handgun in the right hand and the flashlight in the left hand and away from the body. Keep it in constant motion, high above the head, extreme to the side, arcing etc as you scan.
There are some great training videos demonstrating the technique. This is dangerous business. Personally, I'd rather they came to me.

BTW, Arrow Truck Lines just shut down and without warning. These guys are huge and haul for the military. I believe things will get exciting soon.


Indeed, that’s something everyone should keep in mind.
Sometimes you hear a guy trying to make a case for poor weapons or calibers of choice, and no training being needed.

“I had my 22LR Derringer and that was enough to scare the drunkard that kicked my door down last month!”

Yes, but what happens when you have multiple attackers, armed and with military or police training?

The knowitalls will say you’re dead already. BS, you can win, but it's going to be more difficult and you’ll need all the help you can get, including good weapons and gear and the training to use them, and of course a big dose of luck.

But in these cases half intentions just aren’t enough. This would be the worst case, having to deal with trained, well armed, maybe using armor, capable badguys. If you’re not a worst case scenario type of guy, maybe you don’t think firearms are needed in the first place.

A good Glock, flashlight, preferably a weapon mounted light, body armor and good security setup and habits.
As wisely estimated, there's a possibility of trained people becoming bad guys. Happened here a LOT with cops after 2001. Many of them even have “two jobs”, working as cops and badguys, and some situations are very confusing, when the cops end up shooting with these bad guys that ended up being cops themselves. (I mean NO insult to the good men out there doing such a honorable job, but I have to mention this because it does happen in my country)


Reply:More Home Invasions in Texas

Loquisimo said...
What do you think about a rifle? I was thinking maybe a .22LR (too small?) or something similar. Maybe a Winchester rifle like the 73, or a Garand. For a pistol, a .50 caliber would be nice, as it will kill an intruder DEAD, first time, and make a very LARGE hole. Some guy used a .50 pistol in a shootout with the cops near Redding, and the holes it made were several INCHES in diameter. A shotgun won't necessarily kill the first time, and if some thug is in your house you need him dead with the first shot.

A .50 will do big holes of course but I’d stick to defensive calibers such as 9mm, 40 S&W, 45ACP and 357SIG or 357 Magnum. A 50 is a hunting round, or for fun, too big and too slow for defensive purposes, and if you hit the bad guy in a place that stopped him, any of the calibes mentioned above loaded with good ammo would have done so too.
For rifles, no not a 22LR, better get an AK, if you have the buck for it a 308 such as a FAL or M1A1.

Anonymous said...
A good list, but...the Saiga .12 gauge, built on the indestructible and time tested AK platform should be listed as a reliable semi-auto home defense shotgun!


Its supposedly very reliable and would do a number on a badguy at indoor ranges.
Mayberry said...
things are relatively quiet here in Corpus Christi, but the Mexican gangs are getting bolder this past year. I've got a 12 guage handy, and I'm surrounded by neighbors who will shoot first and ask questions later. I do need to get a larger, center fire pistol (I'm thinking .357 magnum), but I'm thinking food storage takes precedence at the moment, with the food crisis looming for next year. Crops were devastated in Texas this year, and other states, as well as other parts of the world. Being on a very limited budget, it's a tough choice for me. But I've got places in the country to bug out to (which I will do before things get too bad), places where I have a tight knit group of like minded individuals. I'm talking 30 people or more, so 24/7 security will not be a problem. We have a large garden there. So maybe the pistol would be a better investment? But then again, ammo is scarce for .357, 9mm, .380, .45ACP, etc... What do you think?

Hi Mayberry, Id’ very much recommend you to buy a good handgun right away. A used Glock 19/17 will do and wont hurt the pocket much.
Specially since you are considering maybe getting together with others you seem to trust, someone will sure have a few rounds of 9mm to spare.That one of the nice things of common military/police rounds.
Still, get a few boxes yourself now. The calibers mentioned above are pretty common. Even if they are selling a lot lately, they are the most common ones so you’ll always be more likely to find them, and pay reasonable prices too. That’s why I recommend a Glock 19, or 17 if you have very big hands. The 19 would be the easiest one to carry concealed. If you don’t own a single defensive caliber handgun, indeed, make it a top priority.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

More Home Invasions in Texas

In Central Texas home invasions used to be a very rare occurance. Maybe happened ounce every several years. Lately it seems like they've been happening every other day. They're not as violent as other countries yet just the usual beating up and stealing. The overall trend is not good. The one before this last one was four armed guys. Usually before it was just two or sometimes one. The last one was two armed guys however they tried to kick in a bathroom door where a 12yr old girl was taking a bath and hiding. The trend is going in the wrong direction. Phoenix now has the second highest kidnap rate in the world behind Mexico City. As the economy slips gently further into the abyss I only see it getting worse. I don't expect any help from a government that no longer works for the people. Just like in that bad movie District 9, we are slowly becoming the Prawn. We're caught between an increasingly corrupt government and an amoral thuggish society. That being said, I would like to encourage Americans while the still can to buy a 18-20 inch barrel shotgun for home defense. Have a handgun too, but for the house use the shotgun. We can still find them on sale for under $200. I would recommend a Browning BPS, Mossberg Persuader, Remington 870, Mossberg or Rem Youth 20g. They're all good and all less than $350. It should be equipped with a flashlight or/and a laser. The pistol grip persuader must have a laser. For smaller individuals get a 20g or 410. A cloth shell holder can be put on the buttstock and costs less than $5. The racking and blasting of a shotgun is very discouraging to home invaders and you will not be outgunned. Over penetration is not as much of an issue, which is good for you and your neighbors. As the thugs get bolder, smarter, and grow in numbers some will use short shotguns. Don't be outgunned. When you're home keep it within a short distance and when you're not home lock it in a good safe.


