Why your water supply may cost more in future

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Wall Street wants your water supply

Wall Street wants your water supply

A New York Times investigation into rapidly rising water and sewage bills highlit the involvement of Wall Street finance in upgrading century old waterworks.

The paper has a detailed case study of three small towns across America,including Bayonne NJ, a rustbelt area.  The story shows that you might consider investing in your own well or rainwater harvesting if you live in a similar city:

n 2012, this blue-collar port city cut a deal with a Wall Street investment firm to manage its municipal waterworks.

Four years later, many of its old brown pipes have been replaced by shiny cobalt-blue ones, reflecting a broader infrastructure overhaul in Bayonne. But the water and sewer bill jumped so much that some are thinking about moving out of town.

“My reaction was, ‘Oh, so I guess I’m screwed now?’” said Ms. Adamczyk, an accountant and mother of two who received a quarterly bill for almost $500 this year. She’s not alone: Another resident’s bill jumped 5 percent, despite the household’s having used 11 percent less water.

Even as Wall Street deals like the one with Bayonne help financially desperate municipalities to make much-needed repairs, they can come with a hefty price tag — not just to pay for new pipes, but also to help the investors earn a nice return, a New York Times analysis has found. Often, these contracts guarantee a specific amount of revenue, The Times found, which can send water bills soaring.

Water rates in Bayonne have risen nearly 28 percent since Kohlberg Kravis Roberts — one of Wall Street’s most storied private equity firms — teamed up with another company to manage the city’s water system, the Times analysis shows. City officials also promised residents a four-year rate freeze that never materialized.

In one measure of residents’ distress, people are falling so far behind on their bills that the city is placing more liens against their homes, which can eventually lead to foreclosures.

In a typical private equity water deal, higher rates help firms earn returns of 8 to 18 percent, more than what a regular for-profit water company may expect. And to accelerate their returns, two of the firms have applied a common strategy from the private equity playbook: quickly flipping their investment to another firm. This includes K.K.R., which is said to be selling its 90 percent stake in the Bayonne venture.

Bayonne’s sales pitch to its citizens illustrates the bold steps town officials can take — including making promises that are at odds with the actual terms of the deal — to attract private equity money.

At a public meeting in city hall, a lawyer for the city promised that, after an initial rate bump, there would be “a rate freeze for four years,” according to a meeting transcript. Bayonne’s mayor, Mark Smith, later reiterated the four-year freeze in a magazine article.

That promise turned out to be fleeting.

The contract allowed additional rate increases after only two years. There was no four-year freeze.

In fact, rates rose even more than the Bayonne contract predicted — in part because K.K.R’s team had to make unexpected infrastructure upgrades, but also because residents were using less water than expected. The contract guarantees revenue to the team — more than half a billion dollars over 40 years — so water rates have jumped, in part, to make up the difference.

The city said it saw the revenue requirement as a way for K.K.R.’s team to earn steady returns, but not a windfall.

But the Times analysis showed that Bayonne’s water rates grew almost 28 percent under the deal, growth that far exceeded that of three other municipalities to which Bayonne has compared itself.

(Daniel Van Abs, an associate professor at Rutgers University who specializes in water management, said that a true apples-to-apples comparison of water rates in different towns was “extremely difficult” because of the different factors that can influence rates, including the size of the utility, the municipality’s population, droughts and infrastructure investment — or lack thereof. The Times analysis for Bayonne did not include sewer rates.)

Former Bayonne officials who had promised the four-year rate freeze said in interviews that they had not meant to mislead residents. They said they had earmarked some of the K.K.R. team’s $150 million up-front payment to offset rate increases in the contract’s early years.

But then voters ousted Mayor Smith. And once he left office, the new administration put that money elsewhere.

“I think we could have accomplished that four-year minimum,” the former mayor said in an interview. The town’s water rates, he said, are now “exorbitant.”

“We gave away too much,” said Gary La Pelusa Sr., a Bayonne city councilman and a former commissioner of the town’s utilities authority.CreditBryan Anselm for The New York Times

Tim Boyle, who took over Bayonne’s utilities authority after Mr. Smith was voted out of office, said that various regulations required the city to use that money for property tax relief rather than to stabilize rates. He also blamed the previous administration for guaranteeing too much revenue to K.K.R.’s team in the early part of the deal, calling those figures “wildly optimistic.”

Bayonne officials also stress the deal’s benefits, including the up-front payment that let Bayonne pay off more than $100 million in old debts. Within three months, Moody’s Investor Service revised the city’s debt outlook from “negative” to “stable” for the first time in five years, and it has since upgraded the city’s credit rating.

K.K.R.’s team contributes about $2.5 million annually to pay for repairs to water infrastructure, plus $500,000 to the city itself. K.K.R. and Suez said they have upgraded their safety equipment and replaced inoperable hydrants around town.

They also installed sophisticated water meters that can detect leaks in people’s homes, and sent nearly 2,000 letters to customers warning when such leaks occurred. As such, use has declined, according to Mr. Henning, who said Suez had received “many notes of thanks” for the warnings.

But more-sensitive meters could lead to higher bills for some residents whose water use wasn’t fully captured in the past. When negotiating the deal, K.K.R. called this process “meter uplift,” according to emails obtained through records requests.

“We gave away too much,” said Gary La Pelusa Sr., a city councilman and former commissioner of Bayonne’s utilities authority, which approved the deal over his objections.

Bayonne originally promised residents that the city’s utilities authority would oversee K.K.R. and Suez. But the City Council recently decided to shutter the agency and handle the oversight itself.

Stephen Gallo, who headed that authority when the deal was struck, still believes that it benefits Bayonne. “But you’ve got to watch them, you’ve got to keep an eye on things,” he said. “I don’t know who’s doing that now.”

In interviews with The Times, more than a dozen Bayonne residents, including Ms. Adamczyk, expressed dismay over the rate increases. One reason is that people who fall behind on payments face long-term risks: Unpaid water and sewer bills can be sold to investors who try to collect on that debt, a common practice across the country. Failure to pay can ultimately lead to foreclosure.

In 2012, the year Bayonne struck its deal, water bill delinquencies led to 200 government liens against local properties, tax records show. That figure more than tripled the next year, the first full year under K.K.R.’s team. In 2015, the most recent year with data available, the number remained elevated, at 465.

The post Why your water supply may cost more in future appeared first on Living Off the Grid: Free Yourself.

Why your water supply may be costing more

Click here to view the original post.
Wall Street wants your water supply

Wall Street wants your water supply

A New York Times investigation into rapidly rising water and sewage bills highlit the involvement of Wall Street finance in upgrading century old waterworks.

The paper has a detailed case study of three small towns across America,including Bayonne NJ, a rustbelt area.  The story shows that you might consider investing in your own well or rainwater harvesting if you live in a similar city:

n 2012, this blue-collar port city cut a deal with a Wall Street investment firm to manage its municipal waterworks.

Four years later, many of its old brown pipes have been replaced by shiny cobalt-blue ones, reflecting a broader infrastructure overhaul in Bayonne. But the water and sewer bill jumped so much that some are thinking about moving out of town.

“My reaction was, ‘Oh, so I guess I’m screwed now?’” said Ms. Adamczyk, an accountant and mother of two who received a quarterly bill for almost $500 this year. She’s not alone: Another resident’s bill jumped 5 percent, despite the household’s having used 11 percent less water.

