Saturday, August 31, 2013

Argentina Heading into Recession in 2014


Argentina’s economy keeps getting worse each passing week. Just when you think it couldn’t possibly get worse, another desperate measure is taken by the government, buying a little time but making the inevitable collapse even worse.

An example of such madness was restricting importations. The theory behind doing such a thing was that if you don’t allow imports people are forced to consume national production, therefore national industry grows. That may have been the case in the 1800’s but today the world is a tad different. From TVs, microchips, to medications and luxury goods, other than agricultural produces little else is made in Argentina, and what little is made usually has a majority of parts being imported anyway. Even products of limited complexity are made using imported machinery.

It’s because of this that as time goes by, imported goods become more scarce and more expensive. And given that the attempt to boost the economy with these childish measures failed miserably the economy just keeps getting worse with inflation spiraling out of control at a steady 24% per year, the 3rd highest inflation in the planet.

Desperate attempts such as freezing food and household consumable prices for a couple months at the begging of the year only made things worse. On September 2013, the cost of medical care, another price the government tried to freeze, will go up 9,5%.
The Peso Argentino, the national currency, keep losing value, and today the official peso to USD rate of 5,60 pesos per USD is half of what people are paying in the street at 9,60 Pesos per USD. Of course, buying at the fictitious official rate is all but impossible, virtually banning the purchase of foreign currency. Its because of irregularities like these that Argentina seems to float in a surreal parallel universe where for example, a person traveling to US or Europe can pretty much pay for the trip by buying a couple used smartphones of the latest generation and selling them when back home, or filling a suitcase up with American brand name clothes and reselling it on their return.

Why is the situation in Argentina hopeless? Because those ruling the country have no desire to fix what's broken. You can't solve a problem if you don´t accept you have one to begin with, any more than you can't get treatment for a disease you refuse to get diagnosed.

“… since 2007 Argentina’s government has published inflation figures that almost nobody believes…. From this week, we [The Economist] have decided to drop [Argentina's government agency] INDEC’s figures entirely. We are tired of being an unwilling party to what appears to be a deliberate attempt to deceive voters and swindle investors. For Argentine consumer-price data we will look instead to PriceStats, an inflation specialist, which produces figures for 19 countries that are published by State Street, an investment bank.”

With the balance sheet just not adding up and nowhere else to take money from, having already nationalized everything they could, taken over private pension funds and not much of a middle class left to tax, most predictions point towards recession and official devaluation in 2014.


Tuesday, August 27, 2013

3 Great Reasons to EDC a Full Size Pistol

I couldn't agree more (regarding Blend in or High-Visibility?) , some things 
that make sense in one place might not make sense in another place.
You always advocated carrying a full size pistol. I wonder if your
opinion has changed now that you live in a less dangerous place.
I lived in a very bad neighborhood about a year ago, and I would carry
my glock 17 with a 33 round magazine for backup. The danger was very
real and having to use it was very high. I would never carry any gun
that I didn't feel absolutely confident in.
Now I live in a much nicer neighborhood, and I carry a Ruger lcp. It's
definitely low firepower, and I would never put it in the same
category as a glock for reliability. Just the same, my chances of
needing it are pretty low in this neighborhood. The chances of needing
18 + 33 rounds are also very very low.
This is my thinking and feelings on the matter. What do you think?


Hi, thanks for your email.
Consider the following.
1)No one ever wished for a smaller gun in a gun fight. No one wanted less ammo, a less powerful cartridge or a gun that was harder to shoot fast an accurate with a smaller than full size grip. A handgun is already underpowered as it is. Besides, when carried as a defensive auto is supposed to be carried, as we learn during training, it will ride on a proper holster anyway. I haven’t met a single person that could keep up with a class of intermediate or advanced defensive shooting training with a fanny bag and a pocket gun.  Sooner rather than later you see how slow reloading is, how slow holstering and drawing becomes and unless you’re a true expert shooter you will find it hard to keep shots on targets too with such small sight radius as the ones found in most subcompact guns (Glocks and similar guns being in some cases the only exception at some point) If you cant keep up with it at training with that firearm, then you sure don’t want to count on it when the chips are down.

About living in a safer place, unfortunately there’s not always a correlation between how much gun you’ll need to how bad a neighborhood is. You just never know what life has planned for you. A junky may try to mug you for drug money in the bad part of town and producing any gun at all may be enough to send him looking for easier pray, while if you live in a nice part of town you may be specifically targeted for kidnapping or home invasion precisely because you live in the good part of town. Many of the dedicated defensive shooters that I knew back in Argentina were of an upper middle class or downright rich status. They happen to be the ones that have the most to take from. Remember the Petit family in Connecticut. Upper class neighborhood and a home invasion still ended up in rape and murder of all but one surviving family member.

