Notes for Thursday – October 02, 2014

Today, we present another entry for Round 55 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 55 ends on November 30th, 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.

How to Build a Defensible Single Family Retreat, by M.S.

My parents were part of the “Back-To-The-Land” movement in the 1970′s, so I am no stranger to the principles and techniques underlying today’s prepper movement. Cutting ten cords of wood to heat our northern Minnesota home, by hand with an axe and a crosscut saw, was part of my formative years. Raising chickens; living in the deep woods, which were especially deep during the year that my father moved us to a camp in northern Ontario that could only be reached by float plane with the nearest neighbor 60 miles away and only accessible to us by snowmobile in the winter; and no indoor plumbing were the experiences of my childhood.

In the late 1990′s I came across a book called The Fourth Turning. While I have known all my life that the society around me was slowly committing suicide, for the first time I had an accurate blueprint for not only WHAT was coming but more importantly WHEN it all was going to come to a head. In a nutshell, the authors note that societies go through psycho-social cycles, primarily based on the collective life experiences and life expectancies of its oldest members, with 80 years being the length of the cycle, corresponding nearly exactly with the length of a long, human lifespan. In essence, when the old-timers die, all their combined wisdom goes with them to the grave. Thus, human society tends to make the same sorts of mistakes again and again.

Whatever is, has already been, and what will be, has been before;

The proof of the pudding for me was the fact that the most devastating wars in this country have all come on schedule nearly as strict as the Swiss National Railway, all of them almost 80 years apart.

In 1780, we had the Revolution War, in 1860 the Civil War, and in 1940 World War II. What does 2020 hold?

So now that I had a time frame for what was to come, I needed to make a plan. I spent many years on various prepping/survival websites studying all that I could. There were as many opinions and viewpoints as there were posters. The conventional wisdom said, put a group together, get a retreat, and defend yourself. There were problems with that. The biggest being that, after years of searching, I had never seen a successful pulling together of prepper types into a cohesive, functioning whole. You’ve heard of herding cats and all that. I also spent many years corresponding along those lines with various good folks, with nothing really to show for it.

My second problem was that, while I have extended family, they are geographically, politically, and culturally separate. That cat herding problem arises again. So, in the end, with the crisis drawing nearer, I had to act; as Arthur Ashe once said, “Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.”

So I had a standard nuclear family, some decent skills, reasonably good health, and some money in the bank. After decades of reading and study, the basics of prepping didn’t really present a lot of issues; you need your food, your water, your heat, et cetera. By far the biggest issue I faced was how to protect my family from the bad guys; if we spent a great deal of time preparing ourselves for the hard times to come, it would mean very little if the first unprepared thug through our doorway could take it all away from us through force of arms.

I spent a great deal of time reading various posts and scenarios outlining methods of defending a homestead. For the most part, they made for quite exciting reading; the besieged defenders always seemed to have just the right circumstances or luck, or a singular hero to save them all in the end. They were great fantasies, but in the end that is all they were. In the real world, it is quite clear that the bad guys win quite often. All you have to do is do a cursory read of history to see how that usually plays out. Most importantly, running through these scenarios showed me clearly that the math would never work. Take an “average homestead”– 40 acres of small farm, for example, with a barn, outbuildings, and a farmhouse. The crisis comes, things go pear-shaped, and our resident good guys step up to defend themselves. How could they do it? Their farmhouse and outbuildings are made of thin, flammable wood. They need to check on their stock, gather food from the gardens and water from the well and serve as lookouts in all four cardinal directions, 24/7/365. It would clearly take a small army just to minimally defend even the simplest of homesteads. You can forget about defending any type of suburban or urban home or business altogether.

The famous Chinese general Sun Tzu once said: “If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat.” So taking that advice to heart, I started to think like a bad guy. How would I “take” a typical homestead, if I was head of a desperate group of bandits (or just hungry neighbors). The answer was pretty clear. I wouldn’t play fair. I wouldn’t play nice, and I’d use every trick in the book to get what I wanted. I’d hit at night. I’d hit at random. I’d hit whatever targets I had at hand. I’d burn down buildings. I’d snipe. I’d kill animals, burn crops, and, in short, I’d cheat like crazy.