Even as Wall Street deals like the one with Bayonne help financially desperate municipalities to make much-needed repairs, they can come with a hefty price tag — not just to pay for new pipes, but also to help the investors earn a nice return, a New York Times analysis has found. Often, these contracts guarantee a specific amount of revenue, The Times found, which can send water bills soaring.

Water rates in Bayonne have risen nearly 28 percent since Kohlberg Kravis Roberts — one of Wall Street’s most storied private equity firms — teamed up with another company to manage the city’s water system, the Times analysis shows. City officials also promised residents a four-year rate freeze that never materialized.

In one measure of residents’ distress, people are falling so far behind on their bills that the city is placing more liens against their homes, which can eventually lead to foreclosures.

In a typical private equity water deal, higher rates help firms earn returns of 8 to 18 percent, more than what a regular for-profit water company may expect. And to accelerate their returns, two of the firms have applied a common strategy from the private equity playbook: quickly flipping their investment to another firm. This includes K.K.R., which is said to be selling its 90 percent stake in the Bayonne venture.

Bayonne’s sales pitch to its citizens illustrates the bold steps town officials can take — including making promises that are at odds with the actual terms of the deal — to attract private equity money.

At a public meeting in city hall, a lawyer for the city promised that, after an initial rate bump, there would be “a rate freeze for four years,” according to a meeting transcript. Bayonne’s mayor, Mark Smith, later reiterated the four-year freeze in a magazine article.

That promise turned out to be fleeting.

The contract allowed additional rate increases after only two years. There was no four-year freeze.

In fact, rates rose even more than the Bayonne contract predicted — in part because K.K.R’s team had to make unexpected infrastructure upgrades, but also because residents were using less water than expected. The contract guarantees revenue to the team — more than half a billion dollars over 40 years — so water rates have jumped, in part, to make up the difference.

The city said it saw the revenue requirement as a way for K.K.R.’s team to earn steady returns, but not a windfall.

But the Times analysis showed that Bayonne’s water rates grew almost 28 percent under the deal, growth that far exceeded that of three other municipalities to which Bayonne has compared itself.

(Daniel Van Abs, an associate professor at Rutgers University who specializes in water management, said that a true apples-to-apples comparison of water rates in different towns was “extremely difficult” because of the different factors that can influence rates, including the size of the utility, the municipality’s population, droughts and infrastructure investment — or lack thereof. The Times analysis for Bayonne did not include sewer rates.)

Former Bayonne officials who had promised the four-year rate freeze said in interviews that they had not meant to mislead residents. They said they had earmarked some of the K.K.R. team’s $150 million up-front payment to offset rate increases in the contract’s early years.

But then voters ousted Mayor Smith. And once he left office, the new administration put that money elsewhere.

“I think we could have accomplished that four-year minimum,” the former mayor said in an interview. The town’s water rates, he said, are now “exorbitant.”

“We gave away too much,” said Gary La Pelusa Sr., a Bayonne city councilman and a former commissioner of the town’s utilities authority.CreditBryan Anselm for The New York Times

Tim Boyle, who took over Bayonne’s utilities authority after Mr. Smith was voted out of office, said that various regulations required the city to use that money for property tax relief rather than to stabilize rates. He also blamed the previous administration for guaranteeing too much revenue to K.K.R.’s team in the early part of the deal, calling those figures “wildly optimistic.”

Bayonne officials also stress the deal’s benefits, including the up-front payment that let Bayonne pay off more than $100 million in old debts. Within three months, Moody’s Investor Service revised the city’s debt outlook from “negative” to “stable” for the first time in five years, and it has since upgraded the city’s credit rating.

K.K.R.’s team contributes about $2.5 million annually to pay for repairs to water infrastructure, plus $500,000 to the city itself. K.K.R. and Suez said they have upgraded their safety equipment and replaced inoperable hydrants around town.

They also installed sophisticated water meters that can detect leaks in people’s homes, and sent nearly 2,000 letters to customers warning when such leaks occurred. As such, use has declined, according to Mr. Henning, who said Suez had received “many notes of thanks” for the warnings.

But more-sensitive meters could lead to higher bills for some residents whose water use wasn’t fully captured in the past. When negotiating the deal, K.K.R. called this process “meter uplift,” according to emails obtained through records requests.

“We gave away too much,” said Gary La Pelusa Sr., a city councilman and former commissioner of Bayonne’s utilities authority, which approved the deal over his objections.

Bayonne originally promised residents that the city’s utilities authority would oversee K.K.R. and Suez. But the City Council recently decided to shutter the agency and handle the oversight itself.

Stephen Gallo, who headed that authority when the deal was struck, still believes that it benefits Bayonne. “But you’ve got to watch them, you’ve got to keep an eye on things,” he said. “I don’t know who’s doing that now.”

In interviews with The Times, more than a dozen Bayonne residents, including Ms. Adamczyk, expressed dismay over the rate increases. One reason is that people who fall behind on payments face long-term risks: Unpaid water and sewer bills can be sold to investors who try to collect on that debt, a common practice across the country. Failure to pay can ultimately lead to foreclosure.

In 2012, the year Bayonne struck its deal, water bill delinquencies led to 200 government liens against local properties, tax records show. That figure more than tripled the next year, the first full year under K.K.R.’s team. In 2015, the most recent year with data available, the number remained elevated, at 465.

The post Why your water supply may be costing more appeared first on Living Off the Grid: Free Yourself.

Wise Men From The East

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Wise Men From The East

And lo, to their great surprise, the star which they saw in the east then appeared . . ..

—John Gill, Exposition of the New Testament (1746-8)

Nothing will awaken those that are resolved to be regardless.

—Matthew Henry, Commentary on the Whole Bible (1712)

Where Is He . . .?

When Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, there came Magi, stargazers, from the East to Jerusalem.  These wise men weren’t from the Orient.  They most likely came from Persia.  They weren’t kings, and Scripture doesn’t say how many of them there actually were.  But certainly, their arrival was enough to get Jerusalem all wound up and draw the attention of the whole city to their one question:  “Where is He that is born King of the Jews?”

There was no ambiguity in the question.  The wise men weren’t asking after recently born “princelings” in general.  They weren’t asking about a child who would one day become a king.  They were looking for the One whose very birth made Him the King of Israel by divine right.  They were looking for the Messiah.

Everyone who heard their question understood its significance.  These wise men claimed that the Messiah had already been born.  They further claimed to have astral evidence:  “We have seen His star in the East and are come to worship Him.”  We don’t know exactly what they saw, but the few details given in Scripture are only beginning to match up with the conjunctions, comets, and super novae that we’re familiar with.  Whatever the nature of the star, these wise men were sure that it was a sign from the God of heaven.

The Magi came to the court of Herod the Great.  It was the obvious place to begin.  Herod, after all, was king of Judea.  If the newborn Child wasn’t his, he would certainly know where to find it.

But Herod didn’t know.  Aside from some itinerant shepherds, no one with first-hand knowledge had made any announcements.  The Magi’s star had gone unnoticed or at least unappreciated.  Still, Herod believed the Magi.  For political reasons, Herod had converted to Judaism and learned its rhythms.  He knew its structure and basic theology.  He knew the prophecies and understood the hope of Israel.  And one thing was certain beyond doubt … he wasn’t about to let it interfere with his reign.  While politely putting the wise men on hold, he summoned the chief priests and scribes (the authorities on Jewish Scripture) and demanded of them where the Messiah would be born.

