Guest Article: The U.S. Stock Market: It’s Not As It Appears! by Tim Wood

As equities continued to rise during the advance into the 2007 price top, I screamed from the roof tops that it was a bear market advance and that the efforts to prop the markets up only served to make matters worse. That certainly proved to be the case as those efforts resulted in the worst financial crisis since The Great Depression. Yet, as a result of the worst financial crisis since The Great Depression, the response to that event was the massive bailouts and even more of the same things that created that event in the first place. Seriously, think about it. Is it remotely reasonable to respond to the worst financial crisis since the 1930’s with more of the same actions that created that crisis in the first place? Does this really make sense? Ever since the rally out of the 2009 low began, I have explained that it is a bear market advance and that the longer the rally extends, the more dangerous it will become. The rally out of the 2009 low has now extended to the point that it is the longest cyclical advance since the inception of the Dow Jones Industrial Average in 1896.

On the surface, with the price at new highs and with this being the longest cyclical advance since 1896, how in the world can this be a bear market rally? Yeah, I know, that sounds crazy, doesn’t it? Keep reading. I’ll explain. First, let me say that every indication is that the economy and the secular bull market peaked in 2000. You will see proof of that with some very basic but indisputable evidence presented below. The bear market rally out of the 2002 low was pushed to new highs, simply as a result of the liquidity infusions and smoke and mirrors tricks orchestrated by the money masters. The advance out of the 2009 low is Take II on steroids. The confusing concept here is that of a secular bear market with price at a new high. Let’s now examine the supportive evidence that this is a bear market rally. I’m going to show you high level, very basic but indisputable evidence that further confirms this view.

First, let’s look at volume. In Technical Analysis of Stock Trends, Edwards and Magee write, “Volume goes with the trend. Those words, which you may often hear spoken with ritual solemnity but little understanding, are the colloquial expression for the general truth that trading activity tends to expand as price moves in the direction of the prevailing Primary Trend. Thus, in a Bull Market, volume increases when prices rise and dwindles as prices decline; in Bear Markets, turnover increases when prices drop and dries up as they recover.”

With these volume characteristics in mind, I want to walk you through history of the S&P 500 volume, starting back in 1982. The volume expanded with price as the secular bull market pushed into the 1987 top. As the 1987 price top was being made, there was a non-confirmation by volume, which led to the decline into the 1987 low. As the advance out of the 1987 low began, volume was a little light; however, by 1989, volume began expanding once again, and it continued to do so all the way into mid-1999. There was a small non-confirmation in conjunction with the 1998 top. When I say non-confirmation, I’m simply referring to the fact that volume contracted as price moved into the final price high and in doing so, volume did not confirm the higher price high. Following the decline into the 1998 cyclical low, volume again expanded into mid-1999.

Then, once again, as price moved into the 2000 top, the contraction in volume created another non-confirmation, which led to the 2000 secular bull market top. I want to stress the point as to how relatively short-term volume non-confirmations were seen in conjunction with the 1987, 1998, and 2000 tops, which led to the declines into the 4-year cycle lows that followed. Please, it is important to note that the volume characteristics from 1982 into the 2000 top were consistent with bull markets, per the Edwards and Magee descriptions above.

The volume characteristics changed, following the 2000 top. As the price declined into the 2002 cyclical low, volume moved up in conjunction with that decline. Then, there is a characteristic change in that the advance into the 2007 high occurred on decreased volume, and that volume increased as price moved into the 2009 low. Remember what Edwards and Magee said about volume. “…..in Bear Markets, turnover increases when prices drop and dries up as they recover.” Just wait; it gets worse, much worse. The entire advance out of the 2009 low has occurred on increasingly less and less volume, and the only expansions in volume have occurred in conjunction with price declines. The price volume characteristics clearly changed in conjunction with the 2000 top, and they have since been clearly indicative of secular bear market behavior.

Turning back to Edwards and Magee, they talk about the three phases of bull and bear markets and the related volume characteristics. In regard to bull markets they write, “Finally, comes the third phase when the market boils with activity as the ‘public’ flocks to the boardrooms. All the financial news is good, price advances are spectacular and frequently ‘make the front page’ of the daily papers, and new issues are brought out in increasing numbers. ….. In the last stages of this phase, with speculation rampant, volume continues to rise, but ‘air pockets’ appear with increasing frequency; the ‘cats and dogs’ (low-prices stocks of no investment value) are whirled up, but more and more of the top-grade issues refuse to follow.” While the current advance exhibits some of these characteristics, this quote is descriptive of the advance between 1997 and 2000, per the final volume expansion. Does anyone remember the dotcom bubble, the tech bubble, the Nasdaq bubble, and the associated craziness? The key here is volume continues to rise. Obviously, volume is not and has not been rising. There was an indisputable change in volume behavior from bullish to bearish in conjunction with the 2000 top. In spite of the fact that price moved to a new high in 2007 and now to yet another new high in conjunction with the longest cyclical advance in stock market history, these rallies have absolutely NOT occurred within the context of bullish volume behavior.

Now I want to present you with another piece of evidence– the Velocity of M2. I know there have been some articles floating around and various discussions about this data, but I have not seen any of those articles that put it in this context. For clarification sake, basically, the velocity of money is the rate at which money is exchanged from one transaction to another. M2 is a category within the money supply that includes M1 in addition to all time-related deposits, savings deposits, and non-institutional money-market funds.

Now, rather than rely on some PhD, economist, politician, stock broker, or some talking head on television to tell us that everything is fine, I ask that you simply apply a little good ole fashion common sense. In light of the volume characteristics presented above and the collapse in the Velocity of M2, is it really believable that we could have a recovering economy or that we could be operating within a secular bull market?

Let’s look at another little piece of data– the Labor Force Job Participation rate. Here, too, I want to put this in context with the rest of this data. The labor force is defined as the sum of employed and unemployed persons and the labor force participation rate is the labor force as a percent of the civilian non-institutional population.

