Reloading and Other Unique Survival Skills

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Urban Survival Skills received this question from BlackHat16: “I want your opinion on reloading equipment. I want to buy, maybe spread out due to the cost, a reloading setup in case shit hits the fan I can reload ammunition as I believe it will be hard to come by. What versions of reloading equipment would you recommend and any other recommendations on equipment would be appreciated.”

Mr BlackHat16, I would have to ask several questions before I get into reloading presses and ancillary equipment. Have you any experience in reloading? Do you plan on stocking reloading supplies, such as powder, primers and bullets? In a SHTF scenario, I would think that reloading supplies such as primers, powders and bullets would be as or more scarce than ammunition.

I think having reloading equipment and more important, the experience in reloading would be a good survival skill, in fact a mandatory skills, but much lower in priority that say, wilderness survival skills, farming and canning skills and others, simply because of the requirement of having the components – powder, primers and bullets, not to mention empty cases (brass). However, if all other survival material and equipment needs are met, having some reloading equipment would be a good idea.

Lyman hand press, single stage press, rotary (aka Progressive) presses could provide a capability, again given the components, to produce good quality ammunition, given the skill, and/or be a barter item in the coming crunch. If pushed, you could make a usable powder, re-manufacture spent primers and cast bullets, but you need some equipment, material and skill to do so.

I am NOT trying to dash your thoughts of getting reloading equipment just know that it can be overwhelming for a novice re-loader and most preppers may be better served using the required money to invest in ammunition, firearms or other higher priority survival equipment and items. All reloading presses or tools requires dies for that cartridge. Please go to YouTube and research reloading – plenty of people willing to help there.

A hand tool, such as the Lyman 310 hand-tool, is like a pliers type of re-loader and the cheapest route you can go. See the picture. You need the Lyman 310 and a set of dies for whatever caliber/cartridge you want to reload. The benefit in this method is the small, portable package. Go to Lyman Products to see their Lyman 310 and other reloading equipment.

http://www.lymanproducts.com/index.php/

A single stage reloading press like the RCBS Rock Chucker is a quality piece of equipment, not so portable!, but user friendly, just requires the changing out of dies for each step in the reloading process, so it’s slow. See one of the RCBS single stage presses in the picture.

Going to the RCBS website and look at their equipment and kits is a good idea.

http://rcbs.com/Products/Presses-and-Kits.aspx

Likely the best reloading products come from Dillion Precision. Mike Dillon, the founder, just passed away this past November, but he left a legacy that won’t be beat anytime soon. He revolutionized the reloading industry with his dynamic progressive presses which is about as automatic of a reloading setup as you can get. You can go to their website, but don’t leave without requesting their Blue Press Catalog.

https://www.dillonprecision.com/

One overall good distributor of reloading equipment would be MidWay. They offer a lot of products and have good prices and service. Go to their site here:

https://www.midwayusa.com/

Again reloading skills are good to have you can go to Sword of Survival and these videos to check out survival type reloading skills. Here are a couple links for survival ammo reloading:

http://www.swordofsurvival.com/2016/06/field-kit-for-expedient-reloading-of.html
http://www.swordofsurvival.com/2016/06/reload-209-primers-using-field.html
http://www.swordofsurvival.com/2016/06/field-expedient-ammo-reloading.html

Is George Orwell’s 1984 Coming True?

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” Here is a good article I just read. Its getting to get real….”

Urban Man-


In February 1937, an idealistic and ungainly Englishman in his thirties traveled to Spain to take his place in the trenches at the Aragón front to defend the Republic. His name was Eric Arthur Blair, remembered by history as George Orwell. This month, 80 years after the start of that adventure, Richard Blair, the writer’s only son, now a 72-year-old retired agricultural engineer, visited Huesca to take part in the opening of a major exhibition about his father.

Talking to EL PAÍS during his brief stopover in Madrid on his way back to London, Blair evoked the figure of Orwell and commented on the relevance of his legacy and the enormous interest in his final novel, 1984, which has become an international best-seller since Donald Trump became US president.

“It’s true that in recent weeks, with the references in the United States to ‘alternative facts’ [cited by Kellyanne Conway, one of the president’s top advisors], there has been increased interest in his book. But my father has never gone out of fashion.” The book was not so much a prophecy as a fable about Nazi and Stalinist totalitarianism, says Blair, although as he points out, some details from the novel that once seemed like science fiction have been part of our everyday life for some time, such as security cameras that watch our movements, or what some companies know about us from our internet activity, or how we use our credit cards. “Society has evolved toward what he saw. The world is becoming Orwellian,” he says.

Blair is patron of the Orwell society, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to spreading knowledge about the life and work of the writer, as well as debate about ideas, and that remains scrupulously neutral about politics. Which might explain why he is so careful in choosing his words when talking about Trump.

“I think that there is a lot of tension and compression in the White House right now. It is true that Trump is attacking the press, but he is a complete enigma, they are all maneuvering and learning to live with each other,” he says.

Nevertheless, he says he cannot help but be happy at the hike in sales of his father’s books, particularly as he inherited the publishing rights (“which expire in 2020,” he points out). But he recognizes concerns that this has been due to the public finding parallels between the current situation and the dystopia Orwell described.

Orwell and his wife Eileen adopted Richard in 1944. Ten months later, Eileen died on the operating table. Some of the friends of the tuberculous-stricken writer suggested that he give up custody of the child but he ruled out the possibility. The relationship between Orwell and his adopted son became closer when the two of them moved to the Scottish island of Jura, chosen because it was a healthier location for Orwell to overcome his illness and where it was so cold that “if you move six feet away from the fireplace, you freeze.”

Blair’s memories from those days are of a loving father who made wooden toys, who had a strange sense of humor, and whose parenting style had none of the political correctness of modern upbringings. On one occasion he allowed the three-year-old Richard to smoke from a pipe filled with tobacco collected from his cigarette butts. The result, aside from a vomiting fit, was that the child saw himself temporarily vaccinated against the vice of smoking.

It was on Jura that Orwell finished 1984, writing in his room during the day and spending the evenings with the child. One of their favorite activities was fishing, especially for the lobsters that filled out a diet otherwise made frugal by post-war rationing. One weekend in August 1947, however, on a journey back from a weekend of relaxation on the west side of Jura, their boat sank and they almost drowned. Blair says Orwell’s health suffered as a result. David Astor, owner of The Observer newspaper, which published the writer’s work, asked to be allowed import the newly discovered antibiotic streptomycin from the United States, with which he was treated between December 1947 and July 1948 in a hospital near Glasgow. But his efforts were in vain: Orwell developed an allergy to the medication. “His nails fell out and blisters appeared on his lips,” Richard recalls. The writer died in January 1950 at age of 46, when his son was about to celebrate his sixth birthday.

What is the most important lesson that Orwell taught us? For journalists, says Blair, there are many. “To be honest. The most important things are facts which can be corroborated, not reality as you want it to be. Journalists today do not have time to check facts, and errors are perpetuated and multiplied on the internet until they become true.” The writer’s son also recalls Orwell’s six rules for clear writing from his 1946 essay Politics and the English Language. “Never use a metaphor, simile or other figure of speech that you are used to seeing in print; Never use a long word where a short one will do; If it is possible to cut a word out, always cut it out; Never use the passive where you can use the active; Never use a foreign phrase, a scientific word or a jargon word if you can think of an everyday English equivalent; Break any of these rules sooner than say anything barbarous.”

Blair finished up with his father’s definition of liberty: “If liberty means anything at all it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear.”

Blair is particularly concerned about the lack of dialogue in contemporary society. “All people do is shout at one another, without actually listening.” And he is surprised to see young people who, instead of speaking face to face, spend all day staring into their smartphones. “Even couples in restaurants! Are they communicating with each other via text messages?!” he jokes. And what would Orwell make of the 21st century, the era of the internet, great scientific advances and post-truth?

“Ah, now that’s the million-dollar question. But it’s impossible to get into anyone’s head. Nor to come up with the answer by reading his books. If he were still alive he would be 113, and would have had a lot of new influences… There’s no point in speculating.” As such, we don’t know, and we can’t know. But he does go as far as to assume one thing: whatever his thoughts, they would be characterized by common sense.

This article was first posted on El Pais
http://elpais.com/elpais/2017/02/21/inenglish/1487677236_774641.html

Dripping Survivalism to Neophytes

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I was talking to a friend of mine this past weekend. He knows generally that I am a prepper but he does not know to what extent. He (we’ll call him Bill) said that prior to the Presidential election he was concerned about the country falling in anarchy. So much in fact that he bought a gun. Bill told me he had inherited a 12 gauge “bird hunting’ shotgun from his father, but never had plans to buy another gun until he got ‘scared’ – for his family and himself. So he went out and bought as Glock 9mm handgun. He didn’t even know what model number.

Bill is some sort of a financial planner, trust funds or something, I really don’t remember and could not give a shit less, but I could not pass up the opportunity to educate him and used that angle to get him thinking:

UrbanMan: Well Bill, having a gun, several guns in fact, are a good idea for protection especially when the security situation becomes worse, but you need training and well as have some ammunition stocked up for the time when it gets scarce. Ammunition, as well as food, batteries, water, etc., will be the first to fly off the shelves – and before it flies off the shelves the price will raise dramatically.

Bill: I guess you are right. I have a box of 50 bullets for the Glock.

UrbanMan: Bill, if I were you I would buy another 150 or 200 rounds of ammunition and continue to buy at least a box a month until he have 1,000 rounds minimum. Plus you need to have some 12 gauge bird shot and buck shot, as well as some slug shotgun shells also.

Bill: That’s a lot of ammo! Do you really think I need that much? Although you are right about the shotgun. I don’t have any ammunition for that.

UrbanMan: Yes, you need plenty of ammunition. You don’t want to wait until you need it. At that point it will be expensive, maybe very hard to find and you will expose your safety going to gun shops trying to find it. Go buy two boxes of bird shot, which would be 50 shot shells, five boxes of 00 buckshot (total of 25 rounds) and two boxes of one ounce slugs (10 rounds). Buy a couple boxes of each, every month until you have two to three hundred of each load. Get an old Army metal ammunition can and keep it in your closet. It won’t take up much room and it’ll give you peace of mind.

Bill: I don;t know. That’s a lot of money.

UrbanMan: Jesus Bill, you make a lot of money, so stop buying beer or ice cream or movie tickets of whatever else you don’t need every week and invest in your survival insurance. Also what are you going to do if the banks close or the dollar tanks or the ATM stops working or the government says you can only withdraw $100 a day and food prices go up 1000%.

Bill: Well, I think we’ll have more problems than money if that happens.

UrbanMan: That’s right, hence the guns. And the food you have stocked up in your pantry and garage. And the safe place you have a plan to get to rather than staying in the suburbs.

Bill: I am really uncomfortable planning on the world to collapse.

UrbanMan: Uncomfortable? How about not being able to protect or feed your family? That in my book would be a lot more uncomfortable. All I am suggesting is a modicum of planning and preparation. You deal in the financial world. Is diversification of investments generally a good thing?

Bill: Generally, it is. You don’t want to have all your assets in one area, say stock funds.

UrbanMan: Well, consider a little prepping as diversification of your survival portfolio. Do you track the precious metals exchange?

Bill: Yes, I have clients who own gold and silver stocks. And come to think of it, I do field questions from existing clients on adding that to their portfolios. I really don;t recommend too much resources devoted to that investment.

UrbanMan: You are talking about ‘paper’ gold and silver, which will do you no good if everything collapses. You should think about buying at least some silver each month and put it away as a hedge if the dollar collapse or hyper inflation hits. Silver is about $16.75 an ounce right now, but if you research it, you’ll see that U.S. silver production is declining significantly over the past couple of months and expected to decline further. So solely as an investment I’ll think you see silver increasingly around $3 to $5 an ounce within the next three months. Just a few months ago it was around $21 an ounce and remember it wasn’t too long ago when silver hit $48 an ounce.

Bill: You may be right, but the precious metals market changes from time to time under forces we never fully understand,…everything from price manipulation to large purchases by various countries.

UrbanMan: Exactly. That’s why you need to protect yourself. I am not advocating an 180 degree change in your financial planning or monthly spending. I am just talking about small changes, re-directional really, that plug holes in your ability to survive.

Bill: Okay. Well I’ll think about it.

UrbanMan: Ok, you think about it. In the meantime, I’m going to send you some website and recommended reading. Don’t be the dumb ass left out.

Benefits of Honey

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Recently I had a cancerous tumor removed from one of my dogs. It was on surface of the ear and it left a nasty wound. I was surprised when the Vet had me change the dressing every day with a non-stick pad coated with all natural honey. My Vet said it would heal the wound as good or better than anything they could give me.

So I was interested when I saw this article from HealthMixer on the “35 Amazing Benefits of All-Natural Honey”. I hope you will too. Oh, by the way, my Dog’s wound healed quickly and nicely!

Honey offers a wide range of trace minerals that are necessary for the body’s proper functioning. It is an anti-bacterial that can help with constipation and calcium absorption. When one endeavors to study the benefits of honey, it is completely believable that a list surpassing 75 elements can be achieved. We chose to narrow that list down to include the 35 benefits we found most amazing. And, we can’t wait for you to read # 25!

Honey is nature’s best kept medicine. Your ancestors probably found more value in it than you have ever even considered. But that’s ok, because we’re here to bring all that back! Check out these amazing benefits:

#1 Cough & Sore Throat. Honey is a phenomenal cough suppressant. In fact, according to Penn State College of Medicine (2012), it was deemed a better option for children’s coughs than any available over-the-counter option! Honey soothes on contact and stimulates saliva, which may be the reason it is so effective in coughs and sore throats.

#2 Wounds & Burns. In a 2015 issue of Contemporary Nurse, honey was labeled a better burn treatment than the ordinarily prescribed silver. This is because honey has more antibacterial properties. And, it has no toxic effects on skin.

#3 Arthritis. Manuka honey appears to be useful due to its anti-inflammatory properties. The inflammation experienced in bouts of arthritis is relieved, as is the pain. To experience this benefit, try mixing 2 tablespoons of Manuka honey with 1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon in a cup of warm green tea.

#4 Insomnia & Fatigue. Honey has been labeled a super-food. Sleep induction occurs with increased levels of tryptophan and serotonin. Honey includes tryptophan. Honey raises the blood sugar, slightly. That rise in insulin, causes tryptophan to enter the brain where it is converted into serotonin. When dark, serotonin converts to melatonin which aids in sleep. Take two tablespoons of honey each night to aid in alleviating your symptoms of insomnia and fatigue.

#5 Acid Reflux & Heartburn. A mix of apple cider vinegar and honey can help reduce your acid reflux and heartburn troubles. We know it seems counterintuitive, but it is theorized that the cider vinegar and honey mix helps to balance out the pH in the gut. Plus, they are both anti-bacterial agents that can help fight off any bacterial issues that are causing the problems. Try 2 teaspoons each of honey and apple cider vinegar in water or warm tea.

#6 Seasonal Allergies & Asthma. Eating local honey can act like a localized vaccination against those things in the environment that are triggering your allergies. Try to get honey that has been collected near your home so that the same flowers and weeds will have been utilized in its production.

#7 Warts & Acne. Apply honey to warts and cover with a Band-Aid. Repeat the process until the warts disappear. The same is true about acne, although Band-Aids are not necessary. Allow the honey to remain on the problem areas for fifteen minutes and then rinse off. Please make sure that you are using all-natural, raw, unprocessed, preferably organic honey.

#8 Yeast Infections. A piece in Future Microbiology (2014) declared that honey was an effective treatment for yeast infections. If you want to try this out, mix one tablespoon of plain, unsweetened yogurt, with two tablespoons of raw honey. Apply this mixture to the infected area externally and internally. Allow it to remain in place for ten minutes. Wash after application. Consider it a honey douche and look for improvement within a few days, if you use it twice a day as recommended.

#9 Weight Loss & Poor Metabolism. Honey contains 22 amino acids that can aid in boosting metabolism. And, increased metabolism means decreased fat! Consider drinking lemon juice with a little honey each morning to get your metabolism started on the right foot. Honey can potentially fuel the liver and ease stress hormones to aid in weight loss as well.

#10 Helps Prevent Cancer and Heart Disease. Honey includes anti-tumor and carcinogen preventing properties. Honey’s natural anti-oxidant capabilities can help eliminate cancer causing free-radicals and improve the functioning of the immune system.

#11 Energy Booster. Honey naturally provides carbohydrates that provide energy. As such, honey is considered an effective way to improve energy and prevent fatigue. Don’t forget that the glucose in honey is a rapid energy creator and the fructose allows that energy to last. Before you workout, consider taking a spoonful of honey, and if you are feeling drained, spread some on toast or use it in your tea instead of sugar.

#12 Immune System Builder. Recall that honey has anti-bacterial and anti-oxidant properties. These help improve your digestive tract and can aid in the prevention of diseases. If you really want to help your body ward off infectious issues, try drinking a glass of water with lemon and honey each morning. Warm water is recommended here.

#13 Memory Booster. Restful sleep and the reduction of metabolic stress contribute to cognitive and memory functions. Honey offers both. At the University Of Babylon’s College of Medicine, a five year study was conducted that concluded honey had the ability to prevent dementia and cognitive decline.

#14 Face Mask. Honey is terrific for the skin. And, lots of people have been experimenting with its ability to provide a great rejuvenating face mask. Based on your skin type, you’ll have to add either: apple, avocado & egg, or egg, almond oil, and yogurt.

#15 Reduces Ulcers and Other Gastrointestinal Disorders. An ulcer is a lesion in the lining of the stomach. Imbalances in the digestive fluids are generally to blame. Although many are actually caused by h. pylori, a bacteria found in the gut. One tablespoon of raw honey (preferably Manuka) combined with a ¼ teaspoon of ground cinnamon, has been shown to offer considerable relief when taken daily.

#16 Lowers Cholesterol. Cholesterol comes in both good and bad forms. Honey is cholesterol free and is believed to be able to help keep cholesterol levels under control. Taking a honey and cinnamon mix regularly could lower the cholesterol in your blood thanks to its anti-oxidant properties.

#17 Low-libido. Honey is an aphrodisiac. It promotes testosterone in men and aids in estrogen usage in women. In fact, a study showed that three ounces of honey could increase levels of the arousal chemical, nitric oxide. Hippocrates prescribed honey for the purposes of sexual vigor and the induction of ecstasy, all the way back in 500 BC! He recommended that it be used as a sexual stimulant by combining it with pepper and ginger. Definitely something to think about before agreeing to take the little blue pill.

#18 Anxiety. A 2011 study, published in the Journal of Neurophysiology showed that animals that took larger doses of honey demonstrated significant reduction in anxious behaviors and were in better control of their own bodies. The consumption was a one-time deal. This showed that honey can relieve anxiety as quickly as one dose! That’s great news.

#19 Athlete’s Foot. Tinea pedis, or athlete’s foot, is a skin disorder and is caused by a parasitic fungus. You can use propolis (a natural bee product) or honey for treatment of this irritating issue. Rub the foot with honey at night and then cover with an old sock. Wash the dried honey off in the morning. Repeat until the problem has been resolved.

#20 Detoxifying Needs. Lemon and honey water are great detoxification providers. Try drinking a glass of honey and lemon in the morning on an empty stomach. You could also go on a honey water fast if you are really devoted to completing a truly detoxifying procedure

#21 Eczema & Rosacea. A persistent inflammation of the top layer of skin contributes to the symptomology known as eczema. Basically, the immune system is overreacting. There are three potential methods to deal with the issue:

•Apple honey and ground cinnamon applied to effected area
•Warm water mixed with half a lime and a teaspoon of honey ingested every morning for several weeks
•A glass of water combined with a teaspoon of honey and two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar taken three times a day, with meals

#22 Gum Disease. Honey is a great anti-microbial that can effectively treat gum disease even if it sounds counter intuitive to apply sweet stuff to your teeth. Honey can deter the growth of the bacteria that causes dental plague and can ultimately reduce its presence, according to a 2015 study. Manuka honey is the best resource as it has the highest levels of anti-microbials.

#23 Treats Dandruff & Other Scalp Problems. Crude honey is very powerful. The honey needs to be diluted in water and then rubbed into the scalp, specifically focusing on problem areas. Leave it in for three hours and then rinse it out with warm water. Do this every other day for 2 weeks. A study performing the same procedures revealed complete healing and even a decrease in hair loss.

#24 Hangovers. The fructose in honey has been shown to speed up the livers ability to oxidize alcohol. This makes honey a confirmed sobering agent with better results than coffee! Mix 15ml of honey with 70ml of all-natural yogurt and 80ml of orange juice for the best hangover relief you’ve ever tasted.

#25 Stress. Prescription medications are not your only answer for relieving stress. Honey’s nutrients can elicit a calming effect. If you add a decent amount of honey to your breakfast regimen, you might discover that the day’s stress has less of an impact on your emotional well-being.

#26 Workout Fuel. Honey is believed to have the ability to increase athletic performance. In fact, some people use it as an all-natural energy drink. Because there are only 17 grams of carbs in a tablespoon of honey, its fructose and glucose can act as a short-term source of energy.

#27 Regulates Blood Sugar. Although it seems highly unlikely that honey, a sugar, can regulate sugar, it is the balance of fructose and glucose that enables this anomaly to occur. The fructose in the honey sends the glucose straight to the liver where it becomes glycogen. This allows the major organs to function at optimal capacity and keeps the glucose out of the blood, which ultimately lowers blood sugar. Honey produces more liver glycogene than any other food based on per gram studies.

#28 Probiotic. Honey’s therapeutic properties are sometimes viewed as “mysterious.” But, it is the 4 species of Bifidobacterium and 6 species of lactobacilli found in different varieties of honey that contributes to its probiotic capabilities.

#29 Provides Nutrients. Honey includes an array of vitamins and nutrients in small doses. These vitamins and nutrients include: zinc, phosphorous, potassium, manganese, iron, copper, magnesium, riboflavin, calcium, niacin, and pantothenic acid. If you switch your sugars to honey, you will be getting nutrients with your calories!

#30 Potentially Prevents Low White Blood Cell Count. During chemotherapy sessions, 40 percent of patients who took therapeutic honey, at two teaspoons daily, relieved their bouts with low blood cell counts (neutropenia). This study was performed by the Mayo Clinic.

#31 Kills Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria. Some research performed in doctors’ offices and hospitals has revealed that Honey can kill antibiotic resistant bacteria. Specifically, they found it worked on: Salmonella, E. coli, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, and Staphylococcus aureus.

#32 Honey for Herpes. Because Honey has been proven to provide great remedies for wounds, it is no wonder that it can assist in healing the sores associated with Herpes. It takes fluid from the wound and the sugar suppresses the growth of microorganisms. And, low levels of hydrogen peroxide are included in honey. Studies have shown that the topical use of honey is actually more effective than the prescription cream.

#33 Increases Calcium Absorption. When using a calcium supplement, research has shown that ingesting honey can aid in the absorption of the supplemental calcium. In fact, there is a 25% improvement rate when these are taken together. The raffinose, fructose, and glucose found in honey are given the credit for increasing the ability to absorb calcium.

#34 Increase Hemoglobin Count & Treat Anemia. Thanks to the iron, copper, and manganese found in raw dark honey, hemoglobin synthesis can be aided. Keep in mind that the darker the honey is, the better it is for you. Honey will also add that boost you need when dealing with anemia.

#35 Hair Conditioner. If you’ll create a mix of honey and olive oil, you will discover honey’s amazing ability to smooth and condition your hair. Plus, this is an all-natural method!

[source: www.healthymixer.com]

Trapped In A Demonstration? What are your Self-Defense Options?

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[by Michael Wisdom, Senior Contributing Editor, Texas & U.S. Law Shield]

We’ve all seen the news reports of the mob scenes and riots across the country following recent police shootings and now the election. We feel that it is important that you understand your rights should you find yourself unintentionally caught up in such a situation where an angry mob blocks the roadway.

As a real-life example, we received a call to the emergency hotline from a member who was traveling and found himself and his family confronted by angry rioters in a major city out west. With the threatening mob descending upon his vehicle, the member turned around to make a hasty exit. However, as he was trying to get his family out of harm’s way, one screaming rioter charged toward the member’s car and was struck, landing on the hood before rolling off. Fortunately, the member and his family safely escaped the melee.

To figure out if the member’s act of running into a rioter was legal, we turned to Texas & U.S. Law Shield Independent Program Attorney Michele Byington with the question: Are you justified in hitting or “running over” someone in this scenario?

“The answer? It depends!” Byington said. “Don’t you hate that answer?”

Let’s look at whether an act of running down a rioter would be lawful as a justified act of self-defense.

To begin the analysis, she said we treat this situation just as we would any other use of deadly force in self-defense. Let’s start with some general concepts, and then analyze how the specifics of the law will apply in these scenarios. The concepts to focus on are imminence, reasonableness, and not being the aggressor.

Imminence. Prosecutors love to attack the imminence prong. Does a group of people blocking a roadway pose an imminent threat of death or serious bodily injury to you inside of the vehicle? Blocking a roadway, normally, cannot cause death or serious bodily injury to those inside the vehicle, much less pose an imminent or immediate threat. As a result, using a vehicle to “run them down,” or even to physically push them aside, is unlikely to be justified. However, if there is additional threatening conduct such as the protestors attempting to enter the vehicle, or say, charging toward you with a baseball bat, that is a completely different scenario. If you are placed in reasonable fear of imminent deadly force, you would be legally entitled to use deadly force in self-defense, including the use of your vehicle to neutralize the unlawful deadly force threat.

Reasonableness. What would be required to generate a reasonable fear of imminent death or serious bodily injury? The key here is that it doesn’t matter what your personal beliefs are if a jury would not believe that your fear was reasonable under the circumstances. There are extremes where your conduct will almost always be viewed as reasonable, such as attempts to set your car on fire or flip it over. On the other hand, under many circumstances, it will be extremely difficult to convince a jury that you acted reasonably if you use deadly force against protestors. One example would be injuring or attempting to injure a group of peaceful protestors who are merely blocking a roadway. If the protestors attempt, or reasonably appear to attempt, to forcibly enter blockaded vehicles, you will gain a presumption of reasonableness under the laws of many, but not all, states. You will also have a much better argument that you had reasonable grounds to fear an imminent attack with deadly force. Such conduct could include the smashing of windows or attempts to open doors. Also, you do not necessarily need to wait until the protestors have turned violent against your vehicle if you see it happening to someone else. Remember, you must have a reasonable belief from what you are seeing and hearing around you and not merely speculating about what might occur.”

Byington also noted, “Keep in mind, here in Texas, you may also use deadly force to protect a third party as long as you would be justified in using deadly force to protect yourself in that same situation.

If you intend to use your vehicle against a rioter, it will almost always constitute the use of deadly force – that is, force capable of causing death or serious bodily injury. Deadly force can be used in self-defense to the extent the force with which you are threatened also constitutes deadly force. In other words, deadly force can be met with deadly force, she said. If you are faced with anything less than deadly force, you will face an uphill battle in arguing that your actions were reasonable. To make matters worse, if you respond to a threat that is non-deadly in nature with unlawful deadly force, it would allow the other person to lawfully respond in kind with deadly force against you.

Not the Aggressor. Is the person seeking justification for the use of deadly force in self-defense a victim, or is he the aggressor? State laws may vary, but generally, the defense of justification is not available to the individual who starts the fight and does not stop to convey to the other person their intention to stop the aggression.

So, how might this apply in a protest or riot situation? Byington noted, “Say you are stuck for an hour in the middle of a protest and decide to ‘nudge’ one of these folks with your vehicle so that you can get out of the traffic snarl. If the otherwise peaceful protestor then becomes violent, and you use deadly force to protect yourself, a prosecutor, judge, or jury could easily argue that you were the initial aggressor. You may lose a number of legal protections, and on top of that, appear like the aggressor during the investigation or trial.

Suppose you yell out “Sorry! Didn’t mean to bump you, it won’t happen again!” If the other person continues the assault after having been informed of your intention to stop, at that point you may regain the right of self-defense, although the protestor will almost certainly argue that he/she could not hear you due to the noise of the protest.

A Few Practical Tips:

So, what should you do if you come across such a mob?

STOP. Don’t go any farther. Do whatever is necessary to change direction and get out of the area. If you are alert, hopefully you will see these masses of people far enough in advance so that you can completely avoid the situation, long before being surrounded.

Remember, you can’t legally run people over just because they are in the road. You may think the safest action to take in a situation like this is to keep moving, which may result in hitting people with your car to get them out of the way. That isn’t legal! It could easily be considered an aggravated assault, or worse! Even if people are illegally blocking the road, you will go to jail. It is that simple. Avoidance is key.

However, once the rioters attack you or attempt to enter the vehicle, the game changes, and your legal justification kicks in. With your vehicle surrounded so that you can’t escape and attackers trying to burn your car, flip it over, or attempt to drag you out of it, it is reasonable to assume that you will suffer imminent serious bodily injury or death. It is at this point you may use deadly force. In this moment of adrenaline and pure fear, you must keep your common sense. Do not get out and try to shoot your way out of the mob! You will quickly be overtaken and perhaps have your gun stripped from you. Instead, use your vehicle to get out of that situation by driving away from the surrounding rioters.

An additional point to remember is, should your vehicle come under attack, roll your windows down about half an inch. Experts say it is harder to break a window that is partly down than one that is fully closed. Turn off your ventilation system so you do not draw in any outside air in the event there is tear gas or smoke present. Further, if surrounded and moving slowly, you may want to take off your seat belt to allow a quick exit from the vehicle should it be overturned or set on fire.

“Once again, it is evident that your best course of action is to avoid these, often, pre-planned demonstrations altogether and drive away quickly should you come upon one,” she said.

The law is different in every state. For example, Texas has the “Castle Doctrine,” which gives a person the presumption of reasonableness if he or she uses deadly force against a person attempting to enter or entering their vehicle. Byington said, “It is a HUGE legal tool. Unfortunately, other states may not expand their Castle Doctrine to the vehicle [New Jersey]. With that in mind, I hope everyone can stay safe – and also stay legal! – if you find yourself in any protest or riot situation.”

To help Members in other states, we contacted U.S. Law Shield Independent Program Attorneys to get additional insights. Their comments appear below.

COLORADO

Independent Program Attorney Doug Richards offered this explanation on Colorado’s the law on self-defense. In the book Colorado Gun Law: Armed And Educated, co-authored by Richards, Stanley Marks, and Christopher Ferrero, Richards points out that “a person is justified in using physical force upon another person in order to defend himself from what he reasonably believes to be the use or imminent use of unlawful physical force by that other person, and he may use a degree of force which he reasonably believes to be necessary for that purpose.

“Importantly,” Richards adds, “a person is not justified in using any degree of physical force if he provokes the other person into the use of unlawful force with the intent of using that as a justification to cause the other person bodily injury or death.

Richards also points out that “[D]eadly physical force may be used only if a person reasonably believes that a lesser degree of force is inadequate, and he has reasonable grounds to believe, and does believe, that he or another person is in imminent danger of being killed or of receiving great bodily injury.”

For more specific information on this and other Colorado gun laws, click the Colorado Gun Law: Armed And Educated book link at the bottom of this post to order your copy.

VIRGINIA

For the law on self-defense in Virginia, we turned to U.S. Law Shield of Virginia Independent Program Attorneys Mitchell Wells and W. Edward Riley of Riley & Wells. In the upcoming book, Virginia Gun Law: Armed And Educated, co-authored by Riley and Wells, they point out that a person caught in a demonstration that’s turning violent must reasonably fear that they are in imminent danger of suffering serious bodily injury or death to be justified in the use of deadly force. For more specific information on this and other Virginia gun laws, look for the upcoming announcement as to when Virginia Gun Law: Armed And Educated will be published and available.

OKLAHOMA

Independent Program Attorney Robert Robles added “[T]hat the laws in Oklahoma regarding the use of deadly force in a self-defense situation are pretty well in line with the laws in the neighboring state to the south [Texas] and can be found in the Oklahoma Self-Defense Act, Title 21, Oklahoma Statutes, Section 1290.1, et seq.”

“In Oklahoma, the law gives the presumption that a person held a reasonable fear of imminent peril of death or great bodily harm and therefore deadly force was necessary, if it is used against an individual who was unlawfully or forcibly in the process of entering or entered into an occupied vehicle; or is attempting to forcibly remove another against his or her will from an occupied vehicle. Deadly force is also presumed to be justified to prevent the commission or attempted commission of forcible felonies including murder, burglary, carjacking, and home invasion robberies,” he said.

“Furthermore,” Robles added, “if people are present in any place where they have a right to be, they have no duty to retreat and have the right to meet force with force, including deadly force, if they reasonably believe that it is necessary to prevent death or great bodily harm to themselves or another, or to prevent the commission of a forcible felony.”

For more specific information on this and other Oklahoma gun laws, click the Oklahoma Gun Law: Armed And Educated book link at the bottom of this post to order your copy.

MISSOURI

Independent Program Attorney Deborah Alessi summarized Missouri’s law as, “A person cannot use deadly force upon another person unless he or she reasonably believes that such deadly force is necessary to protect himself, or another against death, serious physical injury, or any forcible felony, and is used against a person who unlawfully enters, remains after unlawfully entering, or attempts to unlawfully enter a vehicle lawfully occupied by such person.”

Alessi added that “a person does not have the duty to retreat from their occupied vehicle before using deadly force under the circumstances described, and these laws can be found in RSMo Chapter 563 Defense of Justification, Section 563.0031.1.”

GEORGIA

Independent Program Attorney Matt Kilgo expands upon the Texas law to explain how the law of self-defense would apply in Georgia under these circumstances.

1. Innocence. Is the person seeking justification for the use of deadly force in self-defense an innocent victim, or is he or she the instigator of the confrontation? In Georgia an individual may not claim as justified a use of force against another when he or she initially provokes the initial force as an excuse to commit an act of force; at any time when committing (or attempting to commit) or fleeing the commission of a felony; or anytime he or she was the initial aggressor in a situation or was engaged in mutual “combat by agreement”, unless or until withdrawing from combat and making that decision known to the other individual. See O.C.G.A. §16-13-21(b). If the other party continues an assault after having been informed of your intention to stop, then you may “reacquire” the right of self-defense.

2. Imminence. Does a group of people blocking the roadway pose an imminent threat of death or serious bodily harm to you inside your vehicle? Simply blocking a roadway cannot normally cause death or serious bodily harm to those inside a vehicle. As a result, using one’s vehicle to “run them down,” or even to physically push them aside, is unlikely to be legally justified unless there is some additional threatening conduct. But suppose the mob begins more direct threats or the use of actual force against you? If you are now placed in reasonable fear of an imminent deadly force attack, then you could be legally entitled to use deadly force in self-defense, including the use of your vehicle to neutralize the unlawful deadly force threat. Remember, the use of force is justified in Georgia when a party “reasonably believes that such threat or force is necessary to defend himself or herself or a third person against such other’s imminent use of unlawful force. . . .” Imminence is vitally important, especially when using a weapon as deadly as a car: the threat must be real and immediate.

3. Proportionality. Keep in mind, however— should you intend to use your vehicle against anyone— this will almost certainly constitute deadly force, that force “which is intended or likely to cause death or great bodily harm.” Deadly force may only be used to protect yourself or another person when “necessary to prevent death or great bodily injury. . . or to prevent the commission of a forcible felony.” O.C.G.A. §16-3-21(a). Should you respond to a threat that is non-deadly in nature with deadly force (or one that does not constitute a forcible felony, such as murder, rape, armed robbery, or aggravated assault; any felony that contains an element of force), it would allow the other person to respond in kind with deadly force against you. Additionally, you may be the one charged.

4. Reasonableness. What action would be required of a mob or any of its members to generate a fear of death or great bodily injury that justifies the use of a weapon like a car in the eyes of police, prosecutors, judges, and juries? If the protestors attempt (or reasonably appear to attempt) to forcibly enter your vehicle or the vehicle of others, this could certainly constitute reasonable grounds to fear an imminent deadly force attack. Such conduct would include the smashing of windows or attempts to force open doors. The same applies to attempts to set vehicles on fire, or to flip vehicles over. Generally, a defender need not necessarily wait until the protestors have turned violent against his particular vehicle: If members of a mob have begun threatening or using deadly force against other blockaded vehicles, it could be considered reasonable to believe your own vehicle is likely to be next — you are, after all, legally entitled to defend yourself not just against the danger already occurring to you but also against the danger that is about to occur, that is imminent. But you must draw a reasonable belief from actual evidence around you, not merely speculate what might happen.

Kilgo went on to add, “If you find yourself in a mob situation, remember, you can’t just run anyone over with your car. It’s best to just keep moving, which may result in your bumping people out of the way with your car. However, this may be considered battery on your part, which is a crime. You may be arrested if you strike someone with your car, absent a legitimate threat to your life or the life of others. So it’s best to avoid those situations.”

“Perhaps most importantly,” Kilgo went on to say, “familiarize yourself with Georgia’s laws on the use of force, as well as such important legal concepts as the ‘Castle Doctrine’ and Georgia’s stand your ground law. The law can and does protect you in situations such as this, but you must be aware of what your rights are. While your best course of action is to avoid these often pre-planned demonstrations altogether and drive away quickly should you come upon one, knowing what you may legally do to protect yourself and your family in such a situation is your best protection.”

FLORIDA

Independent Program Attorneys David Katz and James Phillips offered this summary of the law regarding the use of deadly force in Florida.

“Under Florida Statute Chapter 776, Section 776.012(2),” says Katz, “A person is justified in using or threatening to use deadly force if he or she reasonably believes that using or threatening to use such force is necessary to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another or to prevent the imminent commission of a forcible felony.”

Phillips added, “If you use or threaten to use deadly force in accordance with this subsection, you do not have a duty to retreat and have the right to stand your ground, so long as you are not engaged in a criminal activity and are in a place where you have a right to be.”

“You are presumed to have held a reasonable fear of imminent peril of death or great bodily harm if the other person was in the process of unlawfully and forcefully entering, or had unlawfully and forcibly entered your occupied vehicle, or if that person had removed or was attempting to remove you against your will from your occupied vehicle,” Katz pointed out.

For more specific information on this and other Florida gun laws, click the Florida Gun Law: Armed And Educated book link at the bottom of this post to order your copy.

PENNSYLVANIA

According to Independent Program Attorney Justine McShane, the law of self-defense in the Keystone State is similar to the law in Texas, but different in significant ways.

“The Pennsylvania self-defense statute provides that use of force is ‘justifiable when the actor believes that such force is immediately necessary for the purpose of protecting himself against the use of unlawful force by such other person on the present occasion.’ 18 Pa.C.S. § 505.”

Building a Bug Out Bag – Another Opinion

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This is an article on How to Build a Bug-Out Bag in 16 Easy Steps by Nick Oetken posted on SurvivalSullivan.com. The article serves to consider his opinions to double check your efforts and preparation on your own bug outs bags – you have one don’t you?

http://www.survivalsullivan.com/build-bug-bag-16-steps/

HOW TO BUILD A BUG OUT BAG IN 16 EASY STEPS

Despite being one of the most popular and well known aspects of prepping, most bug out bags are still very poorly put together. Many times this is because the bags have been pre-made by stores, and are thrown together using items that are low quality and don’t take into account the unique situation of the buyer.

The truth is that your bug out bag has to be designed for a unique scenario, and it can only be designed this way if it is put together by you. While it can be a daunting task to select the right backpack to be your bug out bag and then decide which items to put in it, this article will walk you through the 16 different steps you need to follow in order to build an effective bug out bag.

FIGURING OUT HOW YOU’RE GONNA USE IT

Before you even buy a backpack to be your bug out bag, you first have to consider what kind of situations your bug out bag is for and any special circumstances that exist.

Step #1: How Long Does It Have to Keep You Alive?

Obviously your bug out bag has to be big enough to hold the items you need for an estimated amount of time. A good rule of thumb, and one that is repeated multiple times in the survival and prepping community, is for your bug out bag to have enough gear to keep you alive for at least three days (or seventy-two hours). A solid bug out bag, however, should have supplies you can stretch to last you at least five to six days.

Your planned duration, however, may be different. For example, if you’re planning to live long term out of your bug out bag, it’s going to need to contain more items and ways to create/purify food and water. You’ll need an inch bag for this. If you’re planning your bug out bag to be more of a get home bag or something that can get you from your car to your house, then it may be a little smaller and lighter.

In the end, your estimated duration is what will most heavily influence the size of your bug out bag and the kinds and quantities of items that you’ll be holding within it.

Step #2: What Type of Environment Will Your Bug Out Bag Be Keeping You Alive In?

The location you are in also heavily influences what goes into your BOB. If you live in colder climates, then things like extra sets of warm clothing, fire starting materials, and shelter building items will take precedence. But if you live in warmer climates, then you’ll need to focus more on things such as water, purification tablets, sunscreen, and sunglasses.

Things can become tricky if you live in a location with extreme temperatures. For example, the Northwestern United States has very hot summers and very cold winters, and you may be seeking to build a standard bug out bag that you can grab and use no matter what. In this case, your bug out bag will need to keep you safe regardless of the situation you are in.

In addition to weather and climate, consider geography and terrain. If you live somewhere with lots of rivers and lakes, it would be wise to include a complete fishing kit and waterproof everything, for example.

Step #3: What Type of Emergencies Could You Face?

Many preppers recommend assembling different bug out bags for different emergencies, so ask yourself what specific kind of an emergency you have in mind before starting on your bug out bag. For example, are you mostly concerned about an economic collapse, a terrorist attack, or a natural disaster?

If you are assembling a bug out bag for an economic collapse, then you would want to include valuable possessions that can be used as bartering items, such as gold and silver, ammunition, and toilet paper. For social unrest, you would want your bug out bag to include things such as first aid/medical kits and defensive weapons. For natural disasters, food, water purification tablets, and a way to cook food would take precedence.

Step #4: Take Your Health into Account

This one is easily the most overlooked step in preparing a bug out bag. If you, or anybody in your family for that matter, have unique health conditions then you absolutely have to take it into account.

If you’re in poor shape, then it would be wiser to build a lighter bug out bag. A heavier one would slow you down and cause you to over exert yourself. If a member of your family cannot walk well for long distances (or at all), then you’ll need to either include a stretcher or items to make a stretcher in your bag.

If you have specific medical conditions that require medical prescriptions, you should include plenty of your medications in your bug out bag as well. Ultimately, medicine may end up proving more valuable than weapons.

SELECTING THE BUG OUT BAG

At this point, you have decided what the purpose of your bug out bag is and have taken all unique conditions related to you and your environment in mind. These factors will be what most heavily influence the type of bug out bag you select.

Step #5: The Volume of the Backpack

Many bug out bags will claim to hold the same capacity, but they can’t all hold the same amount or type of gear due to the amount of compartments they have and the design of the bag.