Christian Heroes For Christian Kids: These Amazing Stories Put God Back Into History!

They knew, of course.  All Jews knew.  The prophet Micah had given the location 700 years earlier.  “In Bethlehem of Judea,” the priests said, and they paraphrased his prophecy:

And thou Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, art not the least among the princes of Judah: for out of thee shall come a Governor, that shall rule my people Israel (Matt. 2:6; cf. Mic. 5:2).

Herod went back to the wise men and enquired about elapsed time.  When had they first seen the star?  Then he pointed the wise men toward Bethlehem, a small village about six miles south of Jerusalem.

“Go and search diligently for the child,” Herod said, “and when you have found Him, bring me word again that I may come and worship Him also.”

The wise men were completely taken in.  But at this moment Herod’s much-vaunted political acumen wholly failed him.  He offered the Magi no guide, sent no escort, ordered no spies or surveillance teams.  He sent the wise men off on their own and trusted these strangers to be his eyes and ears.  No doubt, he commended himself for his cunning and craftiness.  The wise men set out.

And no one followed them.  No one at all.

Wise Men From The East

Image source: Pixabay.com

As the wise men journeyed south, the star they had seen in the East suddenly reappeared and led them through the dark night to Bethlehem.  There, it stopped and shed its light on one very specific house.  A house, not a stable.  Remember, months had passed since Jesus’ birth.  Joseph had found his family a real house and had probably picked up work of some kind.  He was away when the Magi first arrived, so when the wise men entered the small home, they found only the Child with Mary his mother.  Immediately, they fell to their knees and worshipped the infant King.  Then they unpacked their gifts and presented them:  gold, frankincense and myrrh.  Princely gifts, indeed.

The hour must have been very late because the wise men didn’t attempt the fairly short return journey to Jerusalem.  Instead, they found a place to unburden their camels and set up their tents for a quick night’s sleep.  But hardly had sleep fallen upon them before God’s word burst through into their dreams with a solemn warning …  they must not return to Herod.  Treachery and danger were the heavy implications.  The wise men rose, packed up their things, and fled from Bethlehem and Judea.

Then the angel of the Lord entered Joseph’s dreams with a more specific warning and admonition.  “Rise, take the child and his mother, and flee to Egypt, and remain there until I tell you, for Herod is about to search for the child, to destroy him” (Matthew 2:13).

And so, Joseph gathered his small family and immediately headed for Egypt.  The gifts of the Magi would fund the flight and their time away.

It didn’t take Herod too long to realize what was happening.  The wise men had betrayed him and he would entertain no more indirect approaches.  In a rage, he sent his soldiers with orders to kill all the children under two near Bethlehem.  The soldiers obeyed zealously.  And Bethlehem wept as the prophets had foretold.  Another night, not so silent, not so calm.

Only The Wise Men Went

Herod was a cagey political realist.  He understood the political implications of Jewish theology as well as anyone in the kingdom.  Before a divine King, all earthly kings would have to bow.  To a divine King, all temporal rulers must pay homage.  If the infant Messiah lived, Herod would be obligated, sooner or later, to conform to his policies, laws and prescribed way of life.  Herod would rather murder a bunch of babies than accept such terms.

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The priests and scribes, on the other hand, lived in a dichotomy of practical occupation. That, versus a vague fairytale religion of “Bible people, Bible stories, Bible times.”  Oh yes, they knew the prophecies.  They knew the promises.  They knew the theology, all too well.  But it never occurred to them that the implications of this theology would radically uproot their own world in the blink of an eye and set them on a collision course with some pretty big players. And that it would begin with their own personal agendas and turf battles.

You see, the priests were in bed with Rome.  In fact, they worked hard to maintain their position, power and wealth all while balancing a necessary allegiance to Rome.  The scribes, mostly Pharisees, majored in secular moralism and religious manipulation.  They strained at theological gnats while swallowing moral camels, all the while basking in the admiration of God’s poor.

Here’s what’s so often overlooked:

Despite their knowledge of Scripture, neither the priests nor the scribes made the obvious connection from “Messiah is born” to “Let us go and worship Him also.”  When the wise men set out for Bethlehem, not a single Jewish theologian went with them. Interesting.

Then there was the city itself.  When the Magi’s question was made public, the populace fell into confusion, fear and tumult.  What did it all mean?  What would Herod do?  What would this mean for relations with Roman?  For religious coexistence?  For market prices?  No doubt, this created a great deal of buzz on the streets. But not one of God’s covenant people came to the wise men and said, “Look, I’m in, wherever you guys go, I’m going.”

The wise men, of course, had come a long way.  They brought expensive gifts.  They crossed a desert.  They advanced into a strange culture, into a political situation full of intrigue and treachery.  All to ask one, very important question.  They risked everything to see the culmination of 4,000 years of prophecy and hope.  They risked everything for a few brief, if expensive, moments of worship.  And then they went home.  Fascinating.

One More Thing

We’ve all sung the carol called “The Twelve Days of Christmas.”  But few people realize that the Twelve Days of Christmas doesn’t end with December 25.  That’s where it begins.  It ends on January 5 Twelfth Night. The next day is Epiphany, a feast that celebrates the revelation of God in human flesh and, more particularly … the revelation of Christ to the Gentiles.  The focus of which, at least for Western churches, is the visit of the wise men to the baby Jesus.   The Book of Common Prayer gives us this prayer for the day:

O God, who by the leading of a star didst manifest thy only-begotten Son to the Gentiles:  Mercifully grant, that we, which know thee now by faith, may after this life have the fruition of thy glorious Godhead; through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

Think about this: How much will we give up, how far will we journey, how much will we risk, what crazy culturally driven thoughts and misconceptions will we abandon in order to see God made flesh in Jesus Christ? And then if we find Him, will we worship Him?  After that …. how, then shall we live?

Patriots’ Prayers for 1-8-2016

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First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.” – 1 Timothy 2: 1-4 (ESV) 

Prayer For Our Government Officials

 Save, O Lord, and have mercy upon all leaders, politicians, and civil authorities of these United States of America. I especially hold up to you President Barack Obama and President-Elect Donald Trump, Vice-President Joe Biden and Vice-President-Elect Mike Pence, Chief Justice John Roberts, House Speaker Paul Ryan, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. I also pray for all the current President’s Cabinet members and advisers,  as well as all the future President’s Cabinet members and advisers. I hold up to You all the associate judges of the Supreme Court, all federal, state, and local judges, all members of the House of Representatives and Senate, as well as all governors, state legislators, and local authorities. Grant them wisdom in their duties and decisions, and have them serve Your Will in all things. Let them know your love and saving grace. Block all of their plots and schemes that run counter to Your good and perfect Will, or that threaten the inalienable rights You have given to us. Above all, Your Will be done.

Father, bless and have mercy on all law enforcement officers at all levels throughout these United States of America. Save them, protect them, and keep them safe. Guide them in their duties, and grant them courage and wisdom. Watch over and protect their families. Comfort those who have lost friends and loved ones in the line of duty. Let them know your love and saving grace. In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ we pray, Amen. 

(Additionally, please feel free to pray by name for any elected officials or law enforcement officers at any level, especially those with jurisdiction over your locality.

Prayer for America (short version)


God, we have sinned and deserve the just punishment for our sins as a nation who has rejected you in every possible way. And yet, Lord, I cry out for mercy for myself, my family, and this nation. In the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christi, I pray. Amen.