Hi Texan, I'm sorry buddy. Those things sound very familiar. Sounds similar to Argentina in 2000-2001

It eventually gets to a point where unless you're very serious about security, you'll suffer the consequences.

The shotgun is a wonderful weapon, but I'd also recommend having handy a big bore, reliable pistol.

Take care you all. Please, read some of the older posts here about home security, install a GOOD door, protect windows, at teh very least with anti vandalizing window film and have a family talk about security.


Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Problems when you least expect them

Hi Ferfal,
I just read your book - fantastic advice and excellent reading. Enjoying the blog as always but the book really is a fine work. Congratulations on your achievement.

Now another thing you might be interested in - this time from far away.
SHTF on the trains in Europe. Apparently passengers being stranded in trains, in the dark for days under the English Channel in the 'Chunnel'. I wonder how many had sufficient preparation to survive that event comfortably.

It shows that you don't need the world to collapse, a simple act of nature, on a usually no fuss train trip can leave you without food or water, hoping that the people around you are benign.

This extract from a witness understates it a bit I think

The Eurostar connects London and Paris. Last Friday, several trains entered the tunnel and stopped. According to the press reports, the weather was unusually cold in France and unusually warm in the tunnel, causing some sort of malfunction and stranding 2,000 travelers under the dark water and thousands more on both sides of the channel. It was a blow to France's pride; the French consider their train technology to be the best in the world. Yesterday, President Sarkozy called the head of the Eurostar and chewed him out...and this morning, the trains were meant to be running again.

We rose at 5AM to rush to the Gare du Nord, so we could get the 6:43 to London.

"You're going to take the Eurostar," said the taxi driver with a laugh. "Well...good luck..."

When we got there, it was obvious something was wrong. Passengers weren't lining up in an orderly fashion. Instead, hundreds of travelers who had been waiting three days for a train formed a miserable, complaining mob. We were just trying to figure out what was going on when a phalanx of police came down the steps, followed by another group of Eurostar staff members. They wandered around...formed up the passengers into lines...answered questions and then, nothing happened. We waited. We waited.

"This is intolerable," one French passenger yelled at a young woman in uniform. "You people have no respect for your customers. We've been waiting days to get back to our families...and you treat us like cattle. It wasn't our fault the trains didn't run as they were supposed to. It was your fault. And you should have done a better job of dealing with the trouble you caused."

Passengers trapped on board broken-down Eurostar trains for up to 16 hours have been talking about their ordeals.
More than 2,000 people were trapped inside the Channel Tunnel for hours after five trains suffered electrical failure due to freezing conditions.
One commuter called the experience a "complete nightmare".
Eurostar ran a limited service but later cancelled three of the four trains due to leave London on Saturday and scrapped all services for Sunday.
It said the cancellations were made due to ongoing concerns with the weather.
Passenger Meena Wells said there were angry scenes when these were announced.
She said: "People were shouting, screaming and crying. They are very upset and actually refusing to leave the platform."
Some test trains will run on Sunday but will not carry passengers.
Meanwhile, police have urged motorists to stay away from major routes around Dover and Folkestone unless their journey is essential.
Continued delays are expected on the M20 and other routes because of the tunnel problems and severe weather preventing ferries disembarking at Calais.
... Elsewhere freezing conditions caused travel disruption in the south and east of England and blizzards caused dozens of accidents across Scotland.
Flights in and out of London suffered delays, with 26 cancellations throughout the day at Heathrow Airport, a BAA spokesperson said.
Breakdown recovery service the AA said call-outs were up 250% on a normal Saturday to around 20,000, and more snow is expected in Wales, Northern Ireland and northern England.
During the Eurostar delays some passengers were stuck on a train for up to seven hours in sidings in Folkestone.
Lucy Morris' 2hr 20min journey from Paris took her more than 16 hours.
She was stuck in the Channel Tunnel for about five hours and after her train was towed out, she was transferred on to another train, which was stuck in the sidings

Thanks again for your book.


Hey William, glad you liked it.

Sure, that's why preparedness is mostly about mindset and a way of life no matter what's going on.

This should remind us of the importance of wisely chosen every day cary gear.

No need for a ton of stuff, but there are some minimum things you should have, including a multitool, flashlight, lighter, spare cash, bottle of water, something to eat and a space blanket, even if its not really cold.

Thanks William, take care.