Now, considering the volume characteristic, the M2 velocity data, along with the shrinking Labor Force, which has collapsed back to 1977-78 levels, when the population was some 87 million less people in the U.S. than today, is it really believable that such a contraction in the labor force rate could be occurring within a recovery economy and a secular bull market?

I don’t care who says this is a secular bull market or that there is an economic recovery, they are mistaken or they are lying. Secular bull markets occur with rising volume as participation in the stock market increases and there is job growth as well as an increase in the rate in which money changes hands. This should be common sense. It’s really not that complicated. This is not the environment in which we are operating. That environment ceased to exist in 2000, and the money masters have been fighting it ever since. The data clearly shows that this is not a secular bull market, and that it is not a recovering economy. No matter how hard one tries to justify the price advance with some wild hypothesis that volume doesn’t matter or that Velocity of Money or that the Job Participation Rate is some how no longer a factor, if you look at this data collectively and if you are honest with yourself, you really can’t justify it. To try to do so in one’s mind is to play mind games with one’s self in an effort to explain the insanity and the illusion of a bull market and a recovering economy.

Think people! Think! Look at the data. It’s all an illusion. If you look at the data for what it is, it exposes the illusion. As hard as it may be to believe, the data clearly tells us that we have been operating within a secular bear market since 2000. The reason people are confused by this is that they automatically want to equate higher prices with bull markets and recovering economies and then they try to justify what they see by saying that volume and the other factors no longer matter. Like the advance out of the 2002 low, the advance out of the 2009 low is a bear market rally that has been fueled to new highs, simply as a result of the liquidity infusion practices of the money masters. Did the fact that price moved to a new high in 2007 change the underlying issues with the market then? Did it prevent the collapse into the 2009 low? Was the data presented here not also relevant at the 2007 top? Just, as the efforts to compensate for the underlying economic and market deficiencies with liquidity infusions only served to make matters worse and ultimately resulted in the worst financial crisis since The Great Depression, this time is no different and apt to be ever bit as bad, if not worse.

This all said, as extreme as this cyclical advance has become, I have grown increasingly concerned about the extremity of the reversion to the mean, once this cyclical advance peaks. You cannot artificially inflate, manipulate, and stretch the natural cycles of a market indefinitely. The reversion to the mean will occur; it always has. The advance into the 2007 top was the second longest cyclical advance in stock market history, and it occurred within what I believe was a secular bear market, per the data presented here. In spite of the efforts to negate that cycle, the reversion to the mean was finally recognized, and when it was, it was ugly. However, the decline into the 2009 low was purely financial. I fear that we won’t be so lucky this time. The social and political landscape is different. The potential consequences, when this all comes unwound, is scary. Can you imagine a financial crisis as bad or worse than that seen in association with the decline into the 2009 low and this time around we actually see banking failures? Or, what if the benefit checks or the EBT cards don’t go out to what I understand to be approaching nearly 50 million people? Add to that the new open border issue with the mass immigration that is taking place and the risk to the system from a financial collapse becomes parabolic. Additionally, we have the new threats from ISIS and even Dick Cheney warning of an even worse event than that of 911. I’m telling you, we are seeing the ingredients for one big mess. Again, the reason I say this is solely based on the extremity of this cyclical advance and knowing market history; we are apt to see an equally extreme unwinding. Knowing this and looking at the news you quickly start to get the picture.

There is, however, some good news in all of this. I have gone back to 1896, which is the inception of the Dow Jones Industrial Average, and I have identified a set of statistical-based common denominators that have been seen at every major top. I call these common denominators my DNA Markers. I used these DNA Markets to identify the stock market top in 2000 and in 2007. I also used other such DNA Markers to identify the housing top in 2005, the commodity and oil top in 2008, and the top in gold in 2011. While I have maintained that the rally out of the 2009 low has been a bear market rally, I have also maintained that it is likely to continue to press higher until these statistical-based DNA Markers are seen. I can tell you that at present, these markers are not in place. Therefore, any weakness at this juncture is expected to be temporary and to be followed by higher prices. I can also tell you that given the extremity of this cyclical advance and the underlying technical and economic conditions in which it has occurred, I worry about the possibility of a normal correction being more than the market can bear. In spite of that concern, the statistical-based DNA Markers, nonetheless, suggest that this is not likely. Rather, odds suggest that we should see the statistical-based DNA Markers present themselves in association with this top, just as they have at every major top since 1896. It is the appearance of these DNA Markers that I continue to monitor in my research letters at Cycles News & Views. Once the setup is in place, the money masters will have lost “control,” or should I say the perception of control, and at that point all bets are off. Literally anything could happen. If you are interested in such research and the developments surrounding the DNA Markers and the associated expectations, that research it is available at cyclesman.com

Mike’s Product Review: Roschworks SLM1 combination front sight and light mount

For those of us with AR type rifles or those with similar sights, this is a useful piece of kit. One of the issues with a tactical rifle can be the light mount. Should it be under, to one side, and where should the switch be mounted? How will it work when shooting over or beside a barricade?

Roschworks’ SLM1 (Picture of the SLM1) avoids all this by mounting the light directly over the barrel, with an iron sight above it.

The unit is milled from one piece of 7075T6 aluminum, and mounts solidly to a standard rail. The profile is just right for co-witnessing optics and iron sights, and the sight is solid and does not drift under fire. It adjusts easily with a dedicated tool, or a pair of fine pliers (in an emergency).

With the light in this position, the target is fully illuminated inside the sight window, with no shadows or dark spots.

It’s very easy to activate by rolling the thumb up around the handguard, and that position fits perfectly with several modern stances and grip styles.

Any standard 1″ tube light should mount without issue, and it will take reflectors under 1.5″ without interfering with sight pattern. If you need to bottom the sight for long range zero, it may be necessary to choose a light with a flat on the tube—the post will protrude into the ring at bottom seat.