Regardless of your bug out bag’s volume, it should contain MANY compartments of large and small sizes. More compartments not only allow for improved organization; it also means that your bag can hold more gear. In addition, all compartments and the pack itself should be easy to close securely with either Velcro or zippers.

If you want your bug out bag to get you through one day, it should have a volume of up to forty liters. A bag to keep you alive for three days will need a capacity of around sixty. A bag made to keep you alive for a week will need at least a ninety-liter capacity.

Step #6: Choosing Between Internal and External Frames

You will have to decide between light and heavy, and specifically internal and external frames, for your bug out bag. Between the two, internal frames have a hidden frame located on the inside of the pack. They cannot hold as much weight but they are more flexible and will position most of the weight of the pack on your hip rather than your shoulders. They are more than suitable for the standard three-day bug out bag, and they also permit faster movement through the forest because they don’t have an external frame to get hung up on branches and thorns.

External frames are stronger and heavier, and as the name suggests the pack is supported by a visible frame on the outside. External frame backpacks are also almost always larger than internal framed bags, meaning you can attach more heavy duty gear such as tents. If you want a ninety-liter or more bug out bag designed to last more than week, the external frame is the better choice.

Step #7: Checking the Quality of the Backpack

Finally, and this one should go without saying, your chosen pack MUST absolutely be top quality. Things to check for include waterproof/water resistant materials, the zippers and Velcro all working without mishaps, and thick, sturdy, adjustable straps.

While you can always read reviews of specific bug out bags online, it is recommended that you buy your bag in person so you can inspect the bag yourself for defects.

WHAT TO PUT IN THE BUG OUT BAG

Our next series of steps are going to focus on the fun part of bug out bag building: deciding what to put in it!

Step #8: Water

Water is essential for your survival, but it is also heavy. Regardless of how much you manage to store in your bug out bag, you probably won’t have enough water. For this reason, your bug out bag should always include ways to purify water found in nature, so it is safe to drink.

Purification tablets and portable water filters are your two best options in this case because they are effective, lightweight, and don’t take up too much room. You should also have a small canteen cup and fire starting materials on hand so you can boil water too.

Step #9: Fire

Fire will provide you with warmth, comfort, security, and the ability to cook food. You should have many different types of fire starters in your bug out bag, from matches to lighters to magnesium flint strikers.

In addition, have emergency fire kindling in your bug out bag so that you can quickly start a fire on the go. The best choice for this is cotton balls that have been soaked in vaseline, but as an alternative, you can carry dryer lint soaked in alcohol and stuffed into a cardboard toilet paper roll or prepare a fire bundle made out of twigs and moss.

Keep everything pertaining to fire in your fire-starting kit in a waterproof container such as a waterproof pouch, an airtight plastic container or a Ziploc bag.

Step #10: Shelter

Shelter is what will protect you from the natural elements in a survival situation. Two person tents are best recommended for this task. In extreme weather conditions, your life can be in danger after just 3-hours of exposure to the elements so good shelter is a priority.

As an alternative, you can include items that allow you to forge a makeshift shelter. Examples include rope, space blankets, a tarp, and a poncho. In addition, don’t forget to include insulation material, such as trash bags or polyethylene foam.

Step #11: Extra Clothing

Rather than including a full change of clothes, just include specific clothing items in your bug out bag: a hat, extra pair of socks, gloves, and a bandana. Keep all your clothes in Ziplocs to avoid getting them wet.

Step #12: Weapons and Tools

There are certain items under the ‘weapons and tools’ category that you simply must include in your bug out bag. The first one is the knife, and you better have more than just one. One of your knives should be a fixed blade model for heavy duty purposes, while the other should be a smaller, folding knife for more precise work.

Additional weapons that also serve as tools, that you would be wise to include are a hatchet/tomahawk, a handsaw, and/or a machete.

Hand tools such as a multi-tool, screwdrivers, wire cutters, an Allen wrench, hammer and nails, and a pair of pliers are not as essential as the above tools, but they are still worth considering.

Step #13: Medical and First Aid

Every single one of your bug out bags should have medical items, and you should know how to use them without question. Absolutely include standard first aid equipment such as bandages, gauze pads, aspirin tablets, hand sanitizer, medical gloves, tape, tweezers, and tourniquets, but also remember to keep your personal health in mind. If you have any prescription medications like we talked about before, now is the time to include them. If you have asthma, there should be at least one if not two inhalers in your bag.

Step #14: Personal Hygiene

When it comes to putting things in the bug out bag, personal hygiene is what many people often tend to overlook. Nonetheless, it’s still very important and necessary for your health. Keep soap, toothpaste and a tooth brush, chap stick, and a roll of toilet paper in your bag at the bare minimum.

Step #15: Food

Even though you can last weeks without food, you’ll feel a dramatic drainage of energy if you go just one day without it. For this reason, include compact foods that are high in proteins, carbs, and calories, and that have a high shelf life. Examples include protein bars and freeze dried foods or pemmican.

In the same way that you need to have a means to procure water and make it safe, you need a way to gather more food as well. Have fishing equipment on hand, in addition to several materials to make traps and snares. Store a small book on edible and medicinal plants in your bag as well as fire starting materials so you can cook any food that you catch or forage.

Step #16: Navigation and Communication

The critical need for maps truly cannot be given enough attention. Have maps in your bug out bag that both show the general area and specific locations, alternative routes and roads. You can easily find these kinds of maps at grocery stores and gas stations. You can include a GPS if you want, but there’s no guarantee that it will always pick up a signal, so at least include maps a backup.

For communication, emergency radios will give you important information in regards to what the government is doing and where you can seek help. A two-way radio will allow you to communicate with others and call in for help.

FINAL WORD

Building your bug out bag will take time, but it’s well worth the effort. In the event of an emergency or survival situation, it can and will keep you alive. As long as you follow the steps in this article, you’ll be well on your way to building a bug out bag that can do just that.

Urban Man~

Bugging Out: Why Americans are giving up citizenship in record numbers

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Some of you are considering a pre-collapse Bug Out or a Bug Out just as the collapse appears to be unfolding and heading out of this country. Many people are doing it now to avoid taxes. Consider this article if you are going to do so in order to save money and position yourself in a better position to ride out or survive the collapse.

The prospect of mogul Donald Trump sitting in the Oval Office has driven celebrities and common folk alike to contemplate moving to Canada — or any other country that is not America. Actress Lena Dunham is interested. Samuel L. Jackson is considering South Africa. Jon Stewart wants to leave the entire planet. Google reported a spike in searches for “move to Canada” after the Donald swept the Super Tuesday primaries in March.

And indeed, government statistics show record numbers of people are renouncing their U.S. citizenship. But it’s not Trump that has persuaded them to go. It’s taxes.

The IRS publishes the names of each American who gives up his or her citizenship. The list comes out every three months, and international tax lawyer Andrew Mitchel has tallied them up. In the first quarter of this year, 1,158 people expatriated — more than 10 times the number in the first quarter of 2008, when Mitchel began his count. Last year, a record 4,279 people renounced their citizenship.


Expatriation’s have grown steadily since 2008 but began to spike in 2013. That timing undermines the theory that Trump is responsible. (Back then, he was busy suing talk-show host and comedian Bill Maher for calling him the spawn of an orangutan.) But the increase dovetails with the implementation of new federal reporting requirements and penalties for assets held overseas by U.S. citizens.

The rules were passed back in 2010 as part of legislation intended to encourage businesses to hire more employees and jump-start the nation’s economic recovery. Attached to the law was a provision called the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) that was supposed to “detect, deter and discourage” tax evasion through offshore bank accounts.

The law requires foreign banks to report whether their clients are U.S. citizens. The penalty for not complying is stiff: a 30 percent withholding from the proceeds of the bank’s financial transactions in the United States. That has caused plenty of consternation among foreign firms, some of which have reportedly closed accounts belonging to Americans as a result.

The regulations also created new filing requirements for individuals with assets overseas and increased the fines for missing a form. The penalty for failing to file is $10,000 per form. The consequences are even steeper for intentionally not filing a document known as the Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts, which could result in a fine of $100,000 or 50 percent of what’s in the bank account — whichever is greater.

“They’re like, ‘Oh my, God, the IRS is going to bankrupt me,’” Mitchel said of his clients. “People get terrified of this, and they don’t want to have anything to do with the IRS, and then they want to renounce.”

Mitchel said that many of his clients have been paying taxes in the country where they live now and may not have bothered filing a U.S. return. Most countries in the world expect you to pay taxes only when you live inside their borders. But two nations — the United States and Eritrea — require its citizens to pay taxes on income while living in other countries. And Mitchel said it’s not just the very wealthy who are chafing under the new regulations. Many of his clients are moderate-income households and retirees living overseas who find navigating the morass of requirements more trouble than it is worth.

Mitchel described one client who plans to retire soon in Australia, where he will not have to pay any taxes on the pension he has built up after 20 years of work there. But under U.S. tax law, he would be required to file a return and pony up to Uncle Sam.

“It’s a very straightforward financial question: Is his U.S. citizenship worth hundreds of thousands of U.S. dollars?” Mitchel asked.

Of course, America may be the land of the free, but leaving it isn’t necessarily cheap: Those who renounce their citizenship could be subject to an exit tax on all of their assets around the world, as if they had sold everything on their last day as an American. Even with a nearly $700,000 exemption, the bill can be hefty, Mitchel said.

The IRS publishes very little data about its former citizens beyond their names, so it’s difficult to tell conclusively whether the new tax laws are the reason that so many Americans have been relinquishing their passports. But the timing of its implementation seems to coincide with the increase in expatriation. And there appears to be widespread recognition that the new reporting requirements have amounted to one giant headache for all involved — including the U.S. government.

“That mountain of data not only puts burdens on the individuals trying to comply, but that also puts a large burden on the IRS to go through the data,” said W. Gavin Ekins, a research economist at the nonpartisan Tax Foundation. “The cost of actually finding a dollar of tax evasion may cost us $5 of actually sifting through the data and compliance costs. From an economics point of view, I’m not sure how valuable the system will be. But maybe it really is from a fairness point of view, and people really believe fairness is worth the cost.”

Article from the Washington Post:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2016/06/01/why-americans-are-giving-up-citizenship-in-record-numbers/

Rugged Cargo Hauler for the Survivalist

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This article came across the Defense News site and it looks like the military is getting smarter about vehicle procurement putting dollars to buy these versatile vehicles. 

I could not find a picture on thew web about the newest vehicle in the pipeline, called the Maintenance and Cargo Hauler MACH-2/MACH 2XL manufactured by John Deere, however the picture at above is the current John Deere Gator designated as the M-Gator A1 which has performed well overseas carrying cargo up mountains where the air is too thin for helicopters to fly with substantial loads. 

The M-Gator A1 has a 208 HP Diesel engine that can transport 1650 lbs of gear. The rack in front is actually designated as a litter rack to carry wounded soldiers out, but could easily be used for about anything. 

I have many hours in a John Deere commercial Gator and can attest to the reliability and utility of these vehicles. Not the answer to every survivalist’s needs, but does offer a unique capability.

The Defense News article:

Small, rugged multi-purpose vehicles at the AUSA show are equipped with new features but carry a familiar leaping-deer logo.

Visitors to the John Deere pavilion at the exhibition hall might expect to see big green machines that are more at home on the farm than on the battlefield.

What you see instead are three tan vehicles shorter than an F-150 pickup that can haul cargo, carry soldiers and maneuver in austere environments.

“People think of John Deere as the yellow and green stuff,” said Todd Halstead, manager of the Military Utility Business for John Deere. “We are definitely more than just the yellow and green stuff.”

The newest of the vehicles is a Maintenance and Cargo Hauler MACH-2/MACH 2XL , developed in association with International Automated Systems, that can be transported by the V-22 Osprey tiltrotor aircraft.

That capability is a new innovation in which the bars over the passenger area reconfigure to sit within that space to keep the vehicle low profile at 60 inches high.

The vehicle’s long- and short-bed variations can be configured variously according to the Army’s needs, Halstead said. For example, soldiers have expressed an interest in a fire suppression capability, he said.

The MACH 2/2XL weight is about 2,200 pounds, and payload capacity is nearly 1,200 pounds. Cargo bed capacity is nearly 770 pounds.

To make the vehicle more versatile for mission requirements, an all-terrain trailer can expand cargo capacity, using a trailer tongue that swivels 360 degrees to deal with rugged terrain and prevent problems with decoupling. Up to four trailers can be hauled behind one of the vehicles.

The original MACH is a program of record used by the U.S. Army now, Halstead said, and the MACH 2/2XL are available for consideration by the Army.

Urban Man……..

Importance of Owning Silver

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This is the message I received from Lear Capital through the American Patriot Daily Net:

Dear Investor, Right now there is very exciting news in the silver market. The largest investment bank in the country today is JP Morgan Chase & Co. In 2012, they held 5 million ounces of silver in their corporate account. However, recent reports have revealed that JP Morgan Chase now holds a staggering 55 million ounces of silver! That’s an increase of tenfold. Just last year, JP Morgan Chase purchased 8 million ounces. That’s a lot of silver for anyone to buy-even an investment giant like JP Morgan Chase. What could they possibly know about silver that we don’t?

Let me tell you what JP Morgan Chase’s CEO, Jamie Dimon, said in a letter to his shareholders, “Some things never change – there ‘WILL BE’ another crisis, and its ‘IMPACT’ will be felt throughout financial markets.“ So here we are. The CEO of the country’s largest bank is telling his shareholders – THERE WILL BE another crisis – and to protect shareholder value, they are buying silver by the hundreds of tons.

Don’t you think it’s time that you consider owning physical silver?

Need another reason?

$21 an ounce. That’s the all-in production cost it takes the average mine to process one ounce of silver. Right now silver is trading just below that threshold.

The last time you could purchase silver below its production costs was 2002. Guess who famously bought 30% of the world’s above ground silver supply back then?

Warren Buffett. Two years later, he doubled his money. So, JP Morgan Chase & Warren Buffett, two of the most successful investors on the planet, both stocked up on silver at a price below production cost. Buffett bought right before a crisis happened. JP Morgan is buying right before what they think will be another financial crisis.

Stocks are at record highs. Debt is soaring. Uncertainty in the world is at historic levels. Silver is on sale right now and JP Morgan Chase knows it-just like Warren Buffett knew it in 2002. Now that you know it, will you let this opportunity pass you by?

Okay, you don’t have to get the free investor kit,…….I won’t because I don’t need it. I routinely buy silver, both in one ounce rounds and bars, and five ounce bars, plus junk silver coins as well.

Silver prices have dropped a little from the 2016 high in August and are currently (13 October 2016) sitting at $17.55 an ounce. We’re not buying Silver so we can sell and make a few bucks per ounce profit waiting for the high to climb a a little,…..we’re buying Silver as a hedge against the collapse where fiat currency won’t be worth anything but precious metals will be used in barter. And if this country comes back, maybe we’l have learned our lesson and have a gold based currency. In the this coming election, which appears that the corrupt Hilary Clinton will win, the Market is going to have major issues, major losses and Gold/Silver prices will climb. Don’t wait too long now. Practically everyone can afford to buy one or more 1 ounce rounds every payday – just think of it as re-directional spending.

But just don;t take my word for it, Reagan Budget Director David Stockman warns that the nation will plunge into a recession, even though Hillary Clinton will win the presidential election. “When the stock market stumbles and the economy begins to actually register negative growth, which I think is coming if not next quarter certainly in the first half of next year, there’s going to be nothing below and the market is going to go through a massive contraction,” said Stockman. “I think it’s going to be a very nasty time in the year ahead,” he added.

Secret Seed Storehouse

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[Article is from the Washington Post]

The secret storehouse of seeds that might save humans from the apocalypse

If you’re already familiar with the Global Seed Vault and understand the crucial role it might play in the future of humanity, you can think of Cary Fowler’s new book as a beautiful coffee-table ornament — with the bonus of lots of informative, readable text.

If you’ve never heard of the vault, “Seeds on Ice: Svalbard and the Global Seed Vault”.can be your introduction to an extraordinary, farsighted venture.

The Global Seed Vault is a vast storehouse carved out of rock and ice on the Norwegian archipelago of Svalbard, far north of the Arctic Circle. In it are half a billion seeds from around the world.

More important, it contains the traits found within the seeds: the genes that make one crop resistant to pests or enable another survive drought. The vault is meant to safeguard humanity against losing vital food stocks to extinction, natural disaster, nuclear war or climate change.

Fowler — a native of rural Tennessee who was trained as a sociologist and has worked for decades on behalf of global biodiversity — led the initial effort to create the seed vault and clearly sees this book as a summary of his life’s work. 

Besides the science involved in selecting and preserving seeds, he gives a fascinating account of the creation of the vault itself — selecting Svalbard because it was both geologically and politically stable, and offered year-round underground permafrost that could cheaply keep the seeds frozen; and the decision to design the wedge-shaped part of the vault that protrudes above the ice sheet so that it looked sculptural, a sort of work of art.

He notes the irony of preserving the future of edible plants in a region where virtually nothing grows. The book is illustrated with hundreds of photographs of the vault and the stunning Arctic environment in which it’s located.

And that is the only way you’re likely to see the vault, except through binoculars from the airport tower at the nearby town of Longyearbyen. Security is vital to the project, and visitors (except for seed donor organizations and the occasional diplomat or benefactor) are not allowed in.

Urban Man’s Comment: Everyone reading this article should have their collection of seeds. I have a robust supply of both non-hybrid and hybrid seeds. I continually buy hybrid seeds at garden and hardware stores, spending just a few bucks at a time and now I have several ammunition cans full of them.

They will be initially be what I plant at my bug in location and also used for trading material. I would continue to use hybrid seeds at other temporary locations. I am saving the non-hybrid seeds for a final location or suitable site where I can harvest the seeds from these plants – don’t want to waste them don’t you know.

When the Lights Go Out

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This article came from a mainstream source – The Finance Section of Yahoo.
http://finance.yahoo.com/news/lights-inevitable-failure-us-grid-230000502.html
Delta Airlines recently experienced what it called a power outage in its home base of Atlanta, Georgia, causing all the company’s computers to go offline—all of them. This seemingly minor hiccup managed to singlehandedly ground all Delta planes for six hours, stranding passengers for even longer, as Delta scrambled to reshuffle passengers after the Monday debacle.

Where Delta blamed its catastrophic systems-wide computer failure vaguely on a loss of power, Georgia Power, their power provider, placed the ball squarely in Delta’s court, saying that “other Georgia Power customers were not affected”, and that they had staff on site to assist Delta.

Whether it was a true power outage, or an outage unique to Delta is fairly insignificant. The incident was a single company without power for six measly hours, yet it wreaked much havoc. Which brings to mind (or at least it should) what happens when the lights really go out—everywhere? And just how dependent is the U.S. on single-source power?

When you hear about the possible insufficiency, unreliability, or lack of resiliency of the U.S. power grid, your mind might naturally move toward the extreme, perhaps National Geographic’s Doomsday Preppers. Talks about what a U.S. power grid failure could really mean are also often likened to survivalist blogs that speak of building faraday cages and hoarding food, or possibly some riveting blockbuster movie about a well-intentioned government-sponsored genetically altered mosquito that leads to some zombie apocalypse.

But in the event of a power grid failure—and we have more than our fair share here in the U.S.—your survivalist savvy may be all for naught.

This horror story doesn’t need zombies or genetically altered mosquitos in order to be scary. Using data from the United States Department of Energy, the International Business Times reported in 2014 that the United States suffers more blackouts than any other developed country in the world.

Unfortunately, not much has been done since then to alleviate the system’s critical vulnerabilities.

In theory, we all understand the wisdom about not putting all our eggs in one basket, as the old-adage goes. Yet the U.S. has done just that with our U.S. power grid. Sadly, this infrastructure is failing, and compared to many other countries, the U.S. is sauntering slowly behind many other more conscientious countries, seemingly unconcerned with its poor showing.
According to the United States Department of Energy, the American power grid is made up of three smaller grids, known as interconnections, which transport energy all over the country. The Eastern Interconnection provides electricity to states to the east of the Rocky Mountains, while the Western interconnection serves the Rocky Mountain states and those that border the Pacific Ocean.

The Texas Interconnected System is the smallest grid in the nation, and serves most of Texas, although small portions of the Lone Star state benefit from the other two grids.

And if you’re wondering why Texas gets a grid of its own, according to the Texas Tribune they have their own grid “to avoid dealing with the feds.” Now that’s true survivalist savvy—in theory.




When you look at the layout of the grid above, it’s easy to see that a single grid going offline would disrupt a huge segment of North America.

Wait—make that all of North America.

To give it to you straight, our national electrical grid works as an interdependent network. This means that the failure of any one part would trigger the borrowing of energy from other areas. Whichever grid attempts to carry the extra load would likely be overtaxed, as the grid is already taxed to near max levels during peak hot or cold seasons.

The aftermath of a single grid going down could leave millions of residents without power for days, weeks or longer depending on the scope of the failure.

So although on the surface it looks like the U.S. has wisely put its eggs into three separate baskets for safer keeping, the U.S. has in essence, lined up our baskets so that if one were to drop, or if the bottom were to fall out, the eggs from basket #1 would fall into basket #2. Which would break from the load, falling into basket #3—eventually scrambling all the eggs. Sorry, Texas.

And sorry for all you out there, likely 300 million of you, who have no idea or have no plans on how to live without power. Or how to live without trips to the local grocery store. Or how to live in a society where most people will ignore social norms and respect for law or even lives. Sorry for you but not everyone can survive the coming collapse.

Purify Water Using Chemical Treatments

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Water purification tablets are a great back up form of water treatment. They are excellent Bug Out Bags and survival kits because they are light weight and inexpensive. Water purification tablets are also great to store in your vehicle or your bug out location to disinfect water on demand.  If the water supply I am drawing from is extremely shady I combine both a filter and the tablets to ensure my safety. Also, be aware that water purification tablets have a shelf life. Check the expiration dates on your tablets and replace any that are expired.

Water purification can come in tablet or droplet form. The tablet form is better because it is a lighter weight that droplets and easy to use when in a stressful situation.

Two water born pathogens that commonly found in untreated water- Cryptosporidium and Giardia.

Cryptosporidium is a genus of apicomplexan protozoans that can cause gastrointestinal illness with diarrhea in humans. According to the CDC it is one of the most frequent causes of waterborne disease among humans in the United States. In a disaster situation where government maintained services are effected, it is highly likely that this protozoa parasite will find its way into our water supply.

Giardia attached to the wall of the small intestines. Giardia is also an infectious protozoa and it is a big deal in emergency preparedness because it can have such a dramatic effect on your health. The symptoms of Giardia, may begin to appear 2 days after infection, include violent diarrhea, excess gas, stomach or abdominal cramps, upset stomach, and nausea. 

The typical infection within an individual can be slight, resolve without treatment in about 2–6 weeks, although sometimes longer and sometimes the infection is more severe requiring immediate medical attention. 

There are three main types of water purification tablets on the market (Chlorine (NaDCC), Iodine and Chlorine Dioxide) . Not all are equal as each one has its strengths and weaknesses. Choose the purification tablet that works the best with your situation and location.



Chlorine Dioxide Tablets (Potable Aqua, Katadyn and Aquamira Brands). Even though the word “chlorine” is in the name, chlorine dioxide is neither iodine nor chlorine. It uses a highly active form of oxygen to purify water so it leaves absolutely zero taste. As a nice bonus the action of chlorine dioxide causes a lot of sediment to drop out of suspension (fall to the bottom) leaving the container of water more clear and further improving flavor. Chlorine dioxide tablets are a good choice for those allergic to iodine, with thyroid problems, or on lithium. Always follow product usage instructions.

Chlorine NaDCC Tablets (Potable Aqua, Oasis Plus, Aquatabsand Rothco’s Military “Chlor-Floc“ Brands). NaDCC, also known as sodium dichloroisocyanurate or sodium troclosene, is a form of chlorine used for disinfection. NaDCC tablets are different and improved over the older chlorine based (halazone) tablets. When added to water, NaDCC releases hydrochloric acid which reacts through oxidization with microorganisms and kills them. Many tablets advertise no chlorine after taste. Unopened NaDCC tablets have a shelf life of 3-5 years, if opened they should be discarded after 3 months. Always follow product usage instructions. 

Iodine Tablets (Potable Aqua,Coleman, and Coghlans brands). Iodine Tablets use iodine to purify contaminated water. Most iodine purification tablets tend to leave a funny taste to the water and some discoloration, however vitamin C or ascorbic acid can be added after the treatment time to improve the taste and remove the color. This often comes in the form of two bottles with two separate tablets. Iodine water treatment has been proven to be somewhat effective against Giardia and not effective against Crytosporidium.  Always follow product usage instructions. 
[Source:www.swordofsurvival.com]

Escaping the Urban Environment

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I believe there are as many preppers planning a Bug In as there are survivalist planing to Bug Out to either a general area or a prepared site. Not a lot of historical content out there to provide us with lessons learned in any case – Bug In or Bug Out, however there are some good fictional stories that could provide us with trains of thought and likely decision points for either.

My favorite is the Joe Nobody series where Bishop, the main character, and his wife Terri, stay in Houston area suburbs until the security situation and food supplies force their hand and they Bug Out for a remote area in West Texas that Bishop was familiar with – but this site was not prepared, nor did Bishop have caches en-route to assist in travel and survival.

I am not here to tell people that either Buging In or Buging Out is the best course of action. However I am here to state that both need to be considered and if Bugging In you ought to have the contingency plan to Bug Out. And Bug Out plans needs to be supported,…route plans, caches em-placed en-route (both primary and alternate routes as well). You ought to consider a chart of decision points. There would be decision options based on situational factors. An obvious one would be: “Food critical – two week supply left” – Decision Point: Execute Bug Out Plan.

If you spend much time reading prepper or survivalist blogs (including this one) you’ve probably heard the standard advice to get out of any city or heavily populated areas when the SHTF.

This is for good reason and solid advice. There’s no doubt that cities will be dangerous, much more dangerous than areas outside of the city. You can look at Venezuela for proof.

The problem is over 70% of the US population lives in or close to an urban area. The second problem is not everyone has a place to go if they leave their homes.

Escaping to some homestead or rural acreage to save your butt is your best choice, but the reality is it’s simply not feasible for the majority of the population. Most people, if hardly anyone but the most serious preppers, have a second property set up as a survival location or anything resembling a self-sufficient homestead.

Heck, most people don’t have a second of anything because it takes all they make to afford what they do have!

The reality is you have to prep within your means and you can’t live in your head plans of elaborate bug out bunkers, $20,000 bug out vehicles, 20 acre farms, hundreds of lbs of food and water stored at multiple locations, and the like. Truthfully, 97% of preppers will never have any of that.

Should you remove yourself from large population of people then? Absolutely! We’re not saying stay. Get out, and get out at the beginning. But where to go and how to get there is a question and the focus of today’s article.

If you have that 20 acres of land out in the mountains that’s stockpiled to the brim or can meet up with family or friends in a remote location then do it and don’t look back….

These are all great plans…. if you have the money for that second property now or if you have family living on a farm somewhere and the means to reach them.

But what if you don’t have that luxury? What if you want a better plan…

First, let’s consider what your average SHTF city will be like by putting ourselves in one.

It’s a post collapse situation of your choosing. There may not be any food, water, or electricity depending on what scenario you’re most worried about, but for the sake of argument let’s say there are still bare bones basics such as water and electricity.

There are random blackouts, the lights rarely work and the water is generally unsanitary and needs to be boiled. Food is rare but can be bought for a very high price and usually includes a fight.

The city would be under martial law no doubt. What’s left of law and order is currently shoot first and ask questions later. Hospitals and jails are full, and it’s a lot easier to shoot a criminal under martial law than to deal with a situation completely out of control.

What’s left of the police, fire, and EMS are highly understaffed and ran by the National Guard. Their own families are probably missing or bad off, many have left the city or are at home protecting their families and starving with everyone else. Stress is high and never-ending.

The situation is dangerous for you. If you don’t starve to death or get killed by indirect fire the next threat is all of the local gangs that have sprang up and also the desperate people looking for essentials. They are looking for food, water, shelter, gold, jewelry and anything else of value that can be used or quickly sold. A backpack of supplies and gear is a clear signal that you should be robbed to these people.

Your Options

So how do you survive this until things improve? Head to the woods or hunker down? Hit the rooftops or live in the sewer? hmm…

Hunkering down is what most will do and if so your journey ends here. Good luck out there….you’ll have to protect your house or apartment and fight for what you have and fight for what you need. If luck is on your side the worst of it will pass you by, and if you’re unlucky it will all fall on your lap with nowhere else to go.

Some will go lone survivor and travel the city, never staying in one place for long and scavenging what they can. This could work but every day is a gamble. Will you open the wrong door today, or will someone find you while you sleep tonight? Every day you’ll roll the dice one more time. Eventually house will win. House always wins.

Like we talked about before, even if you don’t have another house out of the city or some family nearby that you can get to, you still have the woods. You can stay there once you’re set up or you can travel back and forth from your camp to the city for supplies. The woods give you options.

Why The Woods Then?

Why the woods and not some place in the city, you ask? After all, your house or just an abandoned building offers much more than the woods at first sight. Shelter, security, who wouldn’t want that?

The city has water, food, and other supplies in all these abandoned homes and businesses. You have neighbors and friends to think about after all, and sometimes food comes in and you can fight over some scraps.

So why leave this SHTF “paradise”?

One word: people. People are the real danger of a city. It’s not the buildings or lack of amenities. It’s the guy who wants what you have or the new gang that just set up on your street, or the next riot and the fire that comes with it. The list goes on and on.

A person may be sweet and kind, but people are bastards. It’s the locust mentality. A single grasshopper is harmless, but put them in a group and they transform into a plague of locusts. Groups of people who have their own plans are dangerous when they get desperate or have free run of a place.

There are far fewer people in the woods than in a city, obviously. Going to the woods then is safer. Water and food can be found if you have the most basic of wilderness skills. Shelter can be made. Fire and cooking can be had. Life can continue without the danger of mobs and riots, without people.

Traveling Through the City and Woods

The first consideration is how you’ll move around without being seen. You want to become a grey man, someone who dresses and behaves in an inconspicuous manner in order to avoid any unwanted attention from strangers or authorities.

The New Homeless

Urban travel covers the inner city and the outskirts. There will be many new homeless people living on the streets in these areas, so your best bet for long term movement is to blend in with them.

Movement

Move on foot at dusk and the early night while there is still a little light and if you have some ambient light from buildings or can risk using a flashlight you can continue to move until dawn.

Sleeping

Sleeping on the roof of a two-story building or on a patio cover will give you all the cover you need inside a city. You would be surprised how few predators think to look up when hunting, including us humans. If you cannot get to a roof or if the weather is bad, try to find the inside of an empty building and if all else fails blend in with the homeless but be wary because in this kind of situation everyone is dangerous.

Urban Camo (no, that isn’t a new clothing brand)

You’ll want to be prepared to travel between wooded areas and the streets at least once, and maybe many times if you have to. You’ll need to do this with without drawing attention to yourself. This will mean a unique take on urban “camo”. Wear clothes that make sense for street wear and that are practical in the woods.

Firstly, dress for the season. Nothing says “look at me” more than an over-sized hoodie in the middle of summer, except maybe full camo and high-top boots in the middle of a city.

A pair of OD green pants, a simple brown t-shirt and a black pullover with a pair of trail shoes is an outfit that works for the street and is good enough for the woods. However this is just the beginning, you really will want the ability to switch to full camo once you’re out of the city.

Camo Layer #2

Keep a thin camo long sleeve shirt with dark gloves and a bandanna in your pack. Remember, you want neutral colors found in nature or natural camo patters only. Once you get into the wooded area take a minute to change.

The idea is to add a camo pattern over your main layer and cover any exposed skin. Of course you could go full camo here will a pullover set, or even a complete ghillie suit but those options are heavier and hotter, and if someone looked in your bag they would be a dead giveaway. The trade-off is superb camo.

Pick a camo pattern that will match the season and your area. In a wooded area you want to stay concealed as much possible. You might have caches or shelter in those areas, or you might be followed. Being seen comprises the entire area and there’s no happy ending to being found.

Site Recon and Shelter Building

Your current house or apartment may remain your primary shelter or you may decide to never go back to the city (which would be my choice because I am prepared now with the gear and supplies I need and wouldn’t need to go back).

Even if you decide to stay in your house you’ll want a backup location within a couple of hours hike, or possibly a 2-3 day hike (more on this in a minute), from the city in case your house is destroyed or attacked by looters or other threats.

This location should be within reasonable distance of your house or apartment by foot or bike. It should also have multiple exit and entry points and have a source of water nearby. On the side of high ground is preferable for security.

When I say it should be within a reasonable distance I mean that you should consider:

1.your ability to hike with a loaded pack and how far you can reasonably travel
2.how much food and water you can reasonably carry before you’ll run out
3.how far most people from the city will tromp through these same woods
4.your plans to go back to the city or not

If you’re staying in the woods permanently then push yourself and go as far as you can. You may even want to set up a few temporary camps and travel for weeks. If you plan to go back and forth you’ll have to stay closer to the outskirts of the city, but go deep enough that you can’t see the city or be seen by it.

Think about fire at night and the smells of cooking, and the sounds of gunshots and trees falling. You don’t want anyone to see or hear these.

Once you’ve selected a (nearly) perfect area and done a thorough site recon it’s time to build a shelter. There are many guides for building wilderness shelters so I won’t go into incredible detail here. If you’re lucky you packed a lightweight tent, or at least a sleeping bag and a camo/green/brown tarp.

Find a spot that has the most cover year round. Think about sight lines on the ground and above your head. Look for kudzu, vines, and thick brush that will always be there no matter the season.

Once you’ve locate this area, burrow into the ground cover and make your site a part of it. This way you’ll blend in with the terrain. Keep your clearing to a bare minimum and let the natural undergrowth fill in the dead space and sight lines around the shelter.

Find a spot that has the most cover year round. Think about sight lines on the ground and above your head. Look for kudzu, vines, and thick brush that will always be there no matter the season.

Once you’ve locate this area, burrow into the ground cover and make your site a part of it. This way you’ll blend in with the terrain. Keep your clearing to a bare minimum and let the natural undergrowth fill in the dead space and sight lines around the shelter.

Dispose of any left over materials by breaking them down into a small pile and drying them out. Burn them slowly when they are dry enough. A big pile of freshly cut materials means someone is around and will give you away.

Final Thoughts

Forget about playing Rambo in the woods or I Am Legend in the streets. Urban survival is a skill just as much as wilderness survival. They both have their own rules and if you abide by those rules you’ll be OK, but if you push against nature or man too much you’ll pay the price.

We all need to cultivate and grow our skills, and sometimes that skill is waking down a busy street like a grey man. You and only you can create a realistic survival strategy for your needs. It’s fun to imagine ourselves with backpack and prybar in hand parkouring around city rooftops like some lone survivor ninja, or busting through roadblocks in a vehicle right out of a movie, gatling gun and all…. but that’s not a plan, it’s fantasy.

Another consideration is your urban survival kit. Do you live in a city or on the outskirts of one but have a bag full of wilderness survival equipment and zero urban gear? If you’re wondering what the different is or what you should include we’ve wrote extensive posts on how to build an urban survival kit and how to create a personalized W.E.B. (Work Emergency Bag).

[Source: written by Robert Rickman titled “Escaping A City During SHTF”.
https://besurvival.com/guides/escaping-city-during-shtf]

Bug Out Camper

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The Bruder EXP-6 is the go anywhere, do anything, expedition trailer that you most definitely need in your life. If the world is falling apart as fast as the mainstream media says it is, you’d be wise to have one of these extremely rugged units stocked with necessities and hooked up to an equally rugged SUV.

Or you could just pick one up and use it for leisurely weekend getaways. Either way, the EXP-6 is an attractive piece of hardware.

Designed, built, and tested in Australia—the country that’s always trying to kill you—the Bruder EXP-6 is a completely over-built adventure mobile accessory. A four corner independent air suspension allows the trailer to go where others simply cannot by offering superior ground clearance and over 300 mm of suspension travel. It’s capable of supporting up to 11 times its weight of 3,703 lbs, so as long as you’re keeping your payload under 40,733 lbs, you’re good to go.

On top of the capability to make it to remote destinations, the EXP-6 can also keep you in the lap of luxury while you’re there. Between the queen size bed, flat screen TV, A/C unit, shower, modular vanity and toilet, any environment will instantly be more hospitable thanks to this trailer.

In fact, if rent gets any higher here in Los Angeles, it’d be worth looking into living in one of these, might even be an upgrade. My apartment doesn’t have a diesel powered ceramic cooktop or Nespresso coffee machine, does yours?

Having been sealed airtight so no dust, dirt, mud, or toxic chemicals can get inside, and sporting the electronically adjustable air suspension makes the Bruder EXP-6 pretty cool. The narrow body construction that allows it to fit down tight off-road trails and fact that it can ford shallow rivers makes it cooler. But it’s the outdoor kitchen makes it the coolest.

Being able to roll up literally anywhere your vehicle can take you and get to work cooking is the feature that seals the deal for me. Imagine parking on a mountainside or secluded beach, popping open the awning and getting to work in your outdoor kitchen preparing a meal. Once you’ve had your fill, you can un-hitch the EXP-6 and take to the trails for further exploration in whatever 4×4 you piloted up there.

A Defender like the one pictured would be nice, so would a Toyota Land Cruiser, but the ultimate rig to tow one of these with has to be a Mercedes-Benz G500 4×4². Give me a Bruder EXP-6 behind one of those highlighter yellow monsters and I’m gone.

Field Reload Kit With Brass Shotgun Ammo

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“Urban Man: Here is another great video from a friend of mine.”
Warning: For educational purposes only. Use these techniques at your own risk.

Tools/Equipment:

1. Brass shot shells (size for weapon system being used, 12 gauge, etc.)
2. Shot
3. Pyrodex Rifle and shotgun powder (or preferred brand)
4. 209 shotgun primers
5. Large pistol primers
6. Wadding material
7. Over shot card material
8. Lighter and glue stick
9. Primer crimp tool or “C” clamp setup with deep well socket
10. Primer removal tool
11. Powder tamper tool
12. Powder and shot measuring tool
13. Container for brass shells
14. Container to store kit
15. 15/64 inch drill bit
16. 23/64 inch drill bit
17. Wad and over shot cutter tool
18. Drill
19. Flat piece metal stock
20. Rubber hammer or similar 
21. Flat piece of wood stock

Converting brass shell to accept the 209 primer:

1. First use the 15/64 drill bit and drill out the primer hole.
2. Using a 23/64 drill bit, drill a slight recess in the primer hole deep enough to allow the primer rim to seat flush with the bottom of the shell. See photo above.
3. Seat the 209 primer like you would a regular 12 gauge shell when reloading.

Note: Shotgun firing these types of reloads need to be cleaned more often than factory loaded ammo.

Reload 209 Shotgun Primers Using Field Expedient Methods

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Warning: For educational purposes only. Use these techniques at your own risk.
Tools used for field expedient reloading
Items needed to reload 209 primer
Removing 209 primer components
209 primer assembly

“Urban Man” My survival buddy sent me another post in a series of reloading shotgun ammo. This video shows how to reload the primer as well when you have no primer replacements.”


Suggested tools used:

1. Antique hand primer crimp tool
2. Wood dowel for powder, wad and shot compressing
3. Primer removal tool with socket base (5/8 inch socket)
4. Rubber hammer
5. Wad cutter tool (for what ever size shell you are loading)
6. Flat punch that fits inside primer cup to flatten out dimple
7. Flat piece of metal stock
8. Flat piece of wood
9. Strike anywhere matches
10. Powder and shot measuring cups
11. Wad material (paper, plastic, wool, etc)
12. Over shot card material (cardboard, playing cards, etc)
13. 5.5 mm socket (used to remove primer cup)
14. Pin or finishing nail used to pound out primer cup.
15. Lighter or similar flame source
16. Glue stick
17. Rifle and shotgun powder with container (I used Pyrodex RS)
18. Bird shot with container (I used #7 1/2 in the video) 


Note: Do not allow the ammo to get wet. Do not jar the ammo around by throwing into an ammo can or something of that nature. Protect the ammo until it is needed. It is best to shoot this ammo from a single shot or double barrel shotgun rather than a pump action. A pump action can be used if you load and fire one round at a time rather than using the pump action.

One drawback from reloading spent primers is the chance that the match head powder or what ever other ignition source was used may not ignite and you get a dude fire.

In the event the primer does not ignite, wait about 60 seconds with the end of the barrel pointed on target in the event there is a cook off. A cook off is when the powder could be smoldering but has not yet ignited. If it ignites and the end of the barrel is pointed toward someone, there may be a chance of an accidental shooting.

Always inspect the shells for damage and cracks. Do not reuse or shoot damaged ammo. Use safety glasses when loading your ammo and keep open flames away from your powder. 

Fielding Expedient Ammo Reloading

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“Urban Man~ Here is an interesting lesson from a survival buddy of mine.”

Caution: This lesson is for educational purposes only. Gun powder is dangerous. Firing damaged or incorrectly loaded ammo is dangerous as well.

There may be a time in ones life when it may become necessary to have to reload ammo in the field, especially in a wilderness survival situation or the collapse of society. 

We are comfortable in knowing that at the moment we have access to ready made store bought ammo. But, what if that luxury was some how taken away? What if there were no stores left or available to purchase our ammo?

In such as situation, ammo can still be available if one knew how to obtain what was needed to reload their own. Spent ammo shells, especially shotgun shells can be found laying around all over the desert. Primers can be reconditioned and reloaded. Black powder can be homemade. Lead shot can be made from scrape lead.

You really do not need fancy reloading equipment in order to reload ammo in an emergency or self reliant situation.

Learn now to start saving your spent ammo hulls and shells. Set them aside to be reloaded at a later date when the time is needed.

Here are the steps that were covered in the video to reload a 12 gauge shell: (if this is the first time a plastic shotgun shell is being used, cut the top crimp fingers off the shell where the crimp line meets the star crimp.)

1. Remove primer
2. Install a new primer
3. Measure powder and add to shell
4. Using dowel rod, gently compress the powder in the shell
5. Add correct amount of wading (plastic, paper, animal hair, leather, etc.)
6. Using dowel rod again, gently compress the wad into the shell
7. Add correct amount of shot. (insure that there is enough room at the opening of the shell to add the over-shot card)
8. Add over-shot card and compress gently with dowel rod
9. Add glue over top of shot card ensuring that the inside walls of the shell receive glue as well
10. Immediately add another shot card over the top of the first one and apply gentle pressure to allow glue to spread out

Note: Do not allow the ammo to get wet. Do not jar the ammo around by throwing into an ammo can or something of that nature. Protect the ammo until it is needed. It is best to shoot this ammo from a single shot or double barrel shotgun rather than a pump action. A pump action can be used if you load and fire one round at a time rather than using the pump action.