Monday, December 21, 2009

Obama as Peron

It is indeed remarkably similar, and we have commented about this before her in my blog.
It’s as if Obama actually wants to be like Peron.
Something most American’s don’t know, is that our president Cristina Kirchner, a peronist, was extremely happy about her visit to USA last year. She actually said the words here on public TV during a speech, huge smile on her face “I think Obama has been reading about Peron”. She went on with “compliments” for the American president, about how he’s acting similarly to the Argentine dictator.

This is an interesting article I just found. 


http://www.forbes.com/2009/02/26/obama-castro-chavez-opinions-columnists_stimulus_print.htmlObama as Peron

In Peter Robinson's February 27 column at Forbes, he argues that Obama's presidency show the key elements of a Latin American-style dictatorship: personality cult, nationalization, and censorship.
Comandante ObamaPeter Robinson, February 27, 2009
"But you don't understand," the Colombian said. "We've seen this before."
"He's right, my good friend," the Cuban said. "We Latin Americans know the pattern. Believe me we do."
The American tried to shrug off the Latin Americans' warning. To his consternation, he found that he couldn't. Peron, Fidel, now Chavez, they insisted. The emergence of misrule, corruption and economic stagnation in Latin American nations follows a particular sequence or progression. Now the sequence was unfolding in the United States.
"It starts with a cult of personality," the Cuban explained. "One man declares himself the jefe, the caudillo, the big leader."
Had Obama attempted to instigate something like a cult of personality? The American found the charge impossible to refute. During the campaign, Obama had failed to advance a genuine agenda, instead campaigning on "hope" and "change." In effect, he had asked Americans to turn the nation over to him on blind faith. He would, he promised, transcend racial and partisan divides in his very person.
The One had thrived, moreover, on addressing vast gatherings. In Berlin, he had addressed a quarter of a million Germans. At the Democratic convention, he had given his acceptance speech not in a convention hall before a few thousand supporters, but in a stadium before 80,000. In some subtle but palpable way, the American had to admit, Obama had transgressed our political tradition. He had reduced his supporters to facelessness.
And to an astonishing extent, the American had to grant, the elites--Congress, academics, the mainstream media--had proved only too willing to place themselves in thrall to Obama. On Feb. 17, for example, the president had signed an $800 billion "stimulus" bill, at least three-quarters of which was devoted not to stimulus but to political payoffs. Less than a week later, he had hosted a White House "summit" on fiscal responsibility. Had the press noted the contrast? Had it objected? The very idea.
Let George W. Bush mispronounce a word, and the press would howl for a month. Let Barack Obama offend against language itself--let him suggest that he signed perhaps the most reckless fiscal act in American history as an instance of "fiscal responsibility," engaging in an almost Orwellian example of doublespeak--and the press utters scarcely a murmur.
"After the cult of personality," the Colombian explained, "what comes next is nationalization." Fidel had nationalized the Cuban sugar mills, Chavez the Banco de Venezuela, Morales the Bolivian oil and gas industries.
Obama? He may not have been issuing sweeping diktats. But as the American had to admit, he had already presided over a vast expansion of the federal stake in banks, in the automobile industry and in the mortgage markets. And in his address before Congress, he had proposed a new federal presence in health care, an industry that accounts for a full one-seventh of the economy.
"The last step?" asked the Cuban. "Censorship. It won't be obvious at first--they're always too smart for that. But it will come."
"Never," replied the American. "We have the First Amendment."
"And soon enough," the Cuban said, smiling sadly, "you will also have the Fairness Doctrine."
Revoked in 1987, the Fairness Doctrine required broadcasters to air contrasting views of public issues. Reintroduced today, the Fairness Doctrine would force radio stations to pair conservative talk show hosts, who draw big audiences, with liberal hosts, who, as Al Franken's brief radio career demonstrated, draw barely any audiences at all. As the American had to grant, the Fairness Doctrine would thus make talk radio unprofitable, in effect censoring Rush Limbaugh, Hugh Hewitt, Michael Medved, Michael Reagan, Laura Ingraham and other conservative stars.
The re-imposition of the Fairness Doctrine--and the imposition of censorship. Was this possible? As the American had to admit, it now appeared not only possible but likely.
"[O]ur new president has rightly talked about accountabililty…," Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D.-Mich., had said during a recent discussion of the Fairness Doctrine. "I absolutely think it's time to be bringing some accountability to the airwaves. ... I have already had some discussion with colleagues and ... I feel like that's going to happen."
A cult of personality, nationalization and censorship.
"We still have the Constitution," the American told himself after the conversation had ended. "A Fidel? A Peron? In this country? Ridiculous." Yet he found that one image kept coming to mind: that of the 2 million people who had thronged the Mall on Inauguration Day, gazed upon a charismatic leader and chanted "O-ba-ma! O-ba-ma!"
Four years from now, the American thought, voters may very well remove the new president from office. In certain ways, however, he has already made this great nation look like a banana republic.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at March 22, 2009 04:27 PM

Applying 3 is 2, 2 is 1 and 1 is none.