This is a simple, reliable, and trouble-free piece of gear that can reduce the clutter on your modern tactical rifle.

They also have a unitized item with the light permanently installed, producing 250 lumens from one CR123 battery,

Roschworks products are made in the USA.

NOTE: I purchased one of these from the company and have bought other items before. I have no financial interest in them.

Thanks.

Michael Z. Williamson (Survivalblog’s Editor-At-Large) at http://www.SharpPointyThings.com custom blades and historical costumes

Scot’s Product Review: The M1 Garand

You can’t write an article on the M1 Garand without quoting Lt. General George S. Patton, who called the rifle “the greatest battle implement ever devised”. That was incredibly high praise coming from one of the greatest leaders of combined arms in WWII and considering the number of superb weapons that were developed in the conflict.

The Garand is the semi-automatic rifle adopted by the U.S. Army in 1936. It was the first standard issue semi-auto adopted by any army. The Russians tried next with their SVT 38 and 40 rifles in 7.62mmx54R, but the combination of technical difficulties and the disruption of the German invasion led the Russians to go back to the Mosin-Nagant bolt action in the same caliber. The Germans issued some semi-automatics during the war, but none came close to rivaling the Garand for widespread use. The Japanese were so impressed by the Garand, they tried to copy it during the war but only got a few made. While many U.S. troops at the beginning of WW II were still carrying bolt action rifles, virtually none in frontline units carried anything other than a self-loading rifle by the end. No other Army could say this until the 1950’s.

The Garand remains an effective rifle to this day and is worthy of consideration by any prepper for hunting or self-defense. It is accurate and reliable and holds eight of the powerful, popular, and widely available .30-06 cartridge that is capable of handling pretty much anything you would want to hunt in North America. You can find Garands for as little as $600, and I will explain where to get them later in the article.

It is more politically correct than many modern defensive rifles, thanks to its non-threatening looks to the ill-informed and the fixed, eight-round magazine. That makes it easier to own in some locations.

Garands are sometime encountered in .308 Winchester. The Navy used Garands as standard issue longer than the other services and converted many to .308. It is also quite common to rebarrel them in what has become the more popular round, partially because of the availability of surplus ammo.

The Garand was the basis for the M14 rifle and inspired the M1 Carbine and Ruger Mini 14.

The Garand has few drawbacks. The major one, in my view (and that of virtually everyone else on the planet), is the magazine. The Army specified a fixed magazine, using clips to load it, and the rifle’s designer– John C. Garand– who worked at the Springfield Armory, had to oblige. Today we know the advantages of interchangeable magazines– something the Army didn’t grasp in the 1930’s. They were so afraid of soldiers losing the magazines that they were blind to the improved combat effectiveness of detachable magazines. This is a problem, because you can’t top off a partially full Garand without ejecting what’s in the magazine, unlike the bolt rifles it was up against. Worse, if you don’t have a clip but do have loose rounds, you can only load one round at a time, unlike Mausers, Enfields, or Mosin-Nagants, that can be fully loaded with single cartridges. This means you have to be sure you have a supply of clips and you need to pick them up when you shoot. If you hunt, you will need to find some special five-round clips to keep the game wardens happy.

The Garand ejects the clip on the last shot, making a characteristic ping sound. If one is familiar with it, you know when the Garand shooter goes empty. There are a lot of apocryphal stories of soldiers getting overrun when the enemy heard the clip eject. I’ve also heard stories of soldiers faking out the enemy by tossing an empty clip out during a fight and then mowing them down when they charged. The stories are good enough to hope some are true.

There is a gizmo called the Holbrook Device that I haven’t tried (but intend to) that prevents the automatic release of the bolt. It also makes the rifle hold the clip when the last round is fired. This causes the disadvantage of having to eject the clip manually when the last round is fired, but it seems like a good idea since it prevents the loss of clips. The device also protects left-handed shooters. While my rifle isn’t guilty of this sin, many Garands send the clip straight back into the lefties forehead. A friend’s rifle loves to do this. It really encourages counting your shots. Once I fire seven with his, I give up and run the bolt to eject the eighth round and the clip.

There is a malady called M1 thumb caused by the clip system used in the Garand. When you push the clip in, the bolt is released and can go forward. If you aren’t careful with the thumb that pushed in the clip, you can get it caught by the bolt. My rifle releases the bolt, but it stalls and I have to hit the operating handle to get it to go all the way forward. A friend’s rifle, on the other hand, lets the bolt fly forward with vigor. It is apparently hungry for thumbs. You can work out a technique that keeps the thumb from getting caught and it is worth the effort to do so.

It would be nice if the Garand were a little lighter. They come in at about 9.5 pounds, which is a couple of pounds heavier than a modern bolt and a bit more than some modern semi-autos in similar calibers. I have, however, seen plenty of AR-15’s that were bulked up with enough gadgets, overly heavy barrels, and rails to rival a Garand for weight.

Garands are slightly on the long side at 43.5 inches. It is the same length as the German competition’s Mauser 98K. The Mauser and Garand both have 24-inch long barrels. The typical sporting bolt rifle of today is about 42.5-inches long, while the modern AR-15 carbine with a 16” barrel is around 36-inches long with the stock extended. The AR is a lot handier, but the Garand is long enough to get the maximum out of a full power service round. It you have to shoot something, it pays to send the best, and a .30-06 is the best.

Near the end of the war, shorter Garands were developed, but they were never a standard issue item. Apparently some were shortened in the field in the Pacific and did see combat. There are several gunsmiths today that shorten Garands, but I haven’t had the chance to test any of them, so I reserve comment on the conversions. It is a dandy idea, though.

A good thing about the Garand is that the gas system that operates the action absorbs and buffers some of the recoil. Notes from the tests during the adoption of the Garand before WWII indicate that this clearly helped shooters get better hits faster than they could with the Springfield bolt action that the Garand replaced. They could also shoot longer before fatigue took a toll on marksmanship.

