Thursday, December 29, 2011

Importance of Medical Accessibility!‏

Just wanted to reinforce the correctness of your stance on being close enough to town/city to get good medical care in a timely fashion. 
My aunt lives in the Western US 2+ hours from any specialist type of medical care and even hit and miss ambulance type access if the weather is bad.  This remoteness came back to bite her this last week when she had an emergency and was not able to get to a specialist until 4 days later when the roads/weather cleared enough to drive into where they needed to go. 
She did finally get an ambulance to her on the icy roads, but they where not able to help her and she did not receive any help until my uncle was able to drive her into the city 4 days later.
As a result of burst blood vessel in her eye or some such thing she not only was in excruciating pain, but is also likely blind now as well.

Hi SD, Indeed its one of those things that people overlook. They will chose to live 100 miles from the nearest town because its supposedly safer when the hordes of stupid city folks suddenly turned into zombie locusts come rolling down, yet they completely ignore the most logical, most probable causes of death which usually requires immediate medical attention and your odds of survival drop 5% every minute you delay it.
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Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Argentina-USA Pictures

A picture says it better:

Buenos Aires, December 2010

Mc Pearson Square in Washington DC, December 2011

Occupy L.A.: Clearly a sad unemployed worker, this lady tries to overcome unemplyment anguish using a Hula Hoop…

Window to the future??

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Sunday, December 25, 2011

Why is Gold Important for Preparedness and Survival

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas Everyone!

I hope you have a happy Christmas with your loved ones.
I thank God for everything He has given me, including this community of wonderful people which, if you are reading this, most likely belong to as well.
God bless you all and may you have a Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

I’ve actually used these in the last few days with pretty good results so I thought I’d share them. These days with the economy as it is, every buck counts, and sometimes the savings can be significant.

1) Buy used. Not only is it obviously cheaper, it also allows more haggling opportunities to being with. Check Craiglist but be careful, check out the neighborhood and don’t take any chances. If it looks like a set up don’t risk it, its just not worth it. What I do is look up the address and find it in Google maps, then drag the little yellow guy next to the zoom buttons and drop him in the map for the street view. This is an outstanding tool that shows you the pedestrian view of the street, as if you were standing there yourself.

2) Actual haggling tip number one. I was buying a second hand desk at already a very good price from one of these second hand websites. While I was arranging the meeting I asked  that since I was coming from so far away, if they could drop the price 30 bucks because that would be my fuel expenses just getting there. The seller simply replied that it seemed fair and accepted right away. I already saved 30 bucks without even being there looking at the item.

3) Magic words to live by right before saying “yes, I´ll take it: “I like it and  want to take it. Closing the deal right now, cash in hand, whats the best price you can give me?”. The first time I tried it the person said the price was already very good. A while later after driving around the car a bit more I repeated the exact same question, this time it got me a 100 buck price reduction. Cash generally appeals to people a lot, hard cash usually feels much nicer than credit card payments or transfers that may take days. You should always ask  for an attention or discount of some sort when haggling with cash in hand.

Haggling is an art, it improves with practice. Never be shy about it. If you save even 10 bucks you’ll feel good about it, and as for the seller if you don’t haggle some he will feel he could have gotten more for his product and that he sold for too cheap. Finally, remember to inspect whatever it is you are buying carefully. When it’s a car look for dents, scratches, make sure absolutely everything works, from opening and closing the glove compartment (a car I was considering had a glove compartment that didn’t shut closed after I opened it to check) to the window openers and windshield sweepers and water jets. Check the engine for oil leaks, use and rust. Everything. And every little detail you find should be mentioned. When finalizing the negotiation, note that this or that will require a certain amount of money to get fixed and ask for a discount because of it.
Take care,
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Tuesday, December 20, 2011

How hard a target should my house be?

Regarding the letter of the previous post and some of the comments, I was left with the impression that some of you believe that I think a house should be a bunker with two foot concrete walls and welded hedgehogs and barb wire around the perimeter and that’s just not the case.
Ideally we would all have houses designed specifically for our intended purposes, both secure and tasteful, safe as a bunker but worthy of Architecture Digest. It can be done, but its expensive.
As for a realistic approach, we will often have to settle for something in between, both because of expenses and because we have to accept that little fact about living with other family members that may not think as you do, because the people around you may not see things the same way. Do you really want to pile up sandbags around your home, dig fox holes in preparation for the “golden horde” that just wont come? Knock yourself out! Then tell me what your wife had to say about it, your neighbors, your kids and their friends, if they get a hard time at school because dad is a nut case or not. And its not even about what others think, its about the pro and cons of doing so. Digging fox holes and trenches and setting military stile defensive positions is a solution for a type of problem you don’t have. Your problem isn’t getting attacked by a North Korean platoon, your problem is the burglar breaking in when you go to the supermarket or visit your parents in Florida for the weekend. Your problem is getting forced inside at gunpoint after opening the garage door.

So how much security do I need?

The short question to that and the one that I know because of lots of experience with this kind of problem is: At least better than the guy next door!!
It will all depend on the standard set by others. In Buenos Aires if you don’t have burglar bars  and a gated perimeter, there’s many neighborhoods where you’d be the only one without those.
If you live in a nice little quiet town in a safe part of the world where people barely lock their doors at all, remembering to lock the doors and setting up an alarm system that is noticeable from the outside means that any bad guy will move on to the next house which is easier to break into.
We’d all love to have the super house with the fancy security system, poured concrete walls, safe room and underground bunker to top it off. In general we have to settle for less. Still we have to remember that minimum we must achieve, our security setup must be better than the neighborhood average at the very least.
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Saturday, December 17, 2011