2)You should carry what you train with. You can take a subcompact or pocket gun to try out at some class, draw from a pocket or bag, but as the going gets tough a better suited gun is needed and that’s why 90% of people in serious defensive shooting classes have a Glock 17, Glock 19 or some other similar service high capacity auto. Parts and accessories are easier to find, ammo is usually of the more common variety and if you ever have to use someone else’s gun or get by with a loaned gun because of whatever reason, chances are you’ll get handed over a Glock pretty much anywhere in the world.

3) For me it’s a matter of principle. If you have the right to keep and bear arms use it to its full extent. I know it sounds silly but to me it feels as if going with a pocket gun of some sort is either not taking full advantage of your rights, like going half way in honoring the sacrifice made by others to ensure such right.  Besides, why would I want to have the compact, limited version of anything when I can carry the real thing? I understand that when living in a very safe place any gun may seem unnecessary, but you just never know when that day will come when you do need it.
I would carry a full size gun, and whenever I notice its there because of the weight or bulk, I would just remember how lucky I am that I live in a country where I still have such a right, something that isn’t at all common around the world. And if I never have to use that gun for self defense I would just count my blessings.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Big Problem most Preppers Overlook

Smart preparedness means getting ready for what’s likely to happen first, and take it from there moving down towards events that are less likely to happen. It makes no sense to go nuts over what you should do to be ready for EMPs and solar flares and not be ready for tornados while living in Central Texas. Likewise, it makes little sense to obsess over raiders and looters while overlooking your doctor´s advice about lowering your salt and fatty food intake to control your cholesterol and high blood pressure.
If there’s one thing we all have in common is that we’re all going to die sooner or later. 

Not a pleasant topic, but that’s that. Ideally we would all die in our sleep past out 90th birthday after having lived a wonder life and leaving an important legacy behind. As we all know, few things in life, (especially so death!) turn out ideally. Nothing we can do about that part, its just the way it is, but what about those left behind?
This is an email I got a couple days ago from one of my youtube viewers:

Hi Ferfal you know me as **** on YouTube.

 About 6 months ago my girlfriend died from a massive aortic aneurism she was only 30 years old and was 7.5 months pregnant with our son because of our age we never thought to get a will done for each of us it was a big mistake. Thankfully our son survived and is okay. Since we were only common law and had no wills or power of attorney I had to go to court for custody of my son and almost had to pay a thousand bucks for a DNA test. Also since she died and I've been looking after my son I've been stuck living off of parental leave which really sucks since its about 1/3 of what I made as the primary bread winner of my family. I go back to work in October and will be fine but life insurance would have been nice for my son and I to use as a buffer for the short term. 
I write this not for sympathy but as a warning for other preppers/survivalists I spent way to much time worrying about car crashes and wildfires and not about the possibility of a personal shtf scenario. Instead of getting our affairs in order just in case we pass away we concentrate on buying gear and stuff thinking that we will never die of natural causes and or shit luck. I think all people in the self reliance movement should at least have a will and if they can afford it life insurance to help any loved ones in the event of their demise.
Thanks bud

Reading an email like this feels like a hook to the liver but it makes a crucial point: Be ready for when you’re not there anymore.
While there’s nothing you can do about dying or not, you can at least ease the financial burden quite a bit with life insurance. You can make things easier for everyone with a will and leaving your life in order.

Quick pointers folks:

1)Get life insurance. Leave enough to pay off the mortgage and support the family until your youngest child is 21-25. If you’re somewhat young and in good health life insurance can be pretty cheap, and will make life a lot easier for your family if something happens to you. It can make the difference between your family somewhat getting by ok in spite of the loss or your entire family falling apart and ending up in poverty. Its crazy how many people may have their pets insured, but they aren’t insured themselves, and the premium price isn’t all that different!

2)NEVER lie or forget to mention anything when getting your life insurance. After you die, a team dedicated to finding ways to not pay will look into everything trying to uncover any lie or detail you didn’t mention. Anything at all that can be used to void your contract will be found and used against you. It happens all the time. 

3)READ you contract in detail. You had a beer and died in a car crash? Most companies will use that to avoid paying. I know of two such cases. Read the contract and if possible have your lawyer read it as well.

4)What’s worse than dying? Being left a vegetable for years, your family left to pay the hospital bill while the life insurance company doesnt pay a dime because well, you didn’t die. Even if you have no family or dependents you may want to look into getting critical illness cover in case you are sick/injured and cant work anymore to support yourself.

5)Write a will and leave a signed and dated copy with your lawyer and another with your family. Make your will as clear as possible explaining what your leave to each family member. The most simple will, a hand written Holograph will, can be made in seconds and it is valid. No lawyer or witness needed and it avoids a ton of problems:
I, John Smith, leave all my property to my daughter Jane Smith.
Singed John Smith,  place and date.
If you have children, name a guardian and an alternate guardian in your will. This will prevent what could possibly be a long, nasty family battle over the custody of your children.