Always inspect the shells for damage and cracks. Do not reuse or shoot damaged ammo. Use safety glasses when loading your ammo and keep open flames away from your powder. 

You Have No Food – Now What?

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During the collapse you have no food- Now what?

I felt compelled to write this after reading The Survival Institute’s article on “What To Do If You Run Out Of Food When The SHTF”.

http://survivalinstitute.com/what-to-do-if-you-run-out-of-food-when-the-shtf/

The Survival Institute article leads into foraging for food and some excellent guidelines for edibility testing on suspect plants. Great information and a key wilderness survival skill, but there are few regions in this nation that will, in small areas, provide adequate plants for forage to sustain a small group for very long. Even supplementing with fish and game, this is a iffy proposal.

This is in no way a rebuttal against the Survival Institute, as the scenario they are describing is certainly a type of contingency and we are all about planning contingencies using the PACE model (Primary Plan, Alternate Plan, Contingency Plan and Emergency Plan). Don’t try to read into what each letter stands for P-A-C-E,….the idea is to have an alternate plan in case the current plan goes bad. When executing the current plan you may reach obstacles, indicators or criteria which would cue you to switch to the alternate plan. In this case the plan is food sources.

I get it that even the most well stocked SHTF warehouse could (and eventually will) run out of food. So procurement (hunting, fishing or barter) and growing your own food (both animals and plants) have got to receive adequate if nor primary attention (along with water and security) in your overall Collapse Planning. While you should have wilderness survival skills, you also have to an adequate, time effective plan for food and sustaining (growing) the sustainment!

In my mind – in the way I categorize and plan, my food sustainment plan is pretty much what I have outlined below:

~ Pantry or canned, boxed and refrigerated food for immediate use. During a Bug In (hunkering down in place) I will use these foods until they are largely gone.

~ I have vacuum packed small to large bulk storage of food. Everything from rice, beans, chick peas, flour, sugar, coffee, tea, honey, peanut butter, various nuts, ….Some of these are in buckets with handles so you can put them into a vehicle and support a mobile mission away from the defended Bug In site for a certain number of days. The deployed team would be eating out of this bucket and saving their food and supplies in their bug out bags in case they had to leave or abandon the vehicle for any reason. The bucket also serves as a stool, table or to collect water or other material in when emptied.

~ Dehydrated Canned in large #10 cans, vegetables, nuts and fruit.

~ While I do not currently have Chickens, I have boxed up chicken coops so at the right time I can barter for chickens and rabbits to have a source of protein from those sources.

~ Seeds and Growing your own food. While I have a small garden, this year limited to squash, tomatoes, cucumbers and potatoes, I have a large supply of hybrid and non-hybrid seeds to plant more and for barter purposes. I also have lumber and hardware to build off the ground container beds for crops, or to take the material with me if I have to Bug Out and use it elsewhere.

So the topic of food and planning is so important. I probably receive as many questions on food and food stocking as I do any other single subject. Many questions are prepping on a budget. This is simply re-directional spending and does not require giant wads of cash to buy just a bit extra each trip and put it way. If you put the occasional change and dollar bills in a can soon you be surprised to have $80 to $100 to buy a case of dehydrated food. Where there is a need there will be a way to get there.

6 Mind-Blowing Tactical Products

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From the site Life’d which say’s “Guys like gadgets, whether for fun or for self-preservation. And when tech combines with tactical, it’s just cool. These days, with natural disasters seemingly on the rise and the threat of worldwide terrorism growing, keeping tactical gadgets handy is more than cool. It might be a necessary precaution. What do you carry now? Will it help you in state of emergency? Here are six tactical gadgets engineered for guys who want to be prepared for every day…and for when the pressure is on.”

1. Shadowhawk X800 Tactical Flashlight



If Jason Bourne could pick his flashlight, this would be it. It packs military-grade LED technology into an aircraft-grade-aluminum-skinned cylinder. And it throws an astounding amount of light. You might be thinking that you already have a flashlight. But do the U.S. Navy Seals and the U.S. Coast Guard use the kind of flashlight you have? The Shadowhawk X800 can illuminate a field or blanket a work area with 800 lumens of glorious light. It can also blind an attacker. Don’t let its light weight trick you into thinking it’s not durable. Throw it, drive over it—it’ll still work. Drop it in six feet of water—it’ll still work. This tough gadget is also versatile. It comes with a strobe setting if you are stranded and need to signal for help, and you can zoom and focus its LED beam to see far, far away. The 3 AAA batteries give it 1,000 hours of life. That makes it ideal for reliable, abundant light during a prolonged natural disaster or emergency…and for lots of everyday uses. This is standard gear if you want to be prepared.

UrbanMan’s Comment: I prefer the AA flashlights as they run longer than the powerful flashlight that use DL123 or the commonly called 3v surefire batteries. Plus AA rechargeable batteries that can be recharged with a solar panel are common place.

2. TrackR Bravo

When you attach this coin-size, James Bond-style tracking device to an item, you have a 20,000-times chance of getting it back if you lose it. The accompanying app enlists the help of network TrackR users to locate your lost bag, bike or dog. Last count, there were over 20,000 strong in their Crowd GPS. Of course, you will probably be able to get your wallet or whatever back on your own. The TrackR app will display how far you are from the keys or case you dropped, and it will sound the alarm to help you pinpoint its exact location. If you realize you left your bag after you travel to another location, all other TrackR users in the network are notified, and when one passes your missing article, you’ll get an update sent to your phone. What if you can’t find your phone? Use TrackR to ring it, even if it’s on silent mode, and you’ll find your phone fast. TrackR helps you keep your stuff…especially if you’re a chronic (keys/wallet/bike/car/bag) misplacer.

UrbanMan’s Comment: This sounds useful, but if the internet is down such as in a collapse of the nation, you’ll have just a useless little device.

3. Shadow X Dual Beam Lighter



This is the baddest lighter on the market since ZIPPO set the bar for badass lighters. It is engineered to make you look cool, and cool you will be wherever you break it out: bar, ball game, backpacking, hunting. In fact, it might be worth becoming a smoker just to use the lighter. (Don’t actually start smoking just to use the lighter.) Forget harmful butane, because that’s not its fuel. Pay no mind to rain because water does not affect it. Don’t worry about blocking the wind, because there is no flame to protect. Get that? There. Is. No. Flame. Just an electric current forming a hot X that ignites anything in its crosshairs. Tactical, practical and flat out cool. You recharge it via a USB and you ignite it by pressing a button. Keep it in your pocket for those times you need fire and want to look cool. Real cool.

UrbanMan’s Comment: Hey, I’m always us for a new fire starter, but it needs to have replaceable batteries. If re-chargeable then a solar panel and cigarette plug adapter; will likely be needed.

4. Shadowhawk Military Tactical Laser




Another great gadget to have. It’s fun, it’s useful, and it could save your life. Simply speaking, it can help you point to that thing way over there, even half a mile away. Speaking from a safety standpoint, a blast of this beam of light can blind a person. Not recommended for use on friends, but on a would-be attacker or an intruder into your home, your Shadowhawk Military Tactical Laser lets you get all Star Wars on him. ZAP, and he’s on the ground or holding his eyes, letting you go to work on him or just get away. It’s also good in the woods if you ever lose your way. The powerful beam will point Search and Rescue to your exact origin. And on nights when you’re not walking the streets or wandering in the woods, your dog will get a kick out of chasing the laser point on the living room floor.

UrbanMan’s Comment: This is a visible laser. A laser is useful for pointing out positions however a visible laser can also point out your position! Remember the old adage about tracer ammunition,….it works both ways.

5. TL900 LED Headlamp



This Tactical Headlamp is survival gear at its best. It blasts a massive 1000 lumen beam, enough to light a field, an emergency work area or a basement. With five settings, you can focus the beam to pinpoint targets at a distance of 500 meters! (That’s over 1640 feet…or 546 yards.) The design is the result of multiple attempts at perfection. It seems these guys have nailed it with a 90° pivoting spotlight and a completely water-resistant head unit. The beauty of this equipment, though, and what it makes it a top-tier tactical tool, is the hands-free capabilities it gives you. You never know into what situation you might be forced to work or search in the dark, and being able to freely use both hands could be the difference between success and failure…even in mundane use when there’s no pressure.

UrbanMan’s Comment: Head lamps are useful, red and white lights specifically, but how about some battery info?

6. Garmin Tactix GPS Watch




This watch will not only make you look good, it will let you know when’s a good time to pull the chute. Even if you’re not a skydiver, the Garmin Tactix is gold for any guy who likes to go for a hike or to just explore the unbeaten path once in awhile. You can rely on Garmin’s GPS to get you home if things go awry. There’s even a TracBack feature. If you think you might lose your way, this is like virtual breadcrumbs, guiding you back to your origin along the path which you came. The design of the watch is not only sleek, but functional. The scratch-resistant lens is curved so there’s no reflection preventing you from reading the display. Even with night vision on, you can read the display which gives you real-time information about your surroundings including barometric and compass readings. It won’t, however, tell you when the boss is walking by your cubicle.


UrbanMan’s Comment: I don’t like GPS’s. We have become a nation of people not comfortable with a map and compass. The watch feature is good for synchronizing times, etc., but a $20 timex will work for this.

[source:http://www.lifed.com/6-mind-blowing-tactical-products-every-guy-needs/source/yahoo#utm_medium=referral&utm_source=yahoo&utm_campaign=Y6TacticalGear7-Ad2]


Interview with Matt Bracken About SHTF and a Dirty Civil War

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This is an older interview with Matt Bracken, former Navy SEAL and author of the Enemies Foreign and Domestic Trilogy and other novels as well. It was posted on Forward Observer.

https://readfomag.com/2016/02/interview-former-seal-matt-bracken-talks-shtf-and-a-dirty-civil-war/

Forward Observer is a group of current and former intelligence professionals and special operations soldiers who believe the country is on the downward trend of empires, in terms of security, liberty, economics, morality, military power, and influence. The next generation will inherit an America — they will inherit a world — very different from the one its grandparents had. Forward Observer uses Open Source Intelligence, or OSINT, information to reduce uncertainty for our subscribers. We describe the future of America one intelligence report at a time and better prepare our subscribers for this nation’s turbulent future. The well inforemd Prepper should book mark the Forward Observer (FO) site and make it a scheduled stop on their daily or weekly analysis of current events and information mining efforts.

THE INTERVIEW

FO: What are some of the threats that pro-Liberty Americans will see in the next few years, and what can we expect? More lawfare? Actual conflict? A fight for the Republic?

MB: All Americans face the risk of chaos, anarchy and starvation resulting from the collapse of our electrical grid. Electricity has become our oxygen, necessary to sustain our civilization, and I see at least a dozen ways it could be disrupted with catastrophic results. To the extent that pro-liberty Americans are also “preppers,” they will be better prepared to face the dire consequences.

Absolutely I see “lawfare” by our rogue federal agencies against patriots continually ramping up. With no consequences resulting from scandals such as Fast and Furious and the targeting of patriots by the IRS, Team Tyranny feels emboldened and will only make life harder for those who defy them.

As far as an actual fight for the republic, it could happen, for example, after a hypothetical future Waco incident. In that case, I could envision federal agents being lured into ambushes and so on. The ambushes could be false flag operations or actual attacks by frustrated Americans, but the result could be a shooting war, with patriots being “disappeared” on one side of the ledger, and federal agents and officials being assassinated on the other. This would probably turn into a “dirty civil war” similar to what happened in Northern Ireland or Argentina in the 1970s, but obviously on a far more vast scale.

FO: You mention that there are at least a dozen ways that our electrical grid could be disrupted. What do you see as the most likely causes for grid-down?

MB: Anything from a solar flare to a cyber-war with a national entity could take down the grid. In the event of a civil war, there will be a strong urban vs. rural dynamic, and one way that rural participants will strike at their urban antagonists will be to strike at the grid carrying power to the cities. The Metcalf power station incidents in California last year seem to have been a dry run or proof of concept drill. A dozen teams of riflemen could put our grid at danger with a coordinated attack.

Groups from the former Sendero Luminoso in Peru to the Sinaloa Cartel in Mexico to Al Qaeda in Yemen have attacked major power grids. In America, we have allowed electricity to become our oxygen, and it’s naive to expect that in any type of future war, (civil, international, or terrorist), antagonists will not attempt to cut off that oxygen and kill their enemies en masse. Our power grid is our exposed jugular vein.

FO: What are the best ways Patriots can protect themselves during this time? How long might a “dirty civil war” last?

MB: If [Social Network Analysis] is used to target patriots–and it will be– then there is not much anyone can do for self-protection, other than move to an area where Federal Law Enforcement Agents (FLEA) are afraid to operate, if such places will even exist. Nobody will be able to live a normal life if there is the constant risk of a Soviet KGB- style arrest by plain-clothed teams of anonymous agents. My goal is to remind [law enforcement officers] and especially the FLEAs to think very hard about following orders facilitating secret arrests. The blow-back against all of them and their collaborator for employing Gestapo tactics against Americans will be incredibly ferocious.

Once patriots begin to disappear, Rule 308 will be used against any identifiable FLEA targets, and the dirty civil war will turn into a nightmare that could last for years. There is no way to predict which side would win, or what America might look like at the end. But once a war of secret arrests and assassinations begins, it will be very hard to stop.v

My goal with much of my writing is to warn all potential sides that a dirty civil war must be avoided if at all possible. The only thing worse than a dirty civil war would be America turning into a Soviet-style totalitarian dictatorship. Uncounted millions of scoped deer rifles tell me that turning American into a dictatorship would be almost impossible, and I hope that the FLEAs who might study this Q&A also give my short story “What I Saw at The Coup” and my essay “Dear Mr. Security Agent” a very close reading. The shape of the next few years will depend largely on the honor and integrity of our LEOs and FLEAs, and how strongly or weakly they adhere to their oaths to defend the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic.

FO: What’s your take on the current militarization of the police? Are these police MRAPs just a useful way to re-purpose military vehicles or something worse? What roles do you see the police taking in any Constitutional crisis?

MB: Federal LEAs are attempting to co-opt local law enforcement agencies, turning them into their “grunts” for perimeter security around federal actions and other duties where sufficient armed manpower is required. There are simply not enough federal agents to conduct all of the raids they might envision conducting, and also at the same time provide all-around security for the federal agents from potentially enraged local citizens.

[Mine Resistant Ambush Proof vehicles], latest generation night vision and commo gear and so on are the “gifts” that the feds are be- stowing upon local LEAs in order to make them dependent upon federal largess and beholden to federal masters. In the near term this strategy might be effective, but in the event that an actual dirty civil war is ignited, the loyalty of local LE to their FLEA masters cannot be assured. At the least, some constitutionally-minded local LEOs will warn patriots of planned raids and arrests, resulting in FLEAs being ambushed on the way to their targets, or at their targets.

Look to Mexico today to see what an American dirty civil war will look like. It will be impossible to tell the genuine “on duty” LEOs from “off duty” LEOs in so-called death squads, from criminals posing as LEOs. This would obviously be an extremely dangerous environment for freedomistas, as we see today in Mexico.

FO: We see Suburbia is kind of trapped between Rural and Urban. What do you think the suburban spaces will look like during conflict?

MB: Not all suburbs are alike, obviously. A suburb located between Asheville, NC and the mountains is not the same as a suburb located between megacities in the DC-Boston corridor. In general, I agree with the hypothesis of the book “A Failure of Civility.” A well-located suburban subdivision offers enough manpower to mount a guard force, as well as containing a useful collection of skills from doctors to electricians. During the Dark Ages the walled city or town was the best model for success. Farmers did not live in distant, lonely farm houses; it was simply too dangerous to be that isolated.

FO: What’s your message to those who have no bug-out plan out of urban or suburban areas? What advice can you offer about sheltering in place?

MB: Stocking up on food and water might be critical for surviving a short catastrophe or power outage, so it is something that is well worth doing. If the power stays out for months or longer, “bugging in” won’t work. If the environment is too dangerous to permit safe travel, then all of the food that is consumed must be generated within your own zip code. How many American zip codes generate enough food, right now, to ensure the survival of their inhabitants? What if those food sources are without electricity, fuel, or needed chemicals during the growing season? In any case, if the power goes out, the food will stop moving. Starvation will begin in just a few weeks, while it will take months or years to start new agricultural projects at the local level.

If you must shelter in place in suburbia, I’d recommend following the advice in [A Failure of Civility]. Attempt to interest your neighbors in preparing for various scenarios. No single house in suburbia can become a successful fortress. Suburbs must be defended at their gates, with a quick reaction force ready to respond. Former military buddies in your neighborhood might become the nucleus of the nascent defense force. I cannot recommend the book “A Failure of Civility” highly enough.

Fast-foward: we have a domestic conflict over a Constitutional issue. What happens to the military? What’s your opinion on how they align themselves with the regime or with Freedom Forces?

I cling to the hope that most of the military will not be willing to perform raids upon American homes. However, they will be capable of following most general orders and they will be effective at cordoning towns and cutting off travel options, which can be just as deadly if the cordon means that local inhabitants can neither leave nor bring in food supplies. A pandemic resulting in city-wide quarantines is one easy to imagine scenario. Soldiers don’t need to shoot you to kill you. They can pin you in place until you starve to death. Ask the Ukrainians. For actual raids and assaults upon American citizens, the military and FLEAs will develop units made up of individuals selected for their loyalty to the federal government, and their willingness (or even eagerness) to shoot “enemies of the people.” Social Network Analysis will not only be useful for finding and targeting “enemies of the state,” it will also be extremely useful for locating the sociopathic killers among the wider military, LE, and prison populations (gang members).

These willing killers can then be brought together into very dangerous “hunter-killer teams” to do the dirty “wet work” required by Team Tyranny. In the event of a grid collapse, most members of the military and LE will desert at the first opportunity, in order to take care of their own families. In the event of an economic collapse, they will also desert if they are not paid, or if they are paid in meaningless scrip with no purchasing power.

FO: Many members of the special operations community hear the call to defend Liberty at home. If conflict is inevitable, where do these former leaders fit in?

MB: I believe that the Constitution will remain our most important defensive bulwark. The Constitution will be our most effective litmus test for separating the oath takers from the traitorous oath breakers. Former military and LE leaders should take every opportunity to remind their active duty brothers of their sworn oath to defend the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic. They should also politely remind them that Team Liberty will have a very long memory when it comes to dealing with traitors. There will be no statute of limitations for traitors, and justice might eventually be dealt out under the well-known Rule 308. Loyalty to the Constitution must be a constant theme, both among friends and on social media. No active member of the military or LE will be permitted to plead ignorance when it comes to upholding the Constitution. We must remind them of that fact as often as possible, until it is ringing in their ears.

FO: What are a few things outside of physically and mentally preparing that Patriots can do to help the fight for Liberty right now?

MB: Unless one’s personal strategy is to remain a “gray man,” or in effect an unknown “stay behind agent,” patriots should be loud voices for liberty both in person and in social media. Don’t cower in fear of Team Tyran- ny. Social Network Analysis means that they already know who you are, where you live, and what your views are. Take every opportunity to stand up for freedom and liberty, and make the Constitution your byword. Take every opportunity to remind active military and LE that we expect them to uphold their sworn oaths to defend the Constitution, and that we are paying very careful attention to the oath breakers among them. The boys and girls down in the fusion centers must be made to understand very clearly that they will be held accountable for their actions, and that “I was just following orders” will not be an acceptable excuse for acting against the Constitution as the minions of Team Tyranny.

FO: You’re a big proponent of hitting the water to escape civil unrest. Why do you prefer that to a rural retreat or a mountain location?

MB: Rural retreats, once located, are too easy to besiege with sniper tactics and other means. FLEAs actually prefer it when patriots move to remote locations: it makes them easy to isolate and eventually they can wind up in a Waco or Ruby Ridge situation.

On the other hand, all of the oceans are connected. A forty-foot sailboat can carry enough food and water to last its crew for months. A sailboat can leave port and wait out a pandemic or social disorder while spending weeks or even months at sea before returning, or a sailboat can voyage non-stop to another country or even to another continent where conditions might be better. Obviously, sailing is not a viable option for everybody. It requires some physical stamina and agility, and a resistance to motion sickness.

FO: What are the most likely threats you’ll face while bugging out on a boat? What are your expectations?

MB: Once at sea and more than 50 or 100 miles from land, the ocean becomes a very low threat environment. Oceans are so vast that the odds of randomly crossing the path of another vessel are astronomically small. Post SHTF, few will be out wasting precious fuel motoring around the oceans looking for random prey. Pirates (including those wearing uniforms with numbers on their bows) always congregate near ports and will transit mainly along coasts. Near land, a speedboat can obviously overtake a sailboat. Get- ting clear of the coasts and gaining the anonymity of the open ocean is always the first priority during dangerous times.

In the event that a motor vessel with superior armaments does spot a sailboat and determine to attack it, the sailboat is going to be in a very tough situation. However, this “worst case” (and very unlikely) ocean scenario is no worse than being besieged on land in a remote rural retreat. The other big risk comes in port, when corrupt officials might decide to take your boat under color of law. But being able to cross oceans means having the flexibility to leave a dangerous or corrupt nation and sail directly to a safer place. Or leave a very dangerous state in America, and sail directly to another one. For example, during a SHTF scenario, a sailboat could easily transit directly from New York to Texas, while that same trip might be impossible by road.

A 40-foot sailboat could leave Florida, gain the safety of the open ocean, and next make port weeks later in Iceland or Argentina. Imagine how far a 40 foot RV, loaded with sup- plies, would make it on the inter- states after the SHTF. Not very far, with road blockages, check points, and ambushes around every curve. A sailboat over the horizon on the open ocean has effectively disappeared from the grid matrix. It can also reappear at the moment and the location of its choosing.

FO: In your book, Domestic Enemies: The Reconquista, you write about a concerted effort by enemies to re-conquer the American Southwest. Although it’s “fictional”, your writing tends to foretell non-fictional events. Where are we right now in the Reconquista conflict and what happens next?

MB: The Southwest is now in a death spiral as far as liberty, freedom and prosperity go. Several generations of anti-American and pro-Aztlan radicals have graduated from universities across the Southwest, and today they are judges, federal attorneys, district attorneys, FLEAs, mayors and police chiefs. This allows them to take leftist “lawfare” to a much higher and very dangerous level. Witness the Reese case in Deming, New Mexico: it is a model for future abuses of official power. Ideologically motivated federal attorneys are able to cherry pick judges who are fellow travelers, with the outcomes of selected cases preordained. This corruption of official power will get worse and worse, until patriots either flee the South- west, surrender, or retaliate in anger, leading to a “dirty civil war.”

The anti-American cabal largely running the Southwest today is fully committed to open borders and amnesty citizenship for illegal aliens. We are well past the demographic tipping points. The Southwest will become more and more like Mexico: extremely dangerous and totally corrupt. As I mentioned above, soon we will see assassinations and ambushes by shadowy groups that might be made up of cartel killers, or “off-duty” policemen, or federal agents, or a very dirty combination of them. Study the Reese case very carefully: it shows the future. Corrupt police shielded drug cartel smuggling routes in Luna County, New Mexico. Corrupt police were blackmailed by ideologically corrupt ATF and FBI agents into providing libelous testimony in order to railroad the Reese family. The false and fabricated case was put forward by corrupt leftist federal attorneys to corrupt leftist judges. Leftist reporters in the media turned a blind eye to the ideological corruption. Justice is effectively dead in New Mexico. What is waiting around the corner ahead of us is a fatally corrupt Southwest that is indistinguishable from the worst of Mexico. There is no turning back from that outcome that I can see.

FO: In our previous issue, we took a look at Balkanization and secession. Where do you see America in another 10 or 20 years? What do the political structures and geographic boundaries look like?

MB: There are many potential outcomes, one being a post-apocalyptic landscape resembling my short story “Alas, Brave New Babylon.” Unfortunately, I see almost every scenario resulting in attacks against the power grid, and the consequences will be hard to imagine if our electricity is cut for even a few weeks. If we somehow manage to avoid a grid- down scenario, I think that America will follow in the footsteps of the Soviet Union in terms of possessing a decrepit nuclear deterrent, with a collapsed economy that will not support superpower-level military operations either abroad or at home. If the troops cannot be paid in a currency of value, they will not follow orders. We may eventually devolve into “Argentina with nukes.”

Something like the scenario in my novel “Foreign Enemies and Traitors” is possible: a regional breakup, with Washington DC only in full control of a rump USA, mainly in the Northeast. The Southwest will resemble Mexico: corrupt to the marrow and far too dangerous for anyone to live a normal life. The Northwest and the South might do better, depending on how the collapse and breakup proceeds. On paper, the United States might still have 50 states, but I don’t think that Washington will be able to dictate terms to all of them. Federal taxes will not be collected, and the remaining federal forces will mainly be situated around Washington DC and the Northeast corridor, to protect the nominal national leadership.

But if at some point the power grid is taken down, our cities will explode, and all bets are off. If people don’t have time to read my long novels, I wish that they would read “Alas, Brave New Babylon,” “What I Saw at the Coup,” and the other short works on the Bracken Anthology. Links to the individual essays and stories are located on my website gratis. I hope this Q&A encourages people to read them. These are extremely dangerous times. Forewarned is forearmed.

Saving For Retirement Before Collapse

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What prompted me to write this article is that I just finished reading a report titled “Not As Many Americans Saving For Retirement”, where it was reported that during a survey of 15,000 people in their 40’s, less than half of them had more than $10,000 investment in retirement accounts or saved in a conventional manner for retirement.

This is not good news, either for the continuation of Life As We Know it or for The End Of The World As We Know It (TEOTWAWKI). Some readers will think “why is Urban Survival Skills writing about retirement?…I want to read about guns, gear and surviving the collapse”. I fully understand that, but I look at many different financial and investment resources in order to provide indicators of where the financial collapse might start,…..will it be a slow devaluation of the dollar and rise in prices of commodities?….will it be a food based collapse where the dollar value becomes inflated? Could it be a cash crunch if the Government nationalizes our 401K and other savings accounts?

People are investing fiat currency into on paper financial assets such as stocks, bonds, mutual funds, 401K plans, etc. This is a crap shoot as far as building wealth, makes it hard to divest yourself and re-coup cash on short order and does nothing to cover the possibility of a collapse where transfer or access to these paper assets will produce just pennies on the dollars of your investment at best, or just a memory of lost wealth at worst.

People really need to consider developing a good balance between tangible and intangible assets. I reduced my payroll contributions to my 401K to the minimum necessary to obtain the employer matching funds. I took the money freed up every two weeks and split that into precious metal purchases (primary silver bullion) and began working off a list of things I want to improve for my preps,….ammunition, bulk long term storage food, non-hybred seeds packs, on hand cash, some surplus military gear including a large box of two quart canteen and rain suits which I discovered on the cheap and purchased intended as barter items.

Anyway, lets look at the possibility of the Government ruining your conventional retirement plans. The article below is from Ryan Guina, titled “Can the US Government Seize Your 401k or IRA?”

Last year, the Irish government passed a law which placed a 0.6% levy on assets held in private pensions for each of the next 4 years. The Irish tax on private pensions was made in response to a larger financial crisis and the need to increase government revenues. Ireland isn’t the only country in recent history to seize private investments. Hungary, Argentina and France have all overhauled their private and public pension plans in recent years, in some cases seizing them in their entirety, and in others, taxing them to oblivion. There have been recent discussions of something similar in the United States, which brings up a good question – are private pensions and retirement plans in the US also at risk?

Is Your 401k or IRA in Danger of Government Seizure?

Can the government take your 401k? Will the government scramble your nest egg?

Lets get one thing out of the way first: unless you have an IRS lien or other legal judgment against you, the US Government has no legal standing to seize the contents of your private retirement account, such as your 401k, IRA, Thrift Savings Plan, your self-employed retirement plan, or any other retirement plan.

Can the government take your 401k? Absolutely. But not without changing the laws, and in this case, it would take an act of Congress for the US Government to be able to seize your retirement funds. That means it would need to get through Congress, the President, and the Supreme Court before it would happen. And getting past the Supreme Court is where I see there being big problems – keep in mind that ownership of private property was one of the founding principles of our country. It is very difficult for the government to seize private property at will. The government can, and does, seize private property, but only in rare cases and through a legal process called eminent domain, which is when land or other property is seized “for the greater good.” However, the government is required to pay fair market value for whatever they seize.

The above is a simplified explanation of eminent domain, which is a highly complex and much debated topic. I’m not a lawyer, but I don’t think eminent domain would be a legal basis for seizing retirement accounts. Taxation, however, is a different topic, and the government can easily change tax laws.

What about the rumors of a government takeover?

Every few years there are rumors that a particular administration wants to seize private retirement funds, and so far it hasn’t happened. The rumors come in different flavors and several ideas have even been proposed before Congress. For example, the Clinton Administration proposed a one time tax against the value of private pensions, 401k plans and IRAs.

A more recent proposal involves seizing and converting a portion of privately held assets into US Treasury bonds. A more extreme proposal is a true government takeover of retirement plans which involves seizing private retirement accounts and converting them to government sponsored annuities that would guarantee and annual income for all Americans.

What basis is given for a takeover of retirement plans?

There are many reasons given to support these ideas, and the most frequently given reasons circle around the idea that converting some or all of the privately held investments into an annuity or into Treasury bonds would protect Americans from themselves and possible market fluctuations and guarantee an income for retirees. In essence, the government believes it can do a better job of managing your retirement funds than you can.

The reality is these proposals would represent a redistribution of wealth and further extend the problem that got the government in trouble in the first place writing IOUs. Seizing pensions or retirement plans now and replacing them with a Government Treasury bonds or a government sponsored annuity simply gives the government money to spend now and passes the problem on to a future generation. It also goes against the reason private retirement plans were created.

The purpose of retirement plans-

Let’s back up and look at the purpose of 401k plans, IRAs, and other retirement plans. These retirement plans maintain a special tax status and were created for a specific reason: to entice more people to save on their own because Social Security benefits do not pay enough for most retirees.

Social Security is not intended to be a full retirement plan for everyone; it is intended to help people through retirement. Several decades ago Congress was smart enough to realize that people needed to take more of their retirement planning into their own hands, so they created the tax incentives we know today as the 401k plan, IRA, and similar retirement plans. The special tax rules found in these retirement plans provide an incentive for people to take care of their own retirement planning and not rely on the government for 100% of their retirement needs.

How retirement plans affect the government-

Retirement plans are good. They provide retirees with a source of income and in many cases help keep people off government benefits. For example, Medicaid eligibility is age and income based, starting at age 65. Social Security benefits are also taxable for retirees who meet a certain income threshold. So retirees receiving enough income from their retirement savings stay off Medicaid and pay taxes on their 401k withdrawals and Social Security benefits, both of which help the government.

While retirement plans help the government, they can also hurt it in other ways. In the case of retirement investing, what is good for investors can be bad of the US government. The tax benefits offered by retirement plans limit or defer the income tax the government collects, to the tune of billions of dollars per year.

For example, Traditional IRAs and 401k plans offer investors an immediate tax break on contributions and the proceeds are taxed when the money is withdrawn in retirement age – often deferring income tax for decades. Roth IRAs and 401ks are the opposite, with the contributions being made after taxes have been assessed, and the withdrawals and income growth being tax free. These tax benefits are the reason there are contribution limits on IRAs and other retirement plans. Without contribution limits, the government would severely limit their income tax receipts.

What will the government do with private retirement plans?

Will the US Government seize private retirement plans? The simple answer is, we don’t know. It’s very possible the government could pass a law that seizes every private pension and retirement plan in the US and replaces it with a government annuity to be paid out once retirees reach a certain age. It’s also possible they will do nothing and leave things as-is. My guess is the government won’t “seize” retirement plans like other governments have, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see things will change.

Let’s face it, our government is hurting. There are huge gaps in our fiscal policy and unless we see changes soon, something major will happen, possibly even the collapse of the dollar and our economy. But seizing private pensions wouldn’t solve that problem, and in fact, it could be seen a as sign of weakness by the global economy and hasten the fall of the US Dollar compared to other currencies. Additionally, seizing private retirement plans would be political suicide for politicians.

What changes might we see to retirement plans?

We can’t see into the future so all we can do is speculate. I don’t see the government seizing retirement funds from private individuals. However, I wouldn’t be surprised to see the government make changes to the number and scope of retirement plans. But this would probably be a gradual change and old plans would likely remain grandfathered in.

For example,the US government could decide to decrease retirement plan contribution limits, lower the income eligibility threshold, or eliminate some retirement plans altogether. But even if they do this, they would likely grandfather in current contributions, meaning your retirement plans in their current state would be safe.

What can we do to prepare for our retirement?

Right now I don’t think there is anything to be scared about. We can’t control the future, so the best course of action is to continue preparing the best we can based on the information we have at hand. This means to continue making investments based on current tax laws, while being mindful of possible changes. Personally, I am preparing for retirement by investing in my 401k and IRA, and I am also investing in taxable (non-retirement) investments when I can. It is wise to be aware of possible changes to tax laws, but I don’t think it’s wise to let fear and unsubstantiated rumors drive one’s investments and retirement planning. So I will continue investing responsibly, and I will keep an eye on the news.

Urban Man-


Would Obama Start A War To Stay In Office

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This is an article that just came out and serves out a book end to my earlier article addressing a reader’s concern on possible martial law in the near future. This article is by Michael Synder writing for the International Forecaster. If any “event” that serves as an excuse for the Administration to forestall the elections, can also certainly be used to nationalize assets including bank and retirement account as well as mandate gold and silver bullion from one ounce rounds to higher weights, be exchange with the U.S. government.

[Source:http://theinternationalforecaster.com]

Why Threaten North Korea And China? Would Obama Start A War To Stay In Office?

Is Barack Obama trying to start a war, and will that war be used as an excuse to stay in office once his
term is over? Late in his second term, Obama is starting to become extremely aggressive with the rest of the world. He just angered China by sailing an aircraft carrier task force past disputed islands in the South China Sea, he is provoking North Korea by simulating an invasion of that nation during a military exercise that is going to involve more than 300,000 troops, and he is backing Saudi Arabia and Turkey as they make moves that could very well start World War III in the Middle East. If a war did begin, that could give Obama the excuse that he needs to exercise his emergency powers, and that could potentially include suspending the election that is scheduled for November.

I know that all of this sounds a little bizarre, but it would help to explain Obama’s extremely aggressive behavior lately. For example, why is the U.S. military risking a major incident on the Korean peninsula? North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un is about as paranoid as they come, and he is extremely alarmed by the massive military exercise that is about to begin in South Korea. More than 300,000 troops are gathering for what is being billed as the biggest military exercise in the history of that nation. Reportedly, U.S. and South Korean forces plan to simulate an invasion of North Korea and practice the elimination of North Korea’s weapons of mass destruction.

In response to these “exercises”, Kim Jong Un has placed his nuclear weapons on standby for “use at
any moment”, and he is warning that North Korea may launch a “preemptive and offensive nuclear
strike”… North Korea warned it would make a “preemptive and offensive nuclear strike” in response to joint U.S.-South Korean military exercises that began Monday.

The news was announced in a statement by the National Defense Commission of North Korea and
published in the state-run Korean Central News Agency. “As the joint military exercises to be staged by the enemies are regarded as the most undisguised nuclear war drills aimed to infringe upon the sovereignty of the DPRK, its military counteraction will be more preemptive and offensive nuclear strike to cope with them,” the statement read.

I don’t care how crazy someone is – if they have nuclear weapons and they threaten to hit the United
States with a preemptive nuclear strike, I am going to get alarmed. Remember, North Korea did claim to successfully test a hydrogen bomb in January, and the North Koreans did successfully launch a satellite into orbit in February. The North Koreans absolutely hate us. In fact, hatred for the United States is one of the pillars of their society. I know that may sound strange to many Americans, but it is true. If you can believe it, each year they actually have an entire month during which hatred for America is celebrated. Tensions on the Korean peninsula are running extremely high, and a single hydrogen bomb could potentially kill millions of people.

So why risk an incident?

Why provoke North Korea more than necessary?

Meanwhile, the Obama administration has been provoking China in the South China Sea. Yes, it is a problem that China has seized control of several important islands in the Spratly and Paracel island chains. But there are other ways to handle this crisis rather than trying to show how tough you are.
Last month, China deployed surface-to-air missile systems on the disputed islands. Obama’s response was to sail an aircraft carrier task force past the islands to see if China would start shooting at it. The
following comes from an article about this incident that was posted by the Navy Times…

The U.S. Navy has dispatched a small armada to the South China Sea. The carrier John C. Stennis, two destroyers, two cruisers and the 7th Fleet flagship have sailed into the disputed waters in recent days, according to military officials. The carrier strike group is the latest show of force in the tense region, with the U.S. asserting that China is militarizing the region to guard its excessive territorial claims. Stennis is joined in the region by the cruisers Antietam and Mobile Bay, and the destroyers Chung-Hoon and Stockdale. The command ship Blue Ridge, the floating headquarters of the Japan-based 7th Fleet, is also in the area, en route to a port visit in the Philippines. Stennis deployed from Washington state on Jan. 15.

Do we really want to go to war with China over these islands?

The first time we sailed a military vessel through those waters after China had claimed those islands, a Chinese state-run newspaper boldly declared that China “is not frightened to fight a war with the U.S. in the region“.

Most Americans don’t realize this, but our relationship with China is rapidly going downhill. There is
more to this than just the South China Sea, but without a doubt this is a major point of contention as far as the Chinese government is concerned.

At the same time, we keep getting closer to World War III erupting in the Middle East. Last month,
defense ministers from 49 different nations met in Brussels to discuss a ground invasion of Syria, and since that time forces have been massing in northern Saudi Arabia and southern Turkey. If a ground invasion of Syria does take place, the goal would be to go to Damascus and take down the
Assad regime. That would put “coalition forces” in direct conflict with Iran, Hezbollah and most importantly the Russians. It could very easily be the spark that sets off World War III, but Saudi Arabia, Turkey and their allies will never go ahead without the direct approval of the Obama administration. Barack Obama does not need all of these flash points to erupt in order to evoke his emergency powers.

He just needs one of them.

Let me repeat that….. He just needs one of them.

Throughout American history, presidents have always had emergency powers, but since 9/11 these
powers have been greatly enhanced. Given the right circumstances, a U.S. president could now essentially declare himself (or herself) a dictator for the duration of the crisis.He just needs one of them.

Of course the word “dictator” would never actually be used, but that would be the reality of the situation. And if we had a “national emergency” that was bad enough, Barack Obama would have the authority to postpone or suspend the upcoming election. He just needs one of them.

Let us hope and pray that does not happen, but the truth is that such a scenario could actually take
place. Hopefully what we are witnessing around the globe right now are not attempts by Obama to artificially manufacture such a criss. Let us hope and pray that when his time is up that Obama is ready to gracefully move into retirement.He just needs one of them.

Urban Man

Another Possible Catalyst to a Collapse – Chaos

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This is an article written by Bill Bennett about Donald Trump. Bennett is an author, former Secretary of Education under Ronald Reagan, and currently writes about cultural topics at the . Bill Bennet, who holds a Doctorate degree is truly part of the American conservative braion trust. Read what he has to say about Donald Trump. What is left unsaid is the possibility of chaos following his predictions and the resultant governmental actions that would further plunge this country into violence and lawlessness.
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What I See Happening In a Trump Presidency
By Bill Bennett

“They will kill him before they let him be president. It could be a Republican or a Democrat that instigates the shutting up of Trump.

Don’t be surprised if Trump has an accident. Some people are getting very nervous: Barack Obama, Valerie Jarrett, Eric Holder, Hillary Clinton and Jon Corzine, to name just a few.

It’s about the unholy dynamics between big government, big business, and big media. They all benefit by the billions of dollars from this partnership, and it’s in all of their interests to protect one another. It’s one for all and all for one. It’s a heck of a filthy relationship that makes everyone filthy rich, everyone except the American people. We get ripped off. We’re the patsies. But for once, the powerful socialist cabal and the corrupt crony capitalists are scared. The over-the-top reaction to Trump by politicians of both parties, the media, and the biggest corporations of America has been so swift and insanely angry that it suggests they are all threatened and frightened.

Donald Trump can self-fund. No matter how much they say to the contrary, the media, business, and political elite understand that Trump is no joke. He could actually win and upset their nice cozy apple cart.

It’s no coincidence that everyone has gotten together to destroy The Donald. It’s because most of the other politicians are part of the a good old boys club. They talk big, but they won’t change a thing. They are all beholden to big-money donors. They are all owned by lobbyists, unions, lawyers, gigantic environmental organizations, and multinational corporations – like Big Pharmacy or Big Oil. Or they are owned lock, stock, and barrel by foreigners like George Soros owns Obama or foreign governments own Hillary and their Clinton Foundation donations.

These run-of-the-mill establishment politicians are all puppets owned by big money. But there’s one man who isn’t beholden to anyone. There’s one man who doesn’t need foreigners, or foreign governments, or George Soros, or the United Auto Workers, or the teacher’s union, or the Service Employees International Union, or the Bar Association to fund his campaign.

Billionaire tycoon and maverick Donald Trump doesn’t need anyone’s help. That means he doesn’t care what the media says. He doesn’t care what the corporate elites think. That makes him very dangerous to the entrenched interests. That makes Trump a huge threat to those people. Trump can ruin everything for the bribed politicians and their spoiled slave masters.

Don’t you ever wonder why the GOP has never tried to impeach Obama? Don’t you wonder why John Boehner and Mitch McConnell talk a big game, but never actually try to stop Obama? Don’t you wonder why Congress holds the purse strings, yet has never tried to de-fund Obamacare or Obama’s clearly illegal executive action on amnesty for illegal aliens? Bizarre, right? It defies logic, right?

First, I’d guess many key Republicans are being bribed. Secondly, I believe many key Republicans are being blackmailed. Whether they are having affairs, or secretly gay, or stealing taxpayer money, the National Security Agency knows everything.

Ask former House Speaker Dennis Hastert about that. The government even knew he was withdrawing large sums of his own money from his own bank account. The NSA, the SEC, the IRS, and all the other three-letter government agencies are watching every Republican political leader. They surveil everything. Thirdly, many Republicans are petrified of being called racists, so they are scared to ever criticize Obama or call out his crimes, let alone demand his impeachment. Fourth , why rock the boat? After defeat or retirement, if you’re a good old boy, you’ve got a $5 million-per-year lobbying job waiting. The big-money interests have the system gamed. Win or lose, they win.