Young Adult Prepper

Hey there Ferfal,
My name is Taylor and I am a 24 year old male living on the outskirts of a major metropolitan US city (population ~ +1 million) in the south (no snow). First of all let me just say that I purchased your book “Surviving the Economic Collapse” a little over a year ago and I learned a great deal. I took your adivce and went and participated in a high quality defensive firearms course back in January and have continued my training ever since.
I am stuck on something but first let me fill you in on my background. I just turned 24 years old back in August and recently graduated Florida State University with a degree in finance (after studying finance for 5 years, I know for a fact S is about to HTF). I just started my first job working for my father and though I do not make much ($500/week after taxes), I am happy in my occupation. I have zero debt, no student loans, very little (>$500) credit card debt, and a nice little savings that I store in physical silver. I have accumulated 4-5 months worth of food for my entire family as well as a great water filter (Katadyn Combi) good for 10,000 gallons of drinkable water. I have my rifle (AK47), handgun (Glock 26), and my shotgun (Remmington 870) and am adequately proficient with all three weapons. I have a minimum of 1000 rounds stocked for each gun plus other types of ammo that might be valuable. I have also taken measures to be prepared for turmoil by having a lot of extra necessities stored in my home.
Now here is my dilema. My current living situation is less than ideal. I am currently living with my parent’s in their suburban house. It is about 30 miles away from downtown in a pretty densely populated upper-middle class suburb. Once SHTF, these spoiled, unprepared people are going to lose it and turn into animals for sure. The house isn’t fortified in any way, has very poor outdoor lighting, and is overall pretty undefensible. I am not able to make any of the necessary changes due to the fact that my parents still can’t fathom a world without complete safety everywhere you go and will not let me alter the house.
Now here is the idea that I am toying with.
PROS: I am thinking it might be a good idea to buy a house that is in a rural area and that I can make the adjustments to it that I see are necessary. If you go out about 10-15 miles further away from the city you get into a nicer area that is more rural and is a little more secluded. You have neighbors, but you have your privacy and have much more room for fences, gardens, and animals. Housing prices in my state have fallen like a rock and even though I know the price of homes are still going to fall, things are becoming somewhat affordable. If I did purchase a home like the one I described, I would put up a nice fence, have a good lighting system, start a decent sized garden, and also get a good breed puppy that can grow up and defend the household. This would definitely not be cheap but this is something that I long for. I want a simpler, more in touch with nature, way of life. Also during a period of devaluation and calamity, not only will the currency your debt is denominated in decrease (therefore lowering the debt you owe), but there will be mass defaults to a point where the banks simply cannot take everybody’s house from them. I am sure that when the devaluation took place in Argentina, the debtors got a huge break.
CONS: This idea would require me to not only require me to use all of my savings(selling my silver) as a down payment, but it would also put me in a large amount of debt. Now this debt would not be gigantic and my parents do have a good amount of physical gold and silver stored up, I just don’t like the idea of being in debt. Its very risky. I would also have to pay for repairs, homeowners insurance, and many other bills I don’t pay now. My job is also not 100% safe. My dad’s company has fallen on hard times and it is not beyond the realm of possibility that it could close and that I could lose my job.
What do you think Ferfal? I am torn between the two decisions and time is running out.
Thank you for your help,
Hi Taylor. These days your situation is pretty typical. It used to be that at your age a guy could just go rent a place, gain independence from their parents, have some fun, meet someone, get married, then together buy a white picket fence place in the suburbs and get a kid or two to send to school and take to soccer on weekends. Now its more like losing your job, moving back to your parents, sometimes even with a family of your own. Even for people that can afford a place of their own the costs are sometimes too high, even worse when there’s kids, so grandma or grandpa have to put aside their retirement for a while and watch over the kids during the day because the money for daycare or nursery just isn’t there.
I think you have several important decisions to make.
First of all, you have to decide if the family business you’re working on currency is capable of getting through the crisis or if you’re just trying to postpone the inevitable. Usually there is a way of making it work making some hard choices, reducing costs, improving marketing, getting more clients, etc. But if you feel that’s not the case, or if you feel your father is not willing to listen to you and include you more in the family business, then I’d say its time for you to get a better paying job and one in which you have a future.
About your house where you currently live. I’d talk it over again with your old folks as adults. Instead of talking about fortifying the place which may sound a bit extreme, talk about improving the security a bit given current events. It’s the choice of words that sometimes scares families  away from taking some common sense security measures. Installing an alarm, better locks and maybe even getting a family dog will improve your security greatly. Its not that expensive and it doesn’t ruin the house’s esthetics.
Regarding getting your own place, I think it’s a good idea, especially if prices are down as I’ve seen in some places in USA, there’s some very nice opportunities out there. Again, USD 2000  wont leave you much room between mortgage and living, but while your living at your parents house you could do it, on the meantime decide between staying in the family business and seeing if you can make it work or looking somewhere else. I’d try hard to make the family business work, try getting your father to listen to you more and accept your advice and letting you take charge little by little.
Careful about going too rural. You got my book so you know what I think about being too far away from help, friends, family, resources, etc.
Take care,
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Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Knife Attack‏ Video and the Tueller Drill


I don’t know if you have ever heard of Dennis Tueller but in 1983 he wrote an article in SWAT magazine entitled “How Close is Too Close?” The article discusses how someone armed with a contact weapon such as a knife or club can close with and attack a police officer from 21 feet away in the time it takes the officer to draw and fire his weapon. Here is a link to the article, an interview with Dennis Tueller, and a video showing what happens when you underestimate a guy with a knife. Note how the officer with the AK climbed over the fence to the same side as the guy with the knife and that he didn’t have his rifle at a ready position. After stabbing the officer with the AK the suspect then chases the other three officers stabbing them. Trying to run away didn’t work too well for the officers. Sometimes it is better to stand your ground and fight it out especially if you have a weapon. The officer with the AK should have stayed on the other side of the fence which would have at least slowed if not prevented the suspect from attacking him. All the officers should have had their weapons drawn and ready to shoot the suspect if  he attacked. While encircling the suspect forces the suspect to divide his attention to what is behind him it also creates a situation where if the officers have to shoot, they risk hitting each other if they miss or the bullets pass through the suspect. Since I don’t speak Spanish maybe you can briefly explain what is being said.





Very interesting, thanks for the links.
The video basically shows a women that went to file a complain against her ex, the ex being the madman that later attacks with a large knife, at least a 10 inch blade. The knife looks like a facón or verijero like the ones used by Argentine gauchos (think cawboy but with a dagger rather than a gun), though it could be a simple large “chef” knife which is of similar blade shape. Either way, it’s a large knife with a narrow tip that penetrates very well.
At first what you hear being shouted in Spanish is “don’t get so close”, obviously someone realized the danger of the situation. Too bad the cops didn’t follow the advice. What you see then is the officer with the AK trying to use a baton. Awful idea. The mad man stabs him just once, puncturing the right lung and killing him. The other two officers survive after some time in the intensive care unit. The mad man was shot four times and died as well. He was drunk according to the news reports I found of the incident. Once he attacks, what you hear being shout is “matalo, disparale”, which means kill him, shoot him.
Lack of training cost this officer his life. A baton is not the weapon to be used against a mad man with a dagger. Keeping his distance and covering him with the AK, he should have shot him as soon as he moved and failed to comply. Not go after him with a baton.
This sort of incident is fairly common in South America. I know a police officer that has some experience with knife wielding country folk. He told me he’s far more afraid of them than punks with guns. Always keeping a safe distance, always being very alert and careful not to upset them. If one of these gaucho folks feels disrespected, you’ll have to put him down, and chances are he´s not going down alone so he´s always very careful in these country parties where countrymen with knives abound.
Don’t bring a knife to a gunfight was it?
The other two survived by pure miracle.
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Saturday, December 10, 2011

Giving in to Muggers

Hi Ferfal,

Lately here in the states muggings and violent home invasions have increased. In the past week 3 pizza delivery drivers have been lured to an area with an order and then mugged at knife point by a group of two criminals. This seems to mimic tactics you've discussed. In response the police are telling people that should the get mugged to comply with the criminal. To me this seems like it might become a dangerous response as it empowers someone that is already threatening people's lives. From what you've seen in Argentina; do you think this will lead to people getting harmed or murdered when someone puts their live in the hands of their mugger?

Hi Sean. As you noted crime is on the rise. Well, officially its not but then again what matters is what you see for yourself, not what a media network with an agenda to push has to say in terms of statistics. We keep hearing of home invasions and violent crime of the type that was very uncommon not that long ago. It used to be that it was likely that you´d life your entire life without ever seeing the wrong side of a gun or knife. Now, things have changed.
I was in Barcelona last week and a cab driver told me how a passenger mugged him. He suddenly felt the tip of a knife in his neck, he froze out of pure fear but three quick pokes to his neck made him give up his wallet fast. The cab driver, clearly overweight and in poor physical condition, suffered a heart attack. Heart attacks during robberies? It happens a LOT, people! Ive heard it so many times. Please work out within your means and limitations but do it. We´ve covered extensively how important this is, SHTF or not.
As he was driving me to the airport he was telling me all this, apparently forgetting that ten minutes ago when he picked me up he had told me that crime wasnt a problem in Barcelona.
When I asked about the economy he went into a rant ¨ How is it possible that a person like me got loans to buy three different houses? Now I have to work all day to pay for them! Even the rent is not enough to cover the mortage¨. Pathetic, he was upset that he had been allowed to borrow beyond his means, like a child complaining that he was allowed to each too much candy and now his stomach hurts. This cab driver was the living example of what´s wrong in many places around the world.
About your question, that´s the standard police reply around the globe. Truth is, its not that bad an advice for 95% of the population who are untrained, unarmed and wouldn´t even know what to do if the criminal gives you several windows of opportunity. Its the kind of advice that incentives criminals even more though. As seen in CCW states, when criminals fear getting shot, crime goes down.

