March In Precious Metals, by Everett Millman 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.

Gold trickled down to yearly lows during the first half of the month before reversing direction and rallying back above $1,200/oz. The same was true for spot silver, which was stuck around $15.50/oz by mid-month before climbing back above $17/oz. The Platinum Group Metals (platinum and palladium) fared worse, as each fell through support early in the month and struggled to regain footing thereafter.

Precious Metals Market Drivers in March

While geopolitical risks–whether economic slowdown or war–remain firmly in place, helping drive safe haven demand for gold and silver, the main drivers for the metals this month came on the domestic front. Specifically, the very public debate over when the Federal Reserve will move on normalizing interest rates had a profound effect on the precious metals, as well as the broader financial markets as a whole.

U.S. Economy Under-Performs

After many were declaring the U.S. economy “recession-proof” amid a global economic slowdown earlier in the year, the situation began to look a lot less rosy in March. The idea that the U.S. is invulnerable to global events is nonsense; many have noted that the current geopolitical situation may be worse than before WWII. Not only were the effects of an exceptionally strong U.S. dollar ravaging American exports, but the continued weakness in oil prices have also put a damper on inflation. If anything, the States are experiencing the same deflationary pressures as their counterparts across the Atlantic.

The supply glut in oil right now is almost unprecedented. U.S. commercial inventories of crude oil–not accounting for the untouched strategic supply–hit an 80-year high in March. (Yes, that’s eight decades, not eight years.) Over 440 million barrels of the gooey stuff has piled up to the point that they literally are running out of places to put it. Saudi Arabia and China have also seen their crude inventories soar to record highs; officials from Qatar have signaled that OPEC and the Saudis, who essentially dominate their oil-producing partners, will not be cutting their oil output until one of their global competitors does so first, allowing them to keep hold of (and actually expand) their current market share. With the tens of thousands of layoffs in U.S. shale fields, which became unprofitable and went offline with the plunge in oil prices, many of the displaced workers have been gobbled up by the Saudis, who are determined to grab an even bigger piece of the crude market. On top of all that, a possible civil war in Yemen (and proxy war between Saudi Arabia and Iran) now threatens to disrupt oil flows through crucial pipelines.

The precious metals were largely unresponsive to these developments, instead following a typical seasonal pattern of gradually pulling back from their equally seasonal rally in January. The stock markets were not so indifferent; all of U.S. equities gains for 2015 were erased on Tuesday the 10th– the worst day of the year for stocks. The data backed up this steep fall; wholesale sales figures showed the biggest drop in six years, and although headline unemployment numbers were strong, the more telling labor participation rate sat at just 62.8%, which is its lowest level since the stagflation and Arab oil embargo of the 1970s. Factory orders also fell for the 6th consecutive month.

All told, the major U.S. stock indices each showed a V-shape on their daily charts this month, plummeting over the first two weeks of the year before bouncing back to their original levels over the next two weeks. The dollar and the euro danced back and forth throughout the month, with the Greenback first rallying at the latter’s expense, and then a reversal of fortunes to close out the month.

The precious metals remained mostly dormant prior to the highly anticipated policy announcement from the Federal Reserve in the middle of the month. Ahead of Fed Chair Janet Yellen’s press conference, however, the metals slid back in earnest; gold plunged to a 4-month low below $1,150/oz, while silver slumped to about $15.50/oz. This was mainly because a hawkish statement was expected to accompany the FOMC’s removal of “patience” from its forward guidance.

As gold expert Peter Schiff often alludes to, Miss Yellen is adept at making hawks out of would-be doves. Although the markets initially took the Fed statement to be a sign that conditions were improving, and a rate hike from the central bank was imminent, it eventually became clear that in fact the Fed was preaching still more patience.

The ambiguity and ambivalence of the Fed’s announcement sparked a rally literally across the board; gold spiked, equities rose, bonds saw fresh demand, and the dollar pushed to a 12-year high above 100.0 on the DXY dollar spot index. It subsequently fell back nearly 4% from this high, giving credence to Schiff’s analysis that betting on the dollar’s interminable rise is like a bet on subprime mortgages.

Keen analysts noted that the poor performance of the U.S. economy could make the Fed hesitant to raise rates too soon, even as the targets it set for when it would normalize monetary policy (such as unemployment at 5.5%, and growth in the labor market) continue to be reached. Instead, the Fed can merely move the goalposts further down the field. The so-called “recovery” does seem to be only felt by the megabanks and the inflated stock markets; the Fed’s balk at pushing up a rate hike is a tacit admission that the robust job growth seen in recent months has primarily been in McJobs.

The strong dollar and low energy prices have kept inflation below ideal targets, giving the Fed cause to push back its rate hike. This doesn’t mean, however, that the central bank is above manipulating the markets to save face. Yellen’s ultimately dovish outlook was very deliberately countered in the ensuing days by sufficiently hawkish comments from outspoken St. Louis Fed President James Bullard as well as San Francisco Fed President John Williams, who both called for the Fed’s ZIRP (zero interest rate policy) to be lifted before the end of the year. The Fed ultimately doesn’t want to raise rates; Currency Wars author Jim Rickards posits that if the Federal Reserve were to raise rates now, it would set off a crisis of sovereign defaults in emerging markets similar to that seen in Asia during the late 1990s.