With a little thought, it was very clear that even if I had a small army at my disposal in this type of situation, I would always, ALWAYS, lose some of my family. Which one could I “afford” to lose? My wife? One of my daughters? Clearly fighting bandits and protecting a homestead in a crisis situation did not lend itself very well to conventional prepper/survivalist thought on the subject.

So what could I do to stack the odds in my favor?

Well, first of all, it was quickly clear to me that 99.99 percent of modern American homes (and farmsteads) were essentially indefensible, so I needed to start from scratch. I needed a homestead relatively impervious to small arms fire, one that was inflammable seemed important, and of course not having to spend a lot of money I did not have would be good. There really is only one building technique that meets all three of these requirements: poured, reinforced concrete. However, all building materials have weak points and poured concrete is no exception. One of the biggest issues is that standard poured concrete has relatively poor insulative properties. After a great deal of reading on the subject, I did find a solution. While “standard” concrete has a very low R value, there exists a variation of poured concrete called air-entrained concrete with an R-value of 3.9 per inch. Best of all, specifying it during construction added almost nothing to the overall cost. Concrete is, of course, non-flammable, and a few inches will stop single hits of up to 50 BMG, while 8 inches of concrete in poured walls will stop multiple hits of most any type of weapon a group of bandits is likely to have on hand during an attack. Eight inches of 3.9 R value adds up to almost 32 R in the walls. Gluing rigid insulation on the outside of the walls with something, like HardiBoard or stucco, to cover it would keep the walls non-flammable and add even more insulation to the house for a colder climate than ours.

The poured concrete walls I had installed for my homestead ran from $300 to $400 a yard from the contractor. This included all materials and labor. As an example, a 50×50 house, with four 8-inch poured concrete outside walls and one interior wall would run about $15k to $20k, plus the cost of the footing and any shelter you decided to add on. Of course, this is just a shell, but it is not as expensive as you might have thought, and it is certainly in line with standard stick-built houses.

Next, I looked at location. Realtors have a mantra– “location, location, location”. As preppers, it is something that should be tattooed on our foreheads when considering homestead defense. For defense, you need as much flat, open ground as you can afford around your homestead. Most importantly, there should not be any land within at least ¼ mile that would provide an opportunity for sniping from adequate cover. While it would be lovely to be on a large, empty plateau or mountain, most such places are out of consideration for various reasons, including availability of water or cost, for example. You also need a large, flat, open space around you because, in a PAW situation, there are not going to be forest fighters or smoke jumpers coming to your rescue when the fires come, and they WILL come without an organized government to spend large amounts of money to choke them off. Also, with more than a hundred years of “forest management”, there exists large pockets of forest that is primed for ignition. Having large trees anywhere within 400 yards of your homestead provides great cover/concealment for bandits and lots of fuel for fires (or both). We ended up with a large, open field, that was mostly flat and less than a mile from a small lake, with a small stream and a well already on the property. This gives us a great deal of water security, especially with the roof design we ended up choosing.

So we have our 8-inch, small-arms-impervious, non-flammable concrete walls situated at the center of an open field, where bandits would have to cross a fair amount of open ground just to get to us. Next, we sunk the concrete structure of the homestead several feet into the earth. We did this for several reasons– earth sheltering gave us a much more steady temperature state (cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter), and being lowered into the soil gives us even more protection against small arms fire. A fully underground house is an alternative we considered, but it posed a greater number of additional engineering challenges, including drainage, span considerations, and cost. For most situations, fully berming the north side of a partially underground house, and partial berming of the east and west sides should provide the maximum benefit, with the least negatives overall. This is what we went with. An additional option, one that I also chose, was to attach a small, fully underground shelter on the north side of the main house as a nuclear shelter, and as a temperature-controlled storage room. The cost of adding the small shelter was much less than sinking the entire house underground, and we got the best of both worlds with such an arrangement.