Even if armed and trained and having the will to fight, sometimes the ego gets in the way and makes us do stupid things. If a mugger acts cool, all he wants is my wallet or car keys (the vehicle is even insured) do I really want to leave him dead in the sidewalk for a couple hundred bucks tops? Only to spend thousands in legal defense, wasting time and money? Maybe the right attitude sends the would-be mugger away, maybe its just a brat and you can disarm him, slap him a bit and send him away. Maybe you just hand in the cash you have and get over with it or maybe you see that the situation is potentially dangerous for you and your family and you fight back, believing this is the best thing to do because giving in will do you no good. I can´t give you a straight answer becuase unlike some people that will, I know how complex it can be. All situations are different, criminals come in different ways and you´ll have to make one of those split second decisions right then and there. As always, its better if you have the tools so as to deal with different possible situations.

Based on what I´ve seen in Argentina all these years, I think that in general, most people are better of just giving up their wallet/purse. In general that´s the best thing you can do even if you can kill your attacker because of the reaons mentioned earlier. I honestly have no moral struggle regarding defending myslef from a SOB that is willing to hurt innocent people for money or pleasure. They can all rot in hell for all I care and their life isnt worth the ammo needed to put them down. But looking at it with a cool head the time and financial cost is just not worth it.

Having said this sometimes even if you give up they will still hurt you and your family. The quesiton you have to ask yourself now is, can you live wth yourself if you allow that to happen? I know I could never forgive myself, that´s why at least for me I draw the line regarding my house, home invasions and such, or when my family is involved. Mugged alone on the street? I´ll probably hand over my wallet and car keys, if the mugger is cool enough maybe ask him to just take the cash and spare me the trouble of getting my cards back. Sometimes they do that and save you a lot of trouble.
I´ll let all the super manly macho type say how they would beat to pulp anyone that looks at them wrong, shoot everyone that approches their homestead within a thousand yards and such.
This would be my advice for avoiding criminals and muggers to begin with:

1)Body Language/ DFWM Attitude:
Looking sure of yourslef will go a long way. Yes you can fake it, but its much better if this confidence comes naturaly out of actually knowing you can handle threats. This isnt about being billy bad ass, but its more about confidence, and getting that DFWM (dont f with me) air about you. You´re a good natured person, but still emit that signal that tells people looking for trouble that they are better off looking elsewhere

Detecting people around you, recognizing possible threats and acknowleging them with clear eye contact. You see me but I see you, I”m aware of you and anything yo may try will not be catching me completely off guard. DFMW attitude. Go look elsewhere for an easier victim.

Grey Man/Appearence:
Dressing down sometimes helps, so does blending in, yet again if you weight 300 pounds, have a bikers jacket and arms and face coverd with tattoos, most of them being daggers with snakes around them or the Repaer, then you´re not exaclty gray man but I doubt many will come try to mugg you. A clean cut dressing with mild gray, black or earth tone colors helps you blend in and go unnoticed, for those that do notice you, they should notice someone that is both aware and confidnet. Of course if you dress with clear name brand tags all over you, or for the ladies if you have gold all over, bags that cost as much as a nice used car, then you will attract the wrong kind of attention.
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Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Bull Terrier as a SHTF dog

From a survival/preparedness point of view a dog offers a series of advantages that should not go unnoticed, yet at the same time we have to consider the disadvanteges as well.
Feeding a dog during an economic downturn can be a problem. Proof of that is the ammount of abandoned expensive dogs we see in cities becuase of the crisis. At the same time we may want a dog for security and need a certian size and intimidation factor which the smallest pets will not deliver. Their keen senses alert them and they can bark so as to warn you but sometimes you will want a dog criminals will have respect for.
Maybe their most important real world role, a dog means fun and entertainment for both adults and children. At the same time a needy dog will take up more of your time. A dog that sheds too much hair will also force you to clean more if it sleeps indoors.
For these reasons I feel that a Bull Terrier is an interesting alternative, mostly for people with time and space restrictions, a good comprosmise between feeding costs, intimidation and friendlyness towards kids.
The Jack Russell is also an interesting choice, especially if small game hunting is in the picutre, but it lacks the size for a  security dog.The Bull terrier isnt very big,  but still big enough o bite and scare would be robbers.
Take care,

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

What ammunition to choose?

I just wondered if you had any experience with HORNADY CRITICAL DEFENSE 
AMMUNITION?  What do you carry, assuming availability?  As for me, I 
currently carry Hornady HP XTP.  I have kept about 1400 rds. of 
Winchester FP full metal jacket ammunition for my backup cache in the 
event of market collapse such as happened after the last presidential 
election. These are available locally in Wal-Mart for about $34.00 for 
100.   The price and availability permits regular range trips and 
training classes while giving a little peace of mind about what the 
future might hold.

Hornady makes good ammo. I dont have experience with that particular model but in general Hornady will not let you down.
This is basically what I go for in the different calibers.

As awful as it is for defense, if this is all you have you do not want to go with bulk ammo since the reliability of bulk is mediocre to say the least. I preffer CCI Stingers which are one of the hottest offerings. Velocitors are also pretty hot and a bit heavier which is good since a light 22LR HP may fail to penetrate. If you can´t find that then Yellow Jackets are an acceptable alternative. Whatever it is you´ve got to shoot at least 500 rounds of it before you trust yor life to that particular 22LR (Ah!)

When a round is designed to be light and fast then that´s often your best shot and this is the case of 9mm, In Argentina they´ve  experimented a lot with 147g truncated cone FMJ. This was supposed to be marginally better than 124 FMJ round nose, marginal being the part to keep in mind. For 9mm I like Gold Dots +P 124gr JHP. These have a 90% one shot stop rate according to some studies, and the street reputation is very good. Basically its just good ammo that should do its part if you do yours, and always remember there´s no magic bullet so train to shoot as much as needed until the bad guy goes down.

40 S&W
My Glock seems to like Wolf ammo a lot. I”ve heard some bad things about it but in mine it works nice. That lacker its painted with sometimes sticks in the chamber when the gun is hot but it has still worked reliably for me. If push comes to shove its acceptable ammo for defense as well, pretty hot stuff. For defense, I also preffer light weights offered by Gold Dot or Federal.

357 SIG
This is my favorite caliber for defense. For 357 SIG I choose Gold Dot as well. It will push the 125gr JHP at over 1400 fps in the Glock 31.

12 Gauge
While 00 buck is supposed to be the best shotgun load for defense, I”ve heard from people that have shot more humans with it than most experts tell me that 4 Buckshot has worked even better for them at the typical close ranges. Either load will be effective and the old wives tales of people always standing and laughung at you after getting a blast of 12ga in the chest are just that. Granted, no single round of any kind gives 100% stopping power, but the Argentine cops I´ve talked to that have used it often against criminals all tell the same thing: After putting a shotgun shot into the bad guys center of mass, the threat is very much over. He may live or not but he´s out of the fight (again, most cases, there´s never 100% certainty)

Rifle Ammo
The bulk ammo available for rifles is generally of the military type that will perform well. Stick to military type ammo for semi auto rifles and avoid shooting hunting ammo in them unless you´ve extensively experimented with them. There´s two reasons for this. First, it may be designed for bolt action rifles and may not feed well in your semi auto. Second, it may not have a strong enough crimp on the projectilce, and this may loosen with the back and forth ratling of recoil.
Hornady and other brands make excellent premium ammo for semi autos for defensive purposes. If you can afford to test it until you're sure it works in your gun well, that's your best option.
In general avoid ammo that over fragments since this has proven to be a poor stopper. If you have choices between JHP and soft points, in general soft points will hold together better. This is just in general cases and it may vary depending on what brand and type of ammunition you´re shooting.
Take care!
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Sunday, December 4, 2011