The Garand stock always seemed a bit short to me, but the rifle handles well. It is the rifle that taught me not to wrap my firing hand thumb over and around the stock, where it could bash my nose. I had previously shot rifles with slightly longer stocks and could get away with it on them but not with the Garand.

The sights on the Garand are exquisite. It has an aperture sight mounted on the receiver at exactly the right distance from the eye, and it is adjustable for range and windage. You really can’t ask for better. The front sight is protected by two wings that curve away from the sight, so you don’t confuse them with the sight itself. A bull’s-eye match shooter will want a smaller aperture and a finer front blade, but only an optic will make a practical rifleman happier.

Putting optics on the Garand, though, is a bit of a problem. Remember the clips? They have to go in from directly above the receiver, which is precisely where we usually want to mount optics. Back when they made sniper Garands, they hung a scope on the left side of the rifle, which is okay for right-handed shooters but not lefties. You can still find such mounts, but a better approach is to mount a scope or dot sight forward of the receiver. I hope to be able to review a system in the future that makes this possible.

The Garand safety system (which is also found on the Mini-14 and the M1A/M14 rifle) is nicely ambidextrous but often rather stiff. It requires the shooter to insert the finger into the trigger guard to disengage it, which goes against the Modern Technique that tells us to keep our finger away from the trigger until we are ready to shoot. I normally press the tip of my finger against it when in the ready position and try to stay very aware of the proximity of my finger to the trigger. In the days before Lt. Colonel Jeff Cooper, who made us aware of the need to keep the finger off the trigger until ready to shoot, it was pretty normal to rest the finger on the trigger, so it shouldn’t be a surprise that a 1930’s design would work like this.

Reloading the rifle can be done pretty quickly. I think it is close to switching magazines on more modern rifles, particularly if you are retaining the spent magazine on the newer rifle. I have to focus more attention on the Garand, though, than I would on an AR during the process, if only to make sure I don’t load my thumb along with the clip.

Loading the clips themselves isn’t hard, but it feels awkward at first. After you have done a few times, it gets pretty easy. My nine-year-old son has no problem doing it. Be sure you don’t have one round sticking out more than the others. That was his problem on a few he loaded for me.

So how do you get one of these gems? The best way is from the Civilian Marksmanship Program (CMP) http://odcmp.com/. This is, believe or not, a spawn of the federal government– one that the libs have tried to kill from time to time. The purpose of the organization is exactly what the name says, to promote civilian shooting and not just shooting but hitting the target. One of the things they do is sell rifles. At the moment, you can buy four grades of M1’s from them– Field, Service, CMP Special, and Sniper. They range in price from $600 to $3,000, but the sweet spot is the CMP Special at $1,000. These rifles have essentially been remanufactured to close to new condition with new barrels and stocks by expert armorers. If I had some bucks at the moment, I would be lining up for one.

To buy one from CMP, you have to qualify. It isn’t hard, but it does take a bit of work to document. You have to be a U.S. citizen and provide proof of age. You also have to be a member of a CMP affiliated organization. An easy one to join is the Garand Collectors Association http://www.thegca.org/. You also have to show “proof of participation in a marksmanship-related activity or otherwise show familiarity with the safe handling of firearms and range procedures.” This could be instructor status or possession of a concealed weapons permit. If you are over 60, this is not required. Finally, you have to be legally eligible to buy a firearm. There are forms to fill out (ARGH), and they require a notary. Your M1 will be shipped directly to you. Mine was left leaning against my garage door, despite the adult signature required sticker, which left me more than a bit miffed and grateful for my honest neighbors. There are requirements that you do not intend to resell the rifle. This part should be easy, since selling a gun is a sin.

You can sometimes find Garands in local gun shops. The classified ads in the Garand Collectors Association magazine are another good source. The online auction sites often have a number of Garands available.

I had several friends who owned Garands over the years, and I always enjoyed shooting theirs. For some reason, I never got around to buying one for myself until about 20 years ago. I purchased a Field Grade one from the CMP, which was about all they had at the time. That’s the lowest grade they sell at the moment and is considered to be in fair to good condition and okay to shoot. The rear sight on mine was damaged, unfortunately, and the rifle, in general, matched my idea of “fair” condition rather than the hoped for “good” condition.

I regret to say that it sat in my safe until recently, when I finally got around to getting a tech inspection performed on it. The smith recommended a new barrel but said it was safe for shooting. The headspace was at the maximum, and there was a lot of erosion in the barrel. It is a 1943 rifle, and I’m sure it ran a lot of corrosive ammunition. At some point, I will have to grit my teeth and spend the $300 or so it takes to rebarrel it. However, in the meantime, it is turning out reasonable accuracy, shooting four-inch groups with iron sights at 100 yards. This will do for deer or defense. Garands with good barrels usually will do two-inch groups or smaller. Match tuned Garands easily do one-inch groups, assuming a quality shooter.

I have not tried any match loads in it, just Federal American Eagle full metal jacket and soft points. I plan to try to work up some tuned loads for it, when powder becomes more available. I’ve just been pleased that it shoots reasonably well with what should be considered a shot out barrel. It’s also not like I’m the world’s finest shot with eagle eyes. I’m at the bifocal age, and it’s no longer possible to get a crisp focus on the front sight without special glasses.

Just as a point of reference, a 16” AR I was shooting that day with an excellent Leupold 3.5-10x Vari-X III scope shot a ¾-inch group with Federal match, but a number of other factory loads shot three- to four-inch groups. The shot out Garand did rather well with iron sights in my estimation.

The trigger pull on my Garand is 6.5 pounds and breaks cleanly. Government specs for the trigger were no less than 5.5 pounds and no more than 7.5 pounds, so mine is where it should be. Sniper rifles and National Match rifles were allowed to go as low as 4.5 pounds. Don’t expect to get a lighter trigger. According to Garand expert Major General Julian Hatcher, the rifle is not safe or reliable with a lighter trigger. I find it pretty easy to manage my trigger as is, but someday, once money starts growing on my trees, I might put a match trigger group in it.