But Trump doesn’t play by any of these rules. Trump breaks up this nice, cozy relationship between big government, big media, and big business. All the rules are out the window if Trump wins the Presidency. The other politicians will protect Obama and his aides but not Trump. Remember: Trump is the guy who publicly questioned Obama’s birth certificate. He questioned Obama’s college records and how a mediocre student got into an Ivy League university. Now, he’s doing something no Republican has the chutzpah to do. He’s questioning our relationship with Mexico; he’s questioning why the border is wide open; he’s questioning why no wall has been built across the border; he’s questioning if allowing millions of illegal aliens into America is in our best interests; he’s questioning why so many illegal aliens commit violent crimes, yet are not deported; and he’s questioning why our trade deals with Mexico, Russia and China are so bad.

Trump has the audacity to ask out loud why American workers always get the short end of the stick. Good question! I’m certain Trump will question what happened to the almost billion dollars given in a rigged no-bid contract to college friends of Michelle Obama at foreign companies to build the defective Obamacare website. By the way, that tab is now up to $5 billion. Trump will ask if Obamacare’s architects can be charged with fraud for selling it by lying. Trump will investigate Obama’s widespread IRS conspiracy, not to mention Obama’s college records. Trump will prosecute Clinton and Obama for fraud committed to cover up Benghazi before the election. How about the fraud committed by employees of the Labor Department when they made up dramatic job numbers in the last jobs report before the 2012 election?

Obama, the multinational corporations and the media need to stop Trump. They recognize this could get out of control. If left unchecked, telling the raw truth and asking questions everyone else is afraid to ask, Trump could wake a sleeping giant. Trump’s election would be a nightmare. Obama has committed many crimes. No one else but Trump would dare to prosecute. He will not hesitate. Once Trump gets in and gets a look at the cooked books and Obama’s records, the game is over. The goose is cooked. Holder could wind up in prison. Jarrett could wind up in prison. Obama bundler Corzine could wind up in prison for losing $1.5 billion of customer money. Clinton could wind up in jail for deleting 32,000 emails or for accepting bribes from foreign governments while Secretary of State, or for misplacing $6 billion as the head of the State Department, or for lying about Benghazi. The entire upper level management of the IRS could wind up in prison.

Obamacare will be de-funded and dismantled. Obama himself could wind up ruined, his legacy in tatters. Trump will investigate. Trump will prosecute. Trump will go after everyone involved. That’s why the dogs of hell have been unleashed on Donald Trump.

Yes, it’s become open season on Donald Trump. The left and the right are determined to attack his policies, harm his businesses, and, if possible, even keep him out of the coming debates. But they can’t silence him. And they sure can’t intimidate him. The more they try, the more the public will realize that he’s the one telling the truth”.

If this comes to happen, if Trump is elected then killed, then Obama will likely declare martial law “until new elections can be held”. The results would be revolution from some states,…Wyoming, Texas, Oklahoma come to mind. There may even be a military coup – and believe me when I saw that this will pit parts of the military against parts of the military, and parts of Homeland security against parts of homeland security – not to mention all the other government agencies. Sounds like a plot from a book by A. American.

Urban Man

Readers Concern on Martial Law

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I am received several e-mails from readers who are predicting that there will be something in this year’s election cycle, such as Hillary Clinton being a nominee then indicted leaving no democratic candidate, or some type of mass shooting or terrorist attack, or an Iranian nuclear attack on Israeli, or a huge military defeat for the U.S. such as North Korea attack or striking at South Korea, or one of our aircraft carriers being sunk, or a combination of events that will allow Obama to push off the elections, make a recess appointment to the Supreme Court, implement some more constitutional busting executive orders and start cracking down on right wing talk show radio and gun rights.

I can tell you the chances of anything like that happening are bleak, very remote. There could be an issue with the Democratic nominee for President, being Clinton, indicted for criminal acts relating to her violations of the safeguarding national security information and leaving the Democratic ticket open. Sure the Libs will whine and tap dance about extending the elections in order to give their new candidate time to campaign, but an indictment of Hillary will not be forthcoming. The current Administration will rationalize that this would be bad for America and especially bad for securing Obama’s legacy (no comment there) with another four years of Liberal Rule over the U.S.

As far as martial law or executive actions curtailing the second amendment – martial law would not be far behind if there was drastic executive orders undermining the second amendment.

I believe that the majority of Americans would continue on with the lives if the Administration banned assault rifles, or banned multiple sales of guns, or restricted ammunition purchases, or any number of things they really, really want to do. Yes, they would get away with it. Sure, there would be court challenges and a lot of hulabalu from the right, but it would die down.

It would not be until these restrictions were made retroactive and police action against suspected violators were commenced until there would be backlash. And backlash there would be. What you see with the current political angry propelling Donald Trump in the polls, would be tame by comparison.

I am reminding of an article written by former Navy SEAL Matthew Bracken and author of the series “Enemies: Foreign and Domestic”. In a open letter to all Law Enforcement Officers, both local, state and Federal warning them of the consequences for a police enforced unconstitutional gun restrictions or confiscation, in part he wrote:

“I am telling you now that disastrous unintended consequences will happen if Congress passes new laws banning presently legal firearms. To make it very easy to remember, and in the spirit of our beloved Department of Homeland Security’s old color-coded security threat levels, let me spell out three lines of demarcation.

The Yellow Line:

The yellow warning line will be crossed with national gun registration laws, including laws forbidding private gun sales without government permission. When that law passes, millions of Americans will feel that they have been pushed directly to the edge of the abyss above the mass graves of history. Defenders of the Second Amendment know what happened in Turkey, the USSR, Germany, China, and other nations that fell under totalitarian rule: in every case a necessary preliminary step on the road to genocide was national gun registration, followed by confiscation. The Jewish survivors of the Nazi Holocaust say, “Never again!” And so do we.

The Red Line:

The red line will be crossed with the passage of laws mandating that currently owned weapons, ammunition magazines, and ammunition quantities above a certain number must be turned in to authorities or destroyed, and thereafter their simple possession will be a felony. At that point, the nation will be on a hair trigger, with a thousand flaring matches nearing a thousand primed cannon fuses aimed directly at the next Fort Sumter.

The Dead Line:

The next line requires a bit of history to explain. In some primitive Civil War POW camps, where lack of funding or logistical constraints did not allow the construction of proper fences, a knee-high continuous railing of wooden slats encircled the prison grounds. Guards with rifles were positioned at the corners and in crude towers. If a prisoner so much as stepped over the narrow plank, he was shot dead without warning, obviating the need for a real fence to contain him. Hence the term “dead line.” Cross the line and people die, right now.

And this is what liberal Utopians must understand: after passing the yellow line with national gun registration and transfer requirements, and the red line by making possession of currently legal firearms felonious, the dead line will be breached with the first SWAT raids upon citizens suspected of owning legal firearms made illegal by the new gun control laws. People will die resisting confiscation, in large numbers.

Confiscation crosses the dead line, make no mistake about it.”

Heck, I can’t add anything to that. Everybody who has not read everything that Mathew Bracken has written, needs to do so now and make it a priority. Start with this website then order his books.

[Source: www.enemiesforeignanddomestic.com/]

Urban Man

A Good Book Review

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Enforcing Home – Another Excellent Chapter in the Survivalist Series

I have wrote before about how well written and realistic A. American’s Survivalist series was and the latest, book #6 called “Enforcing Home” is no exception. This latest book continues to find Morgan, his military partners improving their situation while faced with threats from armed bandits and the Department of Homeland Security.

While survivalist books by A. American, Joe Nobody, James Wesley Rawles and others are novels since the collapse hasn’t happened yet,…..yet,…..you can still learn something. You can see problem sets and ask yourself how you would solve it, what decision you would make. Another way to learn are the survival tips that the authors spread among the story line.

Without giving too much up for those of you who haven’t read the book yet, I had five major takeaways from a learning or reinforcement stand point:

Growing food occupied all the characters and/or their separate survival groups. The most successful people in the story line was a couple who had a collapse preexisting green hose and were adept at growing much of their own food supply. S o in a perfect world the survivalist would have a green house, possibly some cleared land for a spring-summer garden, a good supply of non-hybrid seeds, a water source and the skill to grow vegetables.

Feed chickens was the second point. In the story Morgan’s group had chickens which gave them a healthy supply of eggs. A way to feed those chickens was described where a bucket with holes was hung up above the chicken coop and a dead animal carcass was put into the bucket. Flies would leave their eggs in the carcass and when they would hatch the maggots would fall out the bottom of buckets onto the ground for the chickens to eat. I never heard of that before.

Preserving eggs. Something I have heard before and reinforced in memory was the technique of coating eggs with mineral oil to preserve them. Having a supply of mineral oil on hand for other things is smart as well. Treats constipation, can be used for burning in oil lamp, even lubing weapons in a pinch.

Prepared for contact with disease ridden people. This is something I had wrote about before, about having personal protection gear and a plan on how to approach, handle or interface with people possibly infected with bad communicable diseases. In that perfect world again, a smart and well prepared survivalist would have a stockpile of antibiotics to treat some of treatable diseases, the knowledge of treatment plans, a stock of personal protective gear, and a plan on what to do with diseased infected suspected contacts or people that have been exposed within your own group.

If you are a prepper and have not yet read the Home novels from A. American (the “A” stands for Angry by the way) then you can pick up series through Amazon.

Prepare for Zombie Apocalypse? No. Prepare for National Crisis? Yes.

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Preparedness is becoming more and more mainstream. However, some people will get spooked should you really lay on the Prepper routine.  Instead, print this article and hand it to them.    Tell them that Glenn Beck recently hosted Justin Wheeler on his nationally syndicated The Glenn Beck Program Tuesday December 1st to discuss a preparedness plan should a national crisis unfold.

Wheeler, the brother of Beck’s chief of content, recently asked his family members in an email to do these things: fill the car with gas and check the oil, withdraw $500 cash from an ATM and buy one case of bottled water and some canned food.

“Probably nothing, but run this as an exercise tonight if at all possible — tomorrow, early, if you can’t get that done — and, above all things, remember, remain calm, be at peace. We’re Americans. We’ll always win because we believe and defend liberty and freedom, so no worries,” Wheeler wrote at the end of the email.

Wheeler told Beck that preparedness is part of his “heritage” and that, as a child who grew up in the 1970’s, he remembers going through nuclear preparedness drills in school and having food storage at his childhood home.

“As I increased my education level, an increased level of preparedness just became a rational response,” Wheeler said. “I think it is a very rational response. Very much the same way that if a weatherman said, ‘Hey, it’s going to rain,’ you would walk out of the house with an umbrella and no one would think twice about that.”

According to Wheeler, the reason people have difficulty preparing for economic crisis is because, as a whole, the U.S. has not experienced that level of instability since the Great Depression in the 1930’s.

So Wheeler created a list of supplies necessary to cope for 30 days amid major national instability:

 

1. 30-day food supply

2. Five days water and water purification filters to last one year

3. Vehicle toolkit

4. Hatchet or 

machete

5. Shovel and sledgehammer

6. 50-foot extension cord

7. Arctic-rated sleeping bags

8. Eight-person tent

9. Flashlights and batteries for the vehicle

10. AM/FM weather radio

11. Three wool blankets

12. Winter coats

13. One tin cloth coat

14. 18 toilet paper rolls

15. Ranch clothes

16. Five gallons of gasoline

Wheeler said he devised this list when he decided he wanted his family to be prepared for “more than just an earthquake.”

“All the experts will say, ‘You probably don’t want to be in a major city in a disaster scenario,’” Wheeler told Beck. “So we want to be one of the first on the road, and that means being able to pack up, get ready to go, and go rapidly.”

Wheeler added that it is important to have a plan as an entire family so everyone can meet up in a pre-determined area. Additionally, he said it is crucial to have out-of-state contacts, should the phone lines go down.

Wow!  Someone finally talks about a P L A N.  A predetermined met up area is a contingency linkup in any other language.  Have a contingency plan.  Employ the two man rule for everything and if a group leaves the main group have a plan:  Where you are going.  What you are doing.  When you will be back.  What to do if you don’t come back.  It’s only common sense.  

[Source: Glenn Beck Show]

~Urban Man

Survival Stress- How to Cope

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When in an urban survival scenario, many overlook the many possibilities of having to deal with stress. Not knowing how to deal with stress can mean the difference between life or death.

Weather you are in an urban survival crisis or a wilderness survival scenario, here is video produced in 1961 by the US Air Force that deals with survival stress. The information is 33 years old, but the information is still true and valid to this day.

Watch, learn and enjoy a movie from the retro era.  

~Urban Man

Basic Military Map Reading- GRID, Distance and Elevation

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Here is a very old video produced by the US Army on Basic Map Reading. It covers how to read GRID, DISTANCE and ELEVATION on a military style map. 

If you have access to military style maps, this video will assist the novice to the learn the areas listed above, or provide a refresher to those who have used this map system.

Either way, learning to navigate terrain is important in a survival situation, especially if you have to bug out into the wilderness.

Best Places To Bug Out In The US

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“Here is a pretty informative article I read on thesurvivalcamp.net. It really gets you thinking about where to bugout to” ~ Urban Man

Deciding where you are going to go in the event of a doomsday situation is a big deal. Everyone has their own criteria for what is the perfect place to try to survive. Based on what I have researched, this is my opinion of the best areas in the United States to bug out to. My requirements for a good bug out location is that is needs access to water, food (hunting, fishing, good for gardening), not a common natural disaster area and not overly populated. I generally think of a permanent bug out location as being a homestead to rebuild from after a catastrophic event wipes out a large majority of the population.
Most requirements will change based on many variables. One of those will be the amount of time you have to prepare the area before you retreat to it. These locations I feel would be great if I could buy some land and get a sustainable camp started, but will also do just fine if I don’t have much time to pre-plan and need to figure it out on the fly.
 Southern Colorado: 
Southern Colorado is on the top of my list of bug out locations. A place at the base of the Rocky Mountains being ideal. Mountain ranges have great wildlife and water sources, but the nice thing about the Rockies is that there are no volcanoes. Staying to the south end of the state will hopefully limit exposure if Yellowstone erupts. Colorado’s population is fairly low and property prices are lower than average. The climate is fairly temperate with summers that don’t get too hot and winters that don’t get too cold. The cold will depend on how high up the mountain you go.
 Northern New Hampshire/Maine: 
The northern New England area is ripe with wilderness and natural resources. The population density of Maine is just lower than Colorado and New Hampshire is higher but the population thins out up north. The chances of natural disaster are relatively low. Most likely there will be winter storms. Hurricanes can reach that far north but are only a hazard if you live close enough to the coast. There is a wide variety of hunting and fishing locations and even in the cold you can do your gardening in a greenhouse.
 Eastern Kentucky: 
I was originally looking at eastern Tennessee but found there to be to many nuclear reactors in the area. Fortunately a short distance to the north takes you to eastern Kentucky where you can take advantage of the same environment without the messy nuclear fallout. The base of the Appalachian Mountains in this area would make a great bug out location to survive the end of days. The mountains have no active volcanoes, but the area is known for tornadoes. The deeper into the mountains you go, the less likely you are of experiencing a tornado as they tend to stay a bit west of the mountain range. Some might be concerned about the New Madrid Fault but since it is on the west end of the state, any eruption would be only barely felt in the Appalachians. You have plenty of food and water sources and people have been living off the land in Appalachia for centuries.
 Southeast Ohio: 
The area to the West of the Appalachian Mountains in Ohio is home to the largest community of Amish in the United States. This is a community of people who have been living off the land with no technology forever. If the area works well for them, who am I to argue? I wouldn’t try to inject myself into their community, but having them close by to get tips from wouldn’t be a bad thing as well as being able to barter with them. The population density of Ohio is fairly high, but most of that is in the cities. There is one nuclear power plant in western Pennsylvania that ranks low in safety that could affect the area. Ohio is on the top of the list of states that are least likely to be destroyed by a natural disaster. They have no flooding, no tornadoes, no earthquakes and no volcanoes. Good water and farming resources but winters are long and cold.
 Alaska: 
Alaska is always one of those locations that people either love or hate. It is a place that people have been living off the land in the wilderness for centuries despite the bitter cold. It has the lowest population density in the country at 1.2 people per square mile. Depending on your location you could experience earthquakes or feel the effects of a volcano, but the overall rate of natural disasters is relatively low and there are no nuclear power plants. Hunting and fishing are some of the best in the country and fresh water is plentiful. The warmer months will be spent preparing to survive the winter months but many people have had no problem surviving in Alaska long term.

More Evidence That a Race War is Coming?

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Just how far will Political Correctness go in this Country? We have politicians, including that idiot Obama, falling all over themselves to create and sustain a narrative that racism among law enforcement is rampant. It is Obama and his lackeys that are setting racial relations back several decades in this Country. It’s almost like someone is pushing this country towards a race war doesn’t it?

Missouri University President Resigns Amid Racism Protests

The faculty had said that in solidarity with the students’ protests against racism they plan a walkout from class on Monday and Tuesday morning. The president of the University of Missouri, Tim Wolfe, resigned amid mounting pressure by students and faculty members over his handling of racial issues on campus.

The faculty of the University of Missouri will walk out of class on Monday and Tuesday in solidarity with hundreds of students who gathered Sunday to protest the use of racial slurs against a black student and football player at the school.

Various faculty members issued a statement Sunday night announcing their protest. “We, the concerned faculty of the University of Missouri, stand in solidarity with Mizzou student activists who are advocating for racial justice on our campus and urge all MU faculty to demonstrate their support by walking out on Monday, November 9, and Tuesday, November 10,” the statement, sent out by Associate Professor Elisa Glick, said.

The decision by the faculty members comes as the university’s football team is on strike until the resignation of its university President Tim Wolfe, who failed to respond to incidents of on-campus racism, severed relations with Planned Parenthood and stripped funding for graduate students.

The football players said in a statement: “We will no longer participate in any football-related activities until President Tim Wolfe resigns or is removed due to his negligence toward marginalized students’ experience. WE ARE UNITED!!!!!”

Black People Make Up 93% of Ferguson Arrests, DOJ Report Finds

The Department of Justice carried out the investigation after the fatal shooting of a black teenager by a white officer in Ferguson, Missouri. The Ferguson police department is consistently involved in racist activities, the U.S. Department of Justice found Tuesday.

According to a justice official who saw the report, which was commissioned in August last year after the fatal shooting of black teenager Mike Brown by a white police officer in Ferguson, officers in the Missouri town habitually target black people.

The findings are expected to be formally released as early as Wednesday, a DOJ spokeswoman said.
The DOJ will use the report to negotiate with Ferguson officials, or to sue them.

The investigation took into account some 35,000 pages of police reports, which revealed that 93 percent of arrests were made on African-Americans. Sixty-seven percent of the population of Ferguson are black.

Black people were also overwhelmingly the victims of bites from police dogs, and that the court system is less likely to dismiss their cases.

A further preliminary report exposed how Ferguson police disproportionately targeted African Americans in traffic stops, which brings in extra revenue for the city.

Ferguson became the fiery epicenter of anti-police brutality and anti-racism protests since Brown’s shooting death in the summer last year. Many hope that the Justice Department report could serve as a template for country-wide change.

38 Ways Hydrogen Peroxide May Be Useful When SHTF

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Hydrogen peroxide or H2O2 is the only germicidal agent composed of water and oxygen only. This chemical compound kills disease organisms through oxidation. This chemical compound is also considered as the world’s safest, all natural sanitizer. Hydrogen peroxide will break down into oxygen and water when it reacts with organic matter.

1. Disinfect Small Wounds

Hydrogen peroxide is a natural anti-septic, therefore one of its most common uses is to clean wounds to prevent infection.

2. Bleach Your Hair

Because it is more gentle than household bleach, hydrogen peroxide is also great for lightening hair.

3. Just Add Highlights

To get a classic “sun-bleached” look, simply spray hydrogen peroxide over damp hair and let it soak in for 10 – 15 minutes before rinsing out.

4. Whitening Toothydrogen peroxideaste

Mix baking soda and hydrogen peroxide to make a homemade toothydrogen peroxideaste that will also remove stains from teeth when used daily.

5. Antiseptic Mouth Rinse

Use a cap full of hydrogen peroxide as a mouth rinse to help whiten teeth and kill germs that cause bad breath.

6. Disinfect Toothbrushes

Soak toothbrushes in hydrogen peroxide to kill staph bacteria and other germs common to the bathroom environment.

7. Whiten Your Nails

Soak fingertips and toes in hydrogen peroxide to naturally whiten your nails.

8. Clear Up Acne

Use hydrogen peroxide as a face rinse to kill the bacteria that cause acne and help clear your complexion. (Or check out these other 11 Natural Ways To Get Rid Of Pimples Fast!)

9. Help Heal Boils

Pour half of a bottle (about 8 ounces) of hydrogen peroxide into warm bath water and soak to treat boils.

10. Soften Corns & Calluses

Mix equal parts hydrogen peroxide and warm water to make a foot soak that will naturally soften corns and calluses.

11. Remove Ear Wax

Put a couple of drops of hydrogen peroxide into ears, wait a minute or two, then follow up with a couple of drops of olive oil. Wait another minute, then drain fluid from ears to remove ear wax.

12. Prevent “Swimmer’s Ear”

Mix equal parts hydrogen peroxide and vinegar in a small dropper bottle. Put several drops in each ear after swimming to prevent infection.

13. Relieve Ear Infections

Put 6 – 8 drop of hydrogen peroxide in each ear to alleviate symptoms and help clear up an ear infection.

14. Kill Sub-dermal Parasites

Apply hydrogen peroxide to skin affected with mites or other parasites to kill them naturally.

15. Treat Foot Fungus

Combine equal parts hydrogen peroxide and water in a dark colored spray bottle (light exposure weakens hydrogen peroxide) and apply to skin affected by foot fungus each night to stop fungal growth.

16. Sinus Infections

Add 1 tbsp of 3% hydrogen peroxide to 1 cup of non-chlorinated water and use it as a nasal spray. You can adjust the amount of hydrogen peroxide depending on the degree of the sinus infection.

17. Relieve Toothache

Hydrogen peroxide is not considered as a pain killer, but because of its anti-viral, anti-bacterial, and anti-fungal properties it is effective to use in treating pathogen that can cause infection. If your tooth is aching and you cannot go to your dentist, fill the cap of the hydrogen peroxide’s bottle and hold it in your mouth for 10 minutes. Repeat the same process several times a day.

Kitchen & Bath

18. Clean Tile Surfaces

Spray hydrogen peroxide directly onto tile to remove dirt and stains.

19. Whiten Grout

Mix hydrogen peroxide with white flour to create a thick paste. Apply to grout and cover with plastic wrap overnight. The next day, simply rinse with water for whiter grout.

20. Clean Toilet Bowls

Pour about half a cup of hydrogen peroxide into toilet bowls and let it soak for at least 30 minutes to clean and remove stains.

21. Remove Tub Scum

Spray hydrogen peroxide on soap scum, dirt, and stains in the bathtub. Let it sit for at least 30 minutes then rinse to loosen grime and make cleaning easier.

22. Control Mold & Mildew

Spray hydrogen peroxide on areas where mold and mildew are present to stop fungal growth and remove discoloration.

23. Clean Glass Surfaces

Spray hydrogen peroxide on dirty mirrors and other glass surfaces to loosen dirt and grime. Wipe away with a clean, lint-free cloth.

24. Disinfect Countertops

Spray hydrogen peroxide on kitchen and bathroom countertops to clean and disinfect.

25. Soak Dishrags & Sponges

Drop dirty rags and cleaning sponges into hydrogen peroxide and let them soak for 15 – 30 minutes to disinfect.

26. Disinfect Cutting Boards

Spray hydrogen peroxide on cutting boards to kill germs and bacteria from raw meat and other foods that may have soaked into the surface of the board.

27. Wash Fruits & Vegetables

Spray fruits and veggies with hydrogen peroxide and let soak for a minute or two before rinsing in clean water to remove dirt, wax, and other contaminants.

28. Clean Your Refrigerator

Spray hydrogen peroxide around the inside of your refrigerator and let is soak for a few minutes. Then wipe away with a clean cloth to remove food and disinfect.

Around the House

29. Whiten Laundry

About about a cup of hydrogen peroxide to your wash water and soak fabrics for 15 – 30 minutes to revitalize dingy or yellowed whites.

30. Remove Organic Stains

Mix two parts hydrogen peroxide with one part dish detergent and apply to organic stains (coffee, wine, blood, sweat, etc) to remove them.

Remember, hydrogen peroxide will bleach darker fabrics. Use this technique with caution!

31. De-Funk Musty Fabrics

Mix hydrogen peroxide with white vinegar and soak musty fabrics to remove unwanted odors.

32. Clean Rugs & Carpets

Spray hydrogen peroxide onto light-colored carpets and rugs to remove stains from mud, food, etc. Just remember that hydrogen peroxide will bleach some fabrics. You may want to test this technique in an inconspicuous area first.

33. Refresh Re-useable Bags

Spray hydrogen peroxide inside your re-useable cloth shopping bags to clean, disinfect, and remove food odors.

34. Disinfect Lunchboxes

Spray hydrogen peroxide into lunchboxes, coolers, and cooler bags. Let it sit for a few minutes then wipe away to clean and disinfect.

35. Cleanse Dehumidifiers

Add a pint of hydrogen peroxide to one gallon of water and run the solution through humidifiers to disinfect and remove any mold or mildew that may be growing inside.

36. Improve Seed Germination

Soak seeds in hydrogen peroxide to remove fungal spores and increase germination rate.

37. Bird Mites Infections

According to some reports hydrogen peroxide effectively kills the mites under the skin of people who are infected by tiny mites. If you are infected by bird mites, spray hydrogen peroxide to your skin for a few times (with several minutes in between each applications) and you will have an amazing result.


38. Explosives

Rifle Marksmanship Training

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In every survival scenario, a firearm plays a vital role in whether you live or die. Learning how to use a rifle or pistol safely and accurately, and owning one, will give you greater surviveabilty if the need should present itself. 

Below is a very good video produced with our tax dollars by the Marine Corps on rifle marksmanship.

Urban Man ~

Making Your Own MRE’s

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Making Your Own MRE’s Can Be Satisfying and Cheaper
By Cari Schofield January 21, 2013

Have you ever considered making your own MRE’s (Meals Ready to Eat) as opposed to buying them? They can be used for more than a BOB. We use them as quick on the go meals and they come in especially handy for that forgotten field trip your child needs a packed lunch for.

In this article I am going to show you how simple it can be and provide a meal or two that we make ourselves. After gathering everything we want to put in the meal, we will put it in a freezer bag, squeeze the air out of it as much as we can and add a small Oxygen absorber to it.

The other method we use is vacuum sealing. However, if you do this, make sure that nothing you add in there that is in a package has air in it, otherwise you have a big bulge of air in the meal. If you’re adding an emergency water pack to the meal then tape it to the outside of the package. You can also put the vacuum sealed meal in a freezer Ziploc and add the emergency water package in there. After we have a bunch of them made we put them all in a bucket or in a storage tote. You can also buy attachments to seal dried foods in mason jars.

Note: One thing to remember when making a shopping list for this project is to buy things that can be eaten raw or only requires water to be prepared. Technically speaking, an MRE is a meal that is ready to eat cold because you may not always be able to prepare (heat) the meal and some of the things listed below do not fit in that category but will still work as a meal. Meals that need to be heated have a trioxane bar included to heat without the use of fire.

Breakfast #1 – I love breakfast, it is literally my favorite meal of the day so I am going to start with the morning meals I put together. A big hit in my house is oatmeal. We will take 1-2 of the instant flavored oatmeal packs, 1 sugar packet, 1 powdered butter packet, and one powdered milk packet. (We pre-measure the butter to our taste and the milk according to package directions) We then add one pouch of dehydrated water. (Kidding!) We add 1 emergency water packet to reconstitute the milk and butter. (You can also purchase a 5 gallon bucket with gamma lid of powdered milk here if you’re looking for long-term storage for milk. If you want to, you can also add dehydrated fruit to add to your oatmeal. Hot cocoa drink mix or a yoo-hoo single drink packet.. (These are used when the weather is cooler.)

Breakfast #2 – This one is simple. Dehydrated sausage and either powdered eggs or crystallized eggs. 1-2 salt/pepper packets. If you want cheese on it then you can also pre-measure powdered or freeze-dried cheese. Once it is re-hydrated, mix together for a sausage and egg breakfast scramble. Single kool-aid mix drink packet. You can also add a hot sauce packet to the meal to put on the eggs.

Now that you get the idea, you can make a grocery list of things to purchase to put your meals together. We try to stick with simple things that don’t require much to eat them or make them. The breakfast listed above require some cooking, but in my opinion it is still a ready to make/eat meal.

Below is a list of some of the things we use in our homemade MRE’s. Make sure to write the date it was made on the outside of the package for rotation purposes.

· Prepackaged meats such as on the to-go tuna, spam, and chicken. Pay attention to the dates though because these don’t last 20 years.

· Dehydrated meals that are already prepared and you simply add hot water.

· Prepackaged crackers like we buy for our kids or out of vending machines. You can purchase these at any store or in bulk at Sam’s or Costco.

· Instant drink mix packs. We purchase the on the go ones because they are pre-measured in single packets for a bottle of water. You can even buy instant coffee now by Folgers that looks like a tea bag. You simply add it to a cup of hot water for a few minutes. Add sugar and cream packets and have a great cup of coffee.

· Instant oatmeal packs

· Salt/pepper packs and sugar packets that we save from fast food restaurants. When you go through a drive through just ask for some along with extra napkins and utensils. You can use all of them in your home-made MRE’s.

· Bouillon cubes or home-made spice packets.

· Trail mixes, nuts, raisins.

· Energy bars

· Dried fruit like banana or apple slices. We love dried pomegranate.

· Canned Tuna, chicken, sardines etc. Although this is a little more added weight than the on the go packs.

· Dehydrated meats. Just like with noodles, powdered eggs etc, you must have water to reconstitute the meat.

· Candy; preferably some that won’t melt. We like weathers originals.

· Rice side dishes, like the Lipton rice or Rice-A-Roni.

· Individual camper meals.

· Instant rice with an added bouillon cube or sugar/butter makes a tasty meal.

· Plastic eating utensils and a napkin if needed. A lot of people carry these in their bags, but if your meals are going to be eaten as a quick-lunch you may need them.

· A single pack wet wipe to clean your face and hands to save on water. This is especially good if you have young children.

· You can add a piece of heavy-duty tin foil to fashion a bowl for oatmeal or other hot meals.

· A pack of matches to heat the food if you need to and have some sort of pocket stove in your pack. If you wanted to go a step further then you can purchase trioxane bars to add to your MRE. (That is the heating source used in the original MRE’s)

· To top it off, add a piece of gum to get the food out of your teeth and freshen your breath. (Who wants fish breath, yuck!)

· Daily vitamin wrapped in a piece of tin foil with a piece of dental floss included for when your meal is done. (Some people can’t chew gum.)

These are just a few things you can use to build your own MRE’s. Use your imagination and make something you will enjoy eating!!

Keepin It Spicy,

Jalapeño Gal

Power in the Collapse or Collapse Because of Lack of Power

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Two recent pieces of information came out to prompt me to write about each Prepared Family to have a plan on how power sources for their survival during a collapse. And like the title above suggests, if the U.S. Grid is shut down, the collapse will follow.

First, we have the Federal Government warning about power outages. This in and of itself would not raise too many concerns, but in the words of the Government ” Be prepared for power outages as we rely on electricity and other utilities for survival, so when we lose power it’s a major problem. A power outage compounds the impacts of a natural disaster and increases anxiety. Having a way to communicate with family, friends, and coworkers is imperative.

The Government goes on to suggest these tips:

Plan for batteries and other alternatives to meet your needs when the power goes out and ensure you have extra compatible batteries for any device that can run on battery power (i.e., cell phones, portable phones, medical or assistive devices, radios). Consider purchasing hand-crank and solar-powered chargers.

Keep your car gas tank at least half full. Gas stations rely on electricity to power their pumps. You’ll also have a good method for charging devices in an emergency or, if necessary, moving to a location with power.

Never use a generator, gasoline-powered equipment and tools, grill, camp stove, or charcoal burning device inside or in any partially enclosed area, including a basement or garage.

Install battery-operated carbon monoxide detectors or electric detectors with battery backup in central locations on every level of your home and outside of bedrooms to provide early warning of accumulating carbon monoxide, which is a colorless, odorless, tasteless, and potentially deadly gas. Plan to always keep a generator outdoors.

And finally, a friendly word from the Government about communications, which would be sorely affected by a collapse of the Grid,……Don’t wait. Communicate. Make Your Emergency Plan Today.

During an emergency, communication is critical. We want to know that our family is safe and taken care of. We need to let our family, friends, and coworkers know we’re okay, and be ready to help our fellow citizens by fulfilling the DHS mission. Having a family emergency communication plan with key phone numbers and other information readily available is important.

And then from USA Today, a report that “Attackers successfully compromised U.S. Department of Energy computer systems more than 150 times between 2010 and 2014”, from a review of federal records obtained by USA TODAY finds.

Cyber attackers successfully compromised the security of U.S. Department of Energy computer systems more than 150 times between 2010 and 2014, according to a review of federal records obtained by USA TODAY.

Incident reports submitted by federal officials and contractors since late 2010 to the Energy Department’s Joint Cyber security Coordination Center shows a near-consistent barrage of attempts to breach the security of critical information systems that contain sensitive data about the nation’s power grid, nuclear weapons stockpile and energy labs.

The records, obtained by USA TODAY through the Freedom of Information Act, show DOE components reported a total of 1,131 cyber attacks over a 48-month period ending in October 2014. Of those attempted cyber intrusions, 159 were successful.

“The potential for an adversary to disrupt, shut down (power systems), or worse … is real here,” said Scott White, Professor of Homeland Security and Security Management and Director of the Computing Security and Technology program at Drexel University. “It’s absolutely real.”

Energy Department officials would not say whether any sensitive data related to the operation and security of the nation’s power grid or nuclear weapons stockpile was accessed or stolen in any of the attacks, or whether foreign governments are believed to have been involved.

“DOE does not comment on ongoing investigations or possible attributions of malicious activity,” Energy Department spokesman Andrew Gumbiner said in a statement.

In all cases of malicious cyber security activity, Gumbiner said the Energy Department “seeks to identify indicators of compromise and other cyber security relevant information, which it then shares broadly among all DOE labs, plants, and sites as well as within the entire federal government.”

The National Nuclear Security Administration, a semi-autonomous agency within the Energy Department responsible for managing and securing the nation’s nuclear weapons stockpile, experienced 19 successful attacks during the four-year period, records show.

While information on the specific nature of the attacks was redacted from the records prior to being released, numerous Energy Department cyber security vulnerabilities have been identified in recent years by the department’s Office of Inspector General, an independent watchdog agency.

After a cyber attack in 2013 resulted in unauthorized access to personally identifying information for more than 104,000 Energy Department employees and contractors, auditors noted “unclear lines of responsibility” and “lack of awareness by responsible officials.” In an audit report released in October of last year, the Inspector General found 41 Energy Department servers and 14 workstations “were configured with default or easily guessed passwords.”

Urban Man’s comments: What this all means is that the prepared survivor must plan for life without the electrical grid. Best case is a completely solar powered home backed up by a fuel generator and wind mills generating electrical power, but alas, only the richest can afford this. 

For the economy prepper this means have battery powered devices with common batteries and a goodly amount of rechargeable batteries – they make them in almost all sizes now. I have six sets of re-chargers that I can power from as 12 volt source (vehicle battery or cigarette plug adapter) and from folding solar panels. 

I have a several solar kits still in the box and keeping them that way in case I have to bug out. my next big purchase will be a power source 1800 Solar Generating unit, which like the name suggest, is capable of generating 1800 watts of power at peak and is re-charged through a 100 watt solar mobile panel. Just get prepared people!

Urban Man

America Unprepared For Devastating ‘Black Swan’

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Urban Man- Here is another interesting story I just read in regards to EMP issues.

WASHINGTON – Supply-chain disruptions often are the result of adverse weather, unplanned telecom outages, data breaches or even cyber hacking.

However, the one “Black Swan” event that would make these instances pale by comparison and result in a cascading disruption is a natural or man-made electromagnetic pulse event.

A “Black Swan” is an event regarded at the time of its occurrence as unprecedented and unexpected but later, in hindsight, understood to have been inevitable.

An EMP is in that category, since scientific experts repeatedly warn that a major EMP event is not a question of if, but when.

Barrett Moore, a security specialist and founder of the security company Triple Canopy, told WND that federal officials have modeled the effects of a “Black Swan” event on the timely delivery of food, water, fuel, medical care and technology. But they have done it primarily for the government’s benefit.

Michael Maloof’s “A Nation Forsaken” exposes the catastrophic vulnerability scientists and other experts have been warning about for years

“Seeing potential for large-scale chaos,” Barrett said, “they have mitigated this risk for themselves by investing hundreds of billions of dollars in a continuity-of-government plan that has overseen the construction, equipping and provisioning of over 100 classified ‘haven’ facilities accessible only to families and staff of government officials,” he said.

“No parallel provisions have been made in our country for the general population,” he said.

Years ago, Barrett noted, there were civil-defense centers in which the local population could assemble in the event of an emergency, stocked with food, water and essential medicines. But they disappeared in the 1960s.

Consideration, he said, should be given to bringing them back as one type of “safe haven” for the general population.

Catastrophe

A recent survey shows that an EMP event is not on the radar of professionals whose industry is part of the supply chain.

A 2014 Supply Chain Resilience Survey, conducted by the Business Continuity Institute on behalf of the Zurich Insurance Group, asked the professionals to look five years ahead regarding potential, evolving world threats

They ranked the biggest threat as cyber attacks, followed in order by IT/telecom outages, outsourcer service failure, data breaches and adverse weather conditions.

Yet, supply-chain disruption caused by an EMP – a super-burst of energetic radio waves that could knock out the already vulnerable national grid – can either destroy or damage unprotected electronic systems by instantly overloading their circuits.

The immediate result would be catastrophic damage to all the critical infrastructures that rely on the grid, including automated control systems for electric power, telecommunications, transportation, banking and finance, food and water distribution and emergency services.

A natural EMP event would be a direct hit on Earth from a massive solar storm, while a man-made EMP would be a high-altitude nuclear bomb burst instigated by any adversarial country with a nuclear weapon and a missile-delivery system.

Given the level of U.S. unpreparedness, it is estimated that within 12 months of an EMP event, two-thirds to 90 percent of the U.S. population would likely perish from starvation, disease and societal breakdown, according to the Secure the Grid Coalition.

The coalition is an ad hoc group of policy, energy and national security experts, legislators and industry insiders dedicated to strengthening the U.S. electrical grid by seeking the passage of legislation and raising public awareness of the national and international threat of an EMP.

‘Keystone’ infrastructure at risk

One of the coalition’s spokesmen is Peter Vincent Pry, who told WND that “political gridlock” in Washington has hindered the implementation of any of a number of cost-effective plans to protect the national electrical grid.

He said the electric grid is the “keystone” infrastructure necessary to recover all other critical infrastructures. Protection of the grid from an EMP – which Pry said is the “worst threat” – will also enhance overall grid security against all other threats including cyber attack, sabotage and severe weather.

Pry is a former analyst for the Central Intelligence Agency who serves as executive director of the congressional Task Force on National and Homeland Security and director of the U.S. Nuclear Strategy Forum.

Pry also was staff director of the congressionally mandated EMP Commission, which in 2008 looked at the impact of an EMP on the nation’s vital infrastructure.

Among other things, the commission recommended an “all hazards” strategy to protect the electric grid and other critical infrastructures against all threats.

Pry said the “all hazards” strategy is the most practical and cost-effective solution to protecting the grid and the other critical infrastructures.

He pointed out that electric grid operation and vulnerability are dependent on two key technologies – extra-high voltage, or EHV, transformers and Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition Systems, or SCADAS.

“EHV transformers are the technological foundation of our modern electronic civilization as they make it possible to transmit electric power over great distances,” Pry said.

They cost millions of dollars and are custom-made rather than mass-produced. Making one EHV takes about 18 months under normal conditions, and only 200 are made a year.

While EHV transformers were invented in the United States by Nikolai Tesla, Pry said, they no longer are manufactured in the U.S.

“Because of their great size and cost,” he said, “U.S. electric utilities have very few spare EHV transformers. The U.S. must import EHV transformers made in Germany or South Korea, the only two nations in the world that make them for export.

“An event that damages hundreds – or even as few as nine – of the 2,000 EHV transformers in the United States could plunge the nation into a protracted blackout lasting months or even years,” Pry said.

SCADAS are small computers that run the electric grid and all the critical infrastructures. For example, they regulate the flow of electric current through EHV transformers, the flow of natural gas or water through pipelines, the flow of data through communications and financial systems and operate everything “from traffic control lights to refrigerators in regional food warehouses.”

SCADAS number in the millions and are indispensable as EHV transformers in running a modern electronic civilization, Pry said.

“The EMP Commission found that if the electric grid can be protected and quickly recover from nuclear EMP, the other critical infrastructures can also be recovered, with good planning, quickly enough to prevent mass starvation and restore society to normalcy,” Pry recently told a congressional panel.

“If EHV transformers, SCADAS and other critical components are protected from the worst threat – nuclear EMP – then they will survive, or damage will be greatly mitigated, from all lesser threats, including natural EMP from geomagnetic storms, severe weather, sabotage, and cyber attack,” he said.

Pry said cyber warfare is another existential threat to the U.S., not because of computer viruses and hacking alone, but owing to military doctrines of potential adversaries that call for all-out cyber attack, including an EMP.

Pry told the congressional panel that a 2011 U.S. Army War College study, “In The Dark: Planning for a Catastrophic Critical Infrastructure Event,” warned U.S. Cyber Command that U.S. doctrine should not overly focus on computer viruses to the exclusion of an EMP attack and the full spectrum of other threats, as planned by potential adversaries.

Pry said anti-hacking and anti-virus solutions will just result in an “endless virus versus anti-virus software arms race” that will prove “unaffordable and futile.”

He said the worst-case cyber scenario can be overcome through an “all hazards” strategy recommended by the congressional EMP Commission. He said the worst-case scenario envisions a computer virus infecting the SCADAS that regulate the flow of electricity into EHV transformers, damaging the transformers with overvoltage and causing a protracted national blackout.

But if the transformers are protected with surge arrestors against a high-altitude nuclear EMP attack which Pry said would be the worst kind of attack, they “would be unharmed by the worst possible overvoltage that might be system-generated by any computer virus.”

“While gridlock in Washington has prevented the federal government from protecting the national electric power infrastructure, threats to the grid – and to the survival of the American people – from EMP and other hazards are looming ever larger,” Pry said. “Grid vulnerability to EMP and other threats is now a clear and present danger.”

Urban Man-

What Is An Infidel?