All of the volatility and uncertainty surrounding Fed policy benefited the precious metals. Silver rallied through both the $16 and $17 thresholds, while gold returned to the psychologically important $1,200 mark. A Kitco report suggests that the more central banks tinker with monetary policy, the more a deflationary environment could actually lift gold prices.

Cracks in the Armor

More and more evidence of the collapse of the insidious banking cartel surfaced this month.

The New York branch of the Federal Reserve was stripped of its special supervisory role over Wall Street banks. A Fed committee in Washington, D.C. will now assume these duties. NY Fed President Dudley, a former Goldman Sachs executive, will now have a harder time shielding the illegal activities of his former employer.

It’s also clear–and no shock–that JPMorgan’s reported mutual fund returns are fallacious.

Firebrand entrepreneur Mark Cuban has also recently commented on how the current tech bubble is even worse than the dot-com bubble. Be wary of the unbelievable bull market in tech shares.

Several of the TBTF banks have revealed in their annual earnings reports that they have turned over information to the Justice Department regarding precious metals manipulation. This may not be an open-and-shut case, however; these megabanks may have “violated parole”, so to speak, by tampering with the forex and precious metal markets after the settlement of the 2012 Libor rate-rigging scandal.

Greek Debt Yet Unresolved

Turning our attention to Europe, the continent saw a considerable reversal of fortunes between its common currency, the euro, and its stock markets this month. The euro began March around $1.14, in terms of exchange rates, while European stocks were souring on the threat of deflation (falling prices) and dwindling manufacturing output. Then came the European Central Bank (ECB) to the rescue, implementing its massive stimulus plan on the 9th. By mid-March, the euro had fallen to a 12-year low of just $1.05, while European shares were returning to all-time highs. When in doubt, just print more money to solve the problem, right?

The fleeting nature of Europe’s turnaround notwithstanding, the ECB QE offers very little to the indebted Greeks, who cannot receive stimulus funds so long as they are being bailed out by the Troika (The Three): the ECB, IMF, and EC (European Commission).

Greek officials were rebuffed by the EU creditors at a meeting of the region’s finance ministers this month. The latter initially rejected a list of proposed economic reforms from the Greek side, then approved the reform list with the caveat that the proposals required further elaboration.

Although talks continue between the two sides, tensions escalated throughout March. An official from the Bank of England commented that Greece will never repay its debts due to the risk of losing political capital at home. (The newly-elected leftist Greek government was elected on an anti-austerity platform.)

The clash between Greece and its European creditors has been particularly caustic with Germany, inciting fiery rhetoric about Greece receiving war reparations from the Nazi regime. The country’s defense minister has even threatened to blackmail the EU by opening the country’s border with Turkey and distributing EU passports to tens of thousands of migrants, refugees, and even jihadists. Greece has also quietly been strengthening its traditional cultural ties with Russia; the latter would have an ally in the EU, which needs a unanimous vote to approve new sanctions against Russia, while Greece could use possible aid from Russia as leverage in its negotiations with eurozone authorities.

Bank runs have unsurprisingly been on the rise in Greece, prompting the ECB to approve more emergency funding for the branch banks. The central bank is still not willing to release further funds from Greece’s bailout loan until the country meets the ECB’s demands; however, as it stands, the Greek government will probably run out of money by mid-April. The government has been scrambling to find cash reserves, raiding public utilities and pension funds in order to pay debts coming due.

Sentiment in Europe is no softer toward the Greeks; the unveiling of the ECB’s new billion-dollar skyscraper headquarters in Frankfurt, Germany was marred by riots and protests that left police cars engulfed in flames.

The writing seems to be on the proverbial wall for Europe; even Ireland’s finance minister very publicly dumped euros from his investment portfolio in favor of buying gold.

Mining News

Fresh earnings data revealed that 2014 was a particularly rough year for the world’s top 10 gold miners. When taken together, these mining companies, which account for as much as one-third of global gold output, reported negative cash flows by the fourth quarter the year. These firms are certainly happy for $1,200/oz gold again, as many are likely unprofitable below this key level.

Locals are insisting upon purchasing a 30% stake in the South African platinum minesthat are being sold off by Amplats (Anglo American Platinum). This follows the legislative rule that at least a 26% stake in any mines must belong to the local black populations, who are largely responsible for the labor that powers the mine.

Reports (erroneous ones, we must assume) that the 18-karat gold edition of the new Apple Watch will contain 2 troy ounces of gold would mean that Apple would have to purchase the equivalent of one-third of the world’s annual gold production at current sales projections.

Mining giant Freeport-McMoRan recently announced a dividend payment for shareholders to be distributed on May 1st. The company’s stock has seen much higher trading volumes at its current price level of about $19 per share. For perspective, the stock’s 200-day moving average is at about $25.

New Chinese-Led Bank

The big news in Asia this month was the announcement of the soon-to-be Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB). Against U.S. warnings of poor regulations and oversight, many American allies (the U.K., France, Germany, Italy, and now Australia) have signed on as founding members of the new bank, which is widely seen as a direct challenge to the hegemony of the U.S.-dominated IMF and World Bank.