The next feature we added was “The Great Wall”. Delivered concrete costs about $100 a cubic yard around the USA, at present. A continuous poured concrete wall, six inches thick, and six feet high conforms with all of the current standard building code limitations in most parts of the USA, so you should not need a permit to pour such a wall (as a fence) on any property, as long as it meets setback regulations. Such a wall cost us roughly $10 to $15 per linear foot in materials, and any reasonably handy person should be able to build the forms for such an undertaking with a little study and work. We built our own forms, poured the walls in sections, used a site-mix concrete supplier (no extra charges for wasted concrete or small batches), and ended up with another layer of sturdy, small arms impervious defense at a relatively small cost. We also embedded sockets for placing an additional chain link fence (the type with the opaque green plastic covering) on the top of the concrete wall making it now a 12-foot high wall. This gives us a fully enclosed, safety area that allows us access to the outdoors. Inside the Great Wall rests things like underground water and fuel tanks, chicken coops, a small garden, and generator sheds, as well as my complete septic system (in case of need for repairs). For now, the chain link fence remains “uninstalled” for aesthetic reasons, with the idea that we can erect it fairly quickly if push comes to shove.

For defensive purposes, not much can beat a metal roof. It’s inexpensive, long lasting, not difficult to install, and most importantly it’s NON-FLAMMABLE. For our purposes we went with a near flat metal roof, snow load of 140+ pounds per square foot, with both rigid and fiberglass insulation to bring the R value up near 40. The flatness of the roof makes sniping much more difficult, especially with it being a sunken, single level house. Also, the very slight slope to the roof and the full north berm allows us to collect water from the roof when it rains. A single inch of rain collected from a 2500 square foot roof provides more than 1600 gallons of rainwater for storage.

Now you have a safe, defensible place to protect your family, but it won’t do you much good if it can be easily overrun because you don’t have the manpower for multiple LP/OP’s. We don’t have have an army of well-trained fighters at our disposal. None of us are superheroes, and most certainly none of us are “expendable”.

We cannot stay awake, alert, and ready to fight 24/7/365, but luckily, we don’t have to. At this point in the technological revolution, there are a multitude of tools available to the prepping community that can do all this work for us. Low-voltage electricity can run a large number of cameras and sensors to keep us apprised of any activity on all sides of our homestead, at all times, day and night. CCTV day/night cams are inexpensive, reliable, available everywhere, and use about three watts each. Mounted on both the inside and outside of the Great Wall, in combination with CCTV multiplexers inside the house (we bought dozens of used ones on Ebay for about $20 each), this system gives us triggered contact alarms for both loss of signal (bad guys cutting your wires or shooting your cameras) and motion detection. IR sensors are found on virtually every automatic garage door in America, sound sensors are bought or easily made. Solar, hydro, wind, or even propane, gasoline, or diesel generators are for sale in any big box hardware store for a reasonable cost and batteries to match. We went with ex-mil diesel gensets for their longevity, and solar panels for the nine months of the year we get decent sun. Yes, such a system may not last forever, but as preppers we all know how to “adjust” for that contingency– two is one, one is none– or as I like to say “have backups of backups of backups”. With a larger budget, FLIR cameras and things, like the SpotterRF Ground Surveillance Radar are in our plans. Low voltage tech can run a myriad of defensive devices, in addition to just sensors; the windows of your car roll up and your car doors all lock on 12 volts. Unlock your imagination and there are a lot of things that can be done with such simple, robust motion systems. This aspect is, and always will be, under continual improvement as more money and new ideas and technology become available to us.

By choosing the right building materials, the right location, along with appropriate, imaginative use of low voltage technology, plus some prayers and luck, it IS possible for a single homestead family to put up a staunch defense in the face of the chaos that is undoubtedly coming our way.

Think outside the box, and live.