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Below is a very interesting email that I recently received. It is worth the time to read it. -Urban Man

In light of what happened 14 years ago on 09/11/2001, here’s a commentary worth reading. (the TRUTH)(check it out if you don’t believe it is what is taught and written in the Koran). Linda

The author, Rick Mathes, is a well-known leader in prison ministry,says, The man who walks with God always gets to his destination. If you have a pulse you have a purpose. The Muslim religion is the fastest growing religion per capita in the United States , especially in the minority races. 

Last month I attended my annual training session that’s required for maintaining my state prison security clearance. During the training session there was a presentation by three speakers representing the Roman Catholic, Protestant and Muslim faiths, who each explained their beliefs.
 

I was particularly interested in what the Islamic Imam had to say. The Muslim gave a great presentation of the basics of Islam, complete with a video..
 

After the presentations, time was provided for questions and answers.. When it was my turn, I directed my question to the Muslim and asked:
 

‘Please, correct me if I’m wrong, but I understand that most Imams and clerics of Islam have declared a holy jihad [Holy war] against the infidels of the world and, that by killing an infidel, (which is a command to all Muslims) they are assured of a place in heaven. If that’s the case, can you give me the definition of an infidel?’
 

There was no disagreement with my statements and, without hesitation, he replied, ” Nonbelievers”
 

I responded, ‘So, let me make sure I have this straight. All followers of Allah have been commanded to kill everyone who is not of your faith so they can have a place in heaven. Is that correct?’
 

The expression on his face changed from one of authority and command to that of a little boy who had just been caught with his hand in the cookie jar.’
 

He sheepishly replied, ‘Yes.’
 

I then stated, ‘Well, sir, I have a real problem trying to imagine The Pope commanding all Catholics to kill those of your faith or Dr. Stanley ordering all Protestants to do the same in order to guarantee them a place in heaven!’ 

The Muslim was speechless.
 

I continued, ‘I also have a problem with being your friend when you and your brother clerics are telling your followers to kill me! Let me ask you a question: Would you rather have your Allah, who tells you to kill me in order for you to go to heaven, or my Jesus who tells me to love you because I am going to heaven and He wants you to be there with me?’ 

You could have heard a pin drop. 

Needless to say, the organizers and/or promoters of the ‘Diversification’ training seminar were not happy with my way of dealing with the Islamic Imam, and exposing the truth about the Muslims’ beliefs. In twenty years there will be enough Muslim voters in the U.S. to elect the President.  

I think everyone in the U.S. should be required to read this, but with the ACLU, there is no way this will be widely publicized, unless each of us sends it on! This is your chance to make a difference.
 

For the sake of CHRIST …SEND THIS ON

Big Brother Surveillance Threat, Part 3: Anti-Surveillance Guide

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Big Brother Surveillance Threat, Part 3: Anti-Surveillance Guide

This is Part Three, of a series that Urban Survival Skills is calling “Big Brother Surveillance Threat” and is publishing, that are excerpts from a huge article titled “You Are a Criminal In a Mass Surveillance World – Here’s How Not To Get Caught”, but David Montgomery and posted on Prepared Gun Owners.com
[http://preparedgunowners.com/2015/06/11/you-are-a-criminal-in-a-mass-surveillance-world-heres-how-not-to-get-caught/]

ANTI-SURVEILLANCE GUIDE

The following guide is 10 basic steps which involve using free software. It’s followed by a list of essential security practices. The guide is intended to be a “minimum effective dose” of security against hackers, fraudsters and mass surveillance. It may seem like a lot, but if anything I went light because I don’t want people to get overwhelmed and do nothing. This is an incremental process. If one of these steps is too difficult or intimidating, don’t bail on everything else. Every step substantially decreases your risk exposure.

Good security is a habit more than anything. What may initially seem like an inconvenience will eventually not even be noticed, just like locking the door to your home. Suggestions for improvements and updates are welcome and appreciated.

STEP 1 – CLEAN AND PREP

Why: There’s a good chance your computer is already infected with malicious software (malware). Unfortunately malware attacks are a never-ending plague. You can’t spend time online and not be at risk of infection. This includes viruses, key loggers (which secretly record everything you type, like GROK or Magic Lantern) and various other programs that track you and send your private information to bad guys.

There are thousands and thousands of malware programs out there with new ones being launched daily. It’s not just hackers, fraudsters, or governments who create and spread malware. Huge companies that you’d think would be fiercely protective of their reputation, like Sony, will infect you. Lenovo, the world’s largest personal computer vendor, is under fire for selling 43 models with pre-installed malware which dramatically undermines your computer’s security. This site shows if you’re infected. If you are, here’s how to fix it.

***For Apple desktops and laptops only***

Install and run the following programs:

CCleaner – Download the free version. After you’ve run a scan and fixed any problems it finds, close it and then move onto the next program. I suggest running CCleaner once per month.

Sophos Anti-Virus Home Edition – This program is free. Install and run a scan to make sure you’re clean. Macs are much less virus prone than Windows PCs, but infections are still possible. I recommend this program because phishing attacks keep getting more and more sophisticated, and it’s pretty easy these days to be tricked into clicking malicious web site links and opening malicious files. If you already have another anti-virus program installed, update and run it instead.

***For Windows PCs and laptops only***

First, let’s make sure your copy of Windows is up to date. Microsoft is constantly releasing security patches to fix security vulnerabilities, and your computer should be set to automatically install important updates. If you don’t know how to check if important updates have been installed, see this if you’re running Windows 7 and this if you’re running Windows 8. Windows 10 installs updates automatically.

Second, see if your anti-virus scanner is up to date and then run a scan. Both Windows 7 and Windows 8 come with free anti-virus software. If you already run a third party anti-virus program, update and run that instead. If you haven’t installed any third party anti-virus software, on Windows 7 load Microsoft Security Essentials and do a scan. If you don’t have it, install it free here (ignore this if you run Windows 8). For Windows 8, run a scan with Windows Defender (see here if you need help). Don’t continue until the scan is finished. Virus scans take a while (10-20 minutes), so it’s a good time to grab a drink or a snack. If you find any infections, quarantine or delete them.

Third, we’re going to install and run four free programs that protect against malware. They all work a bit differently and catch different infections. If you already have other anti-malware programs you use, you can decide whether to delete them and go with this suite or stick with what you have.

Reboot your machine if it’s been on a long time. (A fresh restart is generally a good idea when installing a bunch of new software.) Then install and run the following:

CCleaner – Get the free version. Make a backup of your registry when it asks. After you’ve run a scan and fixed any problems it finds, close it and then move to the next program.

Malwarebytes Anti-Malware – Get the free version. Check for updates before running the scan. Fix any problems it finds and continue to the next program.

Spybot Search & Destroy – Get the free version. Check for Updates and run a scan. After it’s done and you fix any problems, Immunize your system. Immunization blocks your computer from communicating with a long list of known malicious sites.

Malwarebytes Anti-Exploit – Get the free version. This program shields your browser from sudden attacks that malware companies don’t yet know about called zero-day exploits. You don’t need to do anything. Just install and it will work in the background.

I suggest running CCleaner, Malwarebytes, and Spybot scans once a month. You should also do it immediately if you suspect that you’ve made a mistake like following a link to a shady-looking site you didn’t mean to visit or opening a suspect file.

STEP 2 – REPLACE YOUR BROWSER WITH FIREFOX

Why: (If you already use Firefox, skip to the add-on section.) People get attached to web browsers, so please consider my reasoning if you recoiled in horror at this suggestion. Google’s Chrome is the most popular web browser in the world. That image of Google’s boss and Obama gives an indication of how closely tied to the government Google is. Google is not only one of the government’s key business “partners.” It’s the juiciest target for the government to infiltrate. Snowden showed us that it has. You can virtually guarantee that NOCs work at Google.

Google’s business is literally mass surveillance. It collects more data about more people than any other company in the world. The business model is simple. Google tracks and records you and then turns you into a profile that it sells to advertisers. As Eric Schmidt said, “We know where you are. We know where you’ve been. We can more or less know what you’re thinking about.”

The reason Google’s services are free is because you’re not the customer. You are the product. As Google itself says, “Our customers are over one million advertisers, from small businesses targeting local customers to many of the world’s largest global enterprises…” It’s biggest customer is of course the U.S. government (federal and state).

In contrast, Firefox doesn’t track you and sell you as a product. The developers of Firefox are highly vocal about being anti-surveillance. Firefox is open source, meaning any programmer can audit the code to see what it’s doing. And Firefox has add-ons that are necessary to thwart tracking and surveillance. (Chrome has add-ons too, though many of them contain malicious code.) Bottom line is the Firefox people aren’t in the surveillance business.

If you’ve been using Internet Explorer, know that it’s being phased out by Microsoft and has been plagued with security flaws. And it doesn’t support important add-ons needed to protect you.

If you’re on Mac, I recommend Firefox over Apple’s Safari browser as a matter of diversifying trust. At the end of the day we’re trusting all software we use not to exploit us. But Firefox doesn’t have the financial incentive like Apple does to track you. And while Firefox is open source, Safari is not. Also Firefox has a more robust collection of add-ons.

What to do: Install Firefox and set it as your default web browser. After you have Firefox running, click the Options button (the gear icon), click the Update tab, and select “automatically install updates.” Then install these security add-ons. (Each add-on puts an icon in the Firefox toolbar for quick access to its settings.)

HTTPS Everywhere – (click “Install in Firefox”). This increases the difficulty of bad guys intercepting what you see in your browser and makes it harder for them to set traps that can give them access to your computer.

Adblock Plus – This protects you from some sites that are set up to install malicious software on your computer. It also blocks ads from companies whose business is surveillance (like Google and Facebook which track you even when you’re not on their sites). If there’s a site whose ads you want to see you can easily tell Adblock to show ads for that site. When you install Adblock, a confirmation screen will appear. Scroll down and turn these switches ON.

Privacy Badger – (click the ‘download for Firefox’ link). This add-on pays attention to when you’re being tracked by a browser cookie and then deletes it. There is some overlap with AdBlock Plus, but Privacy Badger fills in some gaps because it doesn’t rely on block lists.

Random Agent Spoofer – When you visit web sites your browser sends information about its configuration that leaves a unique digital fingerprint. This fingerprint identifies you. If you’re curious you can see the print it leaves here. Install Random Agent Spoofer so you don’t leave prints wherever you go.

Ghostery (optional) – If for some reason you try AdBlock Plus and don’t like it, Ghostery is a solid alternative to try. I suggest using one or the other. If you use it I don’t recommend enabling GhostRank. (The program will ask when you install it, saying that its data collection is anonymized). Anonymized data collection isn’t necessarily anonymous.

NoScript (optional) – NoScript is optional because there’s a substantial learning curve. NoScript makes web browsing more secure, but the price is that many sites won’t display properly until you tell NoScript which parts of the site to allow. Once you set the permissions for a site, NoScript will remember them. But there’s that initial few seconds at a new site where you may need to allow the core parts of the site for it to display correctly. It took me a couple days to get used to it, but this article gives good guidance if you need help. If it’s not too intimidating, give it a try. You can always remove any Firefox add-on if you don’t like it.

STEP 3 – USE A SURVEILLANCE-FREE SEARCH ENGINE

Why: Google tracks and records your search terms along with when you entered them as part of its profiling analysis. Yahoo and Bing do the same thing. By analyzing every search you make, a shocking amount can be learned about you. You can get the same search results without being tracked and profiled.

What to do: The good news is you can get Google’s search results without being tracked and recorded. StartPage is an anonymized version of Google, meaning it asks for search results on your behalf so that Google doesn’t know who is doing the asking. Go to StartPage and click “Add to my browser” and make it your default search engine. If you want non-Google search results, use Ixquick for a composite of several other search engine results. Both are excellent. Just make sure you set one of them as your default search engine. One other option is DuckDuckGo, which also doesn’t surveil you, though I prefer the search results of the other two.

STEP 4 – END THE PASSWORD NIGHTMARE

Why: Passwords are our bread and butter security measure. We use them every day to guard our accounts, assets, and personal information. The nightmare is that passwords as a security measure totally suck. The majority of passwords are so weak that they’re hacked within seconds. The security industry desperately needs to innovate beyond passwords, but we’re stuck with them for now.

The reason passwords suck is it’s really hard to remember a strong password, much less a strong password for every account you have. So people end up using weak passwords, and they use the same one or two passwords everywhere. This is a security disaster.

Massive advances in computing power and password cracking software have made once-strong passwords a joke. Ed Snowden put it simply. The government can make 1 trillion password guesses per second. Free agent bad guys can make trillions of guesses too; it just takes them a bit longer. And the guesses are educated, not random, starting with databases of millions of real passwords which have already been hacked.

The disturbing truth is that 99% of the passwords people use are easy to crack for a reason. The same strategies we use to make passwords memorable are the very same strategies hackers exploit to crack them.

Hackers study how we come up with passwords – the most common words, the way we combine them, and the modifications we make. Then they write software that tests variations of those strategies using alternate spellings (like “l34rn” instead of “learn”), famous dates, names, movies, sports teams, addresses, combinations of your personal and family info, phrase and quote dictionaries, song lyrics, et cetera.

Even when we think we’re being really clever, we’re not. One site recommended taking an easy-to-remember password and then shifting your hands over a key to the right to type it. So Happydays would becomeJs[[ufsud. Seems like a great idea since the password now looks totally random. Except it’s not random at all. Hackers know this strategy too and can easily write software to apply the key shift strategy against all the other educated guesses they’re making.

Even if you do have a strong password, if you’re using it (or a slight variation of it) multiple places, you’re opening yourself up to attack. Even if the password is rock solid, the web sites we entrust our passwords to get compromised. Google, AT&T, Apple, Home Depot, Ebay, Target…all have been hacked at various times.

You can have the strongest password in the world, but if the system storing it is defeated, the attacker will have access to wherever else you use that password. And they’ll try variations of it too.

Given the disastrous state of passwords, we have to know how to make strong, unique passwords which can withstand sustained automated attacks. But what if you have 20, 30, or even 100 web site accounts? Fortunately the market has provided us with password management software that can generate and remember strong passwords with minimal effort. But the master password to access the manager needs to come from you and obviously be very strong. Same thing with the password to access your computer and phone.

What to do: Before we get to the password manager, it’s imperative that you know how to create strong, memorable passwords. I’ve researched a bunch of approaches and incorporated them into a basic methodology.

I can’t get overly specific about how to use the method because a specific strategy that’s public is easy to reverse engineer and crack. For example, people think the strategy of taking a famous phrase like “to be or not to be” and using the first word of each letter – tbontb – is a good password strategy because it looks so random. It’s actually a lousy password because it’s too short and that first-letter strategy is well known. Any good password cracker will run that strategy against databases of famous phrases, quotes, lyrics, poems, et cetera. So I’m going to show you how to make your own strategy using a modified pass phrase.

Unlike a password, a pass-phrase is several words. Every pass-phrase you make should be at least six words long. Here’s the catch. The words can’t be something you’d find in a database, like tobeornottobe, or variations of it like t0b30rn0tt0b3 or ToBeOrNotToBe! These are all readily cracked.

You need six words that mean something to you personally, but not to a bunch of other people. That’s the key. When people hear they should use a pass-phrase, they often pick something others would too, like newenglandpatriots or dancetillyoudrop. Not strong. It’s got to be 1) personal to you and 2) quirky. For example, mysizzlingloveaffairwithbacon is good because it’s pleasant to type, easy to remember, and the wording is quirky, not just a simple statement like ieatbaconeveryday. Even if you knew me and my affinity for bacon, mysizzlingloveaffairwithbacon would still be extremely difficult crack. (Don’t use this passphrase even if you share my love of bacon.)

So to review, we want personal and quirky – not literal information, like iwenttowaldonhighschool or ihavetwoyoungersisters or mymomisnamedsallysmith.

By the way, some people use totally random words like cowhandlestringredplentywindow, but I find that much harder to remember. It’s very secure though because it guarantees the user won’t pick an obvious or famous phrase. But a quirky, personal pass-phrase will not only be easier to remember, it won’t be annoying to type.

Make sure you use 6+ words. The difference in typing time between six or seven words versus two or three is only a couple seconds, but the difference in password security is gargantuan. The word count is much more important than the word length. blueantsfreakmybedout is strong even though it’s made of short words. Don’t skimp on word count.

Also know that you can include spaces in your passphrases (blue ants freak my bed out). I didn’t just to make the examples I’ve provided easier to distinguish from the text.

Now that you know how to make a quirky personal pass-phrase, we’re going to add one more layer of security. We’re going to apply a modification to the pass-phrase. Why? Because if an adversary figures out you’re using a pass-phrase, lower-case English words with no modification will be the first line of attack. The relentlessly increasing speed of computers means you might be vulnerable even if you use six words. Also if you unknowingly pick a common phrase like a famous quote or line from a song, the modification can save you from being cracked.

One example of a modification is to capitalize the first word of the pass-phrase – Mysizzlingloveaffairwithbacon. This modification is the most obvious one though, and bad guys know that, so pick something else. Pick anything that does something with capitals, punctuation, numbers, or any combination of those. Do your own thing, even if it’s simple. That’s better than a common modification like using leetspeak (e.g. substituting 3 for e, 4 for “a,” and 0 for “o”). Hackers have common modifications like this nailed.

It doesn’t need to be finger-twisting to type. You could even integrate the modification into the context of the passphrase itself, like eat8baconstripsEverymorningyay! That’s a deliciously strong password that you shouldn’t use.

An extremely powerful modification technique you should consider is swapping one or more of your pass-phrase words with a foreign language equivalent. Don’t bother with foreign words that are so popular that they’re used in English too, like nada or mucho. It doesn’t matter what language you pick, even Pig Latin, as long as you can remember the word. mysizzlingloveaffairwithaconbay turns “bacon” into Pig Latin, pun intended.

You’ll only need to invent and remember a pass-phrase to unlock your password manager and to log into your (soon to be encrypted) devices. The rest will be handled by your password manager.

If you’re nervous about forgetting a new strong password, you can write it down until it’s grooved. Some security people will tell you to never write down a password, but writing down a strong one is far better than having a weak password. Just don’t put the password someplace obvious, like next to your computer. The odds of somebody breaking your weak passwords online is exponentially higher than somebody breaking into your home and finding your passwords.

If you write down a password, here’s a technique in case someone finds the paper and tries to use it. Insert some dummy characters into the password that you’ll recognize as not being legit but which will fool others. You could add something, like your year of birth, as a decoy. So it would be, for example, mysizzling1980loveaffairwithbacon. If somebody finds and uses it, when it fails they’ll think you’ve changed your password.

Picking a Password Manager

A password manager does two critical things. First, it remembers all your passwords in an encrypted vault (except of course the password to access the vault). And second, it can replace your crappy passwords with automatically generated very strong passwords.

After you’ve chosen a manager, you’ll want to make sure that you’ve told Firefox not to remember your passwords. Go to Options ? Security and uncheck “Remember passwords for sites.”

There are several password managers to choose from. They all have pluses and minuses. Here are a few I think are worth your consideration. Using any of them will massively improve your security, so go with whatever seems to suit you best. They are all free to try.

KeePass has been around a long time. It’s open source, free, and everything is stored on your machine. None of your passwords are uploaded to the cloud (a third party’s servers), so you don’t have to trust strangers to keep your passwords safe. But KeePass has a clunky interface that takes some getting used to. It’s also less convenient for the same reason that it’s more secure: Having your passwords in the cloud means you don’t have to worry about backing up the password vault or syncing your vault with other devices. With KeePass you have to back up your vault because if your computer dies or is stolen, you’ll lose all your passwords. And if you change a password, you need to manually sync the vault with any other computer or mobile device you use. KeePass was originally written for Windows, but because it’s open source there are multiple versions for all platforms to choose from.

Next we move to cloud-based managers. Dashlane has an elegant interface and is feature rich. Lastpass is the most popular manager and is also feature rich. They have a lot going for them, but both companies are based in the U.S. and subject to strong-arming. They promise that they store your passwords in an encrypted form that they can’t access, but there’s no way to know for certain because it’s not open source software.

If either company gets a government demand to divulge customer data or compromise their software with a backdoor, they will be legally gagged from telling people about it. I’m not making a value judgment against the companies – they seem very sincere and well-intentioned. But let’s not fool ourselves. Nobody at these companies is going to go to prison protecting your or my security. That said, Dashlane gives you the choice of storing your password vault locally (no copy in the cloud). If you’re willing to handle backing the vault up, that provides a substantial measure of assurance.

Another good choice for a cloud-based closed source manager is 1Password. One benefit it has over Dashlane and Lastpass is that it’s not in the U.S. The company is Canadian, and they point out that they have key people based in four different countries. If a demand was issued with a gag order, the principals in the other three jurisdictions could alert customers that their security was compromised without being tossed in prison.

Last but not least, my favorite choice is Encryptr, a free and open source cloud-based manager and e-wallet. Encryptr is zero-knowledge, meaning you don’t have to trust a third party to keep your passwords safe. You get the benefit of cloud storage without the risk of trusting closed source software. It’s not nearly as feature rich as 1Password, Dashlane, or Lastpass, but I personally like simplicity. And when it comes to all your passwords, open source transparency and zero-knowledge are arguably an overriding consideration.

I encourage you to try two or three out and see what feels right to you. Don’t stress about your choice. Whatever you pick, you’ll be massively more secure.

The final step with any password manager is to visit every site you have an account with and replace the old password with a newly generated strong password. Yes it’s an annoyance, but you only need to do it once. The payoff in security is enormous. (And don’t forget to turn off Firefox’s password storage: Options ? Security ? uncheck “Remember passwords for sites.”)

STEP 5 – ENCRYPT YOUR COMPUTER

This means your computer’s hard drive(s) and any external hard drives.

Why: If you currently use a password to log onto your computer, that doesnot protect the information on your computer. The log-in can be circumvented with little effort by anybody with modest skills. Your drive needs to be encrypted, or your data is exposed to anybody with access to your computer.

If your computer is ever stolen, you’ll be out a computer but encryption means you won’t have to worry about being blackmailed, defrauded, stalked, or having your life otherwise hacked to bits.

If your internal or external hard drive dies and you chuck it or take it to get repaired, a stranger won’t be able to take it and recover all your data on it. They will only find an encrypted volume.

If your computer is ever confiscated at an airport, a border crossing, or in a government raid of your home, everything on it will be inaccessible rather than wide open.

***For Apple desktops and laptops only***

Apple ships its desktop and laptop computers with built-in encryption called FileVault. Follow these directions and turn it on. Don’t store your security key with Apple, and don’t store it on iCloud where Apple can be forced to disclose it or expose it in a security breach. Use the third recovery option: a strong passphrase. If you’re nervous you’ll forget it, print it out and store it someplace safe (not with the computer). And if you print it use the tip about printed passwords: Insert some dummy characters into the password that you’ll recognize as not being legit in case somebody finds it.

If you have external hard drives, you should encrypt those with FileVault too.Here’s how.

If you don’t want to trust Apple with your encryption (e.g. the possibility of a government back door), there is a free and open source solution. Veracrypt. It’s the successor to a highly respected encryption program called TrueCrypt. Unfortunately using Veracrypt is more complicated than File Vault, so expect about 30 minutes of learning curve. You can use VeraCrypt to encrypt your main computer drive and any external drives. It also can create an encrypted “file container,” which is like having a virtual hard drive of any size you choose where anything you put in it gets encrypted. For example you could make a 1 gigabyte file containers, put all your most important documents in it, and then put that file container anywhere – USB drives, the cloud, wherever – and your data is secure even if someone gets their hands on the container. (You can use Veracrypt to make file containers even if you use FileVault to encrypt your drive.)

Here’s the VeraCrypt documentation, most of which you don’t need to read to benefit from the core functionality of the program. (The default options are fine to use unless you need advanced features.) You can also search Youtube for several Veracrypt tutorials. The Beginner’s Tutorial is a good place to start. It will show how to make a file container. Once you feel comfortable making a file container (make and delete a couple just to get the hang of it), then try encrypting an external volume, like an external hard drive. The final step is to encrypt your main drive.

***For Windows PCs and laptops only***

Just to reiterate, having a Windows password will deter a nosey passer-by from going through your computer, but it is does not provide meaningful security.

You have a few decent options. The first is to use Microsoft’s disk encryption, which is called BitLocker. It’s free if you already are running Windows Vista Ultimate or Enterprise, Windows 7 Ultimate or Enterprise edition, or Windows 8 or 8.1 Pro or Enterprise edition. If you’re not you’ll need to upgrade to use BitLocker. Here’s a guide to get started if you want to got his route. My one criticism of BitLocker is it’s closed source, so nobody can tell if it has government backdoors. (Also new Windows 8.1 PCs ship with “Pervasive Device Encryption,” but Microsoft forces everyone to upload the encryption key Microsoft, so it’s not truly secure.)

The other option is to use the free and open source Veracrypt. It’s the successor to a highly respected encryption program called TrueCrypt. Unfortunately using VeraCrypt is a bit more complicated than BitLocker, so expect 20-30 minutes of ramp up. You can use VeraCrypt to encrypt your main computer drive (the one with your operating system on it), as well as any external drives. It also can create encrypted “file containers,” which is like having an encrypted virtual hard drive of any size you choose. Anything you put in a file container gets encrypted. For example you could make a 1 gigabyte file container, put all your most important documents in it, and then put that file container anywhere – usb thumb drive, cloud storage, wherever – and your data is secure even if someone gets their hands on the container file (assuming you used a strong passphrase).

Here’s the VeraCrypt documentation, most of which you don’t need to read to benefit from the core functionality of the program. (The default options are fine to use unless you need advanced features.) You can also search Youtube for several Veracrypt tutorials. The Beginner’s Tutorial is a good place to start. It will show how to make a file container. Once you feel comfortable making a file container (make and delete a couple just to get the hang of it), then try encrypting an external volume, like an external hard drive.

The last step is encrypting your system disk (your main drive, typically the C: drive). To do that you need a CD burner and a blank disk to make a Rescue Disk in case there’s a problem. If you’re not technical it’s a bit scary, and I appreciate how much it sucks to feel technically intimidated. So if you get freaked out, either use BitLocker if you have it, or make a big VeraCrypt container (they can be whatever size you want) and keep all your private data in there. A VeraCrypt container is pretty quick and easy to make, and you can copy it anywhere just like a regular file.

DiskCryptor is another free, open source alternative that is a bit easier to use (and has fewer features). Here’s a tutorial video that walks you through how to encrypt your main drive step by step.

STEP 6 – SECURE YOUR MOBILE DEVICES

Why: If your phone or tablet is ever stolen the last thing you want is to worry about is having all your contacts, email, photos and other personal info in the hands of bad guys.

I know people who have had phones taken into back rooms during random airport security questioning. You really want your data encrypted with a strong password in a situation like that because all of your phone’s data can be cloned very quickly.

Because you can be arrested for trivial infractions such as driving without a seatbelt or having unpaid parking tickets, even the smallest crimes can be combined with narratives cops are trained to concoct about reasonable suspicion to pry open the door for a full-blown search of your digital life using sophisticated analytical tools. The only protection you have – and it’s great protection, thankfully – is to encrypt and password protect your mobile devices.

Needless to say, if a police officer or other government agent tells you to unlock your phone, politely refuse. If you comply, anything they find can be used against you. And it doesn’t matter whether you’ve been Mirandized or not. No matter how certain you are that you haven’t committed a crime (re-read the Into the Abyss section again if you think you’re innocent), there are officers who will plant evidence and fabricate testimony, so don’t give them rope to hang you. This guide provides essential guidance on how to interact with police.

***for iPhone and iPad users only***

TouchID – If you have an Apple device that has TouchID, I recommend using it.

Passcode – Many people don’t even put a passcode on their iOS device. Hopefully it’s clear by now that doing that is pretty much like begging for misery.

If you don’t have a passcode, from the home menu tap the gray settings icon. Then tap the “General” settings button and choose “Passcode Lock.” Tap the “Turn Passcode On” option at the top of the menu. Turn “Simple Passcode” OFF and choose a real passcode – at least 10 characters. Will it be annoying at first to spend an extra 2-3 seconds unlocking your phone? Yes, but you’ll get used to it.

People who use the “simple passcode” option might as well not have a passcode. Anybody who is determined can guess a 4 digit password within a couple hours, often within minutes since people pick obvious ones like 1111, 1234, 4321, 4444, 1357, 3579, et cetera.

If the extra 2 or 3 seconds to enter a real passcode is unpalatable, at the very least turn the “Erase Data” option to ON in the Passcode Lock settings page – and don’t use an obvious 4 digit code.

Don’t Trust – Apple’s attempts to make things automatic can lead to critical security breaches. Here’s one many iPhone users don’t know about. Say a coworker is going to put a file on your iPhone, like a sales video you both made together. You plug your iPhone into his Mac. Up pops a question asking if you “Trust” his computer. If you say ‘yes’ and you have your iTunes set to backup iPhone data automatically, ALL your iPhone data will be copied to your coworker’s computer – contacts, messages, email, photos, everything. So don’t “Trust,” or make sure you have automatic backup turned OFF.

***for Android users only***

Cyanogenmod – Manufacturers of Android devices install various software that they ship with the device. You really don’t know what that software is doing. It may track you, and it’s often “bloatware” that slows your device down. A solution is to install Cyanogenmod. If you have a device on this list, then you can use the Installer which makes things easy. If you don’t have a device supported by the Installer, I would skip it unless you want to roll up your sleeves and get fairly technical.

There are many advantages to Cyanogenmod. Your device will run faster and have some extra privacy features. Here’s a good roundup to judge if you think it’s right for you. If you want to give it a go, this is where you start.

Encrypt your device – While iPhones are encrypted by default, Android devices generally are not. (Some new Android models like the Nexus 9 are shipped with encryption on by default, and fortunately most other new Android devices will follow suit shortly.)

Be aware that if your Android device is more than a couple years old, encrypting it will make it perform more slowly. I think it’s worth it, but it bears mentioning since this is the case for older models. You can try it, and if it’s not workable for you, you can unencrypt the phone, but know that unencrypting it will factory reset it. Newer Android devices don’t suffer any noticeable performance hit.

When you enable encryption, you’ll need your phone to be mostly charged as well as plugged in. It takes about 30-60 minutes. Go to Settings->More->Security->Encrypt device. Here you’ll of course want to pick a strong passphrase that’s ideally easy to type. Remember without a decent passphrase there’s not much point to the encryption. Will it be annoying initially to spend an extra 2-3 seconds unlocking your phone? Yes, but you’ll get used to it. It’s worth it.

Be sensible – I agree with this article’s advice that you generally don’t need anti-virus software for Android devices if you’re sensible about sticking to legit-looking apps from the Google Store or other trusted sources that seem legit. Also avoid apps that demand unreasonable permissions to access to your phone. If you’re downloading a game and it wants permission to access all your contacts or dial phone numbers, for example, I’d skip it. The freeDCentral1 app lets you monitor what permissions your apps have.

STEP 7 – USE SECURE CLOUD STORAGE

Why: If you’re going to upload files to cloud storage like Dropbox, Google Drive, iCloud, or OneDrive, use a service that encrypts your files before they are uploaded. No matter what Dropbox claims about security (and they’ve been caught contradicting themselves), you don’t want to trust any company with your personal files. The Dropbox site says, “Dropbox employees are prohibited from viewing the content of files you store.” Saying people are not allowed to look at your files is not security you can count on, nor is it protection from the government surveilling your Dropbox.

What to do: To quote Snowden, “Get rid of Dropbox.” Snowden’s suggestion is to use SpiderOak because it’s zero-knowledge, meaning they encrypt your files before they’re uploaded, making it impossible for the company to see the contents of what you store on their servers. The first 2GB on SpiderOakare free. An alternative to SpiderOak that takes a similar approach is Wuala, which gives the first 5GB free. Also worth considering is open source encrypted cloud storage such as Seafile (1GB free) or the mostly open sourceCyphertite (8GB free).

Any of these options are far better than Dropbox, Google Drive, et cetera. Since they all give free storage space, maybe try out two or three.

STEP 8 – SHUN SURVEILLANCE-BASED SOCIAL MEDIA

Why: Many people in this world are lonely. “Free” social networks like Facebook are designed to capitalize on this. In return for helping you feel connected to others, they study you like a lab rat and turn you into a product. I’m not exaggerating. As the founder of Facebook said, “They ‘trust me’ – dumb fucks.” Meanwhile he surrounds his home with empty lots and hundreds of acres of undeveloped land.

Facebook’s “like” system is designed to reinforce whatever your existing beliefs are. Facebook is engineered to be a giant echo chamber which figures out what you like to hear so it can feed it to you. That’s how it hooks people.

It’s also the ultimate propaganda system. Recall Facebook’s notorious social engineering experiment which proved it could manipulate the mood of over half a million people by altering their feeds. The experiment received funding from the US Army Research office. The military funds research on the mass manipulation of a population’s mood? You don’t say.

As with Google, Facebook’s core business is mass surveillance. You’re the product, not the customer. Facebook collects and stores an insane amount of intel about every facet of your life. It not only tracks everywhere you go, it lets others track you too.

Facebook has developed software as accurate as the human brain to reveal your identity in any photo you or someone else uploads. And yes, even 4 years ago Facebook was tracking you and assembling hundreds of pages of intel on you even when you weren’t logged in. Now it’s thousands of pages, and the surveillance and analysis are much more sophisticated.

Every time people post photos of themselves and others to Facebook, Instagram (owned by Facebook), Twitter, Google, or other surveillance-based services, they are unwittingly building mass surveillance databases containing the details of people’s appearances, who they associate with, what they do, and when and where they’ve been.

A single innocuous photo can reveal a lot of information. Trillions of photosis a frightfully vast surveillance database to be exploited by regimes, corporations, and free agent bad guys. Mass surveillance depends on social media as a primary data source.

Every American technology mega-corp has backdoors. Snowden made it clear: Tech giants are surveillance proxies for the government. The government’s own top secret slide is worth repeating here as it just says it all.

The Mass Surveillance ComplexThe Mass Surveillance Complex

To put it plainly, Facebook and other “free” social media services are mass surveillance roach motels. Free is the bait to get you in the door, and surveillance intel is used to hook you on the service so you can become a forever profitable product. Yes they are slickly marketed, convenient, and ultra-popular. They are also a trap and indispensable to the mass surveillance scaffolding. Check out of the roach motel.

What to do: It’s easy to share photos with friends and family without undermining our security by using encrypted cloud storage (step 7) or encrypted messaging and email (coming up). But to some the prospect ofopting out of Facebook or other social networks is unthinkable. But is Facebook actually improving the quality of your life? Are you now happy and fulfilled because of Facebook? If you’re willing to try, here are some suggestions for breaking the addiction.

If you’re unwilling to reject surveillance-based social media, at the very least adjust the “privacy” settings as tight as you can so that your life isn’t an open book to free agent bad guys. Facebook and Twitter are primary research tools for hackers and stalkers, and of course police and surveillance agencies. They use fake profiles to friend you and gather intelligence. Or impersonate you and use you as an unwitting honeypot. The NSA evenimpersonates Facebook.

You can replace surveillance-based social networks with non-surveillance alternatives. I’m a member of Liberty.me, a member-funded social and publishing network. Because its members are its customers, Liberty.me eschews a surveillance-based business model. Members can sign up with fiat money or bitcoin. Unlike Facebook which demands people use their real names, you can choose any name you’d like and reveal your identity only to those you personally trust.

I haven’t tried them, but Diaspora and Friendica are two other social networks which are not surveillance based, and there are others in development.

STEP 9 – ENCRYPT YOUR EMAIL, CHAT, AND TEXTS

Why: Your email, chat, and texts desperately need to be secure. They are a jackpot of personal information about your life that can be used to harm you in any number of ways. It doesn’t matter if you think your life is not particularly exciting. People who stalk, extort, kidnap, and blackmail don’t limit their targets to hard-partying celebrities. Your email gives a treasure trove of leads to bad guys about how and where else they can invade your life. Surveillance-based email options like Gmail are not encrypted, and your email is automatically scanned and analyzed for packaging you to advertisers.

Companies that offer closed source software which claim to use robust end-to-end encryption are not worth considering unless there are no other options (and fortunately there are). A perfect example is WhatsApp, owned by Facebook. The company says it uses and likes open source, and yet WhatsApp’s code is not open source. Being closed source, people have no way to verify the quality of the encryption, whether there are bugs in the implementation, whether there are backdoors, and what is happening to your data behind the scenes. There have been several security breaches, but as with all closed source software, we don’t know how many security flaws are being quietly exploited right now.

The same issues make Skype untrustworthy despite its claims of secure encryption. Microsoft scans your Skype messages, and there have been back-doors in Skype and other Microsoft products for years.

The bottom line is no matter how exciting and promising the security claims, any closed source software, especially if offered by a U.S. based company with U.S. backers who fund military contractors, is fundamentally unable to provide reliable security assurances.

What to do: Replace your communications software with encrypted alternatives. Email, chat, texts, and phone calls. (Yes, even SIM card manufacturers have been hacked.)

Texting:

Open Whisper Systems – Signal for iOS. TextSecure for Android.

Telegram – iOS, Android, Mac, Windows, Linux

Phone calls:

Signal for iPhone. Red Phone for Android.

Chat:

CryptoCat – iOS, Mac OS X, Firefox add-on

ChatSecure – iOS and Android.

Telegram – iOS, Android, Mac, Windows, Linux

Adium – Mac OS X

Email:

If you like the convenience of using a webmail account, choose a provider who uses built-in encryption. I like Tutanota, Protonmail, Neomailbox, and Countermail. (I’d recommend Startmail too if they accepted bitcoin.) They all use an open source, gold standard encryption called PGP. Tutanota deserves particular recognition because it’s entirely open source. Some of them are subscription based, and some operate on donations. Unlike Gmail and its ilk, these all have robust privacy policies, are hosted outside the U.S. (making them harder to strong-arm), and make the encryption process seamless.

By contrast, if you want to use a local email client like Thunderbird, the only way to do so securely is to configure and use PGP yourself. Doing that onWindows and on Mac is frankly a huge pain in the rear for non-technical people. Even Glenn Greenwald, the reporter who broke the Snowden story, couldn’t follow the tutorial Snowden made for him. Upstart Whiteout looks like it’s trying to make the process far easier.

If you’re dead set on using an insecure mail provider like Gmail, Yahoomail, or Outlook, your best bet is to use Mailvelope to incorporate PGP encryption. It’s still a hassle to use, though, compared to Tutanota and the others who do the encryption for you automatically.

I realize that switching email providers is a big deal (as far as these things go). But notifying people that you’re switching to an encrypted email provider is a desperately needed message people need to hear. Overcoming mass surveillance is more of a motivational challenge than anything else. Mass surveillance is packaged as just another news item to shake your head over. But personal action is the only thing that will inspire others to take it seriously. Mass surveillance is not a news items. It’s a silent war being waged against us.

When you choose an email address, consider not basing it on your name. There are constant security breaches at companies resulting in email addresses getting lifted along with other potentially embarrassing info. If your email address also reveals your name, it gives bad guys another piece of data to work with in taking you apart.

STEP 10: USE A QUALITY OFFSHORE VPN

Why: You have an ISP who provides you with internet access. The problem is that ISPs monitor and record your activity online. Net neutrality will onlyintensify the monitoring as ISPs are turned into government regulated utilities.

The same monitoring happens when you’re at a coffee shop, airport, hotel, or other public wifi. But at those places it’s even worse because anyone with technical skill can monitor what you’re doing in addition to the ISP.

That’s where a VPN comes in. It stands for Virtual Private Network. The main benefit it offers is to encrypt your Internet traffic. Neither your ISP or the creepy guy at Starbucks will be able to track what you do online.

What to do: Choosing a good VPN is key. This is the one step in this guide where I urge people to avoid the free route. There are free VPNs, but they are slower and typically have lousy privacy policies because they target you with ads to compensate for the VPN being free. VPN services require substantial capital investment, so you really want to be a customer rather than the product for advertisers. It’ll cost around 15-20 cents per day. Hugely worth it for the security benefit.

What you want is a reputable VPN that uses strong encryption and a “no log” policy. You also want the VPN to be based outside the U.S. Otherwise the company can be legally gagged and crushed like Lavabit. I suggest choosing one of the VPNs from the list provided here.

ESSENTIAL SECURITY PRACTICES

Congratulations on taking action! The process of hardening your security gives great perspective on just how insecure our digital lives are. No wonder we’re constantly hearing about security disasters.

The following practices are for the most part quick and simple to adopt. They can save you untold grief.

PDF and Word doc risks. Adobe pdf files can be rigged with malware. If you download or receive a pdf from an unknown or untrusted source, scan it with your virus scanner before opening it. Also disable Javascript in your pdf reader. If upon opening an untrusted document you are solicited to click on a hyperlink, it’s likely a trap. Same for Microsoft Word documents. Avoid opening them unless they’re from a trusted source.

By the way, if you’re tired of paying for Microsoft Office, switch to the free and open source Open Office. It reads and writes Microsoft Word, Excel, and Powerpoint files.

Recognize when “free” is a trap. Bad guys know that free things are enticing. There’s a lot of wonderful free and open source software (FOSS). But there’s even more free software out there that despite promising great benefits is malicious. Exercise caution and do some web searching first to see if a program is malware before you try it out. A little due diligence can quickly confirm what’s legit.

The same warning applies to free reports or books sent as pdf files or Word docs. Typically they promise to deliver health, sex, or money-making secrets. Documents can have malware embedded in them, as can the sites that promise to give you access to them.

Keep Adobe Flash up to date, or better, dump it. If you decide to use Flash (many sites and online games use it), make sure you keep it up to date because it’s been plagued with security flaws. Adobe Flash will also try to slip in McAfee Security Scan during the installation. The installer annoyingly opts you in by default because Adobe gets an affiliate kickback. I suggest notallowing McAfee to be installed (uncheck the box). It’s a crippled version of McAfee’s paid product that will say your computer is at risk until you purchase it, and it’s a pain to uninstall. If it slipped by you already and you want to uninstall it, here’s how. Or even better, uninstall Flash and see if you can get by without it.

Cover your webcam when you’re not using it. Even five years ago public school employees were remotely turning on web cams and secretly recording students at home. Plenty of malware and commercial stalkerwareout there does the same thing. Most desktop computers don’t have a camera or microphone, so you can disable them both just by unplugging your webcam when you’re not using it. And that little dot above your laptop screen where the camera lens is? Cover it up with a bit of post-it note or black electrical tape. It takes 3 seconds to cover and uncover the lens, so just groove the habit. Unfortunately there’s no easy fix I know of to physically enable and disable your computer’s mic.

If you have an Android device, here’s an inexpensive app that can disable your camera and microphone, which can be remotely activated and used as a surveillance device.

