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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Monday, November 14, 2011

Priorities: Wants Vs. Needs


Thankyou for dedicating your time to educating others on survival. 
I have heard you on some podcasts and have followed your blog.  I
am a American with a large family.  I have 6 young kids and live in
a city of about 20 thousand population.  I make a modest income
with only a few hundred a month to spend on preparations.  Given
the current state of the U.S. Economy can you help me prioritize
with some?  I already have guns not enough ammo yet. 
This is what I am planning:
Buy 3 steel doors with door jamb kick proof plates
Buy a bullet proof vest
Buy 6 months to a year of food
Buy more filters for my water filter
Buy a generator propane
Plant 10 fruit trees
Buy 2×4 studs and plywood sheets for windows
Buy extra propane tanks
Buy cheap gold wedding bands
Put a chain link fence around house
Buy German shepard dog
Buy rabbit hutch and breed rabbits for meat

If I can get all that done before the dollar crashes I will be very
surprised.  That said what would you do priority wise.
Or what else would you do if you think I am missing things?
Thank you for your time.

Hi Patriot19. It’s a bit complicated to provide this kind of advice without knowing more details regarding your particular situation, where you’re located and such. More in depth information is needed so as to provide proper consulting, so this will only be a broad approximation which may not be as accurate.
In general terms there are certain priorities that change little and there I dare make some recommendations. Food for example would be one of them. Without knowing more and based on your letter I can still say that you want to focus on food first and work towards that six month supply. You mention apple trees too, and those are a good idea as well. What I like about it is that it’s the kind of preparation that doesn’t require that much time, and will literally provide fruits for the rest of your life without consuming your time and money. Lemmon tress, oranges, apples, whatever trees or bush you can plant and with a minimum care enjoy its fruits that’s just fantastic.

A side note on money and preparing. Your letter in more focused on how to use your financial resources, but keep in mind there’s certain things you can do for free. A dog for example, you can look on line for someone giving away a dog that may fit what you’re looking for. Checking the local animal shelter is a good idea but today looking on line you can cover many more places where you may find one. I know there’s a Dogo Argentino shelter, and they locate rescued or abandoned Dogos with new owners. I’d jump on that opportunity if you had prior experience and know how to handle big, strong willed hunting dogs. Saving orange seeds to plant costs you nothing and it can be done with other fruits and vegetables too. If not you can buy seeds rather easily for very little money. Since you seem to have the land that’s definitely something you want to get going as soon as possible.
Putting a chain link fence around the house will cost you but that’s what I’d make my number two priority right after having the food in storage. The chain link fence combined with a couple large or medium sized dogs (its always better to have more than one) will improve your odds greatly against criminals. With the chain link fence and a couple dogs that consider it their domains to guard, you’re improving your security situation a lot.

The body armor vest is important and I always recommend owning it but since you’re funds are limited you may first want to make other considerations. If you don’t own a good defensive handgun then maybe sell some of the guns you own and buy one. If you haven’t received formal firearms defensive training then make that number three by all means. You may shoot very well, but defensive shooting isn’t about marksmanship, its about fighting, so get a CCW license and take at least one class. That will put you light years ahead in terms of defense than just piling guns in a safe. Once you have that covered, then yes, get body armor. There’s a sweet deal right now on used Point Blank Interceptor BA . There’s three, one for $100 and the other for $150, the like new one costs 400 bucks but I’d be ok with the cheaper ones. Its a quality chest with MOLLE so you can adapt it to what you need.

Point Blank Interceptor OTV (Outer Tactical Vest) Ballistic Body Armor, Woodland Camo, X-Large — Genuine U.S. Military Issue
There’s also newlev body armor for $350.

Lightweight Bulletproof Bullet Proof Vest Concealable Body Armor IIIA 3A Light S-XL

You mention adding more water filters. How many have you got? Do you need these as of right now or is it just a precaution measure? At this point Id’ alter between hardening your home, saving some money (maybe an ounce of silver a month, once you covered the top three mentioned before) and working on your food production.  It would be great if you could find a way to make this food production of yours profitable. If you can tell me that you have some people to which you already know you can sell some rabbits, maybe talked to some neighbors of yours or local butcher, then you’re talking about starting your own small scale home business and that’s something I’d really encourage you to do.
I don’t know if you need the generator bad or not. Would you depend on it to pump water if power goes down? Do you need it for some other essential need? If its just to run the fridge and some lamps then I’d wait until I took care of more urgent needs.
I hope this gave you some ideas on how to continue with your preps and prioritize.
Take care and good luck!
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Friday, November 11, 2011