Letter Re: Single Mom prepares

Hugh,

I just had to respond to this dear woman’s story. I don’t remember the last time—if ever—that I have been so moved by the example of another person’s courage, grit, and determination. This lady has the inner toughness that once belonged to the quietly heroic pioneer women, without whom I doubt that this country could have been successfully settled, and without whom our country’s history would be far less colorful. Lucky are those who are M.B.’s friends and neighbors; when the challenging, chaotic days arrive, she will be a true asset—as will her daughter through her tutelage. I wish that I had a few neighbors liker her myself. May God continue to bless her and her daughter, always. – D.M.

o o o

HJL,

The article written by “M.B.” is quite well done, and makes a lot of sense for anyone looking to prepare, not just single mothers.

I would make some comments in support of her situation.

First and foremost, the most important issue is that she has the right mindset, regardless of how far along in her preparations she is. Even if she doesn’t necessarily have the necessary equipment or knowledge for a specific situation, the fact that she’s thinking about the larger picture and her willingness to figure out what to do will stand her in good stead.

Second, she’s working with a few trusted people, so she’s not going it alone. No one can do it all by themselves, and having others to fall back on will serve her well.

Third, and this is a topic dear to my heart as a former educator, she and her daughter are doing all kinds of learning “outside the system.” Having taught in the University of California system for a short while, it never ceased to amaze me that the vast majority of my students never read anything beyond the reading required for their courses, and that, as often as not, they’d forget what they’d read almost immediately after their classes. As the old saying goes, “Knowledge is Power,” and the less of it you have, the less capable of dealing with the world you are. The best thing you can do is acquire as much information from as many sources as possible, to give yourself options in a variety of situations, both expected and unexpected.

Please keep up the good work, and keep publishing articles like this. – GRS

Notes for Wednesday – October 01, 2014

Several days ago, I asked for our readers’ experience with “Square” and PayPal “Here” card services. SurvivalBlog reader SJG has informed us that after reading about “Square” in SurvivalBlog, he sent a letter stating his dissatisfaction with them. SJG runs a side business dealing in Pelican cases, Hardigg boxes, ammo cans, and MREs at gun shows. He subsequently received this letter from Square:

“Hello xxxxx,

“We’re sorry to inform you that we are deactivating your account. We reviewed your account and found that your business is prohibited by Section 6 of the Square Seller Agreement, which means we cannot accept payments related to your business.

“We regret that, starting today, you will no longer be able to process transactions using Square.

“Your outstanding Square balance will be paid out per our normal payment schedule.

“We appreciate your having chosen Square and apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.

“Sincerely, Square Compliance Team”

Folks, it’s not enough to just not use the “Square” for your business. That’s the whole point of their maneuvering. You need to refuse to do business with anyone who uses “Square” in the transaction.

Round 54 Non-Fiction Writing Contest Winners Announced!

First Prize goes to Leo Medic for “Musings of a Law Enforcement Paramedic, Part 1”, “Part 2”, “Part 3”, “Part 4”, and “Part 5”, which was posted on September 2-6, 2014. He will receive the following prizes:

  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 goes to J.B. for “Multi-Species Rotational Grazing to Maximize Food and Income in a TEOTWAWKI World”, which was posted on September 18, 2014. He will receive the following prizes:

  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 goes to J.C. for “Protecting Your Home, BOL, and Supplies from Pests”, which was posted on September 14, 2014. He will receive the following prizes:

  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).

Honorable Mention prizes ($30 Amazon.com gift certificates via e-mail) have been awarded to the writers of these fine articles:

Note to all Prize winners: Let us know your current e-mail address. We will also need the UPS and USPS addresses for each of the top three prize winners.

Round 54 ended on September 30th, but Round 55 has started, 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. Those articles that we received for Round 54, but that did not get published in time will be automatically entered in Round 55.

September In Precious Metals, by Steven Cochran of Gainesville Coins.

Welcome to SurvivalBlog’s Precious Metals Month in Review, where we take a look at “the month that was” in precious metals. Each month, we cover the price action of gold and silver and examine the “what” and “why” behind those numbers.