Use two-factor authentication (2FA). 2FA uses two security tests to permit access to information or physical resources. One example is an ATM card and a PIN code. Another is a password and a fingerprint. The more factors you add, the harder it is for bad guys to crack. Just going from one to two factors provides a huge increase in security. Many mobile devices can take advantage of 2FA. The downside is it’s usually more inconvenient to use. Bad guys are counting on you to be dissuaded by that, so use 2FA whenever you can. Here’s a directory of sites that support 2FA.

Have kids? Parental controls. Kids are a security nightmare. Gold stars to you if you teach them how to behave intelligently online. Just recognize that it’s highly unlikely they will always follow your instruction. Kids are particularly resourceful about things that are forbidden. If they ask you to buy a movie or video game for them and you say no – if they ask at all – they may decide to find it online. Whether or not you approve of that, “free” software is a honeypot for malware.

Bad guys are smart. They’ll offer a “cracked” copy of a video game, for example, but the act of installing it will also surreptitiously install malicious software that can do anything from stalking you to recording everything you type (including passwords) to sending files from your hard drive to bad guys. A lot of malware also turns your computer into a zombie that infects other computers on the web. If you care about not harming others online, use measures to avoid becoming a tool for bad guys to go after others.

Both Microsoft and Apple provide parental control settings for choosing what can be downloaded and visited on the web. There is also free third party software that gives you more options, as well as parental control apps for mobile devices. Consider these options carefully unless you have full confidence in your kids and their friends.

Encrypt individual files and folders. There are lots of reasons for encrypting individual files or folders. Maybe you need to email files to people who use insecure (unencrypted) email like Gmail or a corporate email address. Maybe you want to put files on a USB stick and take them someplace. Maybe you need to upload files to somebody’s Dropbox or Google Drive account who is unwilling to switch to SpiderOak. Maybe you want a person or organization to have files in their possession but not be able to access them until a certain event happens like an accident. Maybe you want to back up a big directory full of files and keep it at a location that’s handy but not secure like the desk of an apartment filled with roommates. Or maybe you just want an extra layer of protection for very important files in case somebody accesses your computer when you’re logged in and your hard drive is decrypted.

Whatever the reason may be, there are several free programs for encrypting individual files or folders. To encrypt a file or folder full of files, I suggest the free and open source 7-zip on Windows or Keka on Mac. Both programs compress your files but also give you the option of encrypting them. There are different compression formats those programs can use like 7-zip, zip, and rar. I suggest using 7-zip format because it’s Mac and Windows compatible and the compression is good. Here’s a quick how-to for both programs. Just remember compressing files won’t encrypt them by default; you also need to enter a (strong) passphrase. After you encrypt it the name of the file like “MyAccounts.7z” or “SurpriseVacation.7z” will still be visible.

Deleted files aren’t deleted until you shred them. Any file you delete isn’t actually deleted when you trash it. All trashing it means is that you’ve given permission for the file to be overwritten. To make sure that the empty space on any storage device is actually empty rather than filled with your deleted files, you need to use a program that writes dummy data over your real data a few times. A program we’ve already used, Ccleaner, does this (use at least 3 overwrites). On Windows another option is Eraser, which is open source. An even more comprehensive one is BleachBit. Mac users can shred deleted files by selecting Secure Empty Trash. More details on Mac file shreddinghere.

Securely deleting files on SSDs (used in mobile devices, lots of laptops, USB thumb drives, and many desktop computers) is a no-go for technical reasons. That’s why it’s all the more important to make sure the drives are encrypted. If you ever want to sell or give away your Android or iOS device, do a factory reset. The encrypted data will still be there but the encryption key will be erased, making the data unrecoverable.

Privatize your purchases. Your credit card transactions are recorded and distributed to multiple government agencies. As with tech companies, the government is a direct customer of the credit agencies who give them your financial information. Like surveillance-based social media, you are the product, not the customer.

A running record of every transaction you make along with when and where you make it is a mass surveillance wet dream. Like uploading your photos to Facebook, every credit card transaction helps weave the mass surveillance net. I don’t deny the convenience of credit cards or the benefit of “points.” But as with social media, the price is hidden but high.

Use cash when you can. It’s still relatively private, which is why the government hates it. But know that having a few thousand dollars in your possession makes you a criminal suspect. If found, your cash will likely beconfiscated. Its use is gradually being outlawed and several countries arerapidly going cashless.

Also know that if you try to withdraw a few thousand dollars out of your bank account you will likely be questioned and have a Suspicious Activity Report filed with the government. The same thing goes if you try to deposit a sizable amount in your account.

Precious metals are also difficult for the government to track. While they can be a great way to hold onto your savings in a zero-interest QE-driven world, the problem is it’s difficult to purchase things without resorting to barter.

So how to deal with the fact that withdrawing or holding cash in meaningful amounts has become a serious liability? More people every day are turning to non-government digital currencies. These non-government currencies are called cryptocurrencies because they are secured against counterfeiting through their use of cryptography. The most popular cryptocurrency is bitcoin.

There are many good reasons to use cryptocurrencies. The first is that you have monetary independence and privacy. You don’t have to fill out bank forms or get permission to access your money. You can send money anywhere in the world instantly without forms or questioning, and it costs only a few cents in fees. People who work abroad and send money home typically pay 10% in remittance fees. The compound savings by not getting clipped 10% every time is huge.

Hundreds of thousands of items can be purchased with bitcoin, including the recommended VPNs in Step 10.

The second is security. Accounts can be locked down and siphoned for bail-ins. Cash can be lost, stolen, and seized. You cannot walk around with a substantial amount of cash without making yourself a target. That is doubly true if you travel, where carrying $10,000 on a plane effectively makes you a criminal suspect.

You can carry any amount of cryptocurrency in a secure “wallet” on your phone, computer, USB thumbdrive, or even your camera’s flash card without anybody seeing what you have. Your wallet can be backed up the same way you would back up any computer file. If your phone or computer get stolen, the money can’t be spent without the key to your wallet. You can copy your wallet as many places as you want and even print it out as a paper wallet. You also can split your money into as many wallets as you want and store them different places if desired.

For the ultimate in portability and security, you can use a brain wallet. A brain wallet means that access to your money is literally only in your brain via your passphrase. There is no other way to access your wallet (so don’t forget the passphrase!) You can cross any border with just the clothes on your back while “carrying” any amount of money with you.

While bitcoin transactions are not systematically identity tracked and reported to corporations and government agencies, bitcoin purchases are not truly anonymous. While your name isn’t attached to purchases, the purchases themselves can be traced. There are techniques for anonymizing bitcoin, such as mixing. Another option if you want to make anonymous purchases is the DASH cryptocurrency, which is specifically designed for anonymity.

The third reason is cryptocurrencies allow you to hold your savings in a currency that is not being systematically counterfeited (the government term is inflated). Cryptocurrencies are new, so the primary risk in using them is volatility. Volatility can work for or against you. People love upsidevolatility; downside volatility is what makes people nervous.

The way to deal with volatility if it worries you is to dollar cost average (DCA) your cryptocurrency purchases. If you wanted to own, say, $5,000 worth of a cryptocurrency like bitcoin, you could DCA the purchases by buying $1000 in bitcoin per week for 5 weeks, for example. Or $500 per day for 10 days. The more you spread it out, the more volatility is reduced.

Lastly, use bitcoin out of principle. The government derives its power to do all the objectionable things it does from the monetary system. Fiat currencycan be created in any quantity by the government at any time and at zero cost.

Given the government’s ability to create money instantly at zero cost, tax collection today is mostly about social engineering. Paying taxes maintains the illusion that fiat money is scarce and therefore valuable. Yet with every additional trillion dollars that it snaps into existence, the government enriches itself while eroding the purchasing power of savers who treat the dollar as an article of faith. The fiat story never has a happy ending. Nobody is going to end (or audit) the Fed, but cryptocurrencies enable us to largely ignore it. That is truly liberating.

Torrent carefully. If you’ve never used Bittorrent, you’re missing out on a ton of quality content that is absolutely free. Bittorrent is a way for people to efficiently share files of their choosing with anyone else in the world. Many people think bittorrent is only for downloading copyrighted material like movies, TV shows, and music, but there are loads of copyright-free contenton bittorrent.

Whatever you download, be careful. It’s easy to download files that have been shared with the purpose of injecting your system with malware. If you’re going to use bittorrent, here are a few suggestions:

Use qBittorrent for your client. It’s open source, unlike the popular but closed source utorrent. For increased security use IP filtering andanonymous mode. For even more security use it with a VPN service that permits bittorrent use. (All the VPNs recommended in step 10 allow bittorrent use.)

Media files like mp3, mp4, avi, mov, and flac are safe to download. They don’t carry malware infections. I recommend playing media with VLC Player. It’s fast, free, open source and doesn’t spy on you.

Don’t download any software from bittorrent unless you trust the source or really know what you’re doing. Anything that requires installation (like an .exe file) is a big security risk. If you have kids, they may (will) download games from bittorrent which are likely malware carriers. (Just because a game runs properly doesn’t mean your computer hasn’t been loaded with malware.) To make matters worse, the directions for much of the software you see on bittorrent sites tell you to disable your anti-virus during installation. It’s true that anti-virus software can impede installation of some software, but disabling it for an untrusted source is a great way to get slammed with malware.

If you decide to download software from untrusted sources, at least sandboxthe program. Sandboxing is a powerful security measure, but it’s not a silver bullet.

Grow your knowledge – Once you feel comfortable using the security measures in this guide, I encourage you to investigate other ways to increase your protection. Liberty.me’s free privacy guide has some good advice that goes beyond online protection of your identity.

For more online security measures, this guide is a solid next step. Note that it’s still a beginner’s guide, which gives you an idea of how much can be done. It’s wise to remind ourselves as security beginners that we’ve only taken basic steps. This guide also offers some more in-depth advice when you’re ready. Both cover using your VPN in combination with TOR. There is a performance hit to your browsing speed, but you get substantially more privacy. Just don’t take the anonymity claim on the TOR web site as literal. There’s no such thing as bulletproof anonymity online, though when you use TOR properly, you can achieve an extremely high level of security that requires very sophisticated adversaries to defeat.

Donate – Many extraordinarily talented, principled, generous people who understand the horrific implications of mass surveillance work ceaselessly to provide free, open source solutions to protect us. I encourage you to send a market signal that their heroic work is sincerely in demand and appreciated. In other words, please donate here or to whatever open source projects you use. Also consider supporting critical resources that journalists, activists and whistleblowers depend on like SecureDrop, TOR, and Tails. They require continual development to keep pace with mass surveillance expansion. Without these resources we’d be in the dark about what’s being done to us.

Snowden is one of many who have risked their lives to expose mass surveillance and the other awful things regimes do in secret. As mass surveillance technology advances, if the tools to fight it don’t advance then resistance will become impossible. We depend on the ongoing diligence of skilled coders in a very real and urgent way.

AFTERWORD

Ok, I gotta ask. Did you skip some steps because you made a value judgment about your life? Maybe you decided to stick with Dropbox since you only put family reunion photos or cooking recipes there? Perhaps you didn’t switch to encrypted calls and texts since you think whatever you have to say will be met with indifference by those who record you.

Every bad guy and every regime banks on you thinking this way so that you don’t take action. Mass surveillance depends on mass indifference. It’s not about whether files are sensitive or whether you’d share them with someone who politely asked to see them. It’s about your power to give permission. It’s about control. Universal control. Snowden wasn’t mincing words when he risked his life to expose the greatest weapon of oppression in the history of man.

When it comes to mass surveillance, principle is inseparable from risk. If you choose not to act, everything can and will be taken without permission. Whenever down the line you decide things have gotten insufferably out of control, it will be too late to do anything. Ignoring ugly truths is how we end up looking back and wondering how things got so bad. Don’t fall for it. If you haven’t already, please act now.

Gratitude for Alan Turing

Encryption is what empowers us, the governed, the peaceful outlaws. Without it we would have no shelter from the shadow of criminality politicians have cast over us.

What breathtaking irony that the means to protect ourselves is owed to a heroic criminal named Alan Turing. The father of computer science and mastermind of cryptography, Turing broke the Nazi regime’s “unbreakable” encryption code, Enigma.

After providing the British government with its single most powerful weapon – the means to know everything the Nazis were going to do in advance – Turing was prosecuted by the regime in 1952 for being homosexual. The man who saved millions of lives by shortening war – that greatest of government abominations – was a criminal.

Alan Turing, heroic criminalAlan Turing, heroic criminal

Turing pled guilty to the crime. As punishment the government ordered him to be chemically castrated in a series of brutal medical treatments which led to his suicide two years later.

This man was a liberating force for humanity. We owe him our deepest gratitude.

Parting Thank You

The Internet is the most powerful tool we have to inform, protect, and help ourselves and others. By taking action, you are materially advancing the cause of human liberty. Our own psychology is the biggest risk in determining our fate. Will we succumb to learned helplessness? Or will we quietly and with determination cut the noose from our necks?

Together we can thwart those who seek to dominate and control. Let’s take care of ourselves, help others wherever we can, and turn away from fear, the eternal enemy of freedom.

Big Brother Surveillance Threat, Part 2: Codified Oppression

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Big Brother Surveillance Threat, Part 2: Codified Oppression

This is Part Two, of a series that Urban Survival Skills is calling “Big Brother Surveillance Threat” and is publishing, that are excerpts from a huge article titled “You Are a Criminal In a Mass Surveillance World – Here’s How Not To Get Caught”, but David Montgomery and posted on Prepared Gun Owners.com
[http://preparedgunowners.com/2015/06/11/you-are-a-criminal-in-a-mass-surveillance-world-heres-how-not-to-get-caught/]

I’ve focused on the U.S. government because that’s what I know, and it tends to do these things on a broader scale than other regimes. But every regime follows the same pattern of outlawing the very same behavior it exhibits. Some just do it more aggressively than others. Generally the larger the regime, the greater the victimization of the governed.

Even when a law applies both to the government and the governed, it’s not enforced equally. Martha Stewart went to prison for lying about a stock trade, and Marion Jones went to prison for lying about using steroids. But General James Clapper, czar of the government’s mass surveillance complex, wasn’t even prosecuted for the felony of lying under oath to Congress about mass surveillance. General David Petraeus walked free despite lying to FBI investigators and leaking top-secret information. Members of the government’s Federal Reserve bankster cartel were exempted from punishment for committing multiple felonies.

What enables this codified, self-perpetuating hypocrisy? The institution of government is defined by its monopoly on both the creation andenforcement of law. This means the government can do whatever it wants, from double parking to mass slaughter with essentially no repercussions other than “regime change” through elections. Who in their right mind believes this is a good way for society to operate? If there were ever a monopoly to break up, it’s the one government protects with all its might.

As pieces of the picture came together for me, I felt depressed and wanted to throw my arms up and say, “Forget it. There’s nothing I can do to change any of this.” Then I realized. “There’s nothing I can do” are the magic words every power-hungry person longs to hear. Learned helplessness – the conviction that you are powerless to change whatever’s being done to you.

Those who watch Game of Thrones know the show has much to teach about those who seek power. The pitiful character Reek is the personification of learned helplessness. Even with a razor at his barbaric captor’s throat, he is incapable of doing anything but obeying. When his sister risks her life to rescue him, he clings to his cage and refuses to go. That’s the essence of learned helplessness.

The Greatest Weapon of Oppression in the History of Man

Every regime uses physical violence to force compliance with its rules, but physically breaking people who resist takes considerable effort, resources, and manpower. Mass surveillance gives those who seek control a vastly more powerful, far-reaching weapon.

This article was inspired by Ed Snowden’s own words to Laura Poitras inCitizenfour. He warns her that the government’s Collect-It-All mass surveillance apparatus is “the greatest weapon of oppression in the history of man.” It’s a War of Terror that’s being waged on us.

In a mass surveillance world where the law is unknowable, we live our lives wondering what crimes we’re committing and when we’ll be detected and prosecuted. This has a chilling effect on how we live. We censor ourselves to suppress the underlying anxiety of knowing we’re criminals who are being watched and recorded.

The end-game of mass surveillance is self-imposed subjugation. Threats and cages are no longer required because people believe resistance is hopeless. When we know we’re being monitored by those who have the power to beat, cage, and kill us, we imprison ourselves in our own fear.

I refuse to live that way. I hope you do too.

When people self-censor out of fear, they erect their own walls, saving government the effort. The governed avoid inquiry into controversial issues.They censor what they read at the library. They censor the web sites they visit. They censor their browser search terms. They censor what they write in emails and texts.

Free thought and inquiry into the most important matters get suffocated as we live under perpetual anxiety about whether what we do is acceptable to those who govern us. Fear leaks into our consciousness like black ink. I recently joked with a friend that he’s addicted to Coke, and he nervously wrote back clarifying “to anyone else reading” that it was Coca-Cola.

People censor what they say on the phone, on Skype, on Google Hangouts. Surveillance software automatically transcribes your words into text. Your conversations become instantly searchable and trigger key word alerts. (If you’re thinking of organizing or attending a police brutality protest, know that a trigger word list leaked years ago includes the terms cops, police,authorities, and law enforcement among hundreds of others.)

People censor what they share with friends on social networks. They increasingly limit posts to selfies, photos of food, and opinions about approved topics like sports and movies, rather than information or opinions that can land them on a terror suspect list.

They shy away from protesting and see the often brutal treatment of those who do. They hear about domestic black sites. Signing a petition opposing a government program is like handing the government a suspect list.

People come to know that political affiliations can make you an IRS target or trigger a home invasion. They read that withdrawing cash from a bank account is cause for criminal investigation. Yet if they don’t put cash in the bank, they risk outright confiscation as has happened over and over.

They see the persecution of whistleblowers and the crushing of business owners who won’t compromise their customers’ security. Innocent peopleend up on terrorist watch lists. They see the mainstream media’s bipolar twitching between terror-mongering and titillating celebrity scandals.

This all brings on a chilling sea change in our daily lives. The message becomes unmistakable. The government is off-limits to meaningful criticism or resistance to whatever it dictates.

Authority as a Conditioned Response

Obeying authority is what we’re taught to do from childhood. You don’t want trouble, do you? Then don’t complain. Follow the rules. Abide by the law.

We’re raised to follow orders and pledge allegiance to authority. We are conditioned to comply. Chain of command is a principle which pervades our society, not just the military. The apex of command is of course the head of the government, the Commander-in-Chief. What comic irony to call this individual “leader of the free world.”

What’s the upshot of our perpetual compliance conditioning? “Just following orders” and “Just doing my job” routinely precede the most atrocious acts perpetrated against other human beings.

What about those with enough self-awareness and independence of thought to see the pattern at work? The realization that mass surveillance makes you a perpetual suspect and non-compliance with any government rule makes you a criminal silences meaningful opposition. It doesn’t take many horror stories to roll a fog of fear over an entire population. Especially when people know they’re being continually watched and recorded.

Learned helplessness will get you if you don’t brace yourself and think clearly. You can’t change the system, but that doesn’t mean you’re helpless. You don’t have to be a victim. We as individuals can take simple steps to impede the government’s dragnet recording of our lives. We can encrypt our calls, our texts, our emails, our phones, our computers. We can show our friends and family how to do the same. It’s really just a matter of quiet resolve.

Most people like to read articles that confirm what they already believe. But beyond venting to friends, people are generally too lazy to take action unless they feel immediate danger. Here’s where we must differentiate mass surveillance from every other threat. Mass surveillance is a silent, invisible war being waged on us. The only time you’ll actually feel immediate danger is when it’s too late.

The Action Mindset

Are you in an action mindset yet? If not, here’s my last loving nudge. I’m begging you – seriously, I truly am begging you – to overcome inertia and take action. If nothing else has convinced you, then do it to keep government employees from oogling your genitals. Or if you think government isn’t and never will be a threat to your well-being, then do it to protect against identity theft, fraud, blackmail and doxing by free agent bad guys. People don’t understand just how much risk they’re taking by not securing their computer and smart phone. Your life can be ruined. If you’ve already secured yourself, please encourage others and help friends and family.

If you’re a parent with kids using computers, you need to know how to protect them. Kids are curious, and the more dangerous, forbidden or risky the topic, the more inquisitive they tend to be. What if your son comes home from chemistry class and wonders, just for the sake of curiosity, how to make a bomb? What if he’s watching Breaking Bad and starts browsing around wondering how Walter White made meth? What if a friend comes over and as a prank searches for how to join ISIS?

Are these the sorts of things kids might do? Of course. And it can turn your entire family into a target, including getting your home raided by men with automatic weapons who will shoot your dogs and take your computers, phones, and papers. Implement the enclosed anti-surveillance guide to protect your kids from getting your family in a world of trouble.

It’s All You

No matter what it is that motivates you to take action, the important thing is that you follow through. The best thing about the government’s bald-face lying about mass surveillance is it dispelled any notion that it will be “reformed” (whatever that means).

A few months before the Snowden revelations broke, James Clapper, czar of all U.S. intelligence agencies, replied under oath to this question (which he received a day in advance of his testimony).

Richard Nixon, after secretly bombing Cambodia (which brought the genocidal Khmer Rouge to power), persisted in lying to the public about it. As he told his aides, “Publicly, we say one thing. Actually, we do another.” True to form, shortly after Snowden came forward Obama was in full-on denial mode. The lie below was from his appearance on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.

Literally nothing the government says about mass surveillance is credible. Every public relations gambit to make it look like “something is being done” is aimed at deterring us from taking responsibility and acting for ourselves. Don’t be fooled by political theater.

Mass surveillance programs are built in secret and they operate in secret. Remember that what little we know is due to an act of treason (as defined by the government of course). And it’s only the NSA we know something about since that’s what Snowden had access to. The CIA, FBI, DEA, DHS, INR, DIA,NGA, NRO and other agencies have their own surveillance programs.

Any NSA policy change will be publicly heralded by politicians as a great victory while other programs silently spring up or continue operating under different code names or different agencies. As with mass surveillance obliterating the 4th Amendment, all Constitutional violations are not only predictable, they’re inevitable. Trusting the government is like trusting pit bulls to guard a pile of pork chops.

Thankfully Ed Snowden gave us the guidance we need.

Snowden’s Inspiration

Snowden’s most important insight is not that we’re being recorded in a Collect-It-All panopticon. It’s that we – as individuals – have the power to free ourselves from the surveillance noose: “We have the means and we have the technology to end mass surveillance without any legislative action at all, without any policy changes.”

We have the power, but only if we exercise it. What does that amount to in practical terms? Being willing to use some free software. After a couple hours you’ll have taken action that can literally keep you out the worst kind of trouble including criminal prosecution, blackmail, and kidnapping. You may even save your life. Same goes for any friend or family member you can persuade to take action. And you’ll sleep better knowing you’re no longer enabling mass surveillance.

Some might object and say that taking defensive action is an unnecessary act of paranoia or ‘Murica hating. Those people may just be doing their job. Others may be fact-resistant humans. Fear of real risks is not paranoia. It’s motivation. Only the most fact-resistant among us would deny that there are individuals and extraordinarily powerful institutions who are actually out to get you one way or another.

Most people prefer to feel rather than think. I know I’d feel much better pretending all this is much ado about nothing. Even if you’re not the fact-resistant type, the temptation to abdicate responsibility and hope politicians will “fix the system” is as tempting as it is delusional. The system we live under was built by people who want it to work this way. To those in control, it’s not broken. It may not work for you, but it works for them. And you work for them. The only hope we have for change is to do it ourselves.

The U.S. regime is the alpha dog of mass surveillance, mass incarceration, and mass media propaganda. But all governments aspire toward ever greater control over their populations. China, Russia, England, all of them. The bigger the government, the more they squeeze. It’s just a matter of money, manpower, time, and technology. Smaller countries are often laughably ham-fisted in their approach, like making it a crime to insult politicians.

Big-Ass Disclaimer

Perfect security does not exist in digital or physical life. A house has a continuum of steps you can take to secure it, but it will never be secure from a determined adversary. A lock on your door is better than nothing, but most locks can be defeated in seconds by people who are trained. Even if you have great locks, what about the door itself? Can it be kicked in? What about your windows? Anybody can break a window. Alarms are useful, but they have several vulnerabilities. Plus they don’t actually keep people out of your home. (By the way, your home is now see-through to the government.)

Just as perfect home security is impossible, there’s no such thing as perfect digital security. No matter how many precautions you take, there are too many “known unknowns” you can’t protect against. Software like your operating system, drivers, and web browser have faults which get exploited. Some of those faults are honest human error, and some are purposely engineered to weaken your security. Those who pretend to protect you are leading the charge to purposely undermine the security of products we rely on.

Now that the Internet is regulated – meaning, controlled – by the government like a utility, things will only get worse.

The very hardware you use – computer chips, routers, hard drives – also have exploits which you can do nothing about. The CEO of Intel refused to answer, with good reason, a question about whether Intel places “backdoors” in its chips. The biggest tech companies in the world are American, and they must comply with orders in the name of national security while being gagged from disclosing said orders.

Bottom line: America’s tech giants are surveillance proxies for the government. The government is also typically their biggest customer. This is the essence of the military-industrial complex.

We almost never hear about it because to say something is a death wish, but corporations also employ NOCs (non-official covers) who carry out government directives.

Modern computers have become so complex it’s practically impossible to know everything that’s happening “under the hood.” Even TVs can record you, translate your speech to text, and beam it to third parties. Computer chips the size of a dime and cheaper than a Big Mac can do all that and more. Really just about any electronics device in range of a wifi signal can be reconfigured into a surveillance device. That includes seemingly innocuous things, like a keyboard or USB thumb drive.

I’m not trying to dishearten you. It’s better to see things as they really are than to be ignorant of real risks. The truth is we’re being attacked from all sides.

The only real shining light in all this is the free and open source software (FOSS) movement. Open source means publishing a program’s source code online so that anybody can inspect it, audit it, compile it, and test it. The complete transparency of FOSS stands as our best safeguard against purposeful sabotage of our security.

Our Goal

The way most people use computers and smart phones is equivalent to leaving your doors and windows wide open with a neon COME ON IN! sign blinking in the front yard. We’re going to close the doors and windows, install curtains and quality locks, and toss the sign in the dumpster.

But know that if you’re ever individually targeted by the government as a person of interest (for example a journalist or whistle blower), pretty much everything you do on a computer or phone likely will be in the regime’s hands unless you have extremely specialized skills like Ed Snowden. As he said, “If there is a warrant against you, if the NSA is after you, they are still going to get you.” If you think you may have been individually targeted, run Detekt as a first step to check for malicious software commonly used against journalists and activists.

The goal of this guide is not anonymity. Anonymity is not possible because it requires control of many factors that are simply beyond our control. Our goal – Snowden’s plea to us all – is to stop the dragnet collect-it-all recording of our lives. As peaceful outlaws living in a mass surveillance world, the most effective act of self-preservation we can take is to render the greatest weapon of oppression inoperable.

If you don’t act, there will have been no real point in reading this. You’ll probably sleep less soundly, and mass surveillance will continue metastasizing. The reality is that to not take action is to enable mass surveillance. And remain highly vulnerable to hackers, stalkers, and fraudsters – threats which seem hypothetical until you get humiliated,blackmailed, stalked, or ruined.

The EMP Issue

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It’s no surprise to reader of UrbanSurvivalSkills.com that I am a big fan of the International Forecaster and especially Bob Rinear. This article reminds us of the potential Electro Magnetic Pulse (EMP) threat. This was brought home to me two days ago after a hellacious thunder storm left us without power and even the cellular system was messed up. An EMP event would make this basically permanent. So hopefully, part of your survival plan address a no warning and immediate grid outage. What are you doing to do?

The EMP Issue, by Bob Rinear, The International Forecaster, Wednesday 5 August 2015
http://the internationalforecaster.com

On Sunday I wrote a piece called “Fear Porn”, and it was the first of two articles I wanted to write for a long time, but “things” got in the way. The first article was about the concept of our entire lives now revolving around “the Internet”, and yet the net isn’t as stable as you might think. As I pointed out, your life would be massively disrupted if indeed a terrorist (foreign or domestic) did a massive hack which brought down the routers and pointers of the nets infrastructure.

Not because you couldn’t look at photo’s of your “BFF” showing you his or her breakfast, not  because you couldn’t tweet about some terribly unimportant topic…but because we are now at a point where no net…means no transactions. No credit cards, no ATM’s, no phones, no hotel reservations, no “a lot of things”. Given enough time, a nationwide Internet shut down, could very well cause social unrest, deaths, food supply problems, you name it. But the fact is, that’s just the warm up for the real issue. What if our power grid goes down?

I laid out the nightmares we saw during the NYC blackout of 1977 and the Ohio/Northeast blackout of 2004. Robberies, fires, arson, break in’s, looting, shootings, you name it. Ugly stuff, and that was just 1 and 2 day outages. What if something took the grid down for months?

Over the years I’ve looked at different situations wherein the “grid” as we call it (electrical generation and distribution) could be compromised on a wide scale. There’s several things that come to mind, such as network hacking. But the two that get the big attention are Solar burst of energy, and EMP’s. So what’s the real deal here? Can these things do what we’ve been told or not? Let’s look…

EMP stands for Electro-magnetic Pulse. An EMP is a short burst of electromagnetic energy.

Such a pulse may occur in the form of a radiated electric or magnetic field or conducted electric current depending on the source, and may be natural or man-made. Okay, so what’s the big deal?

Well, if the EMP is big enough, it will follow power lines, long cables, grounding straps, and burn up things with a power surge. Anything not “hardened’ against a massive short term burst, simply burns out. Be it computers, TV, phones, hospital equipment, power generators, high voltage lines, etc. Bad stuff.

We have been aware of the “natural” EMP’s that come from the Sun ( and even severe lightening storms) because the sun caused such a “burst” of electro-magnetism in 1859 that telegraph operators were singed around the country as sparks lit up their transmission lines.

Aurorae were seen around the world, those in the northern hemisphere as far south as the Caribbean; those over the Rocky Mountains were so bright that their glow awoke gold miners, who began preparing breakfast because they thought it was morning. People in the northeastern US could read a newspaper by theaurora’s light. It was named the Carrington Event.

It was (and still is) the largest recorded geomagnetic storm. If something of that magnitude were to hit today, with the incredible amount of electronics we use each and every day, it would fry tens of millions of devices and plunge us into the dark for MONTHS. In fact, in Ontario Canada on March 13th 1989 a solar storm impacted their area. At 2 am on the 13th the Ontario grid went dark, plunging millions of folks into the dark. No power, no phones, no water pumping (electrical pumps) No Natural gas (electrical pumps) etc.

They found the fried equipment and things were up and running in about 12 hours. But think about that for a second. A solar “Coronal mass ejection” knocked out the power to millions. Yet it was “tiny” compared to the Carrinton event. So problem one with EMP’s is that they can indeed be natural, and another like the 1859 version would indeed take down huge parts of our entire countries power grid.

But we found out in 1962 just how dangerous Man made EMP’s could be. During that year, the US Government decided to test a high altitude nuclear blast. The test was named starfish and took place about a thousand miles from Hawaii on a deserted island. When the bomb went off some 250 miles up in the atmosphere, something quite strange happened. Electrical components on the Islands of Hawaii were blowing up. To quote one of the researchers….

The effects were bizarre and almost entirely unanticipated. One effect was an electromagnetic pulse, but nobody knew it was going to be anywhere nearly as large it proved to be. They had all this data and they didn’t understand very much of it, including the EMPs that had been observed and the effects produced…all kinds of electrical disturbances were seen over 1000 kilometers away in Oahu.

Since then we’ve learned that a large nuclear device that gets detonated in the upper atmosphere could easily wipe out the electrical grid, and darned near anything connected to it. Which instantly brought up the question of its use as a military weapon. In fact there’s no question at all as to whether the US and Russia have experimented with EMP as a weapon and we’re also worried about North Korea ( and some say Iran) Here’s why…

Let’s suppose some rogue nation takes an old scud missile and tips it with a nuclear bomb. They get the thing near our coast on a container ship or what have you and fire it. The next thing you know an entire area of the nation sees its grid go down, and the resulting surges and brownout’s spread through the network. It is not inconceivable that the whole country could go dark. Here is the statement from the 2008 committee on researching EMP attacks…

A single EMP attack may seriously degrade or shut down a large part of the electric power grid in the geographic area of EMP exposure effective instantaneously. There is also the possibility of functional collapse of grids beyond the exposed one, as electrical effects propagate from one region to another…Should significant parts of the electric power infrastructure be lost for any substantial period of time, the Commission believes that the consequences are likely to be catastrophic, and many people may ultimately die for lack of the basic elements necessary to sustain life in dense urban and suburban communities.

Now, depending on whom you wish to listen to, the effects of a well coordinated EMP attack on the US could last for 18 months of “dark” (no electricity) and MILLIONS dead. I could EASILY see that.

As you probably know, my biggest “big picture” scare is that we are 100% reliant on the electrical grid for EVERYTHING. We just expect it to be there because it’s “always there”. Yet what if it wasn’t? Then yes, there would be mass starvation, mass riots, bands of roaming hungry thieves. No question.

I try and keep the “wacko stuff” and the real Fear Porn out of the letters. I’m not a “shock jock” like Howard Stern who gets his listeners from being outrageous. But in this instance, I am not just trying to scare the hell out of you all, I’m trying to expose something that seems to be all-too real. Consider this…

As late as the 1940’s once you got out of town, just about every rural household had a couple chickens in the yard for fresh eggs. They usually had a hand driven well pump and a few minutes of pumping that handle would bring good clean water up from the depths. They probably had a nice veggie garden, and “mom” probably knew how to can their produce for use in the winter months.

Dad and the boys most definitely had a few small game rifles, and knew how to hunt rabbit, squirrel, and deer. They generally had a coal or wood furnace, and knew how to cook over wood instead of electricity or Natgas. Oil lamps and candles made at home were frequent. In a lot of homes in rural America 1940 if the power went down, no one noticed for half the day.

Today that very situation would be called a “prepper family”. You’d be looked upon as “one of them people”. But the fact is that for about 80% of our citizens, they have NONE of those skills or resources. A chicken coop in modern America? Horror the thought! People get run out of Home owner associations for parking a vehicle in their driveway let alone a chicken coop. A personal water well on your own property? Not today, it’s all about “city water”. Grabbing a .22 and shooting a squirrel for dinner? Perish the thought! The fact is that the typical American is absolutely and totally dependent on the “grid” for survival.

So if you ask me – Bob, what’s your two biggest fears right now? My answer would be a take down of the Electrical Grid first, and a take down of the Internet second. Now do we have any “proof” that either one is coming? Nope, not really. But sometimes you see things that make you think about it.

For example, the Military is moving a lot of its command nodes back into the depths of Cheyenne mountain, a fortified bunker complex deep beneath the granite rocks. Why? Could they be anticipating something like an EMP attack and want to make sure their command and control center is “hardened” against suck a thing? Could be.

I’d like to say I only have two fears about the big picture, but that wouldn’t be truthful. Others on my list are a global monetary reset which I totally believe is coming. A devaluation of our currency which I think is coming. I think were going to get rocked a bit over that when it happens, and frankly it has to happen. Even the wicked Central bankers know that our present system isn’t working.

So “yeah” there’s things that get my attention.

No one wants to live in fear, and I don’t either. But there’s some things that we have very little control over, that have a lot of control over our lives. Power, Internet and global finances come to mind. All 3 of them have the ability to rock our world.

Urban Man

Big Brother Surveillance Threat, Part 1: Government Closing the Loop

Click here to view the original post.

Big Brother Surveillance Threat, Part 1: Government Closing the Loop

This is Part One, of a series that Urban Survival Skills is calling “Big Brother Surveillance Threat” and is publishing, that are excerpts from a huge article titled “You Are a Criminal In a Mass Surveillance World – Here’s How Not To Get Caught”, but David Montgomery and posted on Prepared Gun Owners.com
[http://preparedgunowners.com/2015/06/11/you-are-a-criminal-in-a-mass-surveillance-world-heres-how-not-to-get-caught/]

A Noose Around Our Necks

Mass surveillance equals perpetual uncertainty. No matter how honest and benevolent you consider the current American government, no one knows what laws a future regime will impose. Otto Frank never would have disclosed his family’s religion had he known it would lead to the murder of his loved ones a decade later. His family would have fled Germany and attempted to illegally immigrate elsewhere, as millions have done throughout history.

Living under mass surveillance is living with a noose around your neck. You can’t know what circumstances will cause you to hang. History is loaded with never-saw-that-coming catastrophes. The 20th century alone is an inconceivable horror – 262 million corpses engulfed in various government wars and genocides. That’s equivalent to every single adult living in America today suddenly perishing.

All the nightmare regimes of the past that kids study in school predate the era of computerized mass surveillance. The ability to lock down people’s lives instantly… to track them, analyze them, trap them, financially paralyze them, impersonate them, frame them, and apprehend them is unprecedented. Governments always seek to control the governed, but mass surveillance is the most powerful weapon of control ever devised. Because of its novelty, invisibility, and deep complexity, many people can’t comprehend its implications and therefore don’t defend against it.

Why You’re a Criminal

We unknowingly commit crimes, including felonies, in our day to day lives. The fact that we haven’t been caught is a matter of detection – namely, surveillance. As mass surveillance expands, the government’s crime detection capabilities increase exponentially.

“There is no one in the United States over the age of 18 who cannot be indicted for some federal crime. That is not an exaggeration.” This warning is from John Baker, a retired law professor who tried in vain to count new federal crimes created in just the past few years. The same message comes from attorney Harvey Silverglate in his book Three Felonies a Day: How the Feds Target the Innocent.

Because politicians have made us criminals, what the government knows about you can cost you your freedom. Understanding that is so important that you shouldn’t take anybody’s word for it. See for yourself.

Into the Abyss

Most federal law is aggregated into the United States Code (USC) and theCode of Federal Regulations (CFR). Let’s start with the CFR. Go here, select a year from the menu, and click Go. A list of 50 Titles will appear (2015 is incomplete). Click on the Text link for any Title and start reading. You’ll see that some Titles have several volumes. For example, here’s Volume 1 of the 2014 Banks & Banking code, the first of ten volumes for that year alone.

If you’re anything like me, after a few minutes your brain will attempt to revolt. Push on and do your best to even vaguely understand what Congress – the lawmakers – demand of Americans. You’re up against literally hundreds of thousands of pages of legalese. Much may not apply to anything you’re currently doing in your life, but finding out what applies to you now and has applied to you in the past is, quite literally, impossible. And with thousands of new rules being created every year, you won’t know when you break new laws in the future either.

Need a breather? Have a laugh with me at the sinister humor of the CFR web site’s slogan: “Keeping America Informed.” How many Americans have even heard of the CFR, much less read a single sentence of its laws? What could possibly better illustrate the essence of propaganda double-talk than this slogan? When you tap out on the CFR, give the USC a browse.

But wait, there’s more. Thousands of pages more. The IRS Code is over 7,500 pages and 3.4 million words. When the IRS decides you’ve done something wrong, you are presumed guilty unless you manage to prove yourself innocent. Anyone who’s dealt with the IRS knows that the process is its own punishment. Now that tax forms are filed electronically, artificial intelligence and data mining increase the power to detect non-compliance exponentially.

You’ve seen it first-hand. The law is truly unknowable to the governed. Being a law-abiding citizen is a myth.

Of course this is just federal law. Any adult can be prosecuted for a federal crime, but what about state crimes? State law is another incomprehensible morass – tens of thousands of pages of legalese per state. Cross an invisible line and the same act may no longer be a crime – or it may have twice the penalty. Wade into California’s legal code for a sample, or look up your own state and see for yourself. The abyss goes even deeper. There are thousands of county and municipal laws too.

Catch-22

This demonstration wasn’t meant to depress you. Truth just sucks sometimes. In this case ignorance is anything but bliss.

Every single day ignorance of the law costs people their savings and their freedom. And here’s the awful Catch-22: Ignorance of the law is no defense, even though it’s literally impossible to comprehend what the government demands from us.

Good people everywhere have been turned into peaceful outlaws by politicians.

We live our lives trapped in a ubiquitous but invisible scaffolding of rules. There is literally no aspect of our lives not subject to politicians’ orders.Everything that’s not forbidden requires government permission. What kind of society is this?

Crime Detection Is the Killer App

As criminals we already have a noose around our necks. Crime detection is the terrorizing question that hangs over us. That millions of Americans are behind bars makes one thing clear: The government is zealous about enforcement. New prisons are being built every day. Prosecution isn’t a constraint either since only a handful of cases see a trial.

Crime detection is law enforcement’s biggest bottleneck, and that’s where Collect-It-All surveillance changes everything. Police already track you bywide-area surveillance, thousands of networked street-level cameras, auto-scanning license plates, drones, and spy planes, but that is primitive compared to what’s coming.

Computerized face recognition is already extremely accurate and fast. You can be matched against a nationwide database instantly. This technology will be integrated with the body cameras police now wear. You will be cataloged and tracked by your Universal Control Number (UCN). Yes, that’s really what it’s called. A friend of mine is an Auschwitz survivor. You can still read the “control number” tattooed on his arm.

Military contractor Lockheed Martin has for years been designing biometric surveillance systems to track us by our hand prints, face, voice, and walking gait. Their use for crime detection is unlimited. Anything that can be electronically measured can be the basis for automated crime detection. For example fingerprints can now reveal drug use.

Going forward mass surveillance will be combined with robotics to create law enforcers who will automatically scan and crime check you. The military-industrial complex is leading robotics development. As with bug-sized drones and MRAPs, the technology and equipment will cross-pollinate with domestic law enforcement.

Hopefully this glimpse of what’s coming makes it clear. Mass surveillance isn’t about having nothing to hide. It’s about hiding whatever we can.

Mass Surveillance Cheerleaders

The highest profile shills for mass surveillance are the usual suspects: politicians and mega-corporation execs who have the most to gain. Former U.S. Senate majority leader Trent Lott: “What are people worried about? What is the problem? Are you doing something you’re not supposed to?”

Google chief hypocrite Eric Schmidt defines privacy as an excuse to hide wrongdoing: “If you have something that you don’t want anyone to know, maybe you shouldn’t be doing it in the first place.”

Google employs many brilliant people who no doubt mean well, but the simple truth is this: Google’s business is, literally, mass surveillance. Snowden revealed the NSA has direct access to Google’s servers. Google’s vast offering of services equals the world’s biggest surveillance roach motel. There’s a reason the room and board are free. You’re the product, not the customer.

The Death Star Is in Utah

Mass surveillance is not only Collect-It-All recording of your life. The totalitarian power of mass surveillance comes into focus when one sees how years of data can be summoned in the future for purposes you can’t predict. Five or ten years from now your surveillance records could be used as the basis for advanced interrogation, criminal prosecution, bail-ins, property confiscation, blackmail, stalking, humiliation, horrific medical procedures,internment camp, deportation, and yes, even execution. None of these is without historical precedent.