Reply: The Myth of Revolver Reliability and 22LR for Defense

Anon said…
Revolvers are more user friendly than semi automatics and that’s where the myth of revolver reliability finds it’s origin. A person who operates a semi automatic needs to actually know something about the pistol to operate it reliably. There’s the basic things like turning off the safety, not limpwristing, but what about keeping it oiled, using the correct ammunition, replacing springs when worn out and using clean and reliable magazines. Even very reliable designs like the 1911 and Browning Hi-Power had their serious issues. The 1911 for quite a while only reliable with 230gr FMJ ammo and the BHP needing to have it’s magazines underloaded. Then there was the not uncommon practice of leaving the chamber empty and forgetting to cock the slide. How many times has someone fired a semi automatic and heard it go click? Then you have firing pins breaking due to dryfiring. A revolver (Ruger/S&W at least) in contrast doesn’t really have any of these issues.
Nowadays with the prelubed, no external safety, difficult to limpwrist Glock’s the semi auto pistol is a lot more user friendly. Leaving the chamber empty seems to be the biggest issue that still remains and so anyone that might be tempted to do that would better be served with a revolver. (where the practice of leaving a chamber empty for safety purposes is rare and more importantly easily rectified by pulling the trigger again, unlike a semi auto) The slide being pushed back isn’t an issue if the gun comes with a holster.
Revolvers though have become less reliable nowadays. First we have the ‘safety lock’ mechanism in some S&W’s, the real issue of using overpowered ammunition in an older revolver and S&W’s use of exotic revolver material like aluminum alloy and polymer, the former well known not to stand the test of time if used regularly. (I think that was the problem with your Model 12 airweight Ferfal http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Smith_%26_Wesson_Model_12). There’s the issue of rounds coming unstuck and jamming the cylinder in lightweight revolvers using .357 ammo. Getting dirt in it’s mechanism jamming it. The real possibility of hitting your cylinder on something hard and it jamming.
Inspite of all those above problems many involving serious downtime of minutes to days, as long as we are talking about quality steel revolvers by Ruger and S&W for the average civilian a revolver is still more reliable.
But anyone who would be considered to be ‘above average’ in regards to learning new skills or better yet sees the their purchase of a handgun as a serious decision that they are willing to pay to learn how to use (training class), deserves a semi auto. A more reliable and a more effective handgun than a revolver.
I agree with most of your post (the hammer is cocked, not the slide). The origin of the revolver reliability reputation comes from way back when autos failed miserably often. They didn´t feed reliably, they broke and jamed often. Reliable autos were rare.
Today the story is very different. You have pistols like the Glock that can fire thousands of rounds without a problem, drop the thing from a speeding car in the pavement, pick it up and keep shooting, something that would be short of miracle in a revolver with its comparably much more delicate revolving sistem.
Even in the old days, pistols like the 1911 and Hi Power were much more resistant and reliable than the revolvers of their age. Proof of that is that if you pick service revolvers from the 50´s or 60´s  that have been well used, they generally work much worse or dont work at all, when pistols general age much better. Its common to find fifty year old 1911s and Hi Powers, just to mention a couple, that still work reliably and shoot accurately while revolvers that have been used extensively from that era will spit lead all over or dont work at all.
There´s nothing wrong with a good revolver, but you have to understand what it can and what it can´t withstand.

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Thursday, December 1, 2011

Water, Chlorine and other Purification Methods

I work as a water engineer in emergencies – refugee camps, war zones, etc.. There is basically nothing wrong in using chlorine – indeed this has been the standard sterilization route for water in the West for the last century. Very small systems use high concentration powder, medium systems liquid and large urban systems normally use gas chlorine. There are limits with regards residuals after treatment. These are designed so as to sterilize pipes in case of leakages sucking dirty ground water back into the pipe system – something which happens frequently, and to allow sterilization of any contaminated outlets – i.e. taps. If the water smells strongly of chlorine at the tap, allow it to sit for a while and the chlorine will eventually gas off. Normal contact time for the chlorine from being added to the water to sterilization is usually 30 minutes. Another reason for there being a residual of chlorine after this process is to ensure that enough chlorine was added to begin with to actually kill all bacteria. Testing for chlorine residual is simple – a basic swimming pool tester is more than adequate.
Ceramic filters are good but need to be maintained. The real problem with them is that they produce water only very slowly. The candles can be removed and gently scrubbed to clean them. I have kept the same filters going for considerable lengths of time by doing this. They can even be put into lightly chlorinated water with no damage to them – just rinse them off in fresh water after.
A good, standard way of producing drinking water which is very basic, and which can produce fairly large quantities quickly, is a slow-sand filter. This works by a biological filter developing on the surface of the filtrate medium – the sand – which actually eats any bacteria in the water. These are standard filters used around the world – in the case of dirty or turbid (meaning not clear) water, a gravel roughing filter and/or also a rapid sand filter can be used – these basically take out any suspended solids in the water. Removing turbidity if it is dissolved solids, especially organics, is more complicated and can require aeration as well as filtering, before going into the slow-sand filter.
Slow-sand filters can be built from household size up to large, village level sizes.
Information on design and use of slow-sand filters is widely available on the web. They are easy to construct, easy to use and pretty much low maintenance.
Another, very basic way of sterilizing water of bacteria is of course to boil it – at least 3 minutes at a low boil. This is not sustainable in the long term, but can produce drinkable water in small quantities relatively quickly – even turbid, or dirty water can be treated this way. It might not taste perfect but, unless it has a load of chemicals in it, it won’t harm you. And don’t forget, ceramic filters will not remove that many dissolved chemicals either!
    Don’t rely on a TDS meter for water potability. It is what it says – a total dissolved solids meter. Basically it detects salts and other minerals dissolved in the water. It does not give any indication of bacteria such as cholera, or viruses. If you are using ground eater, it could indicate if there is arsenic present – though it will not distinguish between arsenic and common salt – only tell you there is a presence of dissolved solids. Primarily, they are used as an indicator of acceptability of water with regards taste, etc. If you check on any website dealing with water quality, you will be given acceptable limits with regards TDS for drinking water.
Hope this is of use.
Thanks for the information!
About chlorine, you say there´s nothing wrong with it but what would be a safe amount of it in water?
For example in Buenos Aires, water doesnt just taste like chlorine and smells like it, it even itches after taking a bath and sometimes you need to use body cream to calm it down. People coming from Europe or USA that arent used to it suffer it even more.

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Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Squatters in USA

looks like what you wrote about almost less than a week ago is coming to passhttp://seattle.cbslocal.com/2011/11/29/occupys-new-tactic-on-the-west-coast-squatting/
Hi Sean,
That’ was fast. Pretty obvious and easy to predict though, since Occupy basically means Okupa which is Spanish for Squatting.
Thanks for the link!

Occupy’s New Tactic on the West

Coast: Squatting

November 29, 2011 9:12 PM
File photo of a cop walking through a west coast Occupy encampment. (Credit: KIMIHIRO HOSHINO/AFP/Getty Images)
File photo of a cop walking through a west coast Occupy encampment. (Credit: KIMIHIRO HOSHINO/AFP/Getty Images)

SEATTLE, Wash. (CBS Seattle/AP) — Occupy Wall Street demonstrators in Seattle, Portland and Oakland have taken up a new tactic in their protests against wealth inequality: squatting in vacant properties.
Last week, CBS Seattle reported on an offshoot of Occupy Seattle that took to squatting in a foreclosed area property.
Seattle protesters took over a formerly boarded up duplex across the street from Garfield High School. They have painted the bare wood sidings with green, black and red paint, and they have strung up a banner that says “Occupy Everything – No Banks No Landlords.”
The red and black anarchist flag also decorates the front.
“Too many homeless. Too many unoccupied buildings. That doesn’t make sense,” is the official stance of the duplex occupiers, said Ariel, a demonstrator who declined to give her full name.
Squatting marks a move away from the public demonstrations that have marked protests in cities around the country. The move is an attempt to re-energize the protests in Oakland and Portland— two cities that have seen violent clashes with police.
“Who knows, maybe squatting will be the next pressure point,” said 42-year-old Arlo Stone, who has squatted in Portland and Seattle.
After its eviction, the Occupy Portland encampment scattered. Organizers have called for members of the movement to occupy foreclosed properties on behalf of the former owners who lost the houses.
Occupy Portland organizer Andrea Townsend, 28, said providing a safe, warm place for former members of the Occupy Portland movement should be a focus for the city, and said squatting is a way to keep attention on the issue of homelessness.
“You’re building a self-sustaining community that’s toward what this movement’s about,” said Townsend, a self-described anarchist. (read the rest)
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Tuesday, November 29, 2011