The marketplace in September was dominated by two big factors– paranoia over when exactly the Federal Reserve would start raising rates and the absolute dominance of the U.S. dollar in the currency markets. These two factors not only affected precious metals, but they caused large gyrations in the stock market, especially towards the end of the month.

Precious metals started September almost exactly where they ended August. Gold closed September 1 at $1287, silver at $19.45, platinum at $1419, and palladium at $902. Unfortunately, that was the highs for the month. The dollar began its rampage that night, hitting a 13-month high in London the next morning. Gold ended the day down $21 and silver down 32 cents. Platinum dropped $18, and palladium swooned by a whopping $23.

The playbook for the month was stocks going up and the dollar going down on bad news (because that means the Fed won’t raise interest rate), and stocks down/dollar up on good news (which meant interest rates would rise sooner than later).

Precious Metals Market Drivers in September

Ebola

The ebola epidemic is leading to evacuation of foreign mining personnel in West Africa, and mines are being shut down. The economy of Liberia has almost collapsed, and the World Health Organization says that there may be over 1.4 million cases of ebola before the epidemic is contained. Doctors and health workers are being attacked and even killed in affected areas by villagers who think they are responsible for the disease.

While Ghana, which neighbors the affected areas, has not been stricken yet, it is leading efforts to combat the disease in other nations, while educating its own population. Ghana is also a major gold producing area, and AngloGold is providing health symposiums for the villages surrounding its main mine in Angola. Conducted in their native language, doctors explain that personal hygiene is the key to preventing the spread of the disease, and they explain how to avoid dangerous foods.

Low Oil Prices

Low oil prices all month were a bearish factor for gold. Even though Saudi Arabia cut production to support prices, Iraq and Libya increased production to pay for their wars against rebels. Economic slowdowns in Europe and China have contributed to an oil glut, and the strong dollar is depressing oil prices the same as gold is being affected.

Ukraine

Ukraine dominated the news in the first part of September, with Russian armored vehicles and self-propelled artillery reported to be openly providing fire support for the rebels. Russian president Putin boasted to the president of the European Commission that “I could take Kiev in two weeks if I wanted to,” rattling markets. France announced it will not deliver the finished helo-carrier it built for Russia until the Ukrainian situation was resolved, and NATO held training exercises near the Polish border in western Ukraine. Talks of cutting Russia off from the SWIFT international banking system may have had some influence, as Ukraine and the rebels agreed to a ceasefire.

Combat continued to flare up, but by the 22nd of September, the Ukrainian government announced that it was pulling tanks and heavy artillery out of the front lines to further de-escalate the situation. These developments erased any safe haven bid for gold over the situation.

Russia, Ukraine, and the EU are all in serious pain over the sanctions and counter-sanctions that have been put in place, and winter is coming. Look for more efforts to resolve the situation, even if it ends up being a solution that Kiev doesn’t necessarily want.

Fed Fright

All month long, the markets freaked out on every little rumor that the Fed may raise interest rates from 0.25%. Wall Street was all worked up on whether the September FOMC meeting statement would continue to say interest rates would stay low for a “considerable time.” The Fed kept that phrase in the statement, despite some Fed officials wanting the remove it. Stocks jumped, while the dollar gave up gains and precious metals declined. Even after the FOMC meeting concluded on the 17th, stock markets were still getting whipsawed over different Fed officials saying different things regarding when interest rates would move.

Federal Reserve enforcer Carmen Segarra bought a tape recorder and taped regulatory meetings after repeatedly being told by her bosses to quit investigating Goldman Sachs and to let their illegal activity slide. She was fired after refusing to look the other way and has released the tapes to show how Big Banks rule the regulators.

Now everyone from Yellen to Congress will have to smear and discredit her in a frantic attempt to make the truth go away.

Scotland

An event that rivaled the crisis in Ukraine, as far as unsettling European markets, was the independence vote in Scotland. Splitting up the UK would not only cause the greatest disruption in the economy of the British Isles since WWII, it would give fresh life to regional independence movements in French, Spanish, and Italian territories.