I have had no problems with my rifle feeding soft points, but I have heard complaints that some won’t. If you have a problem, some of the rounds that use plastic tips should solve it.

This is a rifle I am very happy I bought. I wish I had been able to afford a better one and am looking for the day I can replace the barrel. I’m in a quandary of whether to keep it in .30-06 or make it a .308. The original round is a bit more powerful, and the recent ammo panic has shown it is helpful to have a variety of weapons in different calibers. Some days you can find one round, and other days you can find another. Options are good. I used to think it was better to be simple and have everything in one or two calibers, but now I’m not so sure. I already have a .308, so maybe I should keep something in .30-06. Decisions, decisions.

Should a crisis hit, it won’t be the first out of the safe, but it won’t be the last, either. I’m always torn between a 5.56mm and a .30 caliber. The .30 caliber hits hard so much farther, but the 5.56 is far handier and easier to shoot. Again, decisions, decisions. I keep one of each at the front and will probably make my choice based on the threat. The farther I have to reach and the harder I think I need to hit will be what I’m thinking about, as I choose.

I found two books very helpful with getting more from my rifle. The standard reference is the Book of the Garand.This is a detailed history of the rifle written not long after WWII by Major General Julian Hatcher, a brilliant Army ordnance officer. There is a lot of good information for caring for the rifle, too. Another excellent book is The M1 Garand Owner’s Guide. It was written by Scot A. Duff, and as the title says, it will guide the owner in the use and care of the rifle as well as providing some historical information.

By the way, as a closer, the rifle designer– John C. Garand– was a French Canadian. It so happens that my wife is half French Canadian, and she says his name should be pronounced Gah’ rahn. I’ve mostly heard it pronounced Ga’ rand. Just to be safe, we could just call it the M1 Rifle, as most of the people who matter would know exactly what we are talking about. George Patton would.– SurvivalBlog Field Gear Editor, Scot Frank Erie

Recipe of the Week: Easy Tasty All-Purpose “Mexican Chicken Stuff”, by L.H.

I used to never buy canned chicken, considering it too expensive for my thrifty ways. That was before grocery inflation! At only around $2.00/can when purchased at the warehouse store, as something that I can and should keep in my preparedness pantry, and something that stretches so well, I am a convert. This is a recipe I devised as a tasty way to occasionally use those cans of chicken.

Ingredients:

  • 1 can (13 oz.) chicken breast chunks, shredded and “fluffed”
  • 3 green onions, with tops, minced
  • 1 can (4 oz.) diced green chilis
  • 2 Tbsp. taco seasoning
  • 2 Tbsp. sour cream
  • 3/4 cup (6 oz.) shredded cheese, any variety
  • various tortillas, veggies, etc.

Directions:

In mixing bowl, combine all ingredients through the cheese; mix well. At this point you may add, if you like (for nutrition, taste, and stretching): jalapenos or other hot peppers, green or red bell peppers, diced zucchini or other squash, corn, beans, olives, spinach…..it’s all good. Make it your own.

Taquitos (our absolute favorite): Spread a scant 1/4 cup filling on a corn tortilla, roll up, and seal with a toothpick (which I have not had much luck with) or a smear of flour/water paste (better) on the outer edge to seal. Place on a sprayed cookie sheet or casserole dish seam-side-down. Repeat till all filling is used. Spray tops lightly with cooking spray. Bake at 425 degrees for 20 minutes, flipping over halfway through. Makes 10-12 tacquitos. Excellent just dipped in salsa or picante.

Flautas: follow directions for tacquitos, but use small flour tortillas instead.

Quesadillas: Spread softened butter over one side of large flour tortilla and place, butter-side down, on heated griddle or large skillet over medium heat. Spread 1/3-1/2 cup of filling over one-half of tortilla and fold other half over. Smash with spatula and cook 1-2 minutes or till lightly browned, then flip and brown other side. Cut into wedges for serving. Will fill at least 4 large tortillas, equaling 16 or more wedges.

Enchiladas: Roll filling in either corn or flour tortillas and place seam-side down in medium casserole dish. Pour favorite enchilada sauce over, and top with shredded cheese. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes. Will make 8-10 enchiladas.

Chimichangas: Roll up 1/2 cup filling in a flour tortilla, pulling sides together (enclosed like an envelope) and seal with toothpick or flour paste. Deep-fry in 1″ oil (375-400 degrees) till browned and crispy, turn over and cook other side till browned. Will make 4-6 chimichangas.

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Do you have a favorite recipe that would be of interest to SurvivalBlog readers? Please send it via e-mail. Thanks!

Letter Re: Insta Fire

Scot,

Great review on the Insta fire product.I just ordered some and will test and report back. Thank you.

I’d also like to comment on the Dakota fire hole you discussed.

We were told by our SFQC survival course instructors that the hole was used by the Dakota Plains Indians, as the terrain is flat and windy, and needed a way to get a fire going, and keep the smoke signature down.

I do not know if that is true or not, but I do know for a fact that it was taught to us, and we used it quite successfully on a 7-day survival course in the Uwharrie National Forrest, where we were required to have a fire going all the time or it was an automatic disqualification.

Add in a debris lean to and log fire wall/reflector, and one has a nifty warm/dry hooch.

It does not take much wood, and when the wood burns down to coals, it stays hot and easily cooks food, warms the bones, and can be brought back to a roaring fire with little effort.

If one has kids/Scouts, this is a great skill to teach them.

Once again, thank you. – PSYOP Soldier

Odds ‘n Sods:

I noticed that our SurvivalRealty.com spinoff site (operated by my #1 Son) now has more than 160 listings. Be sure to check out the many new ones, including one in the historic “living ghost town” of Warren, Idaho. – JWR

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3-3 is Threeper Day: Celebrate It. – B.B.

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The Death Of Shop Class And America’s Skilled Workforce. – T.P.