Supporting Verse:If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.” –2 Chronicles 7:14 (NKJV) 

Daily Bible Reading 
(Continuing in the book of Genesis this week.)

Sunday: Genesis 8:20 – 9:29 (God’s Covenant & Promise to Noah) 
Monday: Genesis 10 (Mankind begins to rebuild) 
Tuesday: Genesis 11 (Tower of Babel & aftermath) 
Wednesday: Genesis 12 (Abram) 
Thursday: Genesis 13 (Abram in Canaan) 
Friday: Genesis 14 (Lot; Melchizedek) 
Saturday: Genesis 15 (God’s Covenant with Abram)

Malcolm Turnbull says Australians should be ‘very alert’ after IS call for lone wolf attacks.

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An Islamic State propaganda magazine has called for ‘lone wolf’ attacks at locations in Sydney and Melbourne.

 Should this be taken seriously? Or is it just another ploy by the government to legislate more restrictions on Australian citizens in the name of terrorism? Since when have the government been seriously concerned with public safety?

Sunday Prepper Bible Study-Greed

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For the kingdom of heaven is as a man travelling into a far country, who called his own servants, and delivered unto them his goods. And unto one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one; to every man according to his several ability; and straightway took his journey. Then he that had received the five talents went and traded with the same, and made them other five talents.  And likewise he that had received two, he also gained other two. But he that had received one went and digged in the earth, and hid his lord’s money.

After a long time the lord of those servants cometh, and reckoneth with them. And so he that had received five talents came and brought other five talents, saying, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me five talents: behold, I have gained beside them five talents more. His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord. He also that had received two talents came and said, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me two talents: behold, I have gained two other talents beside them. His lord said unto him, Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord. 

Then he which had received the one talent came and said, Lord, I knew thee that thou art an hard man, reaping where thou hast not sown, and gathering where thou hast not strawed: And I was afraid, and went and hid thy talent in the earth: lo, there thou hast that is thine. 

His lord answered and said unto him, Thou wicked and slothful servant, thou knewest that I reap where I sowed not, and gather where I have not strawed: Thou oughtest therefore to have put my money to the exchangers, and then at my coming I should have received mine own with usury. Take therefore the talent from him, and give it unto him which hath ten talents. 

For unto every one that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance: but from him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he hath. And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

Matthew 25:14-30

This parable is filled with decades worth of Bible studies. I probably won’t spend that much time on it, but I will likely need a few weeks to explore it a little deeper.

Three weeks ago we examined how Jesus had chosen capitalism as an example when explaining the Kingdom of Heaven to his disciples. We discussed how capitalism is demonized by popular American culture and how a socialistic approach to markets is touted as being more moral and just.

The buzz word most often used to condemn the prefered economic system of our Lord is “greed.”

Anyone who wants to make the most of what they’ve been given must be greedy. Anyone who wants to turn a profit is filled with greed. It is greed that motivates the entrepreneur and the business owner.

Is any of this true? Of course some entrepreneurs and business owners are greedy. Whether it’s the last financial crisis of 2008 or the tulip bulb bubble, the first bubble collapse on record, greed has always played a part.

But that’s not the question. Rather, we should be asking, is greed unique to capitalism? And the answer is no. Absolutely not. The great failure of socialism and communism is that they too are plagued by greed. It is greed that absolutely guarantees that those two systems cannot and will not deliver on their promises of utopic bliss. When they fail, they fail miserably. Communist China, Russia, Venezuela, and Cuba have some of the most horrific stories of starvation and wealth inequality in all of history. That is due to greed.

The difference in greed within capitalism and that of socialism is simple. In capitalism, my greed causes me to want to hoard the wealth I’ve earned. In socialism, my greed causes me to want to hoard the wealth you’ve earned. In capitalism, my greed problem is between me and Jesus. In socialism, it’s between me, and you, and Jesus. This presents a much more complex situation.

Greed is a manifestation of our wicked human nature embeded deep in our flesh. The only solution for it is life in the Spirit. Trying to solve it through the flesh and by trying to outsmart the wisdom of the Bible with a new economic system only makes it worse.

Jesus said “what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world yet loses his own soul?” Prepper translation: “What good will it do you to survive the coming economic collapse, nuclear war, or even a zombie apocalypse if you don’t know you will go to heaven when you die.” A recent study found that 10 out of 10 people die! On that day we will meet our Maker. It only makes sense to be prepared for that day. Click here to learn more about knowing GOD.

Have a blessed day and happy prepping!

Mark

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911 – My Tiny House has been Stolen

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If you see this house contact news@off-grid.net

If you see this house contact news@off-grid.net

The tiny house movement never expected this:- instead of them stealing from his home, Lawrence Thomas returned to the street where he had parked his 95 square foot house in Hermiston Oregon, to discover thieves had actually made off with his entire home.

The custom-made tiny building was stolen after Thomas parked it in Hermiston while passing through the area.  Umatilla County Sheriff Terry Rowan said his office took a report of the theft on Jan. 1 and is investigating.

Thomas said most of his possessions were in the house, including important documents like his birth certificate, and sentimental items that can’t be replaced.

“I really like the idea of a tiny house,” he said. “You save money, and you don’t have a mortgage. My idea was to buy a plot of land and then make the tiny house as off-grid as possible. You can enjoy a higher quality of life without having to spend all your money on rent.”

Thomas estimates the house’s value at about $25,000.

“My house was small — even for a tiny house,” he said. The 95 square-foot structure was 17 feet long by 7.5 feet wide. Thomas lived in it with his two dogs.

“I’m trying to get the word out so that if anyone sees it, they can report it and maybe I can get it back,” he said.

Because of a snowstorm in the Blue Mountains, Thomas, who was moving from Seattle to Las Vegas, stopped at the One Stop Mart outside of Hermiston in late December. He was driving an SUV and hauling his house, where he’d been living for the last four months.

Unable to drive in the bad weather, he parked up at a truck stop on Interstate 84. He spent the night there and realized the next morning that he couldn’t take the house with him in the snow. He said he talked to the manager at the truck stop, who said he could leave the house there until he came back to pick it up.

“She was very helpful, and asked me to pull the tiny house in front of the shop so she could see it,” he said. “And because she said cameras were facing it.”

The two exchanged information, and Thomas continued on to Las Vegas. Then, on New Year’s Eve, he found out the house was gone — and the surveillance cameras he was told would be on his house were in fact facing another direction.

“The manager said they’re going to try to find it,” he said. “They found out the cameras were not pointing that way. The house was locked down and dead-bolted, but someone used bolt cutters and took the house.”

Thomas is now living in Las Vegas with a friend. He spent about 6 months building the house.

 

 

The post 911 – My Tiny House has been Stolen appeared first on Living Off the Grid: Free Yourself.

An assault on our right to self-protection.

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In legal terms, Australians have a right of self-defence. While some states rely on the common law and others have it enshrined in statute, the right itself is never questioned. Moreover, juries consistently refuse to convict those charged with serious offences whenever self-defence is made out.

What we don’t have is the practical ability to exercise that right. Possessing any object specifically for the purpose of self-defence, lethal or non-lethal, is a criminal offence. There are many women, raped and/or murdered, who would have been liable to prosecution had they been carrying anything that might have saved them.