With its aggressive purchase of gold bullion over the last several years, it seems China is bolstering its case for adding the yuan (AKA the renminbi) as well as gold to the currency basket of the IMF’s Special Drawing Rights (SDR).

As the machinery of the Chinese economy– the world’s second-largest– continues to grind to a slower pace, China will look for new ways to increase its global clout. Between the creation of the AIIB and the effort to make the yuan fully convertible, China is aggressively looking to take advantage of a reshuffling of the global economic order in its favor.

The ANZ (Australia and New Zealand Banking Group) projects that gold will rise to $2,400/oz– doubling in price– by 2030, due to strong Asian demand for the yellow metal. Some analysts have found this figure to be too conservative, however.

Russian Aggression Picks Up

Undeterred by foreign sanctions and a crumbling economy, the Russian bear seemingly awakened from hibernation with the coming of spring. Premier Vladimir Putin was conveniently missing from the public eye for ten days following the assassination of one of his top political rivals in the middle of the streets in broad daylight. Putin reemerged to great fanfare and adoration.

In addition to Russia possibly buying a vote in the EU through Greece, there are also concerns that the Russians are intent on obstructing peacekeeping measures in the Ukraine conflict. Ukrainian officials have issued a plea to the UN for aid in enforcing a ceasefire with pro-Russian rebels in its eastern provinces, but Russia holds veto power as part of the UN’s Security Council.

At the same time, the Russians have been establishing military connections across the region. Cyprus recently approved Russian use of its strategic bases for military purposes in exchange for economic aid. Anxiety abounds about a similar arrangement being struck with Greece. The Russian military has been conducting exercises with increased frequency and is even supposedly using Vietnam’s Cam Ranh Bay as an airbase for refueling nuclear-armed bombers. The Polish are preparing themselves for a Russian offensive in the near future.

India’s Love Affair With Gold

India may well retake China as the site of the world’s strongest gold demand in the medium-term. Despite lifting some aspects of its restrictive gold import laws, India continues to see widespread smuggling for two reasons: a steep 10% import duty on all gold, and the fact that gold premia over spot have risen to their highest levels of 2015 in March.

In fact, a North Korean diplomat was caught trying to smuggle 27 kilos of gold into India through Bangladesh. He was attempting to use his diplomatic immunity to avoid being searched at the airport, but he was unsuccessful.

From April through December of last year (three-quarters of the year), some $26 billion of gold was imported into India. At the same time, India’s silver imports have hit record highs as a cheaper alternative to gold.

Looking Ahead

Don’t be surprised if the narrative being spun about the potential rate hike in the U.S. takes another interesting turn in April. (What that turn will be is harder to say.) The news competes for viewers and readers, and no topic moves the meter for the business news cycle like the Fed talking about rates. Although the timing of the first rate increase is undoubtedly important, all of the hawkish sentiment in the markets right now about the normalizing monetary policy is largely a cover for the Federal Reserve to keep ZIRP in place for as long as possible; don’t expect any movement on this front until at least June, or more likely during the autumn. Meantime, geopolitical risks should provide support for the gold price.

-Everett Millman is the head content writer at Gainesville Coins

Letter: Handy Well Pump

HJL,

I have seen some of the recent discussions pertaining to manual hand pumps for wells. I have wanted to add one to our preps for a while but have held back because it seemed as though they all cost around $1500. Our well is around 50′-60′ deep. I recently came across another pump option called a Handy Well Pump (model HWP-L) for considerably less. I am interested whether any other readers have experience and can offer insight on this pump option? Thanks in advance – Tired-n-Dusty

HJL responds: Just looking at the build of the unit, it appears that the unit is not as sturdily built as the Simple Pump or the Bison Pump. However, it may be sturdy enough. One of the options that attracted me to the Simple Pump was the ability to motorize it with a solar powered 12V or 24V system. I don’t see how that would be possible with this setup. If that is not something that you need or want, you may want to look at it. I’ve never owned a Bison pump, so I can’t really compare it to that. It would be good to hear from any readers that have that system.

Odds ‘n Sods:

America may need to get their waders on; they may be in for some deep Schumer. Chuck Schumer Formally Enters Race To Succeed Harry Reid As Senate Dem Leader.. . – RBS

o o o

Shop Class as Soulcraft: A Review by Bill Buppert. – RBS

o o o

New York State Assembly Passes Bill Which Would Allow 3rd Trimester Babies to Be Killed With Shot of Poison to Heart. – D.S.

HJL adds: It is unlikely to become law, but it’s an indicator of the degradation of the morality of our country.

o o o

GERMAN NEWS REPORT: Co-Pilot of Germanwings Airbus Was MUSLIM CONVERT …’Hero of Islamic State’?. – RBS

Notes for Saturday – March 28, 2015

Today, we present another entry for Round 57 of the SurvivalBlog non-fiction writing contest. The $12,000+ 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 hard case 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 one 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 Warehouse is providing 30 DPMS AR-15 .223/5.56 30 Round Gray Mil Spec w/ Magpul Follower Magazines (a value of $448) 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 pre-selected assortment of military surplus gear from CJL Enterprize (a $300 value),
  7. A Model 120 Series Solar Generator provided by Quantum Harvest LLC (a $340 value),
  8. A $300 gift certificate from Freeze Dry Guy,
  9. A $250 gift certificate from Sunflower Ammo,
  10. 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,
  11. TexasgiBrass.com is providing a $300 gift certificate, and
  12. Two cases of meals, Ready to Eat (MREs), courtesy of CampingSurvival.com (a $180 value).