The Myth of Revolver Reliability and 22LR for Defense

Smith & Wesson Model 12 AIrweight

We´ve all heaerd it a million times or more. Revolvers are more reliable than autos pistols. Six for sure, buddy.
Let me tell you something I learned over the years: The hardest handguns to fix when they fail happen to be revolvers, they fail more often than autos and when they do they always require lots of time and patience to fix, very often they require serious amounts of gunsmithing experience as well.
A couple days ago I took some of my guns to the range for some informal plinking, three pistols and one revolver. Ive posted about the difference between plinking and serious defensive training recently. While plinking, target shooting or any other form of sport or “trick” shooting canot be taken as formal training, it does help regarding weapon familiarization and handling. Action shoooting while being a sport does help with trigger control, speed and accuracy. Its not fighting though, and unless you´ve received formal training in that area, please dont asume any form of sport is ¨as good as¨, that´s what I meant with the comment in my earlier post.
Of the three pistols I took, the old 1908 Colt Pocket Hammerless ran through 25 rounds without problems, proving again the genious of Jhon Moses Browning.
The Ballester Molina 45 ACP functioned very well too. In spite of the dated small sights its a serious weapon that puts a fair sized chunk of lead on target, fast and accurate. While some consider the BM a poor man´s 1911clone, I think its an upgraded version of the 1911. Now that I gave a heart attack to all 1911 fans reading this, do rememeber that JMB originaly did not want to include a grip safety and only did so becuase of the pistol´s military requirements. The Ballester Molina is the 1911 as Browning would have wanted it except for the trigger which I dont care much about either way. Second heart attack there for the 1911 fans!
My Bersa 22LR failed to work reliably with bulk ammo as expected, but did much better with hotter 40 gr. ammo. A well known fact is that 22LR while cheap when buying bulk also happens to be less reliable. Few 22LR will shoot all sorts of ammo and do so well. If the recoil spring is too hard for weaker bulk ammo or lighter loades, it only works reliably when using hotter, heavier ammo. If its too light it does well with the weak bulk ammo ammo but gets aboused a lot when you use hotter or heavier loads. Loose tolerances in both weapons and ammo, the lack of reliability in general terms in the ammo department combined with the natural lack of power of the cartidge makes it clearly one of the worst choices you can make. While better than a sharp stick in some cases, people please just say no to 22LR guns for defensive purposes!
The Smith & Wesson model 12 Airweight that I”ve come to trust finaly failed me. Preiviously I have sold three Taurus revolvers, all of which have failed me at some point. This time the S&W would lock as if out of timing in one chamber. Letting go and pulling the trigger again did nothing. You had to half cock by hand and then rotate the cylinder so as to skip that chamer. This sort of failure could have gotten me or my wife killed. It worked fine when back at home. Seems that the temperature difference in this tight aluminum framed classic caused it to jam in one chamber, at least that´s what I´ve seen so far. The gunsmith looking over it now will have the final work. On the other hand a simple failure to feed in a pistol gets solved in a matter of a second or less. Other failures get little more time than that to solve.
If anyone else rants about revolver reliability vs autos I swear by head will spontaneausly explode.
Take care everyone,

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Sunday, November 27, 2011

Home Invasions on the Rise

Notice how the events I’ve described previously in numerous times are occurring more often in USA as well. More violent home invasions, better organized and often taking advantage of intel, either because someone spoke too much or because of someone that accessed the property previously because of legit reasons such as maids, contractors, etc.
Similar to what we’ve seen here, the level of violence is clearly increasing, not only that, but some of the old “codes” have been lost. These days criminals don’t hesitate in torturing children, something that used to be disapproved in general by professional criminals.
Las week in the small town or Miramar in the province of Buenos Aires, a 10 year old was killed by two criminals that broke into his house. The child ran to hide under the bed but they soon caught him, beat him and hanged him.
Its for this reason that I insist so much on security. Times in USA and world wide are getting more dangerous each day.
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Tension follows rash of home invasions by masked attackers – Houston Chronicle‏

The crews of bad guys bash down doors in the night or early morning hours, wearing masks and carrying guns as they stalk their victims.
Such teams have attacked Houston-area homes at least four times in the past two weeks, most recently on Thanksgiving evening. Their attacks have left three people dead and a boy missing a finger.
“I’m not nervous. I’m waiting,” electrician Robert Young said Friday as he clutched a military-style assault rifle outside his home, a few doors down from the scene of the latest attack in the 12000 block of Dermott.
The normally quiet neighborhood is thick with pine trees, sprawling lots and concern about what might have motivated the attack.
“I have got my guns ready,” said Young, fresh back from Iraq, where he did electrical contracting.
Authorities said they’ve seen an increase in home invasions recently, although statistics were not available because of the holiday.

Attackers often target residents they think are either drug traffickers who stash cash in their homes, or immigrants, particularly from Asia or the Middle East, who run small, cash-based businesses.
“These guys are violent criminals,” said Franceska Perot, a spokeswoman for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. “You see them now more prepared – ski masks, zip ties (handcuffs), firearms. They basically have a plan when they go into these homes.”
Usually the criminals have a tip from someone who is in the home or has been there.
The attackers are said to hope their victims are at home so they can intimidate them into handing over drugs or cash instead of wasting time tearing into walls or tossing furniture.
The ATF has arrested multiple teams of invaders, often specialists with reputations for helping disgruntled traffickers attack rivals or former partners.

Former Houston drug dealer Rogelio Gonzalez testified during a trial this year that robbers disguised as police officers barged into his residence and pistol- whipped him in front of his terrified family.
Home invasions occur regularly, and authorities concede they don’t know about all of them. In those where nobody is hurt and a drug dealer gets ripped off, nobody may call police. (Read the rest)

Friday, November 25, 2011

The advantages of having networked ahead of time and the ordeal of buying dollars in Argentina

Mr. Green looks much older than I remember. Stress does that to people in a short amount of time. I’ve seen it happen before several times. There’s more wrinkles in his face, and he has grown a beard which is mostly gray.  Last time I saw him was several months ago, he was clean shaven and had a cheerful ring in his voice that is now gone.  He mumbles “I’m only selling to those that I know now”.
I keep my voice down as I speak. The small store in the downtown district of Buenos Aires is supposed to sell pens, pocket knives and various office supplies, even though in reality it’s just a front for a “cave”, where an “Arbolito”, Mr. Green, operates buying and selling dollars. (arbolito=tree for Spanish =green=USD, hence Mr. Green)  .

“I saw it on the news and knew it was bad, that´s why I waited until things cooled down a bit. Is it really that bad, people arrested by SIDE (Argentine Intelligence) undercover agents and all? This must be terrible for business”.

“Yes. It is”, he says and nods while looking over my shoulder towards the street. You know what they say about you not really being paranoid if they are really out there to get you.
I ask for the current exchange rate for buying. 4.90 pesos per dollar. Not bad. Officially its 4.25. No doubt a handful of politicians are making a killing these days with the bicycle scheme of buying in the official market and selling in the black one, what is now called the price for the Blue dollar. Of course only those in power can do that. For the rest of us mere mortals you have to go through official scrutiny and if you’re even allowed to buy dollars through official channels at all, its just 50 or 100 a month for an upper middle class type of income. Ridiculous.