It’s mostly applied to gear and such. Having 2 or 3 sources of fire in a survival kit for example, having a backup gun.
For the essentials its always good to have spares in case you lose/break one tool. That’s why many of us will have more than just one knife or one flashlight alone. Spares are good.
Its no different from the Plan B approach.
Recently I’ve been having problem with our passports. We’re traveling to Spain soon for the holydays and, as it couldn’t be any other way in Argentina, they are running short on the materials for making them so delivery of passports may take +2 months.

Now, always having the backup/plan B thing in mind, we also have EU passports thanks to grandpa FerFAL, who understood the importance of having other documents, other options.
I remember when I went with him to get my Spanish passport for the first time, many years ago when I was just a kid.
Now understanding what my grandfather had in mind better, I got my kids their EU passports as soon as they were born.
Of course, unlike Argentina, the Spanish passport was ready in less than 2 weeks.
Because of this problem they have, they are allowing people with dual citizenships o travel with their EU passports and the expired Argentine one. Of course, if you don’t have an EU passport, you don’t travel.
This is just another good example of why its always important to have spares, Plan B and other alternatives when it comes to important matters and pieces of gear alike.
Hope all of you guys have your papers in order, your passports and such. A pen drive with copies of
such important documents is a good idea as well. I'm getting one of these today. Goes on the keychain, bright color in case you drop it.

  Verbatim TUFF 'N' TINY 2 GB USB Drive 96814 (Orange)Verbatim TUFF 'N' TINY 2 GB USB Drive 96814 (Orange)
Take care.


Sunday, December 20, 2009

Reply: "Handgun or Revolver as a one and only weapon for SHTF?"

"Handgun or Revolver as a one and only weapon for SHTF?"

Anonymous said...
My background is a police officer, SWAT dude, firearms instructor and armorer.
I was an officer back in the day when we were issued .357s, most carried the S&W model 66, many bought the 686 or Colt Python.

We had many more break-downs, jams, stoppages, etc. with our revolvers than we have ever had with our since issued 9mms (we had the S&W 5906 series for almost 20 years, now Glocks).
The Glock 17 or 19 would be the top choice for a one and only SHTF weapon.
They are, in my experience, one of if not the most durable and reliable pistols ever built.
They are easy to clean, easy to work on when needed (which is seldom) and withstand abuse that would wreck a revolver.

For someone who will only own one gun, I'd VERY strongly advise getting a G17 or G19 (depending on what they can conceal), ammo, some extra magazines, and an Advantage Arms .22 kit for cheap practice.



Thanks Chuck.
This is the kind or advice you should take into account.
Even if you never owned or touched a Glock in your live, if you do your research well you’ll know what works and what doesn’t, what performs in the most extreme conditions and which tools fail more often.

“But FerFAL, I’ll never throw my Glock out of a plane and its very unlikely that it will get run over by a truck”
Of course, but these tests and these accounts by people like Chuck that have seem how hundreds of guns performed during extended periods of time gives you an idea of the capabilities of each weapon.
What if you accidentally drop you firearm in the mud, even on the side of the street where there’s that mud mixed with small pebbles? Its not crazy, that’s the environment we move around most often.
What if you drop to the floor or take cover behind a low wall? That’s not the time to worry about grit and dirt getting into your gun.
What about good old reliability and failure to feed or eject?

If a Glock and an H&K USP, both go into a bucket with mud and the USP stops working after that as seen on the Glock torture test, my friend, do whatever you like but I’ll choose the Glock.

I remember what an instructor told to a friend of mine, a die hard 1911 fan that shall remain anonymous.
 He told the instructor that the 1911 simply felt better in his hand. The instructor told him “ well then just get used to gripping the Glock”.
Its THAT much of a better weapon, enough for you to make an extra effort and get used to handling it even if you don’t feel comfortable with it at first.


Saturday, December 19, 2009

Fighting and Brain Damage

Don Williams said...

Thought I would give you a heads up regarding NY Times report about new medical findings re mental problems that can crop up in mid-old age due to repetitive concussions experienced while young from sports like boxing. Something to watch in sparring.
Looks like damage can occur but not be evident until a decade or so later.

See http://www.nytimes.com/2009/12/18/sports/hockey/18concussion.html?_r=1&hp

Thanks Don,
This is a quote from the link above:
“Repetitive head injuries can have very serious long-term consequences, regardless of how you get them.”
I’d say repetitive impacts (not necessarily injuries) to the head is enough to have long term consequences.
The problem with professional boxers isn’t that they get KO, the problem is that they don’t get KO enough.


You see, with boxing gloves, boxers can keep hitting each other for unnaturally extended periods of time. The constant punches to the head, while in some cases not enough to knock you down, will has long term consequences. Constant shock to the head will do that, even if you never go down.
Meanwhile in UFC matches, this does not occur that much. A couple punches, even a single good punch to the face will drop the other guy.

The sport itself may look more brutal than boxing, but in reality its much more natural. Guy gets clocked, he goes down. Same on street fights. But in boxing, they spend maybe half an hour punching each other on the head, and a KO is much less likely unless there’s a very accurately placed punch to the jaw, stomach or kidney, or a very powerful blow to the head.
Something similar happens for example when comparing Football with Rugby. The protection allows people to take greater punishment sometimes, but the shock is still there. If you think about it its like wearing a helmet when riding a bike. You wear it in case there’s an accident, you don’t buy a helmet so you can smash your head against a wall a couple hours a day.