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 Institute is 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. A $250 gift card from Emergency Essentials,
  6. Twenty Five books, of the winners choice, of any books published by PrepperPress.com (a $270 value),
  7. TexasgiBrass.com is providing a $150 gift certificate, and
  8. RepackBox is 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. APEX Gun Parts is donating a $250 purchase credit,
  7. Montie Gear is donating a Y-Shot Slingshot and a Locking Rifle Rack (a $379 value), and
  8. Two 1,000-foot spools of full mil-spec U.S.-made 750 paracord (in-stock colors only) from www.TOUGHGRID.com (a $240 value).

Round 57 ends on March 31st, 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.

Understanding Unconventional Warfare As It Applies to Conservative Families, by Swamp Fox

Worldview

Before reading a book, watching a youtube video, or obtaining any form of information from any source, a wise consumer will ask a few questions. What is the worldview of the individual imparting the information? Is the individual, who is imparting that information, qualified to do so? Is this person sufficiently capable of relaying this information through his or her chosen means of communication? It is said that one “cannot judge a book by its cover”. I disagree. As a man who has, from a very young age, frequented used book sales in search of hidden treasures among tattered covers, I firmly believe in judging a “book by its cover” or, if not purely by the cover, the summary on the inside flap, the biography of the author, and a quick skim of parts of the book, its illustrations, and the author’s writing style. Is this book worth my time? To preface this article I will give you my cover story, which is basically why I believe that my worldview is valuable, worth my time to put on paper, and therefore worth your time to read. As stated in the book of Proverbs, “Whoso boasteth himself of a false gift is like clouds and wind without rain.”

I am the oldest of nine children: eight boys and one girl. We were homeschooled from kindergarten through high school. I was raised on the words of Ralph Moody, Paul Hutchens, Jack London, Jack O’Brien, and G.A. Henty to name a few. I have spent time in two of America’s armed forces– the Navy and currently the Army, where I remain employed as a Special Forces Engineer Sergeant. I am married and have five children: four boys and one girl. We live on five acres with goats, chickens, and one awesome Boerboel. A few of my childhood heroes were John Mosby, Francis Marion, and the Apostle Peter, who struck off the ear of a high priest. Honorable mention goes to Sampson for the unconventional fighting award, tying 300 foxes together by their tails, lighting said tails on fire, and driving them into his enemy’s camp.

I will not offer advice on subjects for which I am not a subject matter expert. So this essay will be on how conservative families can wage unconventional warfare; specifically, it’s on raising boys, both from my experience as a homeschooled boy as well as my experience as a homeschooling father. It will define the current war we are engaged in and our role in winning that war. For OPSEC, any military-related items covered will be open source; Wikipedia will be my manual.

When we hear the phrase Unconventional Warfare (UW), it may drum up ideas of ninja clad warriors stalking through dark, murky swamps, armed with knives, seeking to kill the Vietcong. We think of Mosby’s Rangers and the Swamp Fox. What might not come to mind is the Civil Rights movement, the Socialist invasion of our education system, or the degrading of Christianity in America’s worldview. In fact, if you pay attention, there are UW campaigns, with their accompanying propaganda, going on all over our country and the world. The battle is being fought. Do we even recognize that we are at war? Wikipedia states that “Unconventional Warfare consists of activities conducted to enable a resistance movement or insurgency to coerce, disrupt or overthrow an occupying power or government by operating through or with an underground, auxiliary and guerrilla force in a denied area.” My challenge is to convey to you the following facts:

  1. A war for the hearts and minds of our children is being waged by covert, and, at times, overt means.
  2. We, ourselves, posses the tools of UW to fight back.

Growing up as a sheltered homeschooler, I was indoctrinated from a young age as to the evils of the government. The evil Democrats, the church down the street, or that music that has too much beat are all “tools of the devil” to lure our hearts and minds away from God, or so I was led to believe. Escaping home, I traveled, read, watched, and learned. I noticed that everyone had pet peeves. Historians and wealthy homeschoolers on a tour of old battlefields in the northeast United States waxed eloquent on our loss of freedoms as Americans. Libertarians and Conservatives cried “taxation without representation”. The list of fractured political protests goes on and on. What I didn’t see were answers. At a well known Christian conference, I cornered the keynote speaker. At 19 years of age, I was young and full of venom. Since he considered himself such an orator on the evils of our society and our rights as Americans, I asked what his plans were to fix those problems; if he were elected POTUS tomorrow, what would he do? After hours of getting a whole lot of nothing, I realized he was “clouds and wind with no rain”. A light bulb went off, and I realized that nobody had a plan. It was all talk, negative talk, with no solution and best left to gossips and drunks. Young men have work to do. Then I learned about American Redoubt.