It was reported that net gold imports into the UK totaled 70 metric tons– the highest net monthly inflow since 2012– ahead of the vote, in which the “no” vote for independence won by 10%.

Dollar Domination

The dollar was up sharply in September, as the euro collapsed to 22-month lows, and the yen plummeted. This rally, hitting its 11th week at press time, is the longest dollar rally since the greenback was decoupled from gold in 1971 during the Nixon Shock.

Eu Economy

The European Union, already struggling to rescue its economy, was pushed to the brink by the consequences of economic sanctions levied against Russia for seizing Crimea and supporting the rebel movement in eastern Ukraine. With deflation staring the EU in the face, the ECB cut its benchmark rate to 0.05%, announced that outright Fed-Style QE was being worked on, and raised the negative interest rate (read: fee) that it charges banks on excess funds to 0.2%, to force them to actually make loans. The European Composite PMI sat a 9-month low in September, and consumer confidence fell.

Apple, Alibaba, and Wall St

Stock market “irrational exuberance” continued in September, despite growing skittishness over when the Fed would take away the “free money.” The release of the new iPhone sent Apple stock soaring, only to be hit after defects in the cases of the new phones were revealed. Chinese mega-corporation Alibaba entered the stock market in the largest IPO in history, worth $25 billion. Alibaba stock was up 38% the first day, as speculators sold small cap stocks and precious metals (among other things) to buy into the stock. The party was short-lived, though, as the stock falls every day afterward. This spectacle led many to ask if the Alibaba IPO marks the top of the bull run for stocks?

Stocks get beaten down in the latter part of month, partially because of Fed Fear but also because more people are waking up to the fact that this is a very unhealthy market in which the bull market is relying on the strength of a fewer and fewer number of very large-cap stocks. Even though people can see the bubble, they believe the Fed will ride to the rescue with new money printing to prevent a bear market.

China

China announced an $81 billion stimulus program for the nation’s five largest banks, helping revive Asian markets. On September 18, the Shanghai international gold market debuts, with all contracts denominated in yuan. All the usual players in the Western “paper gold” market pile in, because the new Shanghai market gives foreign companies access to the Chinese gold market. Since it accepts “offshore yuan,” which is usually not allowed to flow back into China’s domestic economy, it gives companies who export into China a venue for their yuan reserves.

Isis

Airstrikes by U.S., France, and Arab monarchies against ISIS began on September 23, giving gold a $15 boost. While the other nations restrict air attacks to ISIS territories in Iraq, the U.S. strikes ISIS targets in Syria, without asking the Syrian government for permission. The U.S. positions is that, since ISIS doesn’t recognize national borders in building its “caliphate”, it can’t hide behind borders to avoid payback. An Algerian group linked to ISIS kidnaps a French hiker and kills him on video in retaliation for French airstrikes in Iraq.

Concerns in the West grow about how many Western citizens have joined ISIS and are expected to come back and start domestic terrorism.

On The Retail Front

U.S. Mint sales pick up for September, as prices drop. Sales of American Gold Eagles in September increases 84% over August, to 46,000 ounces. This is a whopping 253% over September 2013 sales. American Silver Eagle sales for September jump 45% from August, to over 2.9 million coins.

The Perth Mint, which announces sales figures on a one-month delay, noted that silver sales in August were the strongest since January. Those numbers should increase in September, with the introduction of the 2015 Lunar Goat gold and silver coins, and the 25th anniversary 2015 silver Kookaburra.

The Royal Canadian Mint introduced a new MapleGram .9999 fine gold coin in September that is seeing an enthusiastic response. These tiny, 1 gram Gold Maple Leaf coins are individually sealed and come attached together in a 25-pack. Each one can be separated from the rest and still remain sealed. This may be a good way to keep fractional gold on hand for barter that is immediately recognizable.

Physical Demand

The super-rich in the UK didn’t bother with gold Sovereigns or Britannias when running to gold as a safe haven ahead of the Scottish independence vote. Sales of 400oz Good Delivery gold bars surged in the UK in September.