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I am continually amazed at the utter stupidity of some: Allowing blood donations from gay men could help save over a million lives in U.S. . – T.P.

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DNC’s Donna Brazile Calls For Scrapping Constitution To “Save America” From Conservatives….

Notes for Sunday – September 28, 2014

Today, we present another entry for Round 54 of the SurvivalBlog non-fiction writing contest. The $12,100+ worth of prizes for this round include:

First Prize:

  1. A Gunsite Academy Three Day Course Certificate, good for any one, two, or three course (a $1,195 value),
  2. A course certificate from onPoint Tactical. This certificate will be for the prize winner’s choice of three-day civilian courses. (Excluding those restricted for military or government teams.) Three day onPoint courses normally cost $795,
  3. DRD Tactical is providing a 5.56 Nato QD Billet upper with a hammer forged, chromlined barrel and a hardcase to go with your own AR lower. It will allow any standard AR type rifle to have quick change barrel which can be assembled in less then 1 minute without the use of any tools and a compact carry capability in a hard case or 3-day pack (an $1,100 value),
  4. Gun Mag Warehouseis providing 30 DMPS AR-15 .223/5.56 30 Round Gray Mil Spec w/ Magpul Follower Magazines (a value of $448.95) and a Gun Mag Warehouse T-Shirt. An equivalent prize will be awarded for residents in states with magazine restrictions.
  5. Two cases of Mountain House freeze dried assorted entrees in #10 cans, courtesy of Ready Made Resources (a $350 value),
  6. A $300 gift certificate from CJL Enterprize, for any of their military surplus gear,
  7. A 9-Tray Excalibur Food Dehydrator from Safecastle.com (a $300 value),
  8. A $300 gift certificate from Freeze Dry Guy,
  9. A $250 gift certificate from Sunflower Ammo,
  10. A roll of $10 face value in pre-1965 U.S. 90% silver quarters, courtesy of GoldAndSilverOnline.com, (currently valued at around $180 postpaid),
  11. Both VPN tunnel and DigitalSafe annual subscriptions from Privacy Abroad (a combined value of $195),
  12. KellyKettleUSA.com is donating both an AquaBrick water filtration kit and a Stainless Medium Scout Kelly Kettle Complete Kit with a combined retail value of $304,
  13. TexasgiBrass.com is providing a $300 gift certificate.

Second Prize:

  1. A Glock form factor SIRT laser training pistol and a SIRT AR-15/M4 Laser Training Bolt, courtesy of Next Level Training, which have a combined retail value of $589,
  2. A FloJak EarthStraw “Code Red” 100-foot well pump system (a $500 value), courtesy of FloJak.com,
  3. Acorn Supplies is donating a Deluxe Food Storage Survival Kit with a retail value of $350,
  4. The Ark Instituteis donating a non-GMO, non-hybrid vegetable seed package–enough for two families of four, seed storage materials, a CD-ROM of Geri Guidetti’s book “Build Your Ark! How to Prepare for Self Reliance in Uncertain Times”, and two bottles of Potassium Iodate– a $325 retail value,
  5. $300 worth of ammo from Patriot Firearms and Munitions. (They also offer a 10% discount for all SurvivalBlog readers with coupon code SVB10P),
  6. A $250 gift card from Emergency Essentials,
  7. Twenty Five books, of the winners choice, of any books published by PrepperPress.com (a $270 value),
  8. Two cases of meals, Ready to Eat (MREs), courtesy of CampingSurvival.com (a $180 value),
  9. TexasgiBrass.com is providing a $150 gift certificate,
  10. Organized Prepper is providing a $500 gift certificate, and
  11. RepackBoxis providing a $300 gift certificate to their site.

Third Prize:

  1. A Royal Berkey water filter, courtesy of Directive 21 (a $275 value),
  2. A large handmade clothes drying rack, a washboard, and a Homesteading for Beginners DVD, all courtesy of The Homestead Store, with a combined value of $206,
  3. Expanded sets of both washable feminine pads and liners, donated by Naturally Cozy (a $185 retail value),
  4. Two Super Survival Pack seed collections, a $150 value, courtesy of Seed for Security,
  5. Mayflower Trading is donating a $200 gift certificate for homesteading appliances,
  6. Ambra Le Roy Medical Products in North Carolina is donating a bundle of their traditional wound care and first aid supplies, with a value of $208, and
  7. APEX Gun Parts is donating a $250 purchase credit, and
  8. SurvivalBased.com is donating a $500 gift certificate to their store.
  9. Montie Gearis donating a Y-Shot Slingshot and a Locking Rifle Rack. (a $379 value).

Round 54 ends on September 30st, so get busy writing and e-mail us your entry. Remember that there is a 1,500-word minimum, and that articles on practical “how to” skills for survival have an advantage in the judging.

Some Notes on Remaining Humble, by Marine in Missouri

One of the many great lessons I have read over and over in this blog is that practice makes perfect. This can apply to any skill set one wishes to consider. I would like to stress the word “read” in the last sentence; reading does not equate to learning, and often in our human hubris we decide that if we think about it, we know it. I think one of the most potent sins the father of lies enjoys tempting us with is the sin of pride. Without going on a diatribe of theological concepts on pride (and I’ve heard many great sermons on it), I would like to use some personal examples to maybe give a glimpse of how pride can creep into any portion of life, including the pursuit of preparation for calamity.

I typically think of myself as being pretty capable of surviving a situation if I am presented with one. I grew up on a 400-acre dairy farm and realize how to work hard. I have a concept of what it takes to grow things and how much work really goes into making the food we eat. I have been in the Marines for the past 16 years, and I have two combat deployments where I was the Watch Chief and Watch Officer in the combat operations center (although I have not personally been in combat). I am a CBRN defense specialist, so I realize what it would take to deal with a catastrophe of that nature; I had better have a grasp, since I instruct the stuff for a living in the Marines! I have also been a Combat Marksmanship Instructor for a decade, teaching and coaching hundreds of Marines on basic Marksmanship, with a few opportunities to instruct more advanced marksmanship classes. With this background, I should have the ability to take care of any situation, whether it’s growing food, protecting my family from any threat, or generally speaking surviving and thriving in any environment my family and I are faced with.