I Kings 19:10 says, “And He said, I have been very jealous for the Lord God of hosts: for the children of Israel have forsaken thy covenant, thrown down thine altars, and slain thy prophets with the sword: and I, even I only, am left; and they seek my life, to take it away.” Verse 18 of the same chapter says, “Yet I have left me seven thousand in Israel, all the knees which not bowed to Ba’al, and every mouth which hath not kissed him.”

Elijah was a great warrior for God. He did not have access to do a google search on men who had not bowed the knee to Ba’al. He believed himself alone, the last servant of God in the world, and he believed his enemies surrounded him to kill him and that their victory was assured. Today we face a world in which our families are encompassed on all sides by the enemies of God, but unlike Elijah the prophet, we have the tools to find like-minded people through the Internet.

I was led to survivalblog.com, through the guidance of a friend from church. We were discussing some of our common beliefs and he told me to google the American Redoubt, which I in turn did. For the first time in my life I was looking at action. Make no mistake, moving like-minded people to areas where they can affect elections through peaceful means and engaging in recruiting such freedom-oriented individuals to join the fight is UW. It is brilliant, engaging, and practical. Before reading about the American Redoubt, my individual opinion was that the world was doomed and the best I could do was train my children in critical thinking and survival skills to weather the storm. The idea behind peaceful utilization of our right to vote and voting with our feet is beautiful. So I firmly believe the long-range goal for all conservative families should be to consider voting with their feet.

Practical Preparations

My worldview is pretty simple– we are at war. The war is already won and the outcome secured, but in the meantime we fight. The TV blasts propaganda at us and our families. Modern literature, newspapers, and other types of media are all tools to dull our minds and lure us into complacency in order to slowly take away our freedom to raise our children as we see fit. So how can we fight? The battle begins with examining every thing that enters into our home. We must filter all information through the worldview of what is good and right and return it to our children clean and sanitized. What follows are practical things I have done with my boys to prepare their minds for battle.

Structure and Detail

First, structure and attention to detail are absolute imperatives. In a world full of excuses and weakness, boys need to know that blaming others and government for personal problems is unacceptable. One of the first talks I had with my wife when we married was far from politically correct. I explained that in our household we do not use excuses like being tired, hungry, or “that time of month” for weakness. Do we follow this to a T? No, but the premise is there, and we attempt to transform our excuses into victory. Soldiers are expected to perform at high levels whether or not they are tired or cold, whatever the weather, bugs, or other distractions. Soldiers must accomplish the mission no matter what. We are all soldiers in one way or another, and I teach my boys that when they demonstrate toughness and are able to accomplish difficult things when under duress, they have done a great thing. As a second-generation homeschooler, I would say one of the worst flaws of homeschooling is that it is easy to become lazy and allow children to escape accountability. We teach them to be self-taught, but we don’t follow up and insure that they are abiding by standards of excellence. Boys need the discipline of fathers or they will run circles around their mother, manipulating her, and doing what they please. Fathers must be a part of the process of homeschooling boys; they must lead by example. Even when very young, boys must be taught that for every action there is a reaction. For example, if you leave a terrible mess with your toys and refuse to diligently clean them up in a reasonable amount of time, then you have too many toys. Obviously, you are not prepared for the great responsibility of owning so many great things, and therefore, until you learn to properly steward what is yours, five toys a day will be thrown away or something to that effect. Boys need to be weaned or driven off of electronics, movies, and other forms of indoctrination. Don’t get me wrong, the iPad is a great learning tool, but structure must be observed and laws established. Let’s talk about movies. Remember the hero? Yea, he was rather pathetic, weak, and uninspiring, but have you noticed the trend in children’s movies for the anti-hero? Young children are supposed to empathize with this character. He isn’t big or strong or particularly good looking. He is passive aggressive and hip. This disgusting role model mocks his parents and always has a wiser way of doing everything, inevitably leading his family and friends to his or her way of thinking. Young soldiers should not be subjected to watching this filth. In our house, we watch our share of movies, but if you actually listen to the propaganda being fed our children, you will perhaps agree that there are better forms of entertainment, such as books, projects, and shooting. Open the world of literature to boys, and steer them towards what is good and right. Give them room to re-enact what they read. Give them space to run and get dirty, make bows, and wrestle. Monitor their behavior and watch for teachable moments to drive home important life lessons about character and manhood. Bullying and weakness are never acceptable.

Guidance

Secondly, let us abolish this lie that we must not steer our boys towards liking anything, that we have to let them choose their own path. Children would wallow in their own fecal matter, eat nothing but sugar, and participate in a myriad of other ridiculously barbarous acts, if we did not teach them otherwise. There is nothing wrong with teaching a boy the skills of his father. There is nothing wrong with understanding that every boy should have a foundation of skills to enter the halls of manhood. Perhaps they don’t like to shoot or do wood projects or change the oil in their car. Big deal. Like the Nike commercial says, “Just do it.” If we equip them with critical thinking skills and a philosophical view of the world through literature, then, with our aid, we can steer them toward whatever vocation they please, but they will have basic, practical skills before they leave the house.