10 Organic Foods That Aren’t Worth Buying

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10 Organic Foods That Aren’t Worth Buying We all want to feed our family the healthiest, cleanest food we can afford. The trouble is that organic foods are usually more expensive than conventional versions. If you’re trying to get the best for your family while sticking to a budget, be sure to check out the …

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The post 10 Organic Foods That Aren’t Worth Buying appeared first on SHTF & Prepping Central.

20 Lost Recipes From The Pioneers: What They Cooked On Their Journey Westward

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20 Lost Recipes From The Pioneers: What They Cooked On Their Journey Westward Our ancestors lived more simply than most people today are willing to live. Pioneers were the perfect example of survivalists. They were able to survive in the rough environment for up to six months on the Oregon Trail. Living without power or …

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Globalist Owned Media — Use Misleading Reports to Try to Pretend The Airport Shooting Was NOT a Radical Muslim

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Shameful the level of lies they use.     To divide us.    To put fear into us.  To have us fight the wrong battles.    To achieve their dream of Global Control.   

CNN converted a color photo, to a black and white photo, to hide the color of the shooter’s skin, so it wouldn’t be so obvious that this was a Muslim.   Then they cropped the photo to remove the “isis finger sign”.

7 Best Bow Hunting Tips

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In order to be a great bow hunter, you’ll have to go through years of training and experience. It’s just like playing a musical instrument; at first, you don’t know what you’re doing, but with a lot of practice and determination, you’ll find yourself playing sonatas. It’s just the same with archery and bow hunting, but sometimes, you can’t improve by yourself. Thus, I’ve put together this article on bow hunting tips for all beginner hunters. Enjoy!

Weigh between speed and accuracy

Sometimes, you have to choose between the two. And as a beginner bow hunter, you’re bound to have trouble accomplishing a shot with both. Personally, I recommend practicing accuracy first. You’ll need to be more experienced with hitting a target dead on that hitting it at a fast rate.

On the other hand, speed is something that comes naturally (at least for me). I’d say speed will come when accuracy is improved. In other words, once you start hitting those bulls-eyes dead on, your speed is bound to improve as your confidence increases as well. Vice versa, speed will help your accuracy, as faster arrows bound to fly straight at the target.

For beginners, it’s important to master both. But not necessarily at the same time. When you’re out hunting, however, accuracy is more important, but speed weighs in a good amount, as well.

Pick a bow and stick with it

When it comes to archery and bow hunting, mastering your weapon is the best way towards experience. Choosing the right bow is a little bit of trial and error, so I don’t blame you for switching between bows. However, keep this in mind: the right bow will just feel right in your hands, and you’ll know when you have it. Under this, we consider weight of the bow, style, design, length, and these factors relative to your own dimensions and preferences.

If you do, however, find a bow that you can stick with, I highly suggest that you do so. Mastering your weapon will make your bow more of an invaluable friend than a hunting tool, and shooting an arrow will feel like a second instinct.

Generally, the more you master your bow and practice with it, I’d say that your accuracy and precision will improve as well. This is especially important if your target is to go bow hunting soon.

Work tirelessly on your form

The better the form, the higher the accuracy, speed, and precision of your shots. Find and practice the right form, with the proper stance, torso position, and grip relative to the target.

On this matter, I recommend asking an experienced bow hunter or bow hunting expert to assess your form. Ask for an evaluation afterward, which you can use to point out the things you need to do right/better. It also helps to watch Youtube videos wherein you can see bow hunters demonstrating a proper form.

Tip: practice in front of a mirror and compare your stance, torso position, and grip to a standard.

Practice in different settings

Actual bow hunting entails practice shooting in different situations and settings. For instance, you need to know how to keep your bow straight on a windy day, as much as you need to know how to shoot in low light.

It’s best if you practice when the weather is not that good, maybe a little windy. That way, you get to practice your aim in the wind. Another example is practicing near sunset, which will allow you to train with your bow sight in low light settings.

The trick here is to set yourself in a little diversity. After all, you never know what you’re going to expect in the wilderness.

Study, study, study

Reading goes a long way. When you’re a beginner bow hunter, it immensely helps if you read on your niche. Deer hunting tips, bow sight usage, accuracy and precision tips—all of these stored in your mind can help you apply them on the field and in practice.

Also, I emphasize the importance on reading about survival tips. These are the bits of information that you need stored at the back of your head at all times, especially in risky hunting situations and seasons.

 

Invest in high-quality equipment

When I was a beginner hunter, I wore all the wrong things and hated myself while freezing on the field. So, take it from me and choose the right equipment and clothing to take with you on your hunting trips.

 

 

My major recommendation is to splurge a bit—on your first pair of hunting boots or hunting knife, for example, because these are practical investments. When you choose the right products, you will get the quality that you paid for.

Choosing the right equipment also goes for hunting backpacks, kits, knives, clothes, and other gear that you take on a hunting trip. As a beginner, you tend to be not used to the wilderness and discomfort can come creeping up on you unexpectedly. So, choosing the right type of equipment can get you a long way.

Practice being stealthy

When you’re a bow hunter, you have the advantage of silence unlike gun users. When hunting skittish animals like deer, most especially, it helps a great deal if you know how to carry yourself, stalk, and shoot the target in a stealthy mode altogether.

For beginners, it may be a little hard controlling your footsteps and movement in order to make the noise as minimal as possible. It’s also a bit challenging to master the way on how to carry yourself and stalk your prey effectively. However, this skill can be learned just like any other.

The key is to practice in the field. You may not succeed on the first tries, but experience is the best teacher when it comes to stealth. Just make sure to take note of your mistakes and think of ways on how you can improve them afterward.

Under stealth, you also need to learn how to be unseen. This includes masking your scent against the sensitive noses of deer and bears, as well as wearing the right color of clothing. On this matter, you can read up on tips on how to do that and apply it the next time you go buck or bear hunting.

Conclusion:

We all start somewhere, and in bow hunting, it takes more than just a little bit of practice to master your weapon and shred in the field. This article is meant to open you up to the basics of bow hunting, which are useful if you want to learn fast in this area. To conclude, I give you this quick rundown of our tips to remember:

  • Practice both your accuracy and your speed, with accuracy as your priority. Speed will follow soon after
  • Stick with one weapon if it feels right, then master it
  • Work on your form tirelessly
  • Practice shooting in different situations and settings (e.g. low light, windy, high up on a tree stand)
  • Study on the field of bow hunting to find all the best tips and basic information you need to know
  • Invest in high-quality weapons and equipment
  • Acquire and practice the skill of stealth

 

That’s all for this article, and I hope you learned a lot of tips. If you liked this piece, don’t forget to share it with your hunter friends. Leave a comment below, too, if you have questions or anything to add to this post. Thanks for reading!

Joseph Gleason is the founder of Captain Hunter. We provide guides on how to hunt effectively, answer reader questions, and reviews of the latest hunting gear. We specialize in providing expert information that does exactly what it claims.

Our dedicated staff members are each seasoned professionals with a passion for hunting built upon years of in the field experience.

 

 

The post 7 Best Bow Hunting Tips appeared first on American Preppers Network.

Booby Traps – A Historically Proven Component of Psychological Warfare

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Written by Guest Contributor on The Prepper Journal.

Historically speaking, booby traps do not win wars. They are, however, considered a key element in psychological warfare.

The post Booby Traps – A Historically Proven Component of Psychological Warfare appeared first on The Prepper Journal.