Having said all this, this is mostly a problem for pros or serious amateur fighters that compete and train a lot.

For most of us, training and occasionally fighting, even participating in informal competitions once in a while, this shouldn’t be a problem.
Id recommend at least once a year, measuring your skills against others in full contact self defense. At least to know where you’re standing really. Sparring once or twice a week isn’t a problem either, if you do it with like minded people. Most of these problems are concerns for professional fighters.
For most of us, the health benefits alone greatly out weight the risks, and I’m not even getting into self defense.

Don’t let this be an excuse to become a blob of lard sitting in a cushion “No, I don’t do sports or fight because of head trauma” and then cholesterol and your overweight kills you by the time you’re 50, if not sooner.


Friday, December 18, 2009

Reply: "Post SHTF currency"

pompompom said...
Among others, a good tangible asset quality is it's mobility. Real estate is all but mobile, you can't move out with it. You can't hide it either, nor deny it's yours. Especially against government or big _legal_ predators. If the government decides to overtax your house, you are screwed. If your bank pushes you into foreclosure, ditto. And this risk is as high as violent home-jacking... if not higher!

Small assets = solar PV panels. Will be in high demand immediately after the next energy blackout. Bulky to store though but a smart oppportunist flash business.

Hi Pompom pom,

I know what you mean and it is a good piece of gear to have around, but this is the type of thing I was talking about in the "Post SHTF Currency" post.
I don’t think it’s a good idea to buy gear expecting it to go high on demand after a crisis or SHTF event.
First, its not even a basic need. If you had for example lots of canned food (which you can eat yourself as well) and then maybe selling some after SHTF, I wouldn’t have much to say about it even if I believe its not a smart business move because at least you’ll have it and use it yourself and your family.
Now, getting stuck with a pile of solar panels that you don’t end up selling because people are not interested, because whatever power problem occurred was fixed soon, because the Army showed up with a big generator and is supplying power. I mean, the spectrum of possibilities were people would rush to you willing to buy your stash of solar panels, AND doing so at a more expensive price that you originally paid for, I’m sure it’s a much better idea to put that money in an extra cash stash or buying more gold or silver.
I’m extremely conservative about this or that being “worth its weight in gold” after a crisis or SHTF event. Its like gambling, or worse.


Panasonic Toughbook as a Survivalist Computer

hello said...
Neat idea. I bet the Eee PC would work for most people but for some reason, only the toughest survive my use. That's why I bought a used Toughbook for the same money. A lot of EMT and police use them so there is a surplus market here.

The average notebook has a 25% failure rate within 3 years. I imagine that number goes up with entry models. A top of the line laptop, the Toughbook is built under excellent quality control. They have a much lower 2.5% fail rate.

Not only that, they're monsters. It will survive being run over, falls from desks, and is resistant to dust, water, and extreme temperatures. They have destruction test videos like Glocks that show how much they can survive.

The specs are lower compared to other similarity priced laptops but is still plenty for regular tasks. The only con is that it's a 9 pound brick and is twice as thick as normal, but it can be used as a club or a hammer and still work.

The rugged models have soldered CPUs and less space for upgrades, but offer other customization opportunities. An extra hundred dollars will get you internal GPS or a touchscreen.

In summary, the weight and size may be a downside but the toughness can't be beat. The other thing I noticed is that it doesn't need a carrying case. It has loops where straps can be attached directly. The Toughbook is begging to bump into walls and tables, just so it can turn on and laugh!

Hi, thats a pretty good idea.
I knew about Toughbooks but they are prohibitively expensive here in Argentina. 

Buying one in the used market would work nicely and you’d have means to keep working if you have an internet based business, keep looking for jobs, stay informed and a number of other things.

Used Toughbook for $324.99

Panasonic Toughbook CF-M34 

 or New ones
Panasonic Toughbook 52 - Core 2 Duo P8400 / 2.26 GHz - Centrino 2 with vPro - RAM 2 GB - HDD 160 GB - DVD?RW (?R DL) / DVD-RAM - GMA 4500MHD - Gigabit Ethernet - WLAN : 802.11 a/b/g/n (draft) - TPM - Vista Business / XP Pro downgrade - pre-installed: Windows XP - 15.4" Widescreen TFT 1280 x 800 ( WXGA ) with Toughbook Preferred 

While not an essential for survival, having a computer means you have a wealth of information and other capabilities at your finger tips. It’s an essential for most jobs and as I hope most people already understand you WILL keep working after SHTF.
Thanks, very nice suggestion.


Thursday, December 17, 2009

Post SHTF currency

There’s a lot of guessing and theorizing about the “post SHTF” currency.
Fascinating as it may be, I believe its important to be rational, and set the record straight mostly to avoid people making wrong decisions and simply wasting money.