Reading

Another benefit to survivalblog.com is that it has a great reading list. I have read a few on the list, and one that stands out is Boston’s Gun Bible by “Boston T. Party” or Kenneth W. Royce. With American Sniper setting so many records in the box office, it would appear that America recognizes our need for riflemen. On second thought, maybe not. Still, America needs shooters, America needs Minutemen, and America needs boys trained by their father’s to become riflemen. The best illustration of the grave necessity for rifleman is watching Europe cringing and hiding in fear from Sharia militias. The Charlie Hebdo shooting in France further illustrates the point. Ask yourself if this could happen in America, where many of our citizens are armed? Could terrorists waltz around with apparent impunity stating, “What up, St. Louis Taliban says hi?” I would hope not. Even our criminal elements would shoot back, because they can’t have the Taliban on “their” turf. Will history remember our generation as those who allowed themselves to be herded into cattle cars by evil forces? You can say God would not let that happen, until you are blue in the face. Tell that to Christians in Iraq or North Korea. Train your boys to shoot and shoot straight. Train your girls to shoot, train your wife to shoot, and train your neighbors to shoot.

Battle the Dragons

When I was on my first trip, in Special Forces, to a mountainous region in Asia, I left my wife and two small boys in Japan, where we were stationed. I returned during the day and knocked on the door. My oldest son opened it and calmly asked me, “Are they all dead?” Slightly confused, I played it out. “Are who all dead, buddy?” He replied, “The dragons. Mommy said you were overseas killing dragons, so are they all dead? Is that why you came home?” What could I say? Honestly, what a great illustration of a little boy’s mind that is. A boy’s mind is full of dragons, of princesses and castles, of good and evil. From the time my boys were very young, we have fought “dragons”; the vile things show up at the worst times. In Japan we didn’t have guns, and we didn’t have much land, but we had those dragons. We would stalk them in a wedge formation, using only hand signals in the dark, where the boys were scared. I taught them to face their fears. One of the coolest things I’ve heard was on another military sponsored “vacation”. My wife emailed me to tell me about my boys. A tropical storm was brewing and the wind howled around our house in Okinawa. My wife walked into the living room to see a triad of small Spartans, clad in an odd assortment of my military gear and swimming goggles and carrying spear guns without tips that I had let them play with. With the wind howling and darkness falling, they were terrified. However, when my wife asked them what they were doing, they responded that they were scared of the dragons outside and that their dad had taught them to face their fears, so they had no choice but to do battle and engage the dragons. She of course let them out to face their fears.

I’ll leave you all with this. Teach your boys to turn the light on, to clear under the bed, the closet, or wherever the bogie man is hiding. We know him for what he is– weak and cowardly. The enemy is scared of all that is good and true. All we have to do is stand like a man, face his shenanigans, and send him to hell, where he belongs.

In the name of Jesus Christ, my Lord and Savior.

Letter Re: Bison Water Pump

HJL,

I also have a Bison pump. It is installed right into my well along side the submersible pump.

My static water level is about 31 feet. My pump is about 15 ft from my house (a pressure system). I am not very savvy on this stuff, so maybe you can EDUCATE ME. How are you getting your bison to pump in your water? I doubt your well is in your basement.

HJL Responds: Unfortunately, you will probably not be able to reproduce the results of those readers who have their pumps mounted indoors. Very few people have their wells inside their houses (though I have seen a few), because servicing the well thus located is very difficult. These readers are using the existing plumbing from their submersible pump, and when activated, the Bison pump draws water through the original submersible pump up through the standing pipe and into the house plumbing. As yesterday’s reader noted, the pump is not designed to contain pressurized water all the time, so his pump is isolated with a valve when the submersible pump is working. When electricity is no longer available, the valve he has at the bottom of the pump is opened to allow the Bison to pull water through the plumbing. He also has to have an isolation valve to shut off the water supply to the rest of the house so that the Bison pump does not draw from the house, creating a vacuum in those lines.

The whole reason this works is because the standing water line in their pumps is fairly shallow. Here is some simple math: 1 cubic inch of water weighs ~0.036 pounds. Multiply that by 12, and you find that a column of water one foot high exerts ~0.433 pounds of force. Remember that you are not actually sucking the water up the pipe; you are creating a vacuum, and the air pressure is pushing the water up the pipe. At sea level, the air above you exerts ~14.5 pounds of force, so 14.5 divided by 0.433 equals 33.49 feet. If you create a perfect vacuum in your pipe at sea level, the air around you will push water up the pipe a maximum of 33.5 feet. Now realize that most of us live at higher elevations and that there is some friction loss in the pipe itself, and it shrinks that number. In addition, you are not interested in just pushing the water up the pipe. You want to use the water, so you can’t push it to its absolute maximum. You have to push it less to get it to flow. The recognized working average is about 24 ft. If you water table is less than 24 ft lower than your Bison pump, you can draw water through it like the reader yesterday did. The higher the water table, the more water you can draft this way (higher flow). If your water table is more than about 24ft lower than where your pump is located, you will not be able to use this method.

In my case, the static water level is at 100ft, so I have to have a system mounted on the well head that puts the pump down below the water level (about 150ft in my case) and has a shaft inside the pipe so the lever at the well head can work the pump 150 ft below.