Out of habit I haggle a bit but get nowhere. 3.90 it is, and I should consider myself lucky that Mr. Green has known me since 2001 when this mess first started. I cant avoid the déjà vu feeling.
Its about 2.30 PM. The time when the buzz of the Capital district calms down. The time when cops and other agents, undercover or not, are still feeling heavy and lazy because of lunch break.
Would 12AM to 1.30 PM be a better time? Not really. That’s when everyone gets their office break… and sneak around looking to buy dollars before going back to work. 2Pm to 3Pm is about right.
I do the deal, quickly check the money just in case I’m getting a counterfeit bill, and hurry to the car I have ready waiting for me a couple blocks down the street, driver inside ready to go.

The new dollar “corralito” has paralyzed everything. People don’t want to sell anything that may go up in pesos soon. Travel agencies only accept dollars for international flights. Things like imported firearms? Houses? Better have dollars, and dollars aren’t easy to come by these days if you don’t know the right people. At least one real estate broker that I know well decided to take a couple weeks off and give people vacations.
2001 Déjà vu indeed.
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Thursday, November 24, 2011

10 Survival Tips that will get you Killed.

1)Concentrating on rifle skills instead of mastering the handgun you can carry every day. “But I can´t hit the broad side of a barn with a handgun”. Then practice more! Whatever happens, chances are you won´t have the time to go get your rifle when you need a weapon. At the very least don’t count on having the time to do so. Now carrying every day and begin proficient, that’s how at least you’ll be armed when you need it the most.

2) Lack of firearms training and ignoring the local laws (because there will be no law after SHTF, WROL, remember?). Expecting to rise to the occasion is foolish, you wont gain the skill you never developed by magic and target shooting, hunting, skeet, plinking or whatever other activity you do that involves firearms DOES NOT count for defensive shooting training. Ignoring the laws may not kill you but it can land you in jail for most of your adult life. Know when and in what circumstances it  is legal for you to use your firearm. That’s how you learn what happens if you “shoot to wound” or what happens if you shoot criminals on the sidewalk and “drag them inside” like its sometimes adviced by self-claimed experts.  Knowing the law may mean the difference between rotting in jail or not. As things get worse, these things will actually happen more often, soon enough the odds will be that it may happen to you too.

3) Don’t bring a knife to a gunfight. Don’t ever underestimate the lethality of a knife. Most fights occur within zero and seven yards, and within that range chances are you will get cut. If you lack the basic training and plan on improvising, you will most likely get killed by a determined attacker.

4) Throwing stuff at armed robbers. I read this one in a survival manual and didn’t know if I should have cried or laughed. This expert believed that simply showing hostility of some kind was enough to send bad guys away. The truth is that an excited criminal, probably high on drugs and full of hatred towards you, will shoot you if you do something like that in such a dangerous moment. Either know what to do, have the weapons for it and fight like you´re supposed to given the situation or don’t, but acting like a hysterical brat will do little to increase your survival rate.

5)Houses pretending to be abandoned and/or empty. Make it look as if there’s nothing worth stealing, use blinds or shutters so that no one knows there’s people inside. How many times have you heard or read these nuggets of wisdom? Truth is that a house with no people inside is a temptation and favorite target of any criminal. Even good people during desperate times may try to take shelter in an abandoned house, maybe see if there’s something they can use. You want your place to look clearly occupied, and spotlights places around the perimeter so as to make it clear you´re ready to defend yourself is even better.

6)Distance  equals safety. It doesn’t. Its just a false sense of security and the only reason nothing may have happened to you yet is because no one ever tried to get to you. Its even easier to attack a house that is isolated than pulling off a home invasion with neighbors near by. Isolation and distance doesn’t mean you’re too far away from anything. If you go t there, so can others.

7)Bug out! Where? How long will it take? Why abandon a defendable, safe, stocked position? You better have a reason for it. Don’t just run like a fool at the first sign of trouble because someone told you to do so. 99% of the time you’re better off staying put. If you have to leave, have a place to go to. Its not just a matter of abandoning your current location. Even if you have a bug out location, if it has been left empty chances are that during the disaster someone may have broken into, stolen what was of use, or even worse, decided to take for themselves that nice place you so conveniently left ready in case there was trouble. If you cant leave the place with people watching over it, then its better to count on friends and family members and make arrangements ahead of time so that there’s no surprises.

8)Gear and Supplies, but no money for emergencies, medical bills, medicines, no financial preps for the future and ending up in the poor house. Certain experts will say money will become useless after the “ballon goes up”, the same ballon many of them have been predicting for almost half a century. You don’t need to worry about the system because it will utterly fail, money is just paper with pictures and “…. After SHTF”, people will barter and trade for whatever it is they need. That’s a great way to end up broke once you get old, suffer some injury and have to face medical bills or be in desperate need of a real investment that creates actual income flow.

9)Running and jumping across jungles, forests, and freaking volcanos, Baer Grylls style. You don’t run, jump and dash through places you don’t know, hang over cliffs with a vine or shrub that just happened to be there. Do that for real in a forest or jungle and you’ll break a leg or neck in a matter of minutes. Jumping your way across land covered in lava that may or may not give under your weight, not to mention melt away your shoes, is a ticket to an excruciatingly painful death.

10)Going barefoot. 95% of the survival TV “advice” is dangerous. Its about having a minimum rating, not teaching you true survival skills. People actually watching it and having fun is the real priority for them. When you see a guy going barefoot just know that’s short of actually cutting off your own fingers or pocking an eye out with a stick on purpose, its one of the best ways to cripple yourself, limit your possibilities and endanger you basic mobility. If there’s debris, glass, and sharp objects after a disaster or terrorist attack you’re doomed. If you have to deal with snow and cold weather, cut yourself in the city and risk an infection, its such a bad idea for so many reasons and has no benefit whatsoever.
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Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Choosing a Bug Out Vehicle

While I don’t feel that the term “bug out vehicle” reflects precisely what I’m going for in this article, I’ll use it anyway because I think most of my readers will quickly understand what I mean.
The Bug out Vehicle is supposed to be the vehicle used to escape the city when disaster strikes. While some events may force you to do so, what I want is a vehicle that could be used for such scenario, but also covers both several other scenarios that are more likely, and at the same time works for the mode typical mundane use. Maybe  “Survival Emergency Vehicle” would be a broader definition, one that includes the possible bug out scenarios but takes into account other considerations.
Without wasting time lets go right into what we’re looking for.
Financial Crisis considerations: This already being a fact and not a “what if”, there are certain points to keep in mind so that our vehicle responds to the economic crisis part of the equation as well.
*The vehicle should be affordable. I suppose few of us have money to throw away. Without compromising on quality, buying used tends to save you lots of money that can be put to better use. As a rule of thumb if you buy a vehicle that is three or four years old and has less than 40.000 miles you’re still looking at a relatively new car that has many years ahead of it, and you’re buying it for a fraction of what it costs.  10.000 miles a year tends to be standard, be suspicious of cars that have much more or much less than that and check that the general wear of the car insides matches the miles its supposed to have.
*The vehicle should be known for its ruggedness and reliability.
*Repairs should be easy to make, hopefully you’ll be able to do at least some of your own, so easy to understand car mechanics and engines would be best. The model should be popular enough so that mechanics are familiar with them and spare parts are both easy to find and affordable.
*Regarding efficiency, this will be a vehicle that you’ll be using mostly for driving on good roads. Maybe it doubles as your daily driver or commute car, so good millage is very important so as to be affordable to keep it fed. Even in some evacuation scenario or emergency that requires driving long distances, fuel efficiency means you get to cover more miles with less of your scarce fuel resources, or using whatever you manage to scrounge around.
*If possible, manual would be preferred. It uses less fuel, its mechanically more simple and you tend to have more control of the vehicle.  In some situations such as when wounded or when there’s a driver with no experience with manual transmission, then automatics are and advantage, so both have their pro and cons.
*It should be able to deal with some off-road driving, drive across mud, snow and sand. Even if this vehicle will be dealing with paved roads 95% of the time, you don’t want to get stuck during an emergency or if you ever have to drive around traffic or blocked vehicles. Because of this, the vehicle should have the option of 4WD. The chances of you needing it aren’t high, but if possible it would be good to have that alternative. Here we will have to compromise to a degree because off road capability, good road driving and efficient gas millage tend to be mutually excluding. Don’t forget that a fuel efficient soccer mom van may take your entire family and gear twice the distance a fuel thirsty 4.0 4×4 can. Not to mention that its much cheaper to driver on daily basis. Think SUV or light off road capability, you don’t need a monster rock climber.
*The vehicle should be small enough so as to maneuver around debris, car wreck, or whatever may be blocking the road. You want a car that has some muzzle, but agility makes for a more convenient vehicle for daily driving and when you need to move fast during emergencies as well. At the same time, it should be big enough to fit your entire family and your supplies.  Again we’ll have to compromise and go for some medium sized vehicle, not too big, not to small, but something that seats 5 with room to spare. You might get away with a smaller 3-door SUV if you’re on your own but always plan on needing some room later on.
Some Recommendations
Here’s a video I found on the Honda CR-V. This one would be one of my first choices. Honda cars have the same reputation as Honda generators. They just work and keep working after others die.