12 Genius Uses for Safety Pins

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12 Genius Uses for Safety Pins Multi-use items become very important when you’re on a tight budget, or in a SHTF situation where you don’t have access to a lot of the conveniences that were previously available. If we stock up on as many multi-use supplies as we can and learn to improvise, we can …

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5 Ways Cardboard Can Keep You Warm This Winter

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5 Ways Cardboard Can Keep You Warm This Winter Energy conservation during the winter is quite the challenge, and if you’re living off the grid you are likely looking for any way to keep the house warm. The trouble is, even the best-insulated home has a leak somewhere. There are ways to close these gaps, …

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Prepping for the Long Term

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Prepping for the Long Term With Christina Moore

Most preppers focus on the short term. They stock up on goods and supplies but limit themselves to a few months’ worth of storage. This is understandable: most new preppers don’t have a whole lot of storage space and very few can afford to drop a wad of cash on the storage space and supplies and prep for the long haul. Our emergency response systems are also fairly sophisticated. Even massive disaster zones get at least their basic resources back within a few months. Limiting yourself to a few months with the assumption that you simply won’t need more than that makes sense.

With the increasing volatility of the world, however, it’s worth exploring your options for long-term prepping and future homesteading. If you’re used to thinking short term, however, it’s easy to get overwhelmed by everything you think you’ll have to do. Here are some tips for where to focus your efforts.

Powering Up

Prevailing wisdom says that the best source of power when you’re forced (or choose) to live off-grid is solar energy. They are definitely better and more sustainable than fuel powered generators (fuel eventually runs out, sunlight is always available). Of course, there will be times when your solar generators run out of juice so it’s good to have a backup system.

Most short term homesteaders focus on stockpiling batteries for their backup power. Unfortunately, most of our devices are built to run on AC power and lack a battery powered option. This is why one of your first purchases should be a sine wave converter. These are machines that convert the power output of batteries into AC power. These off-grid inverters act like generators but they’re smaller and easier to transport.

Safe Water

In the short term, a stockpile of bottled water is likely fine and should last you for a while. Eventually, however, those bottles are going to run out. In the event of an emergency or disaster, finding potable water is going to be challenging. This is why having a reusable filtering system is important.

You can make your own water filter using buckets, charcoal, charcoal, gravel, and sand. These will work well if you’ve set up camp somewhere with easily accessible water sources nearby. If you’re traveling, though, or if your closest water source is a long way away and you’ll need drinkable water for the journey there and back, you’ll want something that you can take with you.

Shelter

For those who are planning on staying in their current homes, it seems like you’ve got this taken care of already. But what if you can’t? What if something happens to your home? Or what if circumstances force you to leave it for safer ground? In the event that this is you face this scenario, you’ll want to have some form of shelter that you can take with you. It needn’t be fancy but it does need to be easily portable. In most cases, a tarp or large piece of canvas can be sufficient (if you know how to use the materials around you to fashion it into a shelter–we’ll get to that in a minute). Alternatively, a small tent should do the job (one for every person in your family).

Survival Skills

So far, we’ve focused on physical supplies that you’ll need but it’s important that you have a good set of survival skills. We don’t mean just that innate fight or flight response with which we are all born. It’s also good to know a few things about fending for yourself off the grid.

Do you know how to build a fire without matches? Do you know how to build a shelter out of natural materials? Do you know which kinds of shelter work best in cold environments (as opposed to warm environments)? Do you know how to track an animal? Do you know how to hunt–with and without a firearm? Do you know how to field dress something you’ve hunted? Heck, do you know how to tell the difference between plants that are edible and plants that are poisonous? Can you mend clothing without a sewing machine? Do you know how to dress basic wounds? These are skills every prepper should have. Take a wilderness or survival skills class so you can get some field practice. It is important to hone these skills before you have to use them.

Prepping for the long term can be incredibly overwhelming, but as long as you’ve got your basic needs covered you should be able to build from there. Focus on the basics: power, water, shelter, food, and basic survival skills. Use the tips we’ve shared here as a starting place for these things. The rest of your prepping should flow naturally from there.

 

The post Prepping for the Long Term appeared first on American Preppers Network.

Edible Greens In Only 10 Days? Yep — And You Can Do It Indoors

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Edible Greens In Only 10 Days? Yep -- And You Can Do It Indoors

Image source: Pixabay.com

 

During winter when it’s cold and dreary, you might be in need of something fresh and bright to remind you spring will come sooner than you think. Why not grow microgreens indoors?

Microgreens are the new shoots of a vegetable plant. They are tender, sweet and incredibly healthy – so much that newly sprouted microgreens have up to 40 times the amount of nutrients that their mature counterparts do.

Microgreens are delicious in the winter for salads and sandwiches. The best part about them is that they sprout fast and are easy to grow, so you will always have fresh greens available to you and you can proudly say you grew them yourself.

Here’s what you need to get started:

  • Seeds. You can use almost any vegetable seed for this, but a lot of companies offer microgreen seed mixes that are a fantastic option for first-time indoor growers. If you don’t want to use a pre-made mix, then options such as cilantro, kale, radishes, basil or beets are usually great options.
  • Soil. The best bet for this is a seed-starting medium, but any potting soil will most likely work as long as it doesn’t have chemical fertilizers. Many local groceries carry organic varieties, too.
  • Trays or containers. Some gardeners use the seed-starting trays available at local garden centers, but really any tray or container will work. The microgreens won’t stay in the containers very long.
  • Lighting. You can use either a natural or artificial source for this. If you have a large window, then you can simply place the tray under the window and you’re all set; however, if that’s not available, then a florescent light source will provide the same benefit.

First Steps

Fill the trays with soil. Plants will be in the trays for about 10-12 days, so they won’t develop a deep root system and therefore you don’t need a lot of soil. About two inches of soil should be sufficient.

Microgreens: The Best-Kept Secret In Indoor Gardening…

Next, spread the seeds over the tray. Unlike traditional gardening, you don’t need to worry about giving the plants space because they won’t be in the tray long enough to develop roots. It’s a good idea to spread a pretty thick coat of seeds.

Sprinkle soil over the seeds, being careful not to bury them too deep; a light cover of soil is sufficient. Then, water your seeds. You don’t want to drown your seeds, although the soil should be quite wet.

Place the trays in light. Spray the soil with water a couple of times a day.

Harvest Them

Depending on what you planted, you might see sprouts in a few days or up to a week. Beginning at about day 10, you can harvest your plants – but it’s really up to you when to do it.

Harvest them by either clipping them with sharp scissors or by pulling the plants out of the soil and rinsing them. If you are going to use the latter route, then make sure the plants are dry so they don’t rip or tear; to do this, stop watering the plants a day or so before you’re ready to harvest.

Once you have your system down, you will be able to grow multiple varieties of microgreens year-round. Enjoy!

Have you ever grown microgreens? What advice would you add? Share your tips in the section below:

Are You Making These Common, Avoidable Gardening Mistakes? Read More Here.