The technology enabling Collect-It-All surveillance perhaps seems vague since we don’t have any practical reference for what it takes to implement. Here’s a glimpse.

Snowden’s revelation of the Collect-It-All blueprint was the prelude to the completion of a 1.5 million square foot complex called the Utah Data Center. The original name of the complex – Massive Data Repository – is more ominously instructive.

Imagine a stadium-sized complex filled with the world’s fastest super computers and endless racks of digital storage space so vast that you literally can’t comprehend how much information can be stored. The power and cooling required for the complex is staggering. It consumes 1.7 million gallons of water daily to operate. This is the mass surveillance equivalent of the Death Star. Last year it went fully operational.

The difference between filing cabinets and the space-age technology of the Utah Data Center is almost impossible to describe. In terms of speed, it’s like comparing a tricycle with a supersonic jet. In terms of search power, it’s like a magnifying glass versus the Hubble telescope. In terms of data storage, it’s like a hot tub versus Lake Michigan. And yet, it’s worse.

Weaponized Data Mining

There simply is no comparison to be made in the pre-digital era when it comes to data mining – using the power of computers to find patterns across vast quantities of data. The Utah Data Center is weaponized data mining.

Collect-It-All surveillance means that if the government wants to target you, it can comb back through years of your life in minute detail. As we’ll see shortly, coming up with a crime in order to prosecute you is easy. There are so many laws in existence today that legal experts agree that anybody can be prosecuted for crimes they aren’t aware they’ve committed.

Even if you didn’t commit the crime you’re being prosecuted for, mass surveillance guarantees that innocents will be targeted because data mining can’t tell whether a pattern is intentional or coincidental. Say there’s an enemy of the government being tracked by the feds. You coincidentally are on the same flight sitting next to him, use the same car service, stay in an adjacent room at the same hotel, eat at the same restaurant, and then take the same flight the next day to another city. Now you too are a target. If you happen to also be Muslim (1% of the U.S. population), good luck.

U.S. law is clear on what might happen next. Perhaps men show up and interrogate you. Or they secretly tear apart your life down to the smallest detail looking for any charge to pin on you. Maybe they destroy your reputation and monitor how you respond. Or maybe you get disappeared. Under the NDAA, American citizens can legally be kidnapped, imprisoned in secret without charges or access to a lawyer (indefinite detention), andsubjected to torture programs developed by doctors.

The Torture Triumvirate

To design the US government’s torture program taxpayers paid over $81 million to Dr. James Mitchell and Dr. Bruce Jessen and another $31 million to Dr. Martin Seligman, former president of the American Psychological Association. Seligman is a man who achieved fame by repeatedly shocking dogs until they completely gave up trying to avoid the shock, even when presented with the opportunity to do so. This state of hopeless surrender is what he coined “learned helplessness.”

These three were not paid $112 million to suggest sleep deprivation or waterboarding (both of which have been used for centuries.) The public has no clue what the real torture program is. But given the government’s history of using drugs to torment people, I suspect drugs are the holy grail of modern torture as they break no bones and leave no scars. Imagine being inflicted with a drug-induced migraine and then getting locked in a cell withblasting heavy metal and flashing strobe lights. What would you say to make it stop? Centuries ago you’d confess to being a witch.

Death From the Sky? Legal.

If being kidnapped, caged and tortured without trial isn’t sufficient for the government’s purposes, the president also claims legal authority to summarily execute US citizens. Four Americans, including a 16-year old boy, have already been executed by drone strike – no charges levied, no trials, no evidence presented, no opportunity for defense. Just sudden death from the sky.

If you think “kill lists” are only about Muslims and therefore don’t affect you, count yourself among Germans in the early years of the Nazi regime who said these laws are unfortunate but only affect a few Jews. By the time the general public felt things were really getting out of hand, to speak out was to risk your own life. So let me repeat: The government has granted itself legal authority to summarily execute American citizens. Just because you’re not a target, don’t delude yourself. This is turnkey tyranny.

The data mining power of the Utah Data Center will find all sorts of extremely unlikely coincidences which will be used to cage or kill innocent people. The old way to do that was to torture people into making false confessions, frame them with planted evidence, or convict them based onfaked forensic science. With weaponized data mining, no fabrication will be required to put innocent people away.

Much like the IRS process of finding you guilty unless you can prove your innocence, you’ll be in the crosshairs trying to explain an extraordinarily unlikely coincidence. A one-in-a-million coincidence is common when the world’s fastest supercomputers are searching for patterns among quadrillions (that’s thousands of trillions) of pieces of data. Trying to establish your innocence will be like trying to prove a negative.

Mass surveillance is ushering in a brave new world of crime detection. The vast majority of crimes in the past have gone undetected. A Collect-It-All mass surveillance apparatus is an all-seeing eye which untethers crime detection from manpower constraints.

Law Is Codified Hypocrisy

My definition of a bad guy is a person who purposely harms or threatens to harm others or their property. I used to think of crime as the stuff that bad guys do. Bad guys are criminals, and criminals are bad guys. Makes sense, right? After all murder is a crime. Theft is a crime. Assault is a crime.

Cartoons, TV shows, and movies I’ve seen from childhood have reinforced the only-bad-guys-do-crime message. And my teachers were explicit: Good people obey the law. Be a law-abiding citizen.

Yet millions of Americans who are not bad guys have criminal records.

My day in the Secret Annex taught me that it’s a trap to equate crime with morality. While I think it’s always preferable not to harm people or their property, neither my nor your preferences should be conflated with laws. That’s because most laws have nothing to do with actually harming others or or their property. Sure there are plenty of bad guys who are criminals, but there are also millions of Americans who have been convicted of victimless crimes. They simply broke a politician’s rule, often unknowingly.

Meanwhile many bad guys aren’t criminals because the law doesn’t apply to them. Every day peaceful people and their property are harmed by government employees acting in a fully legal capacity. That’s because those who govern us are permitted to do the very things the governed are forbidden from doing.

If you are carrying out government orders:

•Legally maiming and killing thousands of people who haven’t harmed anyone isn’t mass murder. It’s collateral damage.

•Legally caging a person for inhaling something the government doesn’t approve of isn’t kidnapping. It’s corrections.

•Legally siphoning all the money out of someone’s account isn’t theft. It’s asset forfeiture.

Legally blockading a country from receiving desperately needed goods and services isn’t economic warfare. It’s foreign policy. (Don’t forget, the dead children are collateral damage.)

•Legally using insider information to rack up stock market profits isn’t insider trading. It’s Congressional investing.

•Legally transferring hundreds of billions to Federal Reserve banking cartel cronies isn’t fascist economics. It’s quantitative easing for your financial security.

•Legally forcing interest rates to zero so that savers lose purchasing power and banks clean up isn’t price fixing. It’s monetary policy.

•Legally spending trillions to create the most militarized society in history isn’t totalitarian insanity. It’s defense.

•Legally demanding your money under threat of imprisonment to pay for all these things isn’t extortion. It’s taxation.

What is criminal for the governed is legal for the government.

(If you’re a government employee or contractor, thank you for being open-minded enough to read this. When one’s salary depends on believing something, considering other perspectives is as difficult as it is rare.)

Chapter 30- Coping Without Running Water

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Every Prepper worth their salt stores water and lots of it.  Not only that, they store one, two, three or more ways to purify water.  That is all well and good because you never know when a disaster or other disruptive event may occur and those water resources will be called upon for drinking, cleaning, hygiene, and sanitation purposes.

Recently, my number came up and I was the one without water during a short term, personal water apocalypse.  Now really, that may be a bit dramatic because I was simply without running water. This was caused by a break in the line from the water main at the street to my home.  All told, I was without running water for 12 days.

To be honest, I was quite relaxed about the ordeal.  After all, I had cases of bottled water for drinking, and a 55 gallon water barrel holding purified water.

Still, being without running water brought up issues I had not considered. Albeit water-ready, the reality of not being able to turn on the tap and have fresh, and especially hot, water was a new experience.

Today I learned more tips from Urban Man for coping without running water so that you can be better prepared if something similar happens to you. Below are 17 tips to help in this situation.

17 Tips for Coping Without Water:

1. With advance notice of a water shutoff, fill the bathtub and as many spare jugs and buckets as you can round up. In addition, fill the Berkey, if you have one and all of your sinks.

2. Double up on hand sanitation.  Fill a spray bottle with liquid castile soap, water, and a copious amount of tea tree or other anti-bacterial essential oil. To wash you hands, spray with a generous amount of your soap/tea tree mixture then rinse with water from a filled sink or a container of water set next to the sink.  Follow-up with commercial hand sanitizer.

3. Know the location of your preps!  In my case, I had two camp showers that could have been used for taking hot showers after heating water on the stove.  Could I find them?  Nope.

4. No mater how many buckets you have, you need more.  In addition, make sure the buckets you have are manageable, weight wise, when filled with water.  Remember, water weighs 8.35 pounds per gallon.  My buckets were re-purposed 2-pound buckets obtained for free from a local cafe and were small enough for me to handle comfortably when filled.  A water filled 5 gallon bucket would have been a problem.

5. When using the toilet, flush liquids daily but solids upon each use.  I had two toilets in use so it was easy to abide by this formula.  I did not, however, flush TP (see below).

6. Dispose of toilet paper into a wastebasket and not into the toilet.  This will prevent your toilet from backing up because it is crammed with paper!  Been there, done that.  Do, however, be mindful of the smell and dispose of the contents of your wastebasket daily.  Baking soda helps control odors if you can not dispose of soiled TP often enough.

7. When it comes time to flush, fill the tank with water and use the handle on the toilet to flush.  This uses less water than dumping water into the bowl.

8. Stock up on disposable plates, cups, and eating utensils.  Cleaning up after meals will be a challenge and will use a lot of water.  Save the water you have for cooking utensils and use disposables for everything else.

9. Clean with cloths and rags not sponges.  Without proper cleaning, sponges will become very unsanitary quickly.  Gross even.  Use microfiber cloths or cleaning rags made from discarded tee shirts or towels.  They can be washed using a Mobile Washer, tossed in the garbage, or laundered when things return to normal.

10. Learn to take “sponge baths” using a washcloth and soap.  Your spray bottle of castile soap will come in handy for this.  Better yet, lay in a supply of No-Rinse Bath Wipes (my favorite), homemade wipes (something I still need to learn to do), or baby wipes.

11. Have at least one way to filter and purify watered gathered from the outdoors.  See How to Use Pool Shock to Purify Water.

12. Learn to hook a hose up to your water heater so that you can use its water in an emergency.  It is a good idea to turn off the electrical breaker or turn off the pilot light first.

13.  Plumbers may not always be available so learn minor plumbing repairs yourself.  When the water came back on, one of our toilets failed, probably due to the back flow of gunk.  Repairs were easy with a backup tank repair kit.

14. Get to know which neighbors have what home repair and handyman skills.  Let them know about your own skill-set so that there is reciprocity and you can help each other out when something goes wrong and needs fixing.  Everyone knows how to do something, right?

15. Keep basic tools on hand, including shovels, axes, saws, hatchets, and other manly-man items.  Just because you are a woman does not mean you should not have basic tools!

16. Maintain a good sense of humor. Treat the experience and a learning experience as well as a grand adventure in self-reliance.

17. Purchase 30 gallon and 55 gallon water barrels for storing water at your home. I would recommend a minimum of 4. Learn to check and keep the water purified. Rotate water every 4 months by using the water to water your survival garden and yard, wash your car, etc. Purchase hand pumps to make removing the water easy.

The Final Word

Regardless of how much you drill for disruptive events, having something happen for real will open your eyes to considerations that were unplanned.  With camping, backpacking, and boating, you know in advance you will not have running water and can plan accordingly.

No running water at the drop of a hat is another story completely.

Maggots Use In Medicine

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Ancient therapy making comeback as wound-healing option

These aren’t your grandfather’s maggots.

Maggot, or larval, therapy has been around since ancient times as a way to heal wounds. Now, the method has gone high-tech–in some ways–and it’s being tested in a rigorous clinical trial at the Malcom Randall Veterans Affairs (VA) Medical Center in Gainesville, Fla. Recruitment is now underway.

The study involves veterans with chronic diabetic ulcers on their feet. The maggots feasting on the dead or dying tissue in their wounds–and eating germs in the process–have been sterilized in a pristine, pharmaceutical-grade lab. Instead of roaming free over the wounds, they are contained in fine mesh bags, and removed after a few days.

Welcome to maggot therapy, 2015.

“There’s an eight-step quality-control process to how these medicinal maggots are produced,” notes lead investigator Dr. Linda Cowan. “Every batch is quality-tested.”

Cowan has a Ph.D. in nursing science and is a wound-care specialist with VA and the University of Florida. She has studied maggots in the lab, combed through the available research on them, and seen firsthand what they can do in wounds.

“As a clinician, I was very impressed by the literature on larval therapy. And sometimes we would have patients come into the clinic with what I call ‘free range’ maggots–they’re not sterile, they’re not produced specifically for medicinal purposes–the patients got them at home, unintentionally. But they really clean out the wound nicely.”

Cowan, like other researchers, tends to prefer the scientific term “larvae” over “maggots,” but they mean the same thing. The whitish worm-like creatures are young flies, before they mature into pupa and then into adults. For therapy, in most countries, the green bottle fly is the insect of choice.

Co-investigator Dr. Micah Flores, whose background is in entomology–the study of bugs–admits that “maggot” does have a negative connotation for most folks. “It can be a scary word,” he says.

Cowan points out that in the study’s recruitment flyer “we use the term ‘medicinal maggots.’ We want people to know these are not home-grown on somebody’s windowsill.”

The VA study will involve up to 128 Veterans. It’s comparing maggot therapy with the standard of care for diabetic wounds–a treatment called sharp debridement, in which a health care provider uses a scalpel, scissors, or other tool to cut or scrape away dead or unhealthy tissue. The procedure promotes wound healing.

Nearly a quarter of VA patients have diabetes, and about a quarter of these will have foot wounds related to the disease. In many cases, the hard-to-heal ulcers worsen to the point where gangrene develops and amputation is required.

The Gainesville researchers will examine how well the wounds heal in each study group. They’ll also look at maggots’ effects on harmful bacteria. In addition to clearing out dead tissue, maggots disinfect wounds by ingesting bacteria and secreting germ-killing molecules. They also eat through biofilm–a slimy mix of micro-organisms found on chronic wounds.

Turn back the clock about 90 years, and there was a researcher who grew maggots on a hospital windowsill, as unscientific as that sounds. Dr. William Baer had treated U.S. soldiers in France during World War I and noticed that large, gaping wounds that were swarming with maggots–sometimes thousands of the creatures–didn’t get infected, and the men survived.

Baer came back to Johns Hopkins University and experimented with the therapy, only to realize that maggots could spread disease as they devoured decaying tissue. Two of his patients died of tetanus. He made some progress with using sterilized maggots, but soon antibiotics would come on the scene and maggot therapy–with its high yuck factor–fell into disregard.

“Antibiotics were the new cure-all, and so we didn’t need the maggots around too much anymore,” says Cowan. “But they’ve never gone away completely.”

A few studies took place in the U.S. in the ladder half of the last century, including some at the VA Medical Center in Long Beach, Calif. But it wasn’t enough to place maggots in the pantheon of modern medical miracles. Meanwhile, the therapy continued to attract interest in the United Kingdom, where a game-changer occurred a few years ago. A Wales-based company called BioMonde came out with the bag concept, which caught Cowan’s attention right away.

She had been interested in studying maggot therapy. But she also realized that many clinicians, as well as patients–and their caregivers at home, who would have to change dressings–might have a hard time warming up to the idea.

“When we started talking about doing this study,” says Cowan, “we were interested in the yuck factor. One of my concerns was other clinicians. They have to deal with this. They may be turned off by what I call the squirmy wormies.”

Cowan recalls one nurse colleague who would recoil when patients showed up in the clinic with wounds that had attracted a few maggots.

“She just had an aversion to larvae of any kind. When a patient would come in, and they would have these free-range maggots, she would not want to deal with them. She would come and get me, and I would take care of it.

“I realized she wouldn’t be the only clinician out there who would feel like this. So I thought this product would really make a difference.”

That said, Cowan believes many patients are undeterred by the insects, bags or no bags. She tells of one veteran who has been struggling with a non-healing diabetic ulcer for three years. “He said he is willing to try anything that might work.”

That attitude is not uncommon among those with diabetic sores, says Cowan, although she senses that veterans, as a group, may be a bit less squeamish than the general population, and thus even more receptive to the therapy.

“When we go through the informed consent form with them, we explain the study and we tell them they could be randomized to the ‘sharp’ group, which is the standard of care, the same kind of debridement they’ve gotten in the past–or they could get the maggot therapy. We’ve done about 21 informed consents so far. Overwhelmingly, people have been disappointed if they weren’t randomized to the maggot group.”

BioMonde, the company sponsoring the trial, has said it will provide maggots for up to two weeks of treatment for any patient who did not receive the therapy during the study but wants it, and whose physician believes it would be appropriate.

Both groups in the study will receive treatment over the course of eight days. Along with studying the veteran patients and their wounds, the researchers will survey their caregivers and clinical providers. “One thing we want to find out,” says Cowan, “is whether this yuck factor is really an issue. And who is it the greatest issue for? Patients? Clinicians? The wife or husband who has to change the dressing?”

To examine the main study outcome, the team will photograph each wound before and after each treatment. Then, wound-care experts who are blinded to which therapy was used–maggots or sharp debridement–will visually assess how much viable versus non-viable tissue remains.

Just as important, the team will study the therapies’ effects on biofilms. A biofilm is not a movie about someone’s life–it’s a soupy mix of bacteria and other germs that resides on or in a wound. Experts believe it may be part of why some wounds–such as diabetic ulcers–are so difficult to heal. Cowan’s group has studied biofilms in the lab, grown on pieces of pig skin, and she says the maggots are the only therapy that appears to completely eradicate them.

“A biofilm is a party of poly-microbial organisms,” explains Cowan. “It could be bacteria, fungus, virus–all of them. They spit out a protective coating that protects them from things you would put on the wound, like an antiseptic gel. Also, it protects them from things you might take inside the body systemically, like antibiotics. So it’s tough to get rid of these biofilms.

“You can debride with a scalpel, and you can cut away what looks like dead or unhealthy tissue, but you can’t see biofilm. And if you don’t completely get rid of a biofilm growth, within 24 to 72 hours it can completely regenerate, with its protective coating.”

Cowan collaborated with Dr. Gregory Schultz on numerous studies involving biofilms at UF’s Institute for Wound Research.

“Both independently and collaboratively, we tested quite a number of products,” says Cowan. “We tried all kinds of expensive things. There were some that were more promising than others. We would get some good, favorable results. But there was nothing that was getting rid of everything–until we tested the maggots.”

The group published a 2013 study in the journal Ulcers that included before-and-after pictures, taken with an electron scanning microscope, attesting to the maggots’ handiwork.

“The results were mind-blowing,” says Cowan. “The photos show the difference with the larvae at 24 and 48 hours. At 24 hours there were hardly any [bacteria] to count, and at 48 hours the biofilm was completely gone. Not one organism left.”

She points out another benefit of the maggots, versus drug treatment: “It’s hard for bacteria or other organisms to develop a resistance to something that’s going to eat them.” Drug-resistant bacteria are a huge problem in U.S. heath care.

Flores, the entomologist, wants to peek inside the maggots, to see what they’ve ingested. After they are removed from a wound, the bagged maggots are being frozen for later analysis. (Not in the same freezer where the lab crew keeps their Haagen-Dazs, by the way.)

“My background is studying insects–flies in particular,” says Flores. “So I’m very interested in what’s inside the larval gut, what they’ve been feeding on. Are they picking up the same organisms we’re seeing growing on the wound? Does it match up?”

Flores and Cowan say theirs is the first study to do this type of analysis. And there should be plenty to look at: Between dead tissue, bacteria, and biofilm–an all-you-can-eat buffet for maggots–they take in enough grub to noticeably blow up in size.

“They do a great job,” says Cowan. “They plump up to the size of a small jelly bean, whereas when they go in, they’re smaller than a grain of rice. So it’s pretty impressive.”

The team is also looking at biomarkers of wound healing as another study outcome. Enzymes known as MMPs, for example, rise in response to inflammation. Levels drop as a wound heals.

Pending the study results, Cowan hopes to see maggot therapy catch on in the U.S. as an evidence-based way to treat wounds–not just diabetic ulcers, but other types as well. One example might be deep skin wounds in combat veterans. She’s already gotten calls from plastic surgeons interested in the therapy.

“If the maggots can clean up a wound, they can possibly make advanced therapies more effective so you don’t have to repeat them. For example, if you take a skin graft from the leg and put it on the belly, if that wound has a chronic biofilm, that graft is not going to take. But if you clean it up and then do the skin graft, it may take. What a win-win that would be.”

[Source: EurekAlert, The Global Source for Science News, 17 August 2015
http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2015-08/varc-mim081715.php]

“Comment:  I found this article to be very interesting. I have heard of this being done before and see it in a lot movies. This is some good information to retain, as I have a feeling we may be needing to use it in the future.” 

Urban Man~

Are You Scared? I am!

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This is an article by Bob Rinear and it hit a note with me as I can’t help but have this feeling of dread. Other people that I talk to have it as well. Whether it’s an investor thinking the stock market will collapse or it some parent who think there will be a great depression and he won’t be able to feed his family, or it may be a parent who thinks there will be a total collapse and medicine for his diabetic son won’t be available.

Whatever it is, I am heeding it as I have long ago learned to respect my gut instincts. It may be all that keeps you alive in the coming chaos.

Are you Scare? by Bob Rinear

When I talk to people that I consider to be “awake” they all tend to say the same things to me. Almost to a tee, they suggest that they feel something isn’t quite right, but they don’t know exactly what.

They feel like things are out of control, but can’t say why. They feel there’s some form of impending doom, but can’t explain what it is, or why they even feel that way. They just know things aren’t right,but for the life of them, they can’t elucidate just why they feel that way.

I understand that feeling and it is real. You know it in your mind, you almost feel it in your gut. It’s not just the rioting, it’s not just the crazy things like Jade Helm, it’s not just the soggy economy, it’s not just the loss of morals, it’s not just the mindless souls staring like zombies at their cell phones, it’s not just the insane Political Correctness, it’s not just the laws for the privileged versus the laws for the masses, it’s not just any one thing. It’s a combo platter of all of that and considerably more. In a word, many of you are “worried” and I think rightfully so. You just hide it well.

The old analogy is “whistling past the graveyard”. Popular in the 30’s, its definition is “To attempt to stay cheerful in a dire situation; to proceed with a task, ignoring an upcoming hazard, hoping for a good outcome.” I remember quite well using an example of whistling past the graveyard when I was a youngster. I was 12 years old and my neighbor Matt and I had walked to the movies to see a show. Slated to end at 9 pm, the theater was just half a mile from our house and back then kids could walk home safely in the dark.

After our movie was over, the theater announced that they were going to run a “sneak preview showing” of a brand new movie called “night of the living dead”. It was a Saturday evening and Matt and I phoned home quickly to see if we could stay and watch the “free” movie. We got the okay.

If you’re not familiar with the film, it’s about a group of folks that find refuge in a farm house after the population had been turned into flesh eating zombies. Well, it scared the Bejesus out of the both of us. On the way home, we had to take one short path through some woods, and we did our version of whistling past the graveyard by talking really loud to each other and making fun of the ghouls because they were so fake. Truth is we were scared witless and awful glad to get home.

I see a lot of whistling past the graveyard. You ask folks “hey, how are you doing” and they respond, “oh fine, thanks” but then later you find things aren’t so fine. They’re behind on their mortgage, the kids can’t find jobs, medical is eating them alive, etc etc. Every story is different, but similar. They aren’t fine in the classic sense that we all used to be. They’re whistling.

I wanted to write this to let you know, you’re not alone. If you have that feeling that things aren’t right, and you’re concerned about the future, you’re in fine company. You have every reason to feel that way because indeed there’s so many things going on that it becomes overwhelming. Let’s face it folks, the three biggest selling drugs in America are anti-depressants, anti-acids, and Erectile dysfunction medicine. That alone should give you a good insight into the stress of modern day living.

I think the key to remaining sane in this modern world is picking your battles. You can’t fight everything. If you’ve got one pet peeve chewing on you, then go after it with gusto. Maybe you can join forces with other folks bothered by the same topic, and get something done about it. But don’t try and take on all the ills, it will drive you crazy, exhaust you and make you miserable.

People often ask me why I don’t talk about such things as Ferguson or Baltimore. Why I usually don’t comment on the gay movement, or the lesser number of Christians in the past ten years. Well the fact is I have very strong opinions on such things, and many more to boot. When I see a child get expelled for chewing a pop tart into a “gun shape” don’t you think my head explodes? It most certainly does. I think the loss of common sense in America is one of the things that bothers me more than anything else. Where the hell did it go??? When I see the loss of Freedom’s we’ve experienced, it saddens me to the core.

But again, you can’t fight everything. We try our best to tell you what’s happening in global finance, who the elites are, what their angling towards and how best we can profit or protect ourselves from them. That battle alone is all consuming as far as time and energy goes. Why? Because what happens at the upper end of elitist banking will trickle down and affect virtually every aspect of your life.

From taxes, to interest rates, to employment opportunity, to wars, to politicians, to you name it. I have enough battle on my hands, that’s for sure.

I’d love to tell you it’s all going to get better, but alas, I cannot. Each day gets more bizarre than the next. The worst part is that from where I sit, most of it stems from the financial side of the story. The struggle going on globally to deal with a quadrillion in derivatives, and dozens of completely broke nations, tends to toss normality out the window in a big way. Governments can ram all sorts of things
down your throat when you’re more worried about your paycheck than keeping an eye on their criminal activity.

Just consider the abject insanity of this…on Wednesday we had the worst retail sales report since 2009. On Thursday the WSJ reported that we have just come through the worst month of economic reports since the great recession. So what did the market do Thursday? It ran to a new alltime high on the S&P. Are markets supposed to soar to new highs on economic reports this bad? No.

But in 2015 they do, because the market is broken. It’s all about Central planners, central bakers, Wall Street wizards. It’s all about selling debt to buy back stock, it’s about the Swiss National bank owning billions upon billions of US stocks.
You’re right to be confused, concerned and at times mad. The world has been turned upside down.

College costs more than my first house. Race relations are at an all time low. Despite the war on drugs and the war on poverty, we have more of both in huge supply. Civility is gone. Road rage is the norm. The police are being militarized, and scary joint exercises are being played out in 20 states.

The price of protein is out of sight, and chicken, and burger has hit yet another all time high. Seafood has become completely out of the question for tens of millions. I could go on for ages.

My point isn’t to be an “angry white guy” as I was called recently. Hell I keep collecting nicknames all the time. I’ve been Negative Nancy, an angry white guy, and that conspiracy nut Bob just in the past month. My point is simply to say to you all, it’s real. What you’re feeling is legit. Something is coming and only your imagination will limit what it could be. How do I know something’s coming?

Because we cannot keep spinning ever more out of control for ever. Something’s got to give.

I don’t know how we fix inner cities, I really don’t. I don’t know how we get politicians that don’t lie to us. I don’t know how to fix a justice system that has one set of laws for the Hollywood and rich, and another set for us peon’s. I don’t know how to get common sense back. I don’t know how to defeat political correctness. I simply have a feeling that it all has to play itself out, burn itself out.

And I think the spark that lights the fire is some form of economic reset. Something pretty big that shakes us to the core for a while and we collectively wake up and decide we’ve been going down the wrong path for too long and it’s time to rebuild. Empires that begin to lose control don’t tend to fix themselves and return to what made them great, they tend to be faced with something major that forces them to change. War, bankruptcy, revolt, etc. I think we’re on that path. And yes it hurts to say that.

So no, you’re not crazy and things are indeed strange and getting stranger. Everyone’s whistling past the graveyard. Something’s coming and it’s my job to try my best to figure out what it is, and how we can get around it. So far the only thing that makes the most sense to me is a global economic reset, and the disruptions something like that will bring. Maybe I’m wrong and imagining all this…but I don’t think so.

If you’ve been with us for any length of time, you know that the thrust of most of my articles is “what can we do about it?” It’s one thing to rant and rave about all the lunacy we see each day, but it’s something else to try and lay out real plans to deal with it. Well I tend to think that it always starts at “home”. All you can do is make your family the best it can be. That’s financially, educationally, defensively, etc. You’re not going to alter the tides of societal change. All you can do is alter
yourselves. Once your situation at home is as good as you can make it, can you then reach out and try and “fix” other things.

Let me leave you with this thought. The President is working on his pet trade agreement. So secretive is the content of that agreement, that word is if you’re in Congress and want to see it, you have to meet one on one in a basement office. You cannot take in a cell phone. You are given the pages one section at a time and must be returned after reading while you’re watched. You are then sworn to not discuss what you’ve seen. This is what passes today for our “Government for and by the people”. It’s nothing of the sort. This is Government for and of the elitist corporations and one world thinkers. You simply get in the way.

If your elected officials have to create pacts and agreements in total secrecy and then we have to “pass it to find out what’s in it” the idea of a free Republic is no more.

So you’re right to whistle past the grave yard. You’re right to have that ugly feeling in your gut.

You’re right to think that as much as you hope for the best you fear for the worst lately. In all the years I’ve been writing this, which actually started in 1994, some 21 years ago, I’ve never been as “worried” about our future as I am today. That says a lot because I’ve come through some big things in my life, from Vietnam to 9/11 to the 2008 crash.

95% of all my articles are designed to enlighten you to what we really see going on, and provide some path to profit from it, or protect yourself from it. It’s all I know how to do. Stay tuned.

Urban Man

How to Use Pool Shock to Purify Water

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“I read a very interesting article from a site called Back Door Survival on a better way to purify water other than using bleach.- Urban Man”

If I were to ask how many of you store liquid bleach along with your other prepping supplies, I am certain that a good percentage of you would raise your hands.  Liquid bleach is a powerful disinfectant and sanitizer but did you know that there is something better?  Something with an almost indefinite shelf life that is inexpensive and takes almost no room to store?

That something is the chemical Calcium Hypochlorite most commonly known as Pool Shock.

I have known about Pool Shock for years but because it is not readily available in my area, I never took the time to search it out so I could stockpile some for my own emergency preps.  That has now changed and today I plan to show you how to use Pool Shock the easy way, step by step.

Why Not Bleach?

Before we start, you may be asking “why not use liquid bleach?”.  There are a few problems with liquid bleach.  It takes a lot of room to store bleach plus the usable shelf life is only six month to a year depending on storage conditions.

The folks at Clorox say this:

The active ingredient in liquid bleach, sodium hypochlorite, is very sensitive to high heat and freezing, but under normal home storage conditions, it should still perform well for nine to twelve months.

In addition to a limited shelf life, there is another problem. I have had reports from Backdoor Survival readers telling me that in their area, they can only purchase “Clorox Ultra” which is concentrated.  When I called Clorox to ask how to use concentrated bleach to purify water, they said that it was not intended to be used in that manner and why would I want to do that anyway.  Seriously, their representative actually said that.

Pool Shock – The Boilerplate

When I started doing research for this article, I visited some of the most respected survival and preparedness blogs and forums for background material.  After all, pool shock is pool shock and there must be some standards for use, right?

With just one exception, all of the sites I visited included this boilerplate from the EPA:

You can use granular calcium hypochlorite to disinfect water.

Add and dissolve one heaping teaspoon of high-test granular calcium hypochlorite (approximately ¼ ounce) for each two gallons of water, or 5 milliliters (approximately 7 grams) per 7.5 liters of water.

The mixture will produce a stock chlorine solution of approximately 500 milligrams per liter, since the calcium hypochlorite has available chlorine equal to 70 percent of its weight.

To disinfect water, add the chlorine solution in the ratio of one part of chlorine solution to each 100 parts of water to be treated. This is roughly equal to adding 1 pint (16 ounces) of stock chlorine to each 12.5 gallons of water or (approximately ½ liter to 50 liters of water) to be disinfected.

To remove any objectionable chlorine odor, aerate the disinfected water by pouring it back and forth from one clean container to another.

Have your eyes glazed over yet?  Mine have. Being an accountant, I like to deal in absolutes so what is this business about “one heaping teaspoon”?  Plus, what’s up with the references to “approximately” and “roughly”?

I decided that it was  time to do my own testing, and sure enough, each time I measured out a heaping teaspoon, I had different results; they ran the gamut from 1 1/4 teaspoons to 2 teaspoons.  This made my head hurt.

Another thing.  Over and over I read that you should use pool shock that is a minimum of 78% calcium hypochlorite with the balance being inert ingredients.  Fair enough, but there are two problems with this. First, what you find locally may be 68%, it may be 78%, or it may be something else.  I sourced mine from Amazon and it was 73% calcium hypochlorite.  Second, the EPA, makes no such recommendation or at least none that I could find. They simply say “high-test”.

Did I mention this made my head hurt?

But there is more.  I actually found a couple of sites that said to use one heaping tablespoon of Pool Shock for each two gallons of water!  You know, just because you find something on the internet does not mean it is true.

My conclusion?  The exact amount and the exact percentage does not matter as long as it is within a reasonable range and close to the EPA standard.  I do think it is important that the pool shock does not contain other additives that may or may not be safe even when highly diluted.  Other than that, however, it is my belief that the precise percentage of Calcium Hypochlorite to inert ingredients does not matter as long as it is 68% or higher.

For my own use, I settled on 1 teaspoon of pool shock per gallon of water when making up my stock chlorine solution.  Then, to disinfect water, I used 3/4 ounce of my pool shock solution to treat a gallon of water.  This makes it easy to calculate how much to use, regardless of the size of your container.

Step-by-Step:  How to Purify Water Using Pool Shock

The first thing I did was gather my supplies.  Notice that I used eye protection goggles and rubber gloves.  Other supplies included an empty bleach bottle, funnel, shot glass, and measuring spoons.

I verified the size of my stock chlorine solution container, namely a repurposed bleach bottle.  My bottle held 1.42 gallons and I wrote this on the outside with a Sharpie pen.  My intent, however, was to only prepare 1 gallon of stock solution to keep the math simple.

After donning my protection gear, I added water to my stock solution bottle, carefully measuring the quantity.  I used exactly one gallon of water.

I then measured out some pool shock; one level teaspoon to be exact.  I put the cap back on the bottle and swished it around a bit. I gave it a sniff test and it definitely smelled bleach-like.

The next step was to purify water.  I wanted to make drinking water and for me, the smaller the jug the better.  I chose a 64 ounce repurposed apple juice jug.  Remember the easy math?  The EPA says 1 part chlorine solution to 100 parts water so the math is 64/100 = .64 ounces.

Keeping things easy, that translates into approximately 2/3rd ounce.  Remember, the EPA guideline uses the word “approximately” all over the place.  That was good enough for me.  To easily measure the proper dilution, I used a mini shot glass that had measurement markings along the side.

Be sure to pour your pool shock into your water and not the other way around.  The last thing you want is to splash the solution on yourself on the surrounding surfaces (although you have probably noticed that I did this outdoors).

After preparing my newly purified water, I drank up.  Three things.  I did not throw up, I did not get diarrhea and I did not get sick or die.

I am comfortable with the results even though the solution I made may have been slightly stronger than the EPA guidelines.  Then again, given the vagueness of the EPA guidelines, perhaps my measurements were spot on.

Note:  I did not find that my water had an objectionable smell or taste.  True, it was not sweet tasting like the water coming out of my Royal Berkey but it was palatable.  If your own purified water has an unpleasant odor, simply aerate it by pouring it back and forth between clean containers.  This trick applies to any water, not just water treated with pool shock.

Label your pool shock solution.  This is powerful stuff.  Get out your Sharpie and label the jug with as much information as you can.  Store it in the same manner you store liquid bleach, up high and away from pets and children and in a location that is cool, dark and dry.

Also store your unused pool shock safely.  Because it is corrosive, I chose a mason jar with a plastic lid.  Plus, rather than empty the pool shock into the jar, I sealed the plastic bag it came in with a clip and stuffed the bag inside of the jar.

Other Handling and Storage Considerations

I contacted the manufacturer of the pool shock I purchased and requested a Material Safety Data Sheet on the product.  They promptly responded and here is what it said about handling and storage:

Keep product tightly sealed in original containers. Store product in a cool, dry, well-ventilated area. Store away from combustible or flammable products. Keep product packaging clean and free of all contamination, including, e.g. other pool treatment products, acids, organic materials, nitrogen-containing compounds, dry powder fire extinguishers (containing mono-ammonium phosphate), oxidizers, all corrosive liquids, flammable or combustible materials, etc.

Do not store product where the average daily temperature exceeds 95° F. Storage above this temperature may result in rapid decomposition, evolution of chlorine gas and heat sufficient to ignite combustible products.

Now that I have been through the process and understand the math, I am confortable using pool shock to purify water for drinking, hygiene, and sanitation purposes.  It is not, however, an excuse for not storing water nor an excuse for not having a supply of traditional water purification liquids or tabs that are pre-measured and simple to carry with you in bug-out-bags and emergency kits.

As far as I am concerned, the pool shock I have purchased is reserved for dire emergency use, period.  Yes, I feel it is safe, but it is still a powerful chemical solution as is liquid bleach.  I will use it as the water purification method of last resort and if the time comes, I will be thankful I have it on hand.

Disclaimer

I have to say this: I am not a chemist and I am not an expert.  My methods are my own and they work for me.  That being said, if you have any hesitation at all, visit other resources including the EPA and make the decision to use pool shock your own and not just something someone told you to do.  Here is a link:  Emergency Disinfection of Drinking Water.

The Final Word

Everywhere you look you will see a recommendation to  store bleach for water purification. I have made that recommendation and so have many, if not most, of my blogging peers.  What you may not have seen is that liquid bleach has a limited shelf life of 6 to 12 months.  I fear that this could be leaving a lot of people ill prepared to produce safe, potable water in an emergency.

This means that a person that began prepping a year ago, and does not know to rotate their bleach, is already living with false security when it comes to water purification.  And what about people that have been prepping longer?

As long as pool shock is stored properly, it will have an almost indefinite shelf life plus, a small one pound package will treat many thousands of gallons of water. Ten thousand to be exact.  It can be mixed and used as potable water and as a disinfectant, just like bottled liquid bleach.

At the end of the day, do your own research and decide for yourself.  All I can say is that for me, the $13 investment was more than worth it for peace of mind down the road.

Urban Man

The Latest Entry In The SR1911 Family

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“I just read this post on the NRA website in reference to the new 1911 Light Weight Commander. If you own one, I would like your opinion and comments. Do you feel this would make a good urban personal defense weapon?-  Urban Man”

Nearly five years ago, Sturm, Ruger & Co. launched its first SR1911 pistol. One might wonder how Ruger expected to be successful in a market already so full of M1911-style pistols. Ruger seems to have succeeded by using the most-modern manufacturing techniques and by reaching out to recognized M1911 experts for advice on the gun’s design. The result has been a family of pistols that are extremely well-made at a very reasonable price.

The latest entry in the SR1911 family is the Lightweight Commander in .45 ACP. This pistol features an anodized aluminum frame that, with its smoky gray coloring, contrasts nicely with the stainless steel slide and barrel. More importantly, the pistol is nearly 10 ozs. lighter than the 5″ Government Model, making it a natural for those who want to carry an M1911 for personal defense.

Similar to the other Ruger SR1911s, the Lightweight Commander has a beavertail grip safety and an extended thumb safety. It also comes with Novak Lo-Mount fixed combat sights, not foreign copies, but the real deal. Also included are two, seven-round magazines and a zippered carrying case.



Another interesting feature of this Commander is the fact that the plunger tube, located between the slide stop and the thumb safety, is an integral part of the pistol frame. On most M1911s this part is simply staked on and has been known to come completely off of the pistol during strings of fire. Making the tube an integral part of the frame is just another touch of quality from Ruger.

However, the most interesting feature of this pistol is the titanium insert placed in the feed ramp portion of the aluminum alloy frame. In some cases, hollow-point ammunition can gouge an alloy feed ramp. And, when this happens, feeding reliability will usually suffer. By placing the titanium insert into the frame, Ruger has insured that this pistol will feed properly and reliably for years to come.

Ruger also incorporates a lightweight titanium firing pin in its family of SR1911 pistols. This addition makes it difficult, if not impossible, for the pistol to fire upon being dropped on a hard surface. And it negates the need for the troublesome firing-pin-block safety found on some guns of other manufacture.

We tested the Ruger Lightweight Commander with three .45 ACP loads that were chosen to represent modern choices in defensive ammunition. The highest velocity was obtained using the Federal 165-gr. Guard Dog cartridge which produced an average velocity of 1070 f.p.s. However, the most accurate loading turned out to be the Remington 230-gr. JHP cartridge, at 819 f.p.s., with five-shot groups that averaged 2.40″ at 25 yds. from a sandbag rest. The third load tested was the Hornady 185-gr. HAP load, at 875 f.p.s. All three of the cartridges tested gave performance and accuracy that would make them good choices for the armed citizen or law enforcement officer.

Following accuracy and velocity tests, we shot the Lightweight Commander in various defensive shooting drills. It was noted that the pistol functioned flawlessly throughout the various tests. Several shooters commented on how comfortable the Ruger was to shoot and singled out the thin, attractive, checkered hardwood stocks as being one of the factors contributing to this impression.

As Ruger undoubtedly learned from the experts it consulted, the key to making an accurate, reliable M1911 is in the attention given to the mating of the slide to the frame. Another contributing factor is creating a solid barrel lockup. Instead of adding various external features that rarely contribute to accuracy and reliability, Ruger seems to have focused on these important areas of manufacture. The various shooters who fired our test pistol, including at least two law enforcement veterans, all commented on the pistol’s smooth functioning and positive lockup.

Ruger produced a quality M1911 that forces others to make a place for it in the M1911 market by focusing on the things that matter in a well-made pistol. And, as usual, Ruger found a way to do that at a price that should be pleasing to the shooting public. Once again, it appears that Ruger has hit a home run with the Ruger Lightweight Commander in .45 ACP.

Urban Man!

Growing Tips for the Suburban Survivalist

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Urban Man says – if you are not growing anything in your backyard, on your balcony or even on a windowsill then you are not taking advantage of learning new skills sets nor getting the value of growing (and eating) your own healthy food. And least I mention saving money. In a depressed economy or monetary hyper inflation, the value of growing your own food cannot be over stressed.

You cannot open an internet browser without seeing former Senator Ron Paul warning of a dire economic collapse coming soon. This is echoed by Stansberry Research, The International Investor, Zero Hedge and many others.

Even growing a couple tomato plants, maybe a potato patch, or even just a squash mound or two can provide lessons learned on growing foods, give you some confidence and a sense of accomplishment, save you money and you may very well need that small garden to survive.