Improvised weapons for self Defense

Hello Fernando
I just wanted to drop you a line to say thanks for your excellent book and advice.  I ordered it a couple of years ago, and just re-read it.  I recently had cause to be grateful. 
Here in the UK as the world crisis beds in, we are seeing more and more desperate people, who have no entitlement to benefits, and no jobs, and no money.  I was coming home from the train station one evening and felt someone far too close to me on an uncrowded pavement.  I stopped and let the guy go past.  He then stopped and let me go past.  I turned off into the park which is on my way.  He did too, closing fast.  I stopped, turned to face him, looked straight at him keeping my face neutral, shifted my shoulders and adjusted my grip on my bag.  He stopped, turned and walked away.
In the UK we are constrained about what we can carry or use in self-defence – basically, if you carry anything as a weapon, you’ll be arrested.  You can hit somebody with something you have about you, but you can’t carry anything whose primary function is a weapon.  So a long-haired woman could use a hairbrush as a kubotan/yawara stick in fighting off an assailant, but a bald guy using a hairbrush would be arrested.  Crazy, but true.
The above means that situational awareness is all the more important in keeping yourself safe on the streets.  A bit of attitude helps too, as well as a certain amount of self-defence training.
It’s getting bad here Fernando, in a very low-key way.  Two of our neighbours have been burgled by locals, our pal has had her scooter stolen in broad daylight, and the kid who works down the garage and babysits my boy sometimes was nearly car-jacked two weeks ago.  None of this is reported or discussed and everyone wants to maintain the fiction that things are alright and there’s no crisis, but for those of us with our ears to the ground, the signs are all there.
Keep up the good work and many thanks
Oscar in UK
Hi Oscar, thanks for your email. Unfortunately that’s the situation in many countries. USA is pretty unique regard truly having citizens that enjoy the right to defend their lives, the most precious right any living creature has. It’s shameful that no other country has a Second Amendment, or down right prohibits the right to self-defense.
It’s not all hopeless though and there’s several strategies you can approach to improve your chances of survival during a life threatening attack. The first is asking your attacker to wait until you call the police so he can be arrested. Now this may or may not work since scientist from Cambridge University have found out that 99.999% of criminals will not wait calmly for an officer to show up and arrest them. In that case you may have to fend for yourself, and since in many parts of the world its illegal to carry any sort of weapon, you’ll have to improvise.

The Pen

An element many of us carry daily for writing and signing documents is the humble pen. The classic Cross that I use most often could be easily carried clipped to the pocket on your vest or pants. A relatively pointy metal object, if I had to improvise I could use it. Remember that a weapon is anything that increases your potentiality for defense or attack. A weapon can be a handgun, but also a knife, a fork, a pen or even a key jammed into an attacker’s eye.  While there are specific tactical pens out there, a solid pen, preferably made of metal, can do as well.

Smith & Wesson SWPENBK Tactical Pen, Black

The Flashlight

A local police officer told me once of how he used a flashlight once to control suspect, hitting him over the head with the crown bezel, it ripped off a strip of scalp. The head tends to bleed a lot, and blood pouring into your attacker’s eye can be very dissuasive. A perfectly legal and practical tool to have with you at all times, the right flashlight can be used both to startle with the strobe or as an improvised impact weapon.

SureFire E2D LED Defender Dual-Output LED (200 Lumens)

Pocket knife

Each country has its own restrictions but there’s still something you can legally carry if you look into it. Any knife is better than no knife. I simply couldn’t go through life without a cutting tool and anyone that carries a knife knows what I mean. One of the first mankind’s tools, a blade is a tool used for life in general, and on occasions yes, it can be used for defense as well if you don’t have something better at your disposal. Make sure that what you practice and train applies to the tools you carry as well.

Spyderco UK Penknife Gray FRN Leaf Blade PlainEdge Knife

OC Spray

It’s a very good option where firearms are illegal, but in some of the most draconian countries even these are illegal. If you happen to have with you a small can of deodorant spray, or some other spray, especially if oily or irritates in some way, you could use it as an improvised defensive spray. Do not expect much from it, bt it just may surprise and temporarily startle your attacker buying you a few seconds.

Sabre Pepper Spray Home & Away Protection Kit

WD-40 11010 Multi-Purpose Spray, 3 Oz.

Box Cutter/Snap blade

Lots of us use these for a number of tasks. It could be carried for repairs, opening packages, making models, a variety of office work, if you happen to have a box cutter or carpet cutter with you the razor sharp blade can be used for cutting. Given the fragile nature of the snap blades, I’d avoid thrusting with them and go more for slashing.

Tajima LC-301 Stainless Steel Auto Lock with 3/8 in. 13-pt. Endura snap-blade

Sheffield Tools 12256 Self Locking Snap Off Knife

Umbrellas, canes and walking sticks

Any of these can be used as an improvised impact weapon. Remember that we’re talking of not carrying any of this with intent, but it may just be what you have at hand when the attack takes place. A solid cane or walking stick would do very well. There’s an umbrella called, unbreakable umbrella with is extremely resistant. Work looking into it.

GustBuster Classic 48-Inch Automatic Golf Umbrella (Black)

Cold Steel City Stick with Aluminum Head

The Most Important part

During my most recent trip to US I had the mentioned metal Cross pen and a MTE flashlight. I didn’t feel well armed by any means but I knew I wasn’t completely defenseless either and my chances in a fight were much better thanks to those items I had with me. Never forget that the first and most important tool for defense and survival is our brain, the weapon we may carry or improvise but how smart we are, how well we react and the tactic we apply will always be more important. Laws may restrict this or that, but knowledge can never be restricted. If you train with stick fighting you might one day use a broom or umbrella for defense, if you know how to use a kubotan you may one day improvise with a short stick of marker.
Be smart, train and learn as much as you can,
Take care,
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