My second recommendation is the Toyota RAV4. This is a nice little vehicle and has acceptable gas millage. Its also pretty good as an off road vehicle.

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Monday, November 21, 2011

Why Hiding Money in Books isn’t such a Good Idea

While doing some house cleaning I came across this little find.
500 Pesos and 50 pesos. 500 Argentine pesos is almost 100 USD, too bad its “old” pesos, from the 80’s. After that came the Austral and then Pesos again. Back in the day 500 pesos was the equivalent of 500 USD. Too bad inflation destroyed its purchasing value long ago, even before the change of currency.
I know finding 500 USD stashed from the 80’s would have been another story since its not as unstable as some south American currency but I still think there’s a couple lessons there.
First, paper money isn’t a great idea because inflation or unstable economies may cause it to lose value. Second, I think it clearly shows how easily money hidden in books gets either lost of forgotten!!
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Saturday, November 19, 2011

Why Occupy Wall Street does not Represent You

Very few topics I’ve covered have generated as much anger as my previous post regarding OWS. Being politically correct is not in my language and I have enough friends so as to not lose sleep over who’s panties get all bunched up. If someone has a different opinion, you’re more than entitled to it. In fact, if you present it in an adult manner, without insulting and in a way it makes some sense I might even publish that different opinion in my blog.
That’s where the signs of trouble start with OWS. I can´t remember the last time I’ve got so many angry email, comments and insults. Even when talking about the Tea Party movement and allowing some people to be more disrespectful towards the movement than I should have I didn’t get that type of hate email and messages. That’s a sign of maturity, understanding and simply knowing better. When all you can do is insult then you either lack the maturity to explain yourself properly or your movement just lacks any content worthy of being explained.
One of the things that apparently angers OWS people the most was my comparison to our version of it, the “piqueteros” and either similar groups of social groups that somehow “evolved” from the piquetero movement.

What is a piquetero?
Seems every member has his or her own definition of what OWS really is.  There’s apparently as many definitions as people involved, another sign of trouble in my opinion. What apparently most of the would agree on is that they are people fed up with the system/government and are most of all fed up of Wall Street, bankers and other global corporations owned by evil greedy men that are basically destroying our planet and enslaving hard working people around the world. So far so good, and so far I’m feeling represented myself. The piqueteros started in somewhat similar way, keeping in mind the clear differences between what is considered a poor person in USA and what´s poor by South American standards. Before becoming political, piqueteros where simply people from all walks of life, mostly poor, that were just fed up of being hungry, unemployed or exploited by both the government and politicians. Eventually the piqueteros became the strong arm of the government itself, but the origins weren’t different form the ones of the OWS movement.

Occupy and Okupas
I sometimes wonder, do people really know what they are joining before saying they support this or that movement? During hard times like these its easy to be misled. You find a group of people that say they are the 99%, that they are fed up, they don’t want to be exploited by big corporations any more, “What the heck, I feel the same way!”  and you finally feel represented.
But what is “Occupy”, where does it come from? It comes from another grassroot movement, but one that may not represent you as much as you think. “Occupy” comes from the “Okupa Movement”, which is slang for “ocupa “, purposefully replacing the c for K as if making reference to their lack or dislike towards proper education and literature, maybe some rebellious spirit and lack of maturity in there as well, something the young Spaniards are known for these days. The “Okupa” movement refers specifically to occupying land, public or privately owned, that has either been abandoned or in the majority of cases, is simply unoccupied. This social problem was already common in South America but it started as a movement in Barcelona with young people living on welfare and not wanting to live with their parents any more. The movement became popular all across Europe and it went well with the idea of working very little or nothing at all, traveling across Europe collecting gov. checks and living in occupied property. The Okupa philosophy is that if a property isn’t occupied, they have a right to occupy it themselves. Sometimes the Okupas have a social twist, some form vegetarian kitchens, do arts and crafts and have a certain hippie air about them. The okupas with more political aspirations go for establishing self-managed cultural or social centers and  growing gardens.
This sort of activities have gained them social acceptance to some level but the root problem with Okupas is significant. For one it completely ignores the right to private property, to manage or inhabit it in whatever way you like. For another it indulges a lifestyle of no responsibility and lack of productivity. During one of my trips to Spain I found what I consider to be a good example of the okupa movement and the core problem of Europe: A 30 year old English skater that was skateboarding in one of the Museums of Barcelona. Dirty, unemployed, and with no intention of finding a job any time soon, he had been living off welfare for several years. I found it to be an interesting metaphor how this person showed no respect, nor any intention to visit the museum he was “playing in”, but had no contempt in damaging the structure he was using for skateboarding.

We’ve seen this kind of social “okupa” movement in Argentina after the 2001. We already had people settling and living in land they didn’t own, forming shanty towns, but after 2001 we saw it grow not only as a matter of occupied real estate, but as a political and social movement as well. Given the magnitude of the crisis it also occurred in industries as well. In some cases workers occupied factories that had been abandoned, but in many others they simply took over what didn’t belong to them. A glorification of this sort of practice can be found in the documentary “The Take”. Naomi Klein, the director of this documentary is a communist and I’ve seen her on CNN talking for OWS movement and organizing events. She’s clearly a OWL leader. While this may sound all very romantic to some remember that this is a double edged sword that cuts both ways. I’d like to hear how much you like the Occupy movement if you one day come back home after a weekend out only to find that some other family has decided to put to better use your “vacant” property. This happens all the time around here and again, its also happening in USA.
The OWS movement has no clear ideology and strategy. Some of their members claim they have, but again its as if there’s as many opinions on what should be done as people involved, with many of them claiming they don’t have a clue, they are just mad and fed up. All of them show resentment towards the so called 1%, but if you’re supposed to “redistribute” what this greedy 1% is taking away, how exactly are you supposed to do that? Through more taxation? Bigger government? It should be no surprise to see Obama showing his support to the OWS movement while being against the Tea Party movement. While not perfect the Tea Party movement has clear objectives or at least some clear stances such as less taxes, not more of them and smaller government.
Ron Paul has showed his concern for the OWS movement and I’ve always considered him a very smart man. Not only do I agree with him, I think the problem he sees with the OWS movement could be much worse if certain people with very clear agendas manage to take control of it and pull the mass that isn’t that sure of what OWS is all about in their direction.
By definition alone, and by some of the key leaders involved, the Occupy movement is clearly leaning to the left. On one hand its supposed to represent the 99% that are fed up, but on the other we all know who benefits from redistribution and socialism. I hope most of the good people that got involved because they felt identified with it in some way understand what this kind of movement is about. More taxation that is supposed to target that 1% inevitably ends up affecting the other 99%, and the bigger government is just the cause of the problem, not the solution. Maybe some of the people involved in OWS believe they are against both of these, but that exactly the monster they are feeding, even if they do it unknowingly.