Other currencies: The most common thing to happen when a currency falls and looses value is to people to simply start using other well recognized ones. Mostly Euros and USD.
Many years ago I told readers that having a few Euros was a good idea so as to have eggs on both sides of the scale, since it was easy to see that if the Dollar lost value, the Euro would increase its own since they are both usually held against each other.
Those that listen back then today have 50% more purchasing power in those Euros .
Something similar but of course much worse happened here in Argentina after 2001. Everything that was ½ way expensive was measured in US dollars, not pesos. For that reason prices changed within hours and they still do, even though a bit less dramatically.
Most medium and big stores, even in fairs and markets, people will accept dollars and I’ve even see them accept Euros.
So lets suppose the dollar collapses ( no, don’t think it will) the Euro may become accepted more readily in USA. Yes I know most Americans don’t even know what an Euro looks like and the culture just doesn’t revolve around it. Guess what? You adapt when you don’t have a choice. You adapt or you fade away. Again, don’t think the dollar is about to collapse or anything, but it is losing against the Euro.
In no time a black market for whatever currency is getting accepted erupts with such force its impossible to control. Again, that happened here with the dollar. Officially there was a limit to how many dollars a person could buy, but on the streets the story was different and you could buy or sell thousands.
So, in most cases, when a currency falls, it gets unofficially replaced by another, stronger once. At least as a measure of things.

Precious Metals: They have historically kept their purchasing power through time which makes them a great way to protect your savings. Even if the price varies, it mostly goes along with inflation, to the true purchasing power mostly stays the same. There is a small variation like the one we are seeing now, where gold for example seems very expensive. Two reasons for that: 1) Inflation, official or unofficial, its there so precious metals seem more expensive 2) There’s a crisis going on, this offsets the price a bit since precious metals have historically been a shelter during crisis, this increases demand.

“What if there’s no demand for gold? Then its worth nothing at all!! JAJAJA!” Typical reality denier. The problem with that logic is pretty simple: That has never happened before in over 10.000 years of human history!
Goods & Services: Its true that seashells, coco beans and other products have been used as currency one time or another. Still, nothing ever came close to the worldwide and millenary acceptance of gold and silver.

Tools and other supplies: They have been traded a lot, but don’t fool yourself, they have been trade goods, not currency. Currency is a different deal. Don’t fool yourself into buying excessive amounts of tools hoping for a significant profit after an economic collapse. Just wont happen.
Salt for example has been used as currency, for long periods of time in some places of the world. It’s a good product and pretty resistant yet it can get ruined or contaminated in ways that it loses its attractiveness. Also, salt is pretty plentiful. Buy lots of it because its dirt cheap, has many uses and it’s an essential good, doesn’t go bad as long as its dry and you eventually use it. But I’d certainly wouldn’t buy it hoping it will be used as currency.

A survivalist classic but only on fiction.
The nice thing about ammo is that its actually useful, the bad thing about ammo is that its sensitive to humidity and only a nutcase would load a gun that may be used to save his life with ammo of uncertain origin and storage.
I can keep coins or even paper money in my pocket in a hot summer day, sweat all over it, its still money. If I have a handful of 9mm shells there, then buy something, goes to another sweaty pocket, then someone forgets it in the washing machine lie we often do with coins, get wet for whatever reason… I can simply clean it up and leave it all shiny, but that ammo will either ruin someone’s shot while hunting or worse, get someone killed.
Ammo is sensitive and must be kept stored properly.
I’ve shot 7,65 Argentino ammo from the 50’s in my Mauser. Some fired, some didn’t, you just never know until you pull the trigger.
Ammo going from one hand to another will become dangerously unreliable in a matter of weeks.
Its true that ammo has increased in price and that if you had cases of it, you can sell it for profit. Cases of ammo. Stored well. Ammo is not currency and will never be because it lacks the basic property actual currency needs.
Buy enough ammo for your needs, then buy some more for a rainy day, even buy extra for your grandkids if a government somehow restricts ammunition sales. Heck, buy ammo to fight a civil war if you think it will come to that. Do not buy ammo believing it will ever be currency. Better stick to precious metals in whatever for you like best.


Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Handgun or Revolver as a one and only weapon for SHTF?

We’re having this classic thread over at GTA forum.

I thought it was worth it to dispel some of the common misconceptions regarding the traits of each system.



*Simpler to operate ( does NOT mean it’s simpler mechanically speaking)
*Does not rely on ammunition gases for the next shot. Means a dud gets left behind with the pull of the trigger.
*Can fire underpowered reloads that may jam a semi auto.
*Can fire different projectile shapes and weights which may jam a semi auto.
*Can handle more powerful ammunition.


*Mechanically more complex than autos
*More sensitive to abuse, grit and pebbles getting in the mechanism
*Harder to repair
*Less capacity
*Slower Reloads
*Slower follow up shots



*Much more rugged. Some autos fire many thousands of rounds and keep working well. *Service pistols can take much more abuse compared to service revolvers.
*Easier to repair
*Fires big bore ammo that is readily available and inexpensive
*Greater capacity
*Faster reloads
*Faster follow up shots.