Copycat A+W Root Beer Recipe

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Copycat A+W Root Beer Recipe Root beer isn’t just for the summer. In fact our family enjoys root beer all year long. Why? because we LOVE the flavor. We have been making our own root beer for years now. We make it so we know we are drinking root beer with no additives. I am all for homemade foods from scratch and this amazing root beer recipe is going to rock your tastebuds. It almost tastes identical to A+W root beer, but made with only a few ingredients. Here is some history on root beer I think you are going

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What did you do for your preparedness this week? (2017-1-7)

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source: SpaceWeather.com, Aurora from Murmansk Russia   This weekly post is an open-forum (any topic) to voice your thoughts, opinions, or questions for others. Lets hear about what you’ve been doing this week for preparedness, or perhaps what you have done to convert your ‘fiat’ (paper) currency into tangible assets 😉 The more who comment, […]

18 Household Items You Never Knew Had Expiration Dates

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18 Household Items You Never Knew Had Expiration Dates You wouldn’t know it by looking, but many of your household items aren’t meant to last forever, in fact, many of them have expiration dates that just aren’t stamped like our food at the grocery store. No fear, you’re not going to get skin poisoning for wearing an old pair of running shoes for too long, but the performance may dwindle. For many items it’s not so much the expiration date, you need to consider, but it’s the potency or chemical ability it needs to do what it was intended to

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A Beginners Guide to Prepping!

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A Beginners Guide to Prepping! If you’re just starting off in the world of prepping, welcome to the team! If you’re still contemplating whether to get on board, hopefully this will persuade you to the light. It may seem a like a daunting task to begin preparing for the worst, but if you know where … Continue reading A Beginners Guide to Prepping!

The post A Beginners Guide to Prepping! appeared first on Prepper Broadcasting |Network.

Prep Blog Review: Preparing For What 2017 May Bring

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Preparing for 2017

Happy New Year!

I want to wish you all a prosperous, healthy, safe and prepared new year!

2017 brings a lot of challenges and unknown events. We never know what the future brings so the best solution is to prepare for the unexpected. I hope you’ve already set your prepping-related resolutions for the new year.

Here are 5 articles I’ve stumbled upon this week that will help you stay safe in a lot of SHTF situation 2017 may bring.

1. Prepare For the Worst and Hope For the Best

prepare-for-the-worst-and-hope-for-the-best

“When it comes to preparing for any sort of SHTF event it really is a guessing game. All we can (and should) do is prepare for the worst and hope for the best. There is no way to know exactly what might happen, but we can stack the deck in our favor by learning new skills, maintaining our health and preparing for these disasters while we still have the opportunity.

Next week we are going to expand on this a little bit and go over how people will be the X factor that could change the dynamics of a disaster. The way certain people react could make a disaster more tolerable, or make it even worse.”

Read more on Survivalist Prepper.

2. Natural Disaster Emergency Preparedness

Video first seen on sab7sam7

“Emergency, like natural calamities such as flood, typhoon or hurricane, and earthquakes are a dangerous situation, requiring an immediate and fast response to avoid unwanted results ̶ injuries or death. Being able to make sure that you are safe before, during, and after any disaster is needed to counteract or respond effectively. What is needed is preparedness.

According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency in the U.S., it means a continuous cycle of planning, organizing, training, equipping, exercising, evaluating and taking corrective actions in an effort to ensure effective coordination during incident response. Emergency Preparedness can save your lie or your loved ones lives.

Now, that sounds really intimidating. But we cannot just depend on all, everything, every time to the government agencies for security and emergency, or a non-profit charity organization such as Red Cross. We too must take our part, be on a mission to help ourselves during these times.”

Read more on American Prepper’s Network

3. How to Prep For a Quarantine

prep-for-quarantine

“All too often, the world is shaken by a new flu bug or the resurgence of an old one. This article caught my eye, as it’s about a mutated version of avian flu H7N2 that was transmitted from a cat to a human, quite a rare occurrence. I also have a long enough memory to recall the Ebola panic just a couple of years ago and shaking my head at the incompetence and poor decision making by those in authority, including the CDC.

The history of Ebola, as detailed in this book, is helpful to know and understand how a deadly virus originates, mutates, and spreads.

With an eye on the future and knowing a little about how quickly certain viruses can spread, I have put into place a number of preps that would see my family through the duration of a widespread outbreak, similar to the ones described in Steve Konkoly’s The Jakarta Pandemic. I know Steve personally and the massive research he put into this book, although a novel, is spot on. Read it to learn even more strategies to keep your family safe.”

Read more on Preparedness Advice.

4. How to Survive a Mass Shooting

mass-shooting-logo

“With the terror of the Orlando shooting, people all over the country are reevaluating survival tactics for mass shootings. The general consensus is that the decisions you make in that first few minutes will largely determine whether you live or die. It is easy to mourn the dead and tell yourself that victims were trapped and had no choices. While your choices are limited, you do still have them.

In this article I want to dispel some myths about survival. As an advocate of the 2nd amendment, it is easy to say that fewer people would have died if more of them were armed. That is not always the case. Even with a gun, fighting back should be a last resort. The order of actions for any mass shooting should be to flee, gain security, and fight back if absolutely needed.”

Read more on Survival Sullivan.

5. 7 Steps to Protecting Your Livestock From Deadly Disease

goat-1914084_640“Twenty-first century homesteaders have the advantage of being able to pick and choose between ancient practices and modern technology, selecting the one that works best in every situation. At my place, I love old-fashioned methods, but not when it comes to biosecurity.

I get some startled looks when I say the word “biosecurity” out loud to farm visitors. It sounds a little scary, like a scene from a sci-fi movie with people running around in crisp white hazmat suits. While biosecurity may or may not look a little like that on huge corporate agriculture farms, that is not how it is on my small sustainable farm. However, it is every bit as important here.”

Read more on Off The Grid News.

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This article has been written by Drew Stratton for Survivopedia.

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Grid is over for least-developed nations

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Old hub and spoke model is dying out

Old hub and spoke model is dying out

The cost of solar equipment is declining at ever-steeper rates, threatening a meltdown in Utility companies share prices and catalysing new projects and driving growth in developing countries.

That’s among the key findings from this year’s Climatescope, an analysis of 58 emerging markets in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean.  Conducted by the Multilateral Investment Fund of the Inter-American Development Bank and Bloomberg New Energy Finance, it reports investment in utility-scale solar in the Climatescope nations spiked 43 per cent to $71.8bn in 2015.  The countries covered include China, India, Egypt, Pakistan, Brazil, Chile, Mexico, Kenya, Tanzania and South Africa.

The report stresses that the 58 countries “are not waiting to get started on adding renewable capacity – between them, they added 69.8 GW of new wind, solar, geothermal, and other renewable power generating capacity in 2015 – the same as total installed capacity in Australia today”.

China accounted for the majority of activity in Climatescope countries, but smaller nations also played important roles. By comparison, wealthier OECD countries built 59.2 GW last year. Climatescope also found that cheap solar, innovative business models and a new breed of entrepreneurs are revolutionizing how energy access issues are addressed in least developed nations.

“New players focused on off-grid or mini-grid solutions are challenging the assumption that only an expanded hub-and-spoke power grid can meet the needs of the world’s 1.2bn with inadequate access to power. A slew of these start-ups are privately-funded and between them had raised over $450m cumulatively through year-2015.”

And the report highlights how private investors, lenders, and development finance institutions in OECD countries accounted for nearly half of all capital to the Climatescope countries, with the exception of China, where virtually all capital was provided locally.

This is up from the roughly one third of capital provided in 2012. But the report also notes that some Climatescope countries with the highest rates of clean energy penetration are beginning to encounter integration challenges. “Some have seen projects completed before sufficient transmission could be built. Others have not prioritized clean electrons from wind or solar projects in their grids over those from coal-fired plants.”