Who are the leaders, speakers and representatives of OWL?

Naomi Klein, feminist, anti-consumerism , communist.

Cornel West, Black Panther Party admirerer, honorary chair of the Democratic Socialists of America

Slavoj Žižek, Marxist, atheist philosopher

This guy…

SO, still feeling you’re part of THIS 99%?
Have a nice weekend people.
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Thursday, November 17, 2011

The Occupy Movement: The US version of the “Piquetero” socialist movement of 2002 in Argentina.


I was reading through the news this morning and came across this article ( http://www.foxnews.com/us/2011/11/15/police-order-protesters-to-vacate-occupy-wall-street-camp-in-zuccotti-park/?test=latestnews ) .  The part that stood out to me was the mention of the lawyers for the ‘occupiers’ using a squatters rights argument to allow them to continue staying in the park.  I was reminded of the article you wrote some months back about the growth of slums and how they took on a life of their own.  It seems the occupy protesters may be working toward the same end with a similar negative effect to surrounding business and neighborhoods.

Hi G, yes I’m familiar with the Occupy movement. I saw it on the news during my stay in Salt Lake City, and it did in fact bring some memories.

When banks closed in Argentina in 2001 stealing people’s money, people with savings and bank accounts took the streets and protested. These were people with jobs, with USD savings they had done sacrifices to build and the banks just took them for themselves converting them to pesos at a 75% loss. The Occupy movement is not that kind of people. What the Occupy movement reminds me of is the worst of society that came along after the collapse, the piqueteros and other “social” movements and groups. In this case the Occupy movement is the same thing only adapted to the American idiosyncrasy. The “piquetero” movement was a reflection of the violent times we were living in: blocking roads, attacking people, looting, stealing. Many of these groups evolved into the different socially accepted political movements and groups that aligned well with the official welfare state policy.

In spite of the little differences those groups and the Occupy movement are the same thing. It’s this socialist, lefty kind of cool liberal BS abortion of nature that glorifies simbols of socialism and communism and demands redistribution. They supposedly represent the mass (the 99%) and rise against the evil 1%ers, yet knowingly or not becoming these useful idiots that end up feeding and benefiting the same structures that they are supposed to raise against. Please wake up people. During my time in Salt Lake City I wasn’t surprised to see Naomi Klein just thrilled about these movements. This woman is a communist, author of the Shock Doctrine (anti-capitalist literature) and The Take (anti-capitalist documentary based on the takeovers of companies in Argentina). That’s the true nature of the Occupy movement and trust me, its not the answer, but the way in which USA will go down to 3rd world conditions it may never recover from.

Like Cristina and Nestor Kirchner did at their time, Obama is also siding with these social (or shall we call them what they are) political movements. Obama is being just as grotesque about it as the Kirchner´s where, saying it plain and simple, “we are on their side”.
just in case anyone had any shadow of a doubt.
Folks, it´s sad and helpless, like watching a train wreck in slow motion. Politically and social this is the exact same thing we saw in Argentina. This neo-communist garbage being vomited by bums, welfare leaches, and so called intellectual alike, being promoted everywhere from work environments to universities, and just like we saw in Argentina, it all has the seal of approval of the president and staff.

Along with these useful fools, honest Americans may fall for it as well. Betrayed, overtaxed, they may feel this is the way to go, the way to get back at Wall Street and the banksters that keep getting rich on their behalf. Simply stop for a second and ask yourself. Why is the person that got placed in the presidential office by these same evil 1% supporting the groups that appear to rise against them? Because they dont!

Guess who will benefit the most from this redistribution, this increase in taxes, ruined economy, poor working conditions and neo-communist working environment? Who benefits from the destruction of the middle class, practically converted into modern slavery? Yes, that same group of bankers.
I was talking with Dave Duffy and John Silveira from Backwoods Home Magazine ( I remember, I still owe you guys an article and books!!) and at one point I told him “Communism is the most brutal form of capitalism. Just think about it, monopoly on everything, the population reduced to working for the minimum required to sustain their lives while taking advantage of nearly 100% of their production value”. John liked that quote a lot. If you think about it that’s the way it is, that’s the way in which these corporations that rule our lives benefit the most.

In the new globalized world, nothing would make our true rulers happier than seeing the entire world submerged into this neo liberal commie loving socialist intellectualoid freak of nature.
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Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Stockpiling in Anticipation of Disaster‏

Great book. Now my neighbor is reading it.
Maybe it will go ‘viral’ in our neighborhood.

Having had several weather-related events
in our area (over 20 years) which cut off electricity
for days and sometimes weeks, we know how to
persevere until its return. Below is our list of
low-cost items to stockpile, which is different
than the average preparedness checklist:

1. Trash bags. Buy a bunch when they’re ‘on sale’.
2. Paper. Toilet paper, paper towels, paper plates, etc.
3. Books. Internet and cell towers were disabled.

Here’s why:
trash bags store everything from dirty clothes
to garbage while waiting for the electricity to return.
Disposable paper lessens the necessity for water
which may be unavailable due to no electricity.
Books are a pleasant distraction from the situation.
(however, the last time, we enjoyed a non-stop Poker
game with individual sheets of toilet paper as ‘chips’.
we learned 9-year-old girls have the best ‘poker face’)

Some excellent points, thanks.
I usually don’t recommend stocking up massive amounts of anything, especially not if you lack the financial resources to do so or are lacking in some other areas. I cringe when people say they stock up toilet paper “because it will be worth its weight in gold… after SHTF”.
Having said that there’s some products that are just extremely handy and versatile or that you end up using anyway no matter what. Those I will buy in quantity.
As you explained paper products are very handy, especially when there’s little water to go by. Toilet paper gets used eventually too, but please, don’t stock up on it planning on trading it or barter, think more in the lines of personal use.

Black Contractor Bags, 42 Gallon, 33×48, 3.0 Mil, 50/case
Also on big trash or contractor bags, those are fantastic. You can use a few in combination with frozen bottles. Keep some in the bottom of the fridge when the power goes down and cover with a few plastic bags for insulation, that works well. Storing and transporting all sorts of products, packing clothes, food, etc. By all means have a good supply of quality trash bags, don’t waste money on the cheapo ones that tear when just looking at them.

Warp Brothers SP-4CH10-C 4 Mil Carry Home Coverall Clear Plastic Sheeting, 10-Foot by 25-Foot
Two more products to keep in mind. The first one is clear plastic sheeting. This product is fantastic for a number of uses, from wrapping supplies or using it for improvised shelter. Also for earthquakes and other disasters, it can be used to close holes, replace windows. During the Sarajevo siege clear plastic was used to improvise windows after they were destroyed after shelling.

Scotch Heavy Duty Packaging Tape, 2 Inches x 800 Inches, 6 Rolls (142-6)
The second one is packaging tape, at least 2 inch wide. Duct tape gets most of the fame and rightfully so, but packaging tape is also very useful and cheaper which is always nice. I’ve used this sort of tape to reinforce trash bags and make them much more resistance when transporting heavier objects or packing them tightly. It is no replacement for duct tape but I find it to be great for those tasks where duct tape is overkill. What I recommend is first buying a few rolls, then buying larger quantities once you verify the quality of the tape. Some are very good, others fall apart to easy. Since its cheap to begin with its better to buy the good stuff.

Gorilla Tape 1.88-Inch by 35-Yard Tape Roll
As for duct tape, I keep recommending the same, go for Gorilla Tape.
Take care!

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