*More ammo sensitve.
*The possibility of failure to feed ammo or eject the empty case
*You have a single shot if the magazine fails
*A more complex operator’s manual (though DAO and weapon like the Glock are much more simple than traditional DA/SA with safeties)

These are all characteristics most of us already know well, that’s why we prefer autos for self defense.
The thing that I’ve learned to appreciate more though besides the obvious fact of almost 3x times the capacity of most revolvers and the fast reloading is the ruggedness of the semi auto system.
I’ve read for many years in various gun media that the revolver is more rugged. That simply isn’t true. It may be more reliable but its certainly not more rugged.
When it comes to comparing service military models revolvers don’t even come close to handling the kind of abuse some autos have.
There are Glocks that have been torture tested in way no revolver could tolerate. Some had hundred of thousands of rounds fired through them. Again, a feat a revolver will not tolerate simply because of parts wear and delicate internal clockwork.

Glock Torture Test Story (must read!)

I can dig out old abused 1911’s and get them back runnining very well with little or no part replacement. Its even easier with Hi Powers, one of the toughest semi automatic pistols ever made. I’ve got both Hi Powers and Ballester Molinas that are visibly beaten on the outside but still work perfectly well, very accurate.
A service revolver? Unless its been in storage for most of its live it will have problems, a rattling cylinder and out of timing.

This old Colt 38 Special still works, but requires a caring owner.

Just one handgun and one that will last a lifetime and you can repair it yourself with little gunsmithing skills, that’s a service auto pistol. Glock, Hi Power, 1911 and CZ75 (and the clones made by reputable manufacturers) there are others good too but theses and the most successful, most widely spread designs.


Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Low Discharge Rate Rechargeable Batteries

AA and AAA rechargeable batteries combined with LEDs flashlights and headlamps saved me a lot of money back when blackout where very common.
When blackouts occur every day or so you use batteries up faster than you’d think.
When there was power I would recharge my batteries and since power went down just a few days later I still had them charged.
The problem with average NiMh rechargeables is that after a few days they start losing power, and if you don’t use them for some weeks their charge may have gone down significantly.
To solve this I always keep stock of good old Duracells that are to expire around 2015.

Sony Cycle Energy AA Ni-MH Rechargeable Batteries (4-Pack)

But now there are low discharge rate rechargeable batteries that can hold up to 90% of their charge for a year. That’s pretty good.
I’m extremely pleased so far with the LDR ( low discharge rate) batteries by Sony called Cycle Energy.
I’m using these in my digital camera and in several of my flashlights and so far is performing even better than I expected.
With my camera, even using 2500 mAh rechargeables, the batteries don’t run for as long as the Sony Cycle Energy, even if the Sonys are supposedly 2000mAh. That’s because the actual charge is greater with the Cycle Energys.
Buy good batteries like these ones and don’t go buying cheapo rechargeables like I did at first. No comparison and worth the money once you see the difference. I had these Sony Cycle Energy for several months, recharged them many times, used them a lot and still perform well.


Monday, December 14, 2009

More guns in the hands of good guys = Less crime

Pitt said...
Having been an LEO, I can tell you that Mir has obviously thought out his views and is frankly basing them greatly on reality. As a police officer we almost are never available to catch a criminal in the act or commission of a crime. What criminal is going to be stupid enough to commit a crime with the police around. Therefore if behooves the average person to have the ability to defend themselves.

Anonymous said...
"it's well shown that because the states have more guns, there's a lower crime rate"
majority of criminals=everyday civilians=firearms more readily available and hence used.

There is a glaring hole in your logic. Look at all the cities in America with high crime rates (NYC, LA, Chicago, Detroit, DC). They all have very high rates of violent crime. These are the also interestingly enough the places with the strictest gun control. No handguns are allowed in DC, NYC, or the president's hometown, yet they have ridicolous crime rates. In the Florida, the first state to liberalize conceal carry laws, their crime rate dropped approx. 15% the first year they allowed concealed carry.

Do the math. Human beings are the only animals stupid enough to feel bad about defending their own lives.
December 14, 2009 4:44 PM

Good points Pitt.
Also notice how these terrible shootings that get so many people freaked, they always occur in “gun free” zones.
Some people would argue that it would work if the “gun free” zone was extended to the entire country… then again it would make a much better argument to extended the philosophy of the places where these incidents DON’T happen, such as gun shows, gun clubs and shooting range. You never hear about shootings in those places… and they are full of guns!

Criminals and psychopaths want victims, they don’t want a fair fights.
No one would start shooting bystanders in a place where everyone is packing.

One of the things every dictator and authoritarian government does sooner or later is try to take away the guns form the hands of the citizens. Not because of concern for their safety, but to leave them without weapons to defend themselves form tyranny.
No government, no matter how big military force they have available, can win against an armed society.


Sunday, December 13, 2009

The degradation of Argentine Society

I’m having a few difficulties (nothing serious) so maybe this has translated to the way I write.
In spite of this we have much to be grateful for. We have a beautiful family, the kids are fine, our marriage is well, and we suffer no needs like so many people in Argentina do.