Have you seen these stories in the mainstream business news that Indians, who were the world’s largest gold consumers before a government crackdown on imports, have lost their love for gold? Don’t believe it. The Hindustan Times reported on September 24 that 50 metric tons of gold was smuggled into India in just ten days!

Silver is seeing love in September from savvy investors, too. Silver dipped late in the month, leading to more monster deposits into the SLV silver ETF. Ed Steer at Casey Research reported that nearly 4.8 million ounces of silver was added to SLV in two days– September 24 and 25.

Market Buzz

Manipulation

“Turd Ferguson” at TF Metals Report thinks gold market manipulation has about come to the end of the road in this retrospective of a July prediction.

Speaking of market manipulation, Bloomberg fills us in on another case of Big Banks Being Bad, in this report that banks colluded to rig the rates on interest rate derivatives, known as the ISDA fix. The manipulation resulted in billions of illegal profits for the banks and billions in losses to companies and pension funds, also known as their customers.

In a similar vein, Eric Sprott tells people to “Get Your Money Out Of Banks And Into Something Tangible.”

Venezuela Goes Full Monty On Gold Reserves

A Bank of America economist was in Venezuela meeting with central bank officials, when he asked out of the blue “Hey, can I see your central bank gold reserves?” The Venezuelan bank official says “Sure!” and took him to the vaults to see the $13 billion in gold with his own eyes. Your turn, Yellen!

Luke Broman asks “Can the Petrodollar Survive Low Interest Rates?” in a guest column on Sprott Group.com, coming to the conclusion that OPEC and other commodities markets are going to begin rejecting trade in U.S. dollars, because Washington is enslaved by the Big Banks that want low interest rates.

China is a big force in hamstringing the dollar as it works to make even more bilateral agreements with other nations to trade in yuan. Alisdair MacLeod looks at what that will mean for the U.S. and its debt-fueled existence.

Shrinkflation

More mainstream press coverage of stealth inflation, as even the media cheerleaders can’t ignore what the Fed has done to the economy. Beef prices jumped 4.2% in August, with no relief in sight.

Fox Business News warns that more is coming, as two noted inflation hawks at the Fed are retiring, doubtless to be replaced by people more compliant to the wishes of the Big Banks.

Recovery For The Rich

Consumer confidence hit the lowest point since early June, but if you’re rich, you’re feeling fine! A booming stock market had consumers who earn over $50,000 a year feeling much more confident than people making less, due to the whole “stagnant wages and rising food and housing prices” thing. Bloomberg notes “Consumers are still looking for some tangible sign of economic improvement and have yet to see it.”

Looking Ahead

Gold Miners may be setting themselves up for a fall by cutting exploration almost completely out.

South African Pgm production fell 45.2%, gold production fell 14.6%, diamond production fell 10%, and copper production fell 15.9% this year, so far. The five-month platinum workers strike in South Africa has put producers between a rock and a hard place. Implats earnings dropped 74%, and Amplats has decided to expand its plat mine in Zimbabwe while it searches for a buyer for four South African mines, even though the government of Mugabe has seized the company’s bank account once before and forced it to sell 51% of the company to native interests (including, surprise, the government).