This is a main stream internet article on growing your own small garden and I re-post it as we cannot read, research or save enough articles on growing foods as I fear we are going to need these skills and soon.

10 Tips For Growing Your Own Food In Your Garden, by Sarah Wexler on Yahoo! Food.
[source: https://www.yahoo.com/food/the-10-tips-for-growing-your-own-food-in-your-118376985826.html]

There are plenty of good reasons to grow your own vegetables: you’ll spend less at the grocery store, you’ll know exactly what went into growing them, and you’ll have a sense of pride every time you enjoy that just-plucked-from-the-stem tomato.

“You’ll have a great variety of fruits and vegetables, and they taste so much better than anything from the store that’s been sitting on the shelves for days after it was picked,” says Suzy Hancock, general manager at Portland Nursery in Oregon. It’s true — you’ve never tasted a carrot so sweet or a cucumber so crisp as the ones you eat right from your own garden. Here’s her advice for starting your own successful veggie plot at home.

1. Build raised beds. Pick a part of your yard that gets full sun (that’s four to six hours a day), and construct — or buy pre-made — raised beds. They’re easier to weed and warm up faster than the ground, so you can start planting earlier and get better results. It’s also easy to attach hoops to a raised bed that you can cover in case of cold nights or pests like moths or birds.

2. Fill with good soil. Buy potting soil and mix in native soil from the yard as well as compost, mixing so the ratio is half compost, half soil. Mix in a dry organic fertilizer, which is good for long-term feeding, like E.B. Stone Organics Sure-Start, though you’ll still need to add compost every year to replenish your soil. Since vegetables like a close-to-neutral pH soil, buy a pH testing kit at the nursery and see if your soil is neutral. It’s often too acidic; if so, add lime.

3. Wait for warm nights. In spring, it’s generally safe to plant greens (lettuces, spinach, kale, Swiss chard), cabbage, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and peas. Plant other veggies too soon and you could kill your starters, so hold off until nighttime temperatures stay above 55 before planting peppers, tomatoes, and squash. The most cold-sensitive plants are melons and cucumbers, so plant those last, only when you’re fairly sure temps won’t dip again.

4. Plant the right fruits and veggies. Corn isn’t good for a small space, since it takes a lot of room and doesn’t produce much. Though plant starters are often sold in six-packs, don’t be afraid to scrap some or give to a neighbor; one zucchini plant is likely all you need because it’ll produce so many. Raspberries and mint are both invasive, taking over a whole garden if they’re planted, so use containers to keep them separate from the rest of your plot. Fennel doesn’t do well when planted next to veggies and tends to die. Generally, look for dwarf or bush varieties of plants, which don’t take up a lot of space even when they’re fully grown. A genius hack: buy grafted plants (often done with tomatoes), which are two varieties of the fruit or veggie growing from one plant, so you get double the variety without taking up twice the space.

5. Sequester your alliums. Alliums including onions, chives, shallots, leeks, and garlic are so much more fragrant and delicious from your own garden, but they tend not to play well with others; they can have negative effects on artichokes, asparagus, many kinds of beans, lettuces, and peas. Plant your alliums in separate containers or at least two to three rows away from its foes and it won’t be a problem.

6. Stagger your returns. Plant a mix of vegetables that mature over different time frames. That way you’ll have a steady stream of produce over the whole season, rather than so much ripening at once that you’re scrambling to use it all before it goes bad. The little plastic sign that comes with the plant will tell you the average number of days before it matures; at the nursery, look for a mix of traditional and early-maturing plants to spread your haul throughout the season.

7. Consider companion planting. This is a technique of pairing plants together that can benefit from being near each other. For example, basil generally thrives when planted next to tomatoes or peppers, but not as well when its neighbors are beans or cucumbers; find the whole list of happy plant pairings here. Generally, root vegetables like radishes, beets, and carrots do well when planted between leafy greens, since the root veggies take up a lot of space under the soil, while lettuces don’t have very deep roots.

8. Follow spacing guidelines. The plastic signs that come with your plants will give a guideline of how much “personal space” each needs from the plants around it. Rather than thinking you’ll get more veggies if you just pack more of them into your raised bed, crowding them in can reduce air circulation, leading to pests like aphids. If the plant’s instructions say three inches, give it at least three inches, and consider it room to grow.

9. Plant flowers, too. No, you’re not going to eat them, but flowers like marigolds are more than a pretty touch. Though it’s a myth that they keep bugs away, marigolds actually do help your veggies thrive by attracting beneficial insects to your garden.

10. Close up shop. After you’ve harvested your crops and you’re putting your garden to bed for the season, get rid of dead foliage to avoid pests, then cover with a thick layer of compost. Or, plant beneficial cover crops like vetch (in the legume family) or beautiful red-topped crimson clover; when you turn it under in the spring, it will add nitrogen and other nutrients to your soil — making for an even better garden next year.

Urban Man

Common Mistakes While Bugging Out

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An article posted by Selco on the SHTF School on April 11, 2015. Selco always writes good stuff on website.
[Source: Link to article: http://shtfschool.com/basic-survival/common-mistakes-while-bugging-out/trade post collapse]

Bugging out is something that I once failed to do, because I did not even realize that it needed to be done, actually I saw what was happening but I did not „process“ the information in correct way, so I stay and had to go trough whole period of watching, doing, and getting hit by violence, together with being cold, hungry, sick and everything else.

Because bugging out is so important and survival done right is often not getting into survival situations in the first place I stress importance of bugging out (if you are not already live in great bug out location anyway).

Consider the following couple of mistakes that I witnessed (more than one time):

Right moment Guy figured out that SHTF, something happening in the city, hears screams outside, shots, confusing news on TV, he rounds up his family, puts all bags in his car, they are armed and they go out in order to reach their bug out location in hills some 50 miles away. After one mile of traveling angry mob who just plundering local mall stops the car, pull them out, and beat them, and then kill the guy, he managed to kill few of them before that, but they were hundreds. He is dead. End of story.

If you woke up in the middle of the night, because something strange happens in your town, some event, maybe terrorist attack, or martial law put into effect or whatever, sit down and think for a moment. Your mission is to leave the area and reach your bug out location, do not confuse that mission with any urge to panically run. If you go into the panic you will make mistakes, and it is definetly not time for mistakes. You would be surprised to know how many people are prone to panic, and how many of them end up dead because of that.

Try to gather some information, and act accordingly to that information, who, what, when, how long, where.

Try to figure out what is happening before you start to bug out to your bug out location. What are problematic areas? Who is in control? You will never have perfect information but it is better than having no information at all.

Speak to neighbors, listen to the radio and TV and look on Twitter and other social media. Yes that often means you will need to postpone your trip, maybe for hours, or sometimes for even days. You need to choose the best moment to leave the area (if you already missed to leave the area before SHTF).

“Right way“ SHTF and family get in their pick up, with trailer full of good equipment for SHTF time. They managed to go some 20 miles down the road, where few cars simply „get them“, block them and take everything from them. They manage to save their lives or maybe not. Who knows.

Real problem here is not having right and good equipment, and lots of it. Real problem is that we are being constantly bombarded with information that we (preppers and survivalists) need to have right equipment (a lot) in order to survive. Because without it we are gonna end up dead. We are being instructed that without “things“ we are lost, we are not even right survivalists.

So when SHTF we are becoming something like prisoners of our things. Guess what? I am preparing myself to bug out in my sneakers, with pistol and plastic bag. If I have to I will collect everything else what I need on my way to my bug out location. Do not get me wrong, of course I have my bug out bag, my plans, and my useful stuff for trip to my bug out location, but the point is that I am really expecting that I will find myself in situation where I need to reach bug out location without all those things. Do not accept philosophy that things will save your life. Things will help you to stay alive, but your (correct) mindset will mainly save your life.

Anyway, plan to have what you need at your bug out location (already prepared), do not rely too much on things while you are bugging out, you need to be able to get things done with minimal equipment that’s why skills are more important than equipment and in best case you have both. Right mindset One word-ADAPT.

If you are bug out plan plays out excatly like it should you are a very lucky man. Consider the fact, that most of you are making plans to cover hypothetical SHTF scenarios, that you seen on TV shows, read about it somewhere, member of family went through somewhere, or simply you had couple of bad experiences. It is normal. We need to guess and it is best we can do.

You are building your plans based on that, nothing wrong with that. Except that everything may go wrong in one moment. You have plan to go through the city from point A to point B then to point C etc, and then to reach safe point somewhere. All good, but SHTF and your youngest son is still in school, your car is broken, and at point B in your plan something weird is happening, some kind of riot, let say with all chaos and confusion some trucks with money are rolled over right at your point B and now you need to find out a new way quickly, and your whole plan is gone, you do not know what to do. Welcome to reality! Reality usually likes to blow all your good plans to pieces. But point of planning is to COVER as many problems as you can, so make sure you play through as many scenarios as possible.

For example if you have just one way out of the city it is bad plan, it needs backup and backup of the backup.

UrbanMan’s comment: Remember PACE Planning?

Prepare for the fact that your plan will be wrong right at the beginning, and that you need to make new plan very soon, (and couple of more new plans until you reach your bug out location.) Do not end up dead because you wanted to stick to your plan because it looks good, while circumstances changed hourly around you. Survival is about quickly adapting to new situations. That is why it always helps to take a map and whatever else you need to have good sources of information to make new plans on the go. These were just few of the most important things to consider when bugging out. How do you plan to bug out.

Urban Man

Battery Power After the Collapse

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Maha Powerex Multi-Charger

Being a huge fan of PACE planning and having redundancies for solutions to survival problems, I have a good supply of rechargeable batteries (both NiMH and NiCD types) and chargers. Some of these are the cheap versions from Lowe’s or Home Depot, but my newest charger is the Maha Powerex Multi-Charger which can recharge AAA, AA, C and D sized batteries. The several versions of AAA and AA chargers I have will also be used but give me a barter capacity as I believe many people in a collapse will have not thought about batteries for their vast array of battery powered equipment including radios and flashlights.

Click To Purchase

What I have yet to buy are re-chargeable CR123 3v, also known as Surefire Batteries, and a recharger for these batteries. While I have many Surefire flashlights, which are the best and brightest (considering lumen power) on the market, they are also power hungry so I have intentionally focused my flashlight and lantern procurement on AA power lights.

There is one more portable power tool that I’ll be adding soon, and that is the Batteriser which reportedly extends batteries up to 8x longer.

Click Here to read the Yahoo article and watch the video.

The article I was reading stated that it did sound too good to be true, but this new $2.50 gadget promises to bring your AA and C batteries back from the dead.

The article continues,….”You might be skeptical, but the Silicon Valley startup says it’s simply been able to take advantage of a well-known downside of standard batteries. The tiny device works by tapping into the unused energy in a regular Duracell or Eveready. A normal AA or C cell is designed to deliver a steady 1.5 volts, but as the power is depleted the voltage will drop. Once it slips too low, your TV remotes and toys and other devices will stop working. The Batteriser has boost circuitry that will boost the voltage from 0.6 volts to 1.5 volts and will maintain voltage at 1.5—which is a brand new battery.”

Apparently the physics department of San Jose State University also reviewed the Batteriser. “We tested the Batteriser sleeve in our lab and we confirmed that the Batteriser taps into 80 percent of energy that is usually thrown away,” said the university’s Dr. Kiumars Parvin in a statement given to PC World.

So what plans have you made for battery power after the collapse. Remember that in the beginnings or a collapse, much like a natural disaster,. food, bottled water and batteries are the first things that fly off the shelves. Besides who wants to put money into storing one use batteries?

Urban Man

Latest Pistol Caliber Carbine – Suitable for the Collapse?

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Probably the highest density of e-mails I receive are questions regarding survival guns. Readers ask me what weapons or arsenal of weapons I would consider suitable to survive a total collapse. The bottom line is: Have a gun, in fact have several; have sufficient ammunition for each gun; be competent with each gun you own and train your family members to use them as well.

Having said that there are some guns that are more suitable than others for particular or general situations. Here are some instances or things to consider:

If you have a bug out location,such as a house of cabin with hundreds of yards of cleared fields of fire or observation, why would someone limit their survival firearms to handguns, pistol caliber carbines and Shotguns? You would run the risk of being out ranged.

If you are an urban dweller and plan to bug in the urban environment or to transit large urban areas during your bug out, why would you limit yourself to long barreled shotguns or rifles?

Consider your environment. Consider your ranges. Consider your potential threats and density of threats.

While the M1911 .45 caliber semi -automatic is a great gun, with a single stack magazine, it may not be the best choice of a high density threat environment. I, for one, would prefer a large capacity 9mm for a handgun. Same as for a rifle. A .308 caliber M1A1 rifle is a great weapon, but perhaps an M-4 carbine could be better suited for the urban environment.

So that bring me to the latest question I received, and that was what do I think about the latest pistol caliber carbine to hit the market, the MasterPiece Arms MPA30DMG 9mm. The question was if I thought a decent survival arsenal would be the MasterPiece Arms MPA30DMG 9mm carbine to go with a Glock 17 handgun.

[Source: http://masterpiecearms.com/shop/mpa20dmg-9mm-carbine-all-aluminum-lower/]

Here is the data on the MasterPiece Arms MPA30DMG 9mm:

Price: MSRP – $966.00

Company Narrative: The grip is our most ergonomically designed grip system incorporating a “Solidworks” designed profile allowing the use of standard Glock style magazines, with a low profile magazine release and “Decal Grip” grip panels. The lower is machined from aircraft grade aluminum, provides cleaner lines and lighter weight than our standard steel receivers. The Hand guard is produced from an Aluminum Extrusion, has no fasteners, and is free floating.

Specs:

Cal: 9mm
Barrel Length: 16.2
Thread: 1/2-28
Side Cocker
Side Folder Stock
Scope Mount
Barrel Extension
Adjustable Front and Rear Sights
Accepts Standard Glock Style High Capacity Magazines (1 Mag Included)
Coating: Cerakote (Burnt Bronze is standard color – other colors available including Black, Tungsten, Sniper Green, Gunmetal and FDE.
Decal Grip Grip Panels
Hammer with Disconnect plus original Hammer
MPA Polymer Case

While I have carbines – M4 and M1’s, I do not own a pistol caliber carbine. My reasoning is why have a large platform that only shoots pistol calibers? Although it may be useful for some of your survival teams members, e.g.. ladies, old people and children. But if you have to own one, then own one that has magazines that are inter-changeable with your handguns.

Urban Man

Attack on the U.S. From Cargo Ships As a Collapse Catalyst

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“If you think are enemies can not reach out a touch us, then read the below article. What other adversaries have things like this waiting for the right time to pounce?  Urban Man”

Urban Survival Skills and most other Survivalist Prepper sites has concentrated on a financial – economic collapse as a catalyst for chaos in the United States. From time to time we have talked about Electro Magnetic Pulse (EMP) from terrorist or nation states’ nuclear strikes causing the collapse, aka Lights Out or One Second After scenario. And while this is certainly a possibility, that possibility took on new importance and new possibilities upon Russia now manufacturing and exporting a Shipping Container missile system.

You have all seen those shipping container, on flatbeds being pulled by semi trucks, or on trains or even ships. Commonly called Sea Containers or military containers, it is common for ships entering U.S. ports to be laden with stacks and stacks of these containers. Even if all ships and all containers are inspected, and I assure you they are NOT!, it would only take a ship stopping before dockside to fire these missile into U.S. Territory.

And it really doesn’t matter if these missiles are guided or not – with a nuclear warhead close enough is good enough.

The Russian Club K missile systems have been placed in Sea Containers in order to be placed on cargo ships and “hide in plain site”. They have a range of 180 miles which is a great enough range to sit of the 12 mile territorial waters and fire missiles into U.S. soil.

This missile is basically a part of the Russian anti-ship armament family. It comes in a system of four missiles and can fit inside 20 foot Sea Container, therefore two systems of a total of 8 missiles can fit inside a 40 foot Sea Container.

As one intelligence analyst put it “The Russia Club K missile System is practically undetectable, and it may encounter a potential adversary’s ship anywhere at all, be it aboard a Russia patrol vessel in the northern seas, on the Crimean coast, or emerging unexpectedly from an old shipping container somewhere in Latin America.”

Urban Man

Americans and a General Lack of Preparing for Economic Collapse

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Here is an eye opening article that a friend of mine sent me. Makes for some thoughful reading:

In the past few years, the job market has vastly improved and home prices have rebounded — yet Americans are becoming even more irresponsible when it comes to saving for emergencies – not to mention preparing for a economic collapse.

According to a survey of 1,000 adults released by Bankrate.com on Tuesday, nearly one in three (29%) American adults (that’s roughly 70 million) have no emergency savings at all — the highest percentage since Bankrate began doing this survey five years ago. What’s more, only 22% of Americans have at least six months of emergency savings (that’s what advisers recommend) — the lowest level since Bankrate began doing the survey.

These findings mirror others — all of which paint an abysmal picture of Americans’ ability to withstand an emergency. For example, a survey released in March by national nonprofit NeighborWorks America also found that roughly one third (34%) of Americans don’t have emergency savings.

I would think that is 34% of Americans don’t have emergency savings then that percentage of people who don’t have emergency provisions and the ability to survive prolonged periods of minimal food and lack of utilities is much greater.

Greg McBride, the chief financial analyst for Bankrate.com, says these low savings reflect that households haven’t seen their incomes ramp up and thus “household budgets are tight.” Plus, he adds “people don’t pay themselves first — they wait until the end of the month to save what’s left over and then nothing is left over.”

Many advisers recommend that most Americans have at least six months worth of income in their emergency fund — and more if they have children or other dependents. To build this up, most recommend something to the effect to “start an automatic transfer to a savings account and set a task to revisit and increase the amount in a month.”

Additionally, American consumers ended 2014 with $57 billion in personal debt, a historic high. An average of $7,177 and remember this is only counting credit or revolving credit debt, not mortgages, or car payments.

And if families don’t have any money to pay off their debt, they don’t have any money to pay themselves (savings) then they certainly don’t have any money to start preparing for a much different world,..a world where food is not commonly available,…where fuel prices have skyrocketed. Utilities are on and off, then not on at all.

I know a gentleman,..well hardly a gentleman, but nonetheless he took out his 401K plan, paying a giant penalty because he thought preparing for dark times was more important then preparing for retirement 20 years in the future. He bought several guns, much ammunition, common OTC medicines and medical supplies, silver bullion, extra canned goods and survival foods. He stocked case upon case of bottled water and also bought outdoor clothing and boots, sleeping bags and other camping type equipment. About the only purchase I did not agree with was a large gasoline generator. I told him a solar power system would have been more portable and not dependent upon gasoline which may be very scare in any economic or societal collapse.

Then he started paying himself and using what he saved every few months to buy more silver. As I told him, that was nice but he should consider also holding some cash on hand for emergency purchases for right before and right after the collapse is apparent when only cash is accepted and before cash is worthless. This period of time would be before silver and gold bullion and junk silver coins would be readily bartered or used in exchanges for goods and services.

Are you prepared?

Urban Man

7 Examples of Police State Technology that have arisen in 2014 to infringe on Our Rights

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Things are not looking pretty for the land of the free.

The year 2014 has made it very clear that privacy is under threat, and the situation is not likely to improve. Mass surveillance – which became a national issue via the Edward Snowden leaks – is not subsiding or under reform; instead, is becoming more bold and complex with each passing day.

It would take several books to catalog the myriad ways in which the rights of The People have been casually infringed by various levels of government just in years since 9/11 and the introduction of the PATRIOT Act.

And not only are federal agencies like the NSA, Homeland Security and the FBI that are taking liberties with our… umm… liberties; it is local police, too. The rise of technology is rapidly fueling these agencies with data and “intelligence” with very little oversight and even less pause for reflection to use these powerful abilities wisely and yes, judiciously.

Here are just a few major areas where privacy is losing badly to surveillance technology in 2014. Not that anyone is paying attention, but they are worth reflecting upon soon – hopefully before it is too late to turn things back around:

1. Militarized Police and Weapons of War on American Streets:

True, this technology has been in use for several years now and has been demonstrated at protests such as those held outside of the G20 in Pittsburgh and, Toronto and other locales.

But the events in Ferguson really allowed this brand of crowd control to come of age. This and other key protests have seemingly justified a massive police response for just about anything now… but… you know, the first amendment is still respected and all.

The Daily Sheeple reported:

Ferguson police have stocked up on less-lethal ammunition in the last few months including “hornets nest” CS sting grenades, which shoot out dozens of rubber bullets and a powdered chemical agent upon detonation, tear gas, riot gear, plastic handcuffs and the like in the lead up to the decision which is expected to come any time now. St Louis County police have spent $172,669 on this stuff just since August.
The Pentagon’s 1033 surplus program, which hands out everything from MRAP armored vehicles, to bullet proof vests, assault rifles, and other military weapons to domestic law enforcement agencies, is one of the major reasons that ordinary police departments, including those in small towns, are gearing up as for battle… and that includes Ferguson:

The Department of Defense Excess Property Program (1033 Program) is authorized under federal law and managed through the Defense Logistics Agency’s Law Enforcement Support Office (LESO) in Ft. Belvoir, Va. The 1033 Program provides surplus DoD military equipment to state and local civilian law enforcement agencies for use in counter-narcotics and counter-terrorism operations, and to enhance officer safety.

The Missouri Department of Public Safety is the sponsoring state agency responsible for administration of the 1033 Program in Missouri.

2. Biometrics Comes of Age:

Fingerprints and iris scans are becoming normalized as identifiers on mobile phones, including the iPhone 5, computers and other platforms.

Increasingly, technology – including devices used by police – are utilizing other bodily features (in addition to fingerprints and eyes) to identify you, including ears, noses, heart rate (via electrocardiogram), blood vein matching, your scent or smell and even “butt biometrics” – no joke – which will allow smart car seats to identify the sitter based on their unique posture.

While these are surely being integrated into law enforcement devices, they are also becoming the mainstays of “wearables,” the new trendy technology that is collecting data on all of those using it to track health progress and etc.

Surveillance cameras have already been used to identify you by your walk for several years now, but advances have allowed technology to even identify the person wearing a camera, such as a police officer with a mounted body cam, by just 4 seconds of footage, revealing a ‘biometric fingerprint’ of the individual.

Of course, roadside blood draws have already entered the picture in law enforcement work, including numerous locales that have implemented mandatory policies during stops. This is sure to pick up. In Seattle, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recently conducted a paid, voluntary survey of drivers, who received up to $60 to give blood and breath samples at a roadside stop in effort to study how many people drive impaired.

3. Smart Phone Apps Know Everything About You:

Vocative published a long and unsettling list of apps for smart phones and other similar devices that all collect untold amounts of information about you every day.

Whether you realize it or not, permissions for apps routinely allow the collection and sharing of such information as your contact and address book, your text message, and audio recorded from your device’s microphone, your call log and much more.

Yes, this is really happening, so beware if you are using mobile apps including:

Anti-Virus Security, Viber, Facebook, 360 Security (Antivirus), Tango Messenger, WhatsApp Messenger, Skype, GO Launcher EX, WeChat, CM Security, Waze Social GPS Maps & Traffic, BBM, LINE Free Calls & Messages, Clean Master Phone Boost, BU Battery Saver, Google’s Chrome Browser, Twitter, Maps, Instagram, YouTube, Dolphin Browser, Castle Clash and Trivia Crack …and be sure to actually read over the privacy policy and Terms of Service before accepting or installing anything.

Considering that Angry Birds and Candy Crush were admittedly used to collect surveillance data for the NSA (also revealed in 2014), and law enforcement now regularly investigate persons of interest based upon social media posts and cell phone data, there is no telling how many of these apps may be drawing unwanted suspicion your way… whether you have anything to hide or not.

Need we remind you of all the telecom and internet firms who, according to the Edward Snowden leaks, shared data willingly with the NSA?

4. “StingRay” and “Dirtbox” Cell Phone Interceptors:
2014 is the year that much has come to light about the very secret and awfully quiet use of a data sweeping technology that has increasingly been used by agencies including the FBI, local law enforcement, and likely private, public and foreign intelligence agencies and even military units… though, due to extreme secrecy, it is just too difficult to know for sure.

Moreover, it emerged in 2014 that the FBI has been pressuring police departments to keep quiet about the use of StingRay, which it has also not been obtaining warrants before putting to use:

Not only are local police departments across the United States increasingly relying on so-called StingRay devices to conduct surveillance on cell phone users, but cops are being forced to keep quiet about the operations, new documents reveal.

Recent reports have indicated that law enforcement agencies from coast to coast have been turning to IMSI-catcher devices, like the StingRay sold by Florida’s Harris Corporation, to trick ordinary mobile phones into communicating device-specific International Mobile Subscriber Identity information to phony cell towers — a tactic that takes the approximate geolocation data of all the devices within range and records it for investigators. Recently, the Tallahassee Police Department in the state of Florida was found to have used their own “cell site simulator” at least 200 times to collect phone data without once asking for a warrant during a three-year span, and details about the use of StingRays by other law enforcement groups continue to emerge on the regular.

Although the majority of the December 2012 document is redacted, a paragraph from FBI special agent Laura Laughlin to Police of Chief Donald Ramsdell reveals that Tacoma officers were told they couldn’t discuss their use of IMSI-catchers with anyone… police in Tacoma were forced to sign a non-disclosure agreement, or NDA, with the Federal Bureau of Investigation before they could begin conducting surveillance on cell users with a Harris-sold StingRay.

It further emerged in 2014 that the Justice Department was overseeing the use of small Cessna aircraft using “dirtbox” technology to collect cell phone data over major urban centers across the nation to pinpoint suspects while scooping up information from thousands of cell phone users. Here’s what the Wall Street Journal revealed:

The Justice Department is scooping up data from thousands of mobile phones through devices deployed on airplanes that mimic cellphone towers, a high-tech hunt for criminal suspects that is snagging a large number of innocent Americans, according to people familiar with the operations.

The U.S. Marshals Service program, which became fully functional around 2007, operates Cessna aircraft from at least five metropolitan-area airports, with a flying range covering most of the U.S. population, according to people familiar with the program.

5. Radar Sweeps of Residential Homes:

The Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals made a decision on the use of Doppler radar technology for use in the execution of an arrest warrant. 

The Washington Post considered:

The “grave” Fourth Amendment issues raised by use of a “Doppler radar device capable of detecting from outside the home the presence of human breathing and movement within”. But it is also fair to ask, who is watching the watchers for the use of this technology, anyway? Is this (and much more) being used frequently by authorities or private agencies to collect data in pursuit of investigations, including before the burden of “reasonable suspicion” has been met?
Is such a radar sweep a violation of the 4th Amendment and other rights if the police don’t already have “reasonable suspicion”? The possibilities are foggy… and a bit unnerving.

We don’t normally encounter this question because we normally understand the uses and limits of investigatory tools. If the officer looked through the window and didn’t see any other people, for example, we could intuitively factor that into the reasonable suspicion inquiry without having to think about burdens of proof. I’m less sure what we’re supposed to do when the government uses a suspicion-testing technological device with unknown capabilities. The opinion relies on the language from Buie that “the sweep lasts no longer than is necessary to dispel the reasonable suspicion of danger,” and thus asks whether there was evidence that the Doppler device “dispelled” the reasonable suspicion. But it’s not clear to me that this language from Buie applies here, as it was referring to evidence after reasonable suspicion was established and the entry was made rather than before.

But for the average person, the potential for abuse is pretty clear here. One commenter noted:

Use of this technology on a home is a search. The police don’t know what or who is in the house – they use this technology to survey (i.e. search) the house to determine information that they can’t ascertain without the home owner’s permission.

6. Pre-crime “Threat Assessment” Database:

The 9-1-1 emergency infrastructure now carries a real time “threat assessment” database known as “Beware,” that gives police and first responders a color-coded threat level, with green signifying no threat, yellow identifying a valid threat and red urging immediate caution. The catch? The threat assessment is not just based on the obvious stuff like prior arrests and criminal history, but also compiles billions of consumer records and, yes, social media. In fact, the majority of police now use social media in their investigations… the Beware database just makes it instant and universal.

Even worse, the co-founder of the technology said it flags “offensive speech” in its threat assessment… you don’t even have to make an online threat to be considered a threat, you just have be considered “offensive”! And who decides that, anyway? Not you. You aren’t even allowed to know what has been entered in your privately-held records:

Your local police department is likely using numerous tools and applications that might determine how you get treated during a routine traffic stop, or in response to your neighbor’s call about loud music. One such application, Beware, has been sold to police departments since 2012. It can be accessed on any Internet-enabled device, including tablets, smartphones, laptop and desktop computers, while responders are in route to, or at the location of a call.

This app explores billions of records in social media postings, commercial and public databases for law enforcement needs, churning out “risk profiles” in real time.

‘Beware’ algorithm assigns a score and “threat rating” to a person — green, yellow or red – and sends that rating to a requesting officer. Worst of all, this information is not made available to the very person whose “threat rating” is being appraised. You have no ability to dispute being wrongly designated a high risk potential offender.

And it stands to reason that this concerning database is going to be used against more than just serious criminals. The potential for abuse and use against gun owners and those exercising political speech, including offensive or less than-responsible online rhetoric, is perhaps inevitable and unavoidable with this system, which has been in use for now for several years.

What’s worse? So-called “predictive policing” is just in its infancy… there are multiple platforms still finding a market, and their invasive capabilities are sure to grow in magnitude as the years go on. A federally-mandated network called FirstNet is being constructed, “using federal funding, are set to begin building a $7-billion nationwide first-responder wireless network” that will incorporate these emergency powers into every agency and locale across the country.

7. License Plate Scanning and Traffic Monitoring:

There are already issues for gun owners in Maryland, where concealed carry permits issued by other states are not recognized. Traffic cops there recently pulled over a licensed gun owner in good legal standing from Florida to search his vehicle for a specific firearm – his Kel-Tec .38 semi-automatic handgun – while he and his family were traveling through the state. As it turned out, the gun was locked in a safe at home in Florida, and the incident ended in a traffic warning for speeding. But what prompted the preemptive search, and how did police know this man was a concealed carry?

Likely the stop-and-search was the result of police work involving routine license scanning, traffic monitoring and database threat assessment using software like Beware, which has already been used in some 38 million emergency calls across the country.

Only a few days ago, the mainstream rehashed the fact that the EZ Pass and other toll road transponders are not just used for collecting toll information, but are used for traffic surveillance and police investigations as well.

Forbes’ privacy advocate Kashmir Hill wrote about an electronics tinkerer who “did an analysis of the many ways his car could be tracked and stumbled upon something rather interesting: his E-ZPass, which he obtained for the purpose of paying tolls, was being used to track his car in unexpected places, far away from any toll booths.“

Police subsequently copped to the use of this device in surveillance and tracking activities:

It’s part of Midtown in Motion, an initiative to feed information from lots of sensors into New York’s traffic management center. A spokesperson for the New York Department of Transportation, Scott Gastel, says the E-Z Pass readers are on highways across the city, and on streets in Manhattan, Brooklyn and Staten Island, and have been in use for years. The city uses the data from the readers to provide real-time traffic information, as for this tool… Notably, the fact that E-ZPasses will be used as a tracking device outside of toll payment, is not disclosed anywhere that I could see in the terms and conditions.

They are also used by toll companies themselves, as USA Today disclosed:

Warning to motorists: Don’t speed in the toll lanes. E-Z Pass is watching. Several states, including New York, Maryland and Pennsylvania, say they monitor speeds through the fast pass toll lanes and will suspend your E-Z Pass for multiple speeding violations.Years ago, a hacker explained how the California DOT and law enforcement were able to use toll transponders as an active homing beacon capable of zeroing in on a suspect or monitoring the total flow of traffic over a given period of time:

Each radio frequency id (RFID) transponder sends a unique identification code to scanners positioned at toll booths. A tolling authority computer matches this ID code with credit card and other payment information to collect the toll… [Even] an inexpensive RFID scanner [can be used] to read the ID code of any vehicle remotely, essentially turning the transponder into a homing beacon with a maximum range of about 100 yards.

“You can use it for tracking,” Lawson said. “Once you’ve seen the car, you can pick it out in a crowd.”

That is exactly what California’s 511 system does. Scanners placed throughout the highway network track the movement of motorists with toll transponders as a means of monitoring traffic flow. According to the California Department of Transportation, the system tracks individual ID codes, storing a movement history for each particular car in a database for 24 hours.

Additionally, both Homeland Security and the IRS were in the news this year regarding their use of data collected by both public and private agencies using license plate tracking systems:

The Department of Homeland Security wants a private company to provide a national license-plate tracking system that would give the agency access to vast amounts of information from commercial and law enforcement tag readers, according to a government proposal that does not specify what privacy safeguards would be put in place.

“It is important to note that this database would be run by a commercial enterprise, and the data would be collected and stored by the commercial enterprise, not the government,” she said.
Fox News carried further details:

In June 2012, the IRS awarded Vigilant a $1,188 contract for “access to nationwide data,” according to federal procurement records compiled by the news agency. The contract ended in May 2013, according to the records.

“Especially with the IRS, I don’t know why these agencies are getting access to this kind of information,” Lynch said. “These systems treat every single person in an area as if they’re under investigation for a crime — that is not the way our criminal justice system was set up or the way things work in a democratic society.”

[Source: By Mac Salvo]

The Baltimore (and other) Riots – They Were Planned

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[Urban Man’s comments: As I was watching the riots in Baltimore, and said out loud that it would be a short period of time before other riots in other large inner cities started up, and I was right, I wondered just how much of this was orchestrated by some entity behind the scenes? And why?]

The over all control of the catalyst of these riots is a no brainer. I know that the people rioting were the dredges of our society and have an issue with mainstream Amercia because of their perceptions of injustice, but when the sames social media sights and personalities, not to mention key rioting words, were used in Baltimore, then in Washington D.C., then Philly and New York, the deduction that these were derived riots canot be swept away.

If you add the facts that there was black leadership in Baltimore (Mayor, Police Chief and Chief Prosecutor) and that there were no facts produced in the wrongful death claim, a rational person would get the idea that the death of one Mr. Drug Addict Career Criminal Freddy Gray.

I was pleased to see Michael Snyder of The Economic Collapse post an article on the the Balitmore Riots and the unanswered questions:

12 unanswered questions about the Baltimore riots that they don’t want us to ask…

Why did the Baltimore riots seem like they were perfectly staged to be a television event? Images of police vehicles burning made for great television all over the planet, but why were there abandoned police vehicles sitting right in the middle of the riot zones without any police officers around them in the first place?

Why was the decision made ahead of time to set a curfew for Tuesday night and not for Monday night? And why are Baltimore police officers claiming that they were ordered to “stand down” and not intervene as dozens of shops, businesses and homes went up in flames? Yes, the anger over the death of Freddie Gray is very real.

Police brutality has been a major problem in Baltimore and much of the rest of the nation for many years. But could it be possible that the anger that the people of Baltimore are feeling is being channeled and manipulated for other purposes? The following are 12 unanswered questions about the Baltimore riots that they don’t want us to ask…

#1 Why are dozens of social media accounts that were linked to violence in Ferguson now trying to stir up violence in Baltimore?…

The data mining firm that found between 20 and 50 social media accounts in Baltimore linked to the violence in Ferguson, Mo. is now reporting a spike in message traffic in Washington D.C., Philadelphia and New York City, with “protesters” trying to get rides to Baltimore for Tuesday night.

The firm, which asked to remain anonymous because it does government work, said some of the suspect social media accounts in Baltimore are sending messages to incite violence. While it is possible to spoof an account, to make it look like someone is one place and really is in another, that does not fully explain the high numbers.

#2 Who was behind the aggressive social media campaign to organize a “purge” that would start at the Mondawmin Mall at precisely 3 PM on Monday afternoon?…

The spark that ignited Monday’s pandemonium probably started with high school students on social media, who were discussing a “purge” — a reference to a film in which laws are suspended.

Many people knew “very early on” that there was “a lot of energy behind this purge movement,” Baltimore City Councilman Nick Mosby told CNN on Tuesday. “It was a metaphor for, ‘Let’s go out and make trouble.’”

#3 Even though authorities had “credible intelligence” that gangs would be specifically targeting police officers on Monday, why weren’t they more prepared? On Tuesday, the captain of the Baltimore police tried to make us believe that they weren’t prepared because they were only anticipating a confrontation with “high schoolers”…

Police Capt. John Kowalczyk said the relatively light initial police presence was because authorities were preparing for a protest of high schoolers. A heavy police presence and automatic weapons would not have been appropriate, he said. Kowalczyk said police made more than 200 arrests — only 34 of them juveniles.

#4 Where were the Baltimore police on Monday afternoon when the riots exploded? During the rioting, CNN legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin said that the “disappearance of the police for hours this afternoon is something that is going to haunt this city for decades”.

#5 Why are police officers in Baltimore claiming that they were instructed to “stand down” during the rioting on Monday afternoon?…

Police officers in Baltimore reportedly told journalists that they were ordered by Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake not to stop looters during yesterday’s riots.

Rawlings-Blake, who waited 5 hours before even making a statement on the unrest, was already under intense critcism for saying that violent mobs were provided with “space” to “destroy” during riots which took place on Saturday.

One Baltimore shopkeeper said that he actually called the police 50 times asking for help and never got any assistance at all. Other business owners reported similar results. This is so similar to what we saw back during the Ferguson riots.

#6 Why was the decision made ahead of time to set a curfew on Tuesday night but not on Monday night?

#7 Why were so many police vehicles conveniently parked along the street in areas where the worst violence happened? After the destruction of a number of police vehicles on Saturday night, the Baltimore police had to know that they were prime targets. So why were there even more police vehicles available for rioters to destroy on Monday? And where were the cops that should have been protecting those vehicles?

#8 Why is an organization funded by George Soros stirring up emotions against the police in Baltimore?

#9 Why is CNN bringing on “commentators” that are promoting violence in Baltimore?…

Marc Lamont Hill, a Morehouse College professor and regular CNN commentator, embraced radical violence in the streets during an interview Monday on CNN.

“There shouldn’t be calm tonight,” Hill told CNN host Don Lemon as riots raged in the streets of Baltimore.

“Black people are dying in the streets. We’ve been dying in the streets for months, years, decades, centuries. I think there can be resistance to oppression.”

#10 Why did Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake initially tell reporters that a decision was made on Saturday to give “those who wished to destroy space to do that”?

#11 Why were rioters given hours to cause mayhem before a state of emergency was finally declared on Monday? Maryland Governor Larry Hogan seems to think that Mayor Rawlings-Blake waited far too long to declare a state of emergency. Just check out what he told one reporter…

I‘ve been in daily communication with the mayor and others in the city and our entire team has been involved from day one. Frankly, this was a Baltimore city situation. Baltimore city was in charge. When the mayor called me, which quite frankly we were glad that she finally did, instantly we signed the executive order. We already had our entire team prepared.

We were all in a command center and second floor of the state house in constant communication and we were trying to get in touch with the mayor for quite some time. She finally made that call and we immediately took action.

#12 Does the fact that the mayor of Baltimore has very close ties to the Obama administration have anything to do with how events unfolded during the riots? The following is from Infowars.com…

Rawlings-Blake was one of three mayors who provided broad input into President Obama’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing, which advocates the federalization of police departments across the country by forcing them to adhere to stricter federal requirements when they receive funding.

“The federal government can be a strong partner in our efforts in build better relationships between the police and community,” she said in written testimony before the task force.

That would explain her inaction to stop the rioting when it began: by allowing it to spiral out of control, the mayor and her friends at the Justice Dept. could use the unrest to justify the expansion of federal power into local law enforcement, which would also allow her to receive more funding.

And why did it take Barack Obama several days to publicly condemn the violence in Baltimore? Why didn’t he stand up and say something on Monday when the riots were at their peak?

Something doesn’t smell right about all of this. Much of the violence could have been prevented if things had been handled differently.

In the end, who is going to get hurt the most by all of this? It will be the African-American communities in the heart of Baltimore that are already suffering with extremely high levels of unemployment and poverty.

I wish that we could all just learn to come together and love one another. Over the past few days, I have seen a whole lot of “us vs. them” talk coming from all quarters. This kind of talk is only going to reinforce the cycle of mistrust and violence.

Sadly, I believe that this is just the beginning of what is coming to America.

What About This Jade HELM 15 Issue?

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[From Urban Man: There is a lot of misinformation out there about military exercises (Jade Helm) and rumors about U.N. troops deployed to the U.S. for some nefarious activity or another. First of all, Jade Helm is an exercise that has been going on in various capacities for several years. Nothing to worry about here guys. No rehearsals for martial law, no taking over Wal-Marts, or anything like that. But thanks for the being suspicious. Being suspscious is good as long as you apply some critical thinking.]

The “U.N. Invasion” should simply be called the “U.N. Non-invasion”. Jeez. The picture of rail cars transporting military vehicles could be an Army unit rail hauling to a training event or returning to their home base from a sea port of entry after an overseas deployment. This is a recent articles spining people up with B.S.

UN Medic Units Photographed On Truck On ‘Due Course’ To Texas – California Military  Train Stretched As Far As The Eye Can See!

While the story on Patriot News Wire tells us that United Nations medical vehicles have been spotted all across the southern portion of America in recent days, a reader of the website got a picture of one of these ‘transportations’ on I-10 in Mississippi, a highway that runs east to west and according to the photographer, on a due course to Texas.

Texas is one of the states listed as hostile in the upcoming Jade Helm 15 US Army ‘exercise’ that many are concerned will ‘turn hot’ and result in gun-confiscation and/or martial law.

The build-up of military vehicles in the southern regions is now undeniable and as we can see in the 1st video and image below from Dahboo77, a military train has just been photographed in southern California with heavy duty military equipment that stretches as far as the eye can see.

With government paid trolls and the ignorant lashing out on comment boards trying to downplay Jade Helm 15, such as several trolls outed here on ANP, they are largely striking out as US patriots drown out the trolls overused spewing of phrases such as ‘time to take your meds’. These trolls haven’t yet realized that Americans who have largely ‘awoken’ to what is REALLY going on here choose to believe what they are seeing with their own eyes rather than to believe more government lies and ‘troll droppings’.

Phase 2 of Jade Helm 15 is emerging and that the UN is preparing for gun confiscation  in America

From Patriot News Wire: Breaking Jade Helm Update! United Nations Medical Vehicles Spotted Traveling Throughout The South!
While the Government continues to deny that ANYTHING out of the ordinary is going on in regard to Operation Jade Helm 15, and the laimstream media continues to mock anyone who is genuinely concerned, watchful citizens across the nation have been keeping their eyes and ears open, like true patriots and minutemen.

For the past week, people have been reporting seeing United Nations medical vehicles traveling throughout the Southern U.S. Finally, one curious and concerned citizen was able to get an actual picture of one.

[Article from: All News Pipeline]