With this in mind today we decided to do a small trip to the town of Lujan, famous for its beautiful basilica.
I made reservations this morning and we had lunch in a small restaurant owned and run by Franciscan nuns from Africa and other countries.
It’s been 6 years since I last went there but as always, the food was great and the attention couldn’t be better, they always have a couple prayers on the table before dinner and the place itself has an air of tranquility about it.
The black African nuns that do the waitressing are the kindest, sweetest people I ever had the pleasure to cross paths with.
After lunch we went to the basilica.

Lujan Basilica

As we walked towards it I found a small militaria store that happened to have a few ammo boxes with magazines, 1911 and Hi Power mags, as well as a few FAL mags. I picked 4 “Sistema” 1911 mags that looks ok and we continued walking. We were close enough to the basilica and as always I was impressed by the beauty of the building.
Signs of what was to come came next, as we entered a small store I had visited before with my family, a place where they sell crosses, chains, rosaries and religious medals.
I remembered the place well. I had been impressed as a child by the amount of silver and gold chains, crosses, beautifully crafted works of art that filled the store.
But the decadence was now obvious. Those same display cases were now filled with cheap plastic copies, silver and gold plated jewelry and religious items of low quality. Other displays just had mugs of that of various soccer teams. The virgin of Lujan with a Boca shield glued to it.

When I asked for a silver rosary the man went to a corner and brought one. Instead of a shop full of these as they once had, he now had 3 or 4. The rest was plastic or cheap plated metal.
When we got close to the basilica the view fit the decadence we had seen in the shop: A sea of poor, dirty people. Loud, rude, pushing each other.
Its not just poverty guys. It’s the lack of culture, lack of manners. Everyone yelled, a women threw a dirty diaper on the sidewalk as we passed by, others spit, more yelling and laughing like brutes. Everyone looked dirty and smelled. A bum sitting on the floor reached out to touch my son, we hurried away.
Inside the same picture repeated itself. Dirty people, sweaty. The mass of people laughed and yelled, no respect whatsoever for the holy place. The stink inside because of the dirty people made us sick and we barely sat to say a couple prayers and left.

A few tourists took pictures here and there. Some didn’t like the patrons any more than we did. I suppose others just consider it part of the trip to a third world country, just like they would if traveling to India. But for me it was sad because I’ve been there many years ago and I know what has happened to us, how we once knew better, how we’ve slipped into this grotesque shadow of what we once were as a society.

The beautiful building only contrasted with the occupants, and it pained to think that, the same community that had once build that, now could hardly put two words together and lived in shacks.
The argentine society ( at least in general terms) hasn’t evolved, hasn’t stayed the same, its gone backwards if that’s possible.


Frank Mir on guns knives and self defense

Frank Mir has some very interesting things to say about self defense and weapons.
Seems he takes classes too.


Saturday, December 12, 2009

Installation of a Security Door

The job is done by a local company that has been in business for several decades. The job is done using the existing door.
In this case this door is extremely safe but not bulletproof even though it would stop some smaller calibers.
The door has a 2mm thick sheet of steel, soldered together with omega frames and the special lock.

First the door is removed early in the morning while the door is taken away and customized. The spare door left isn’t much of a door. The security door is installed in the afternoon of that same day.

All 4 sides have bolts going into the metal frame, the metal frame had concrete powered into place so it requires some serious machinery to bring all the setup down.

Exterior wood Finish.

Door finished.
The original lock is still in place, mostly in case another person has to access the place but you don’t trust the person with the security lock.
This work costs 380 USD, for roughly 450USD thicker metal sheet is used to make it handgun bulletproof.


Reply: Dmitry's Comments

Again, thanks Dmitry.
You have to understand that America is still going through the first stages of the economic crisis. Right now the greatest concern is economic, not as much fear for physical danger. As time goes by and the consequences of the crisis affect other areas, I’m sure security will become a much greater concern.

I fully agree with what you where saying, about doors, security, and cooking.
Our natural gas system is pretty study and old school, most gas distribution systems aren’t as fragile as electric power, for example.

Still, I have a couple gas stoves, one with a big tanks that can be used for a couple weeks if used with discretion.
Also, what you say about the door and windows, you are so right. Exact same situation here.
Cheapo Doors dont work! The link you posted clearly shows it:

A real secuirty door is VERY different. As a matter of fact, I’m working on a post about security doors now, I’ll include some pics of the company doing its thing and post it later on today.
What they do is replace the door of the client with one that has a metal sheet 2mm thick with a soldered omega shaped structural frame. Of greater importance is the lock: A security lock that locks on all 4 sides, AND they leave the old lock too in case you have to allow access of your house to someone else for whatever reason, you can just give them that key and not the security one.

As I said before, its surprising but there are lots of coincidences and similarities between the way people cope with problems here, and in your home country Russia.
Take care Dmitry and of course we are very interested in learning form you.

DanT has an interesting question:

DanT said...
Dimitry, Thank you for your interesting and informed articles.

I was wondering if you can tell me if you found that smaller towns, population of 50,000 or 100,000 coped better than the large cities.

Where did people live that enabled them to go through the event with the least turmoil.

Thanks again.