Letter: Survival Anxiety

Mr. Hugh,

I have a response for those who are having an anxiety attack over what R.W. said about his method of taking down a compound. The answer is that I have been planning for people like this. About a year ago I bought material and built a new compound fence. This fence is made of cattle panels that are supported by 8 foot long 4×6″ posts and 4×4″ posts set 24″ deep in clay on 8′ centers. The 4×6 posts are where the cattle panels join each other. The panels are nailed to the posts on the outside with 2-1/2″ long staples. Along the top of the cattle panels are 2×8″ boards that are 16 feet long that are nailed to the posts on the outside of the posts on top of the cattle panels with 20d galvanized nails. The cattle panels are stapled to the boards from the inside. The cattle panels are 50″ tall and touch the ground. Bolt cutters are needed to cut the cattle panels. Above the cattle panels are two runs of electrified four point Gaucho barbed wire. I chose this brand because it has a high tensile strength, good grade of galvanize coating, very sharp barbs, and has a tremendous “spring-back” when cut. This fence is electrified by either 3,000 volts of pulsating direct current or when attacked by a 110 volt AC current by an inverter through a 100 watt light bulb. The light bulb comes on when the wire is contacted by a “varmint” or grounded and prevents the inverter from tripping and also provides an immediate warning of contact. I have on hand enough steel “T” posts and 3′ wide metal roofing to construct a 4′ high dirt berm 2′ wide around my house with my tractor and loader. I have enough sand bags to cover my windows. I’m also building a 25-foot elevated platform that can see 270 degrees around my property through 200 yard minimum open fields. The other 90 degrees is heavily wooded thickets for escape or to sneak around attackers. I will tie stray dogs in this spot, so they will bark at strangers. The watch point will be fortified with steel plate and sandbags. We have enough snipers to snipe anyone approaching. Our snipers are deer hunters who easily make 200 yard shots. I have neighbors located 400 yards away around me in most directions. When they are attacked, I will attack from stealth positions from the attacker’s rear. As far as a vehicle attack, I’m protected by 8′ deep ponds, or 3′ deep ditches that will be dug when “it” goes down. The entries to my compound are protected by reinforced steel gates that will have a disc cultivator upside down in front of them. If you come for me, I will have a 3-year food supply and unlimited water inside. There are many things in my yard that offer both concealment and cover from snipers. However, we plan to intercept you a mile from our community, when you try to cross the trees cut across the road. My neighborhood is located in a rural setting seven miles from a small town and surrounded by 20,000 acres of tree-covered, timber company land. The access is by one-lane county roads. Most of these defenses were gleaned from the book How To Survive TEOTWAWKI by JWR. -MER

Odds ‘n Sods:

Ebola has come to our shores, just a month sooner than I had anticipated. If and when Ebola reaches your county, be prepared to hunker down at home for several months, folks. Keep in mind that you can collect your mail from your mailbox with disposable exam gloves and then put both the gloves and the mail in your microwave oven for 90 seconds to decontaminate them. For any larger scale decontamination, I recommend that you get a HAZARID system. (Available from Readymade Resources and several other online vendors.) I predict that these systems will sell out in less than a week and then there will soon be a back-order queue that will stretch for a year or more. So do not hesitate; buy a decontamination system now. – JWR

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CDC confirms first case of Ebola in US – T.J.

Hugh Adds: I fully expected Ebola to make an appearance in the U.S., though I am surprised at how it made it here. As I understand it, Presbyterian Hospital is a hospital serving the middle class and up, which indicates that the person seeking medical help is likely not an indigent. I expected the appearance to occur in a lower economic class, probably from across the southern border. In any case, we will be keeping a close eye on this situation. As JWR stated above, make sure your preps are in order and be prepared.

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Controversial Owner Declares Her Store a ‘Muslim-Free’ Zone; Find Out Her Reasoning. – M.J.

Hugh adds: Nope. You can’t do that in the United States. Religion is one of those protected statuses that you cannot use as a basis for discriminating against people. She has the right to refuse service to anyone who she deems dangerous due to their actions or attitudes, and she gets wide latitude in her decisions, due to being a range owner, but she will lose this one. You just can’t refuse service to someone because of their religion any more than you can because of their race.

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Can Employees protect against jihad-style workplace attacks with ‘bring gun to work’ laws?- B.B.

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Panel blasted for blaming massacre on homeschooling. – RBS

Notes for Tuesday – September 30, 2014

Today is the last day for Infidel Body Armor’s $20 off sale. Make sure you check their site out before the sale ends. They have also started carrying bullet/impact resistant glasses at 46:90 and the glasses include a gasket around the eye. The Falcon model is one of the most comfortable out there.

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Also ending today is the Mountain House Food sale at Ready Made Resources. Some of these entries may never be offered again so get your order in today!

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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.