But the writing is on the wall for fossil fuel companies (and share prices) – with the report noting that “tenders held for power-delivery contracts have highlighted that photovoltaics can now compete against and beat fossil-fuelled projects on price in some nations”.

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Winter vehicle stuff – Pt. IV- Sleeping bag(s)

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They are bulky and eat up a lot of space, but when you’re stuck in an unheated vehicle for any length of time they will be your Best Friend. I keep a military Modular Sleep System in the Box O’ Gear but it really doesn’t end there. Rolling around in the back of the vehicle is also one of the older style GI extreme cold weather sleeping bags. Both bags are bulky but since they are pretty much not going anywhere except in the vehicle, who cares? And, broadly speaking, bulk equals warmth.

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Get comfortable. You’re going to be here a while.

The MSS is nice and very handy, but for some reason I really prefer the older GI extreme cold weather bag. Don’t know why. I’ve tested both bags in 0-5 degree weather by stripping down to shorts, t-shirt, and socks, climbing inside one of the bags, and trying them out. Both function well and while you may not be comfortable in the 0-degree weather, you will be warm enough to keep your toes and not die. I keep both bags in the vehicle because I can and I like to be prepared. Plus, if you get stuck with more than one person in your vehicle it would be nice to not have to listen to them complain. The MSS has one very nice feature…since it is a bag-within-a-bag system, it lends itself to summer emergency kits as well. Using just the patrol bag will be more comfortable in the summer than using the whole system. (But, obviously, keep the whole system together in the vehicle.)

I also keep a surplus wool blanket in the vehicle as well. It’s a distant choice for when  you get stuck, but for those long roadtrips where someone is cold and want’s something less involved than unrolling a sleeping bag, it’s a good choice.

Both bags get rolled up and crammed into protective stuff sacks. If your vehicle goes sliding off the road at any speed there’s a good chance you’re going to come to rest, suddenly, against an object that’ll bust out a window or two. If that happens, you’ve got all sortsa weather suddenly coming into your vehicle and it’d be nice if your critical gear was protected. (Thats why the Pelican case.) Even just stuffing the rolled sleeping bag into a couple layers of heavy duty garbage bags and wrapping them in duct tape will do the trick.

You can use whatever sleeping bag you think works best. I went with the uber-bulky military bags because they’re cheap, durable, really warm, and I’m not worried about their portability. All that matters is you want the warmest sleeping bag you can come up with. Sure, maybe you’ll get too warm…big deal, open the zipper a little. Ten below zero, the rear window on your vehicle is shattered, you’re in the barrow pit, and the road is a skating rink….at times like that there is no such thing as a ‘too warm’ sleeping bag.

Years ago me and a buddy had to drive to Helena, a couple hours drive, in the middle of January, in his vehicle that did not have a working heater. I was amazed..astounded, really…at just how cold an unheated vehicle can get when you have to sit still in it for a couple hours. I had assumed that having the engine going would provide at least some level of warmth. Nope. And that was with the windows rolled up and us bundled up. No lie, man….it gets downright cold in a vehicle when it’s the long, dark, night of winter and there’s no heat.

As I said, I go for overkill. Two sleeping bags and a good heavy wool blanket. Do not carry just a blanket. Whatever you get, wrap them in some sort of protective material or container to keep them dry and clean. If you have to spend two days huddled in your sleeping bag in the back of your Subaru the last thing you want is that bag soaked in old Pepsi, motor oil, and any other fluid that exploded out of the containers you keep in the back of your vehicle.

 

10 Ways To Prep For Survival Without Spending Money

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10 Ways To Prep For Survival Without Spending Money

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Many people recognize that preparing for an uncertain future is wise, but far fewer actually do it due to cost. All that food, water, gear and equipment isn’t cheap.

Fortunately, there are other ways that you can prepare for the unknown without hardly spending a dime:

1. Research the biggest risks of your area. How much does it cost to surf the Internet or visit your local library? Nothing. If you’re serious about prepping and survival, you need to be ready to invest countless hours into research. Specifically, you need to focus on researching the biggest risks that your local community or area faces so that you know which type of disaster is most likely to occur.

2. Have a plan. Simple, right? You should always have plans written down for specific scenarios before they occur so that you’re more ready when a crisis does hit. Other than the cost of the paper and the writing utensils, writing down a plan is completely free.

3. Learn how to reuse basic items. There are numerous items, lying around your house right now, that you can apply to a survival situation. You can make miniature grills out of Altoid tins and torches out of drinking straws, and use dental floss as fishing line.

Paratrooper: The Survival Water Filter That Fits In Your POCKET!

Learning how to use these items in a survival situation, and then actually practicing to use those items, will pay off long-term.

4. Set aside cash. Think of it as saving money rather than spending it. Over the course of a long-term disaster, you might not be able to access the funds in your bank. Offset this by setting aside a few bills each week into a large jar. You’ll be surprised at how fast it will grow.

5. Build improvised weapons. Survival naturally requires you to be creative, and a major priority in a survival situation is security. Therefore, it makes sense that you may need to get creative in regards to how you defend yourself. Learning how to build improvised weapons, such as a bow and arrow (out of sticks) or a spear (with little more than glass shards and poles) can be a fun activity.

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6. Learn advanced first-aid skills. Every injury, no matter how small, requires attention in a survival situation – simply because it can develop into something far worse if it goes untreated. You can learn advanced first-aid skills on your own time without spending any money.

7. Pre-assign survival roles to your family. Everybody in your family, or your entire survival group for that matter, needs to be contributing to your survival efforts. If you pre-assign roles to your family members now, you’ll save a lot of time and confusion when the survival situation actually does occur.

8. Learn how to start a fire without fire-starter. Anybody can take a match or a lighter and get a fire going, but very few can start a fire with two sticks. Learn about the different ways that you can start a fire without fire-starters, and then practice using this method in a safe environment. It will be an incredibly valuable investment of your time.

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9. Learn how to mend clothing. Taking care of your clothing will be essential in a long-term survival situation when stores may not be an option. Learning basic knitting or stitching methods will be well worth the effort – and it’s a good way to pass the time when you’re bored.

10. Practice. The old saying goes that practice makes perfect, right? Don’t just learn how to survive. Actually practice what you have learned. While this tip has become a little clichéd in the survival world, it’s still completely relevant.

What would you add to our list? Share your tips in the section below:

Learn How To ‘Live Off The Land’ With Just Your Gun. Read More Here.

Predicting The Future!

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Predicting The Future! Forrest & Kyle “The Prepping Academy” Audio in player below! Welcome to “The Preppig Academy.” This program in the player below is all about the future. That’s right, Forrest and Kyle predict the future. Well, kind of; you’ll have to stay alive and listen next year to see if they were right! It … Continue reading Predicting The Future!

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10 Top Myths About Preventing a Cold

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10 Top Myths About Preventing a Cold | Backdoor Survival

Like the game of party line we played as kids, myths about colds and other short-term illnesses prevail. The reality is that the common cold is caused by a virus that is passed from person to person. They can occur anytime during the year and not just during what is commonly referred to as the “cold season”. So what are those myths? Contributing author Dr. Joe Alton is here to debunk them and to reinforce what I have always said: thoroughly washing your hands is one of the best ways to avoid sickness, including the common cold.

Warning: Some of these myths may surprise you. Who knew?

The post 10 Top Myths About Preventing a Cold by Gaye Levy first appeared on Backdoor Survival.