Economics and Investing:

Northwest Territorial Mint has a special Silver pricing right now at only $0.75 over spot. This deal ends march 29.

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Radio Shack (now bankrupt) just auctioned off your personal info in violation of its own Terms of Service.. – D.S.

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Items from Mr. Econocobas:

US GDP unrevised at 2.2 pct in Q4; corporate profits fall

Another Oligarch Preaches To The Peasants: Charlie Munger Says “Prepare For Harder World”

Peak Gold? Goldman Calculates There Is Only 20 Years Of Gold Supply Left– Take this with a grain of salt, but it’s worth taking a peek at.

Video: CNBC Interview On The PE Multiple Scam——Forward Hockey Sticks Ex-Items Are Not “Earnings”

Odds ‘n Sods:

Are Slaves Catching the Fish You Buy ?

JWR has warned about the rise of radical Islam in Indonesia, in his novel Expatriates.

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WHAT’S RIGHT WITH KANSAS? Constitutional Carry Bill Heads to Governor’s Desk

The March of Freedom continues! – JWR

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Illegal Alien Police Officers?. – B.B.

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Night vision eyedrops allow vision of up to 50m in darkness . – K.B.

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This Is How TSA Decides if You Might Be Acting Like a Terrorist. – JBG

Notes for Friday – March 27, 2015

March 27th is the birthday of the late Robert W. Ford (born 1923, died 20 September 2013). He was an amazing man who had a remarkable life. His book, Wind Between The Worlds (an account of experiences in Tibet, captivity by the communist Chinese, and his fight against brainwashing), is highly recommended. It is available for free download.

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Today, SurvivalBlog is debuting a book written by our very own Senior Product Review Editor, Pat Cascio. Each Friday we will run a section of his book, Street Combat – This Ain’t No Game!, and today we have the book’s Forward, written by Eugene Sockut from Jerusalem, Israel.

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Also, make sure you check out Camping Survival’s sale on Sand Bags. Every prepper needs a supply of these and they are only $.27/ea for a limited time.

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Today, we present another entry for Round 57 of the SurvivalBlog non-fiction writing contest. The $12,000+ 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 hard case 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 one 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 Warehouse is providing 30 DPMS AR-15 .223/5.56 30 Round Gray Mil Spec w/ Magpul Follower Magazines (a value of $448) 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 pre-selected assortment of military surplus gear from CJL Enterprize (a $300 value),
  7. A Model 120 Series Solar Generator provided by Quantum Harvest LLC (a $340 value),
  8. A $300 gift certificate from Freeze Dry Guy,
  9. A $250 gift certificate from Sunflower Ammo,
  10. 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,
  11. TexasgiBrass.com is providing a $300 gift certificate, and
  12. Two cases of meals, Ready to Eat (MREs), courtesy of CampingSurvival.com (a $180 value).

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 Institute is 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. A $250 gift card from Emergency Essentials,
  6. Twenty Five books, of the winners choice, of any books published by PrepperPress.com (a $270 value),
  7. TexasgiBrass.com is providing a $150 gift certificate, and
  8. RepackBox is 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. APEX Gun Parts is donating a $250 purchase credit,
  7. Montie Gear is donating a Y-Shot Slingshot and a Locking Rifle Rack (a $379 value), and
  8. Two 1,000-foot spools of full mil-spec U.S.-made 750 paracord (in-stock colors only) from www.TOUGHGRID.com (a $240 value).

Round 57 ends on March 31st, 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.

Buying in Bulk, What We Have Learned – Part 2, by JSP

A couple of years ago I wrote the initial offering on this subject of buying in bulk for Survival Blog readers, without thinking there would be a second part. However, since then we have learned some new ways to leverage our buying power, I will share that below.

Update on Part 1

First, I will give an update on the strategies in the original article. We continue to buy in bulk, as described in the article. Currently, we access wheat for $200 per ton and whole, clean, food grade, non GMO corn for $300 per ton. Much has been written on this blog about prepping on a budget, and I would continue to argue that based on cost per pound or cost per calorie, it doesn’t get any cheaper than this. Granted, it’s not easy, as you will have to “shop” in ways you’re not used to, but let’s do a quick comparison.

I recently checked; a large, national brand, online retailer of survival type foods sells 40 lbs of wheat in five-gallon pails for $56 each and 50lb bags of wheat for $38. In the pails, that is $2,800 per ton, and in bags that is $1500 per ton. This does not include shipping. Granted, that’s an easy way to buy your grains. You just go online, swipe your card, and it shows up at your door; however, it’s also an expensive way to buy.

I have mentioned that I am sure bulk grains, as I have described, are not available in all parts of the country, but with a little planning that too can be worked around. I had a friend who lived in Missouri and wanted to buy in bulk but couldn’t find any. He and his family were traveling by SUV to Phoenix to visit family. We made arrangements for their return trip home for them to route through Salt Lake City and rent a trailer, pick up grains, and return them home to Missouri. The one way trailer rental was well under $200.

I get asked about storage from time to time. We simply put the grains in the food-grade barrels, as described in the first article, and place the lids and bands on them. We have not used any of the more elaborate storage methods described on this blog, such as using food-grade diotemaceous earth, dry ice, Mylar bags, and so on. Yet, to date, we have not lost any grains or legumes to infestations. We have some products that have been at our location for over seven years.