In reality, however, I often times find my book knowledge combined with the experience I have giving me a false sense of ability. This is where all of that talk about the sin of pride comes into play. In our culture as a whole (and yes, in some aspects in the military in specific), we tend to look at past accomplishments as a check in the box. Perhaps thoughts may cross your mind, like it does mine from time to time, that are similar to “I have done this before; I know what I’m doing; it will be no problem.” I would like to suggest to you this is dangerous; it is something we all need to fight against, especially those of us who think in our mind we have a reason to believe we are more prepared than we truly are. I would like to provide some examples I have run up against in my life and that I am actively working on improving. While looking at these examples, I would like to focus your attention on the difficult task I have had to fight against my sinful pride and to accept some humility with each of these examples.

So let me go through the short biography I gave you and pick out a few examples where my prideful self decided I was ready and reality (or maybe God Himself) decided to show me I still had a lot to learn. First, I will talk about raising livestock and growing food. Like I said, I grew up on a farm. I have worked with crops, cattle, and gardening throughout most of my childhood years. When I got stationed in Missouri, my wife and I decided to buy some property, raise some animals, and grow a garden; simple stuff, right? So far I have lost two guineas– one because it got hit by a car (they’re not the brightest birds) and one from an unknown predator just last week. The plan was to use the guineas to roam the yard, eat the ticks that are very prevalent out in the Ozarks, and maybe lay some eggs. The only part of that plan that worked out was the egg part, and that only occurs when I keep the birds in the chicken coop. The plan is not working out terrible, if one considers 33% to be a good average. We have only been at it one year, but the point is I thought it would be simple, and it isn’t. You have to learn (and I still am) what is reasonable and effective and what is not.

Another of our ongoing experiments is to have cattle. At this point, we do not have the extra cash around to invest in a couple of cattle of our own, so I made a great deal with my neighbor to let him graze cattle in return for an amazing price on beef. How hard can that be? I grew up with 200 head of cattle; having ten or fifteen graze my pasture should be no sweat. My neighbor and I walked the fence, identified some trouble areas, and mended them; then he put the cattle on my land. Within a few days, I found myself facing a 3-year-old longhorn bull in my yard. Thank God these are gentle beasts, but I did not realize that the first time or two I had to get the animal back into the pasture. I was honestly a bit afraid to have to drive the bull back in myself, but I did it, because I had to. Only later did I learn that these bulls are a bit different than those I grew up with. A person can drive them safely without too much fear of them trying to chase after you, so long as you maintain dominance over them. That was the first lesson with these particular cattle (and I also understand that any other breed may be different), but it was a difficult one to learn when your good friend and neighbor chuckles at you for admitting some fear of driving the animal into the pasture. Oh, the second lesson relates to that supposed check of the fence; there were two gates that were visually secure but could flex enough for the animal to get out of.

If the animals were not lesson enough for me, the garden sure was. I went and bought a great rear-tine tiller, tilled up a good-sized garden, and planted the seeds from an heirloom seed vault I got from my wife a Christmas or two ago. Take a quick guess at how much of that seed grew. If your answer is little to none, you’re right! I planted WAY too early and probably had not stored the seeds at a good temperature. My parents came out to visit. Mom decided to get some regular store-bought seeds, and they grew right up! Talk about some humble pie. My great idea was that I would have a seed vault of heirloom seeds I could not only use to grow my own garden but I could replace by capturing the seeds in order to have a perpetual stock. Not to mention, with long work days of sometimes as much as 18 hours when I have a course to teach, the little weeding I did showed clearly in the resulting harvest. On top of that, we were not prepared to can or store the harvest we did get. I guess I did not know as much about keeping animals or growing plants as I thought in the beginning.

I am going to shift gear to one of my real pleasures– marksmanship. I love shooting. When I had the opportunity to become a range coach in the Marines, I jumped at it. I’m an expert rifleman, so why not help out other Marines? Shortly after that I had the opportunity to become a Primary Marksmanship Instructor (later renamed to Combat Marksmanship Instructor). Needless to say, I like to think I know how to shoot, and to be fair, I’m not too bad with an issued pistol or rifle; plus, I can typically pick up any civilian firearm and hit the target. So over the past years I have decided to partake in the Appleseed Shoot. I have gone to shoots in both North Carolina and here in Missouri. Every time I went to shoot, I started off with two things going against me– my pride at “knowing” how good of a shot I was and taking equipment I had not properly prepared. The first time I shot, I took my 10-22 brand new out of the box, and I also brought one of my M-1 Garands that I had only fired a few times. I had magazine issues with the 10-22. I only had one factory 10-round magazine and one after-market, 25-round mag. The 25 rounder was, surprise, not exactly perfect, and I ended up not being able to chamber a round. The frustration mounted as I sat with a multi-tool filing the lip of the magazine until it fit correctly into the magazine well and allowed the bolt to go home. On day two, with all of that frustration with my 10-22 and no ‘rifleman’ patch, I brought out the Garand. The weapon would not group well, and I had a terrible time loading two rounds in for one of the courses of fire. I later found out that I need to replace the barrel (after going to a gunsmith who pointed me to a corrosion problem in the barrel). As for the loading of two rounds, I was provided a GREAT tip on how to do so, but again, as the marksmanship instructor that pride had to go away before I could learn my rifle. On attempt number two, again in North Carolina, I had purchased new magazines for my 10-22 and bought a new FAL from DS Arms. Now I can’t fail, right? I did nearly get my rifleman with the 10-22, but this is where I learned that I could purchase new sights for the rifle that would let me acquire better sight picture. The bottom line was that I wasn’t able to keep tight enough groups with the factory sights; maybe it was my failure or the rifle’s. Who knows, maybe it was both, but I did not know my equipment yet. The FAL worked GREAT at short ranges of up to 200 yards. (We had a full 500-yard range the second afternoon.) However, at 300 yards and 400 yards, the thing would not hit where it should have. I later learned that there are a couple of different size front sites for the FAL, and with the 16-in barrel, I needed the tallest front site available to sight in. Again, this was a failure to not know my equipment. This past month I went to another Appleseed here in Missouri. I put new sites on the 10-22 and went in knowing that I may have made a mistake with them. The rear site aperture was extraordinarily large, similar to the large aperture on the M-16. I did a little redneck engineering and inserted a segment of tubing, colored it black with a sharpie, and I had a bit better sight to work with. However, now the frustration came with good groups that were three inches low and three inches to the left at 25 yards, with the sights completely pegged. Oh the frustration mounted, while my pride took a hit! I have just ordered a new sight, and I am going to make a backstop on my land to practice with safely. The lesson here is that just because you are capable of shooting well with established equipment, if you do not take the time to know your equipment, those skills will not be able to be applied effectively, and when your pride tells you in the back of your mind that there is “no problem, I’ll qualify easily today”, you set yourself up for a thick skull that is not looking for advice.

I did not write this column to be self depreciating or to suggest I am about to give up. Quite the contrary! I thank God for these learning points. I need to have my pride damaged from time to time, I need to learn to be humble and go into any situation prayerfully and open to learning! I will not give up on learning these skills and others. I know that one year of owning property on my own, without my parents’ experience in farming, is not going to give me all the knowledge I need to raise animals or grow crops. I now can say I understand that, because I was not able to do as well as I expected and I have learned valuable lessons for next year’s garden and for the next time we put cattle on the pasture. I also know that just because I conceptually understand marksmanship and I can instruct it and fire expert in the Marine Corps, I will ALWAYS have more to learn. I have not had to qualify for the past few years because of my rank and time in service, so my skills have eroded. I am building a firing point at home, so I can go out every weekend, practice in a deliberate fashion—not just shooting at cans or plinking with the guys. I needed this wakeup, and I would suggest that a lot of people do as well. There is a reason things were hard before the conveniences of technology came about. You really had to do things a lot to get things done right! That took a faith in God, and a dependence on God. We tend to have faith in technology and in our own merit, and that is never a good place to be; that is the evil one tempting us to believe that we are good enough. It is these Christian lessons—human sin, the need for a Savior, and absolute trust in God— that are real. We can see these lessons in our daily lives. Why wouldn’t they be real? A dependence on ourselves without practice, patience, and prayer will set us up for an unrealistic pride that we can do anything. We cannot do things well, unless we practice and put our faith in God.

Three Letters Re: Mosin Nagent Review

Jim,

I agree with most of the author’s conclusions regarding the 91/30. It is rugged, dependable, and more than accurate enough for hunting or social purposes. Most will benefit from a thorough cleaning and judicious use of lapping compound on the bearing and camming surfaces of the bolt assembly. (Be careful to completely remove all of the compound and clean and lubricate appropriately following the lapping procedure.) Inspect the barrel crown and recrown if damage is found. The trigger design is simple and straightforward and can be cleaned up in most examples. Pay particular attention that the trigger components do not contact the stock. I am unsure which surplus ammo was tested. Every “spam can” surplus type I have tried yielded tremendous amounts of flash, even in the long-barreled 91/30s. In my M44 carbine, flash was positively huge– 3 feet long and 18 inches in diameter, as estimated by 3 different shooters. I installed a 5-prong flash suppressor from a BAR, and the flash is now virtually nonexistant. I see no reason why a Garand T37 hider would not be equally as effective. Adaptation and installation should be relatively simple. The 91/30 is disdained by many, but it is the “Turkish Mauser” of today, and Turks were retailing for under $50 just a few short years ago. Get a 91/30; you probably won’t be sorry, and you won’t lose your money if you are. – CS

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Scot,

I have owned and shot both the rifle and the carbine. Give me the rifle any day; it is much easier to shoot and control, and you can also do a bit to improve the trigger. It’s a great low-cost rifle. I enjoyed your article! – AM

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Hugh,

A couple of points about mosins. First, mojo makes a replacement rear sight that is a peep. Its inexpensive, well made, rugged, and really helps accuracy. Second, I have a buddy with the m44 carbine version. He put a scout mount and a red dot on it. It is a really handy little carbine. It’s not pretty, but it can shoot. Third, in addition to being able to supply the unarmed, they are great to cache. For a few hundred dollars you can put up a bolt gun and few hundred rounds of ammo. They are also readily available in classified ads across the country, so they can be found and bought off books to cache. I am not a fan of leaving guns in cars, so if I am traveling somewhere I have to, I bring a mosin. If it gets stolen, I’m out $80! Thanks- LEO Medic

Odds ‘n Sods:

Sandy Hook Advisory Commission calls for tighter regulation of homeschooling of “children with significant emotional, social or behavioral problems” – G.P.

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What the Global Status Quo Optimizes: Protecting Elites and the Clerisy Class That Serves Them. – JFJ

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This article takes an alarmist stance on the spread of Ebola. Many of the links are based upon shaky and incorrect evidence. However, the article underscores how fragile the current economy is and identifies many issues that could be a problem in any pandemic situation. Read it with a grain of salt and know that the danger is not the patients brought back to our shores to be treated, or really even the use of the military to help control the disease in Liberia. The true danger comes from those unreported and unknown persons who bring it across the border, skipping customs entirely.

How Ebola Will Irreversibly Transform America. – MVR

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Obama Praises Muslim Cleric Who Backed Fatwa on Killing of U.S. Soldiers. – P.M.

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Brian Howard of Naperville charged with starting fire at FAA facility in Aurora. – T.P.

Hugh’s Quote of the Day:

“Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.” 1 Corinthians 15:58 (KJV)