The Non Essentials

Part 2 of buying in bulk is about laying in supplies of the non-essential items. For example, consider toilet paper; we can all live without TP. However, as good a “sport” as my wife is and as supportive of our prepping as she is, I know that if she has to start wiping her “behind” with leaves she is not going to be a “happy camper”.

This also requires shopping in ways you may not be accustomed to. So, it begs the question, why bother? Well, three reasons come to mind:

  1. Price. This is the obvious first. If you’re using toilet paper, paper towels, and shampoo now, then the more economically you are able to obtain them the more money you can spend on “beans, bullets, and band aids” now.
  2. Quantity. We like buying in bulk, by the case or by the gallon, at places where that’s all they sell. For example, we recently purchased five cases of TP from a janitorial supply house. With 80 rolls per case, that is 400 rolls of TP; nobody bats an eye. They really don’t care why you’re wanting 400 rolls of TP. Think about the questions and looks you would get rolling through your local grocery store, or even Costco (though I have nothing against Costco; we love them), with 400 rolls of TP?
  3. Storage and “conceal ability”. Most of the items I will describe below come in sturdy cardboard boxes, which stack really well. As you know, when you buy paper towels and TP in the flimsy plastic bags, they don’t stack well, and it’s obvious to every eye exactly what it is. Also, none of us likes those snide remarks often handed to us. For example, I recall when my mother-in-law opened a cabinet in the laundry room and said, “Wow! I know where to go if I ever need any Scotch pads!” I once watched a Youtube video of a gentleman who does prepping topics. It showed some of his stored TP. He had a lot of it, which was good for him. However, because of the stacking problem, he had it all in plastic totes. That’s fine, but you don’t need to spend money on totes.

    In terms of “conceal ability”, what I like about buying these items in card board boxes is that (statistically) nobody has these items at a residence. These are commercial products that you typically see at businesses or schools. That allows you to hide them in plain sight! You get your cases of whatever and stack them up in the garage in plain view. Then, take a large marker and write “Christmas lights”, “Camping Supplies”, “Baby Clothes”, or something else on each box. After all, nobody in their right mind would have 400 rolls of TP in the garage, would they?

Shortly, I am going to give some specific examples of items to leverage your stocking up purchasing power. Some of the items are availfood-grade barrelable on Amazon and at main stream retailers, like Home Depot. The problem with buying them from Amazon (we love Amazon) is that these products tend to be bulky, so the shipping often kills the deal. However, for many of the items, I want to suggest that you identify a local janitorial supply house or a local “paper company”. They are in most communities. The “city” that is closest to us is 30,000 people, and it has two such places. Yes, these are designed for selling wholesale products to school districts and hotel chains, but don’t be shy; walk right in and tell them what you’re looking for. No, you’re not going to get the same price as a school district or a hotel chain, but they are not going to turn you away. You may drive by such places on a regular basis, but if not I would turn to the Internet and search for “Spokane Janitorial Supply” or “Missoula Paper Company”, for example.

Now, here are a few examples. The first one I will share is a recent find for us that we are very excited about. I was looking for hydrogen peroxide by the gallon, which our farm supply stores usually carry. They were out and suggest that I try our local beauty supply chain outlet (Sally). I was a bit surprised but then they reminded me that beauty salons and barbers need to sanitize their scissors, combs, and so forth. While at the store, I thought to check on purchasing shampoo in bulk. (I know; get your food preps done first, but when the balloon goes up, I for one would like a shampoo every now and again, and today we use it daily.)

We purchased one-gallon jugs of “Salon Care” brand White Tea Ginger (actually smells very good) salon-grade shampoo for $11.39! Not impressed? Okay, how about if it’s concentrated and makes eight gallons of salon quality shampoo? Yep, we got eight gallons of shampoo for under 12 bucks! (It’s Sally Beauty Supply product number 120294.)

Let’s stay with liquids for a minute. In the cleaning supplies section of your local Home Depot, they sell one-gallon jugs of Maintex brand Antibacterial Hand Soap for nine dollars and change. Compare that to the little bottles at the grocery store!

What do you do to dispense those liquids? Ball– the canning people– make what they call the Ball Pump Insert Kit that fits on any pint or quart regular mouth mason jar and can be found on Amazon. However, we actually did better buying them at our local Jo Ann craft store for $3.74 each with no shipping.

Let’s get back to TP. Our local janitorial supply store sells us cases of Supplyways TP for just under $50. That’s a two-ply, 550-sheet roll with 80 rolls to the case. That’s 62 cents per roll and is pretty good quality. It’s not “quilted”, but it’s not see-through either. To us, it compares favorably to the Georgia Pacific “Marathon” product that Costco sells but again it’s way easier to stack and conceal.

We, like most people, use paper towels constantly. For survival purposes, we view them as “captured energy”. By this we mean that we have cloth rags that we can revert to, but we will have to use water, maybe hot water, to clean them, and the paper towels can just be tossed. There are two ways to go here, also at the paper company or janitorial supply house. First, is the traditional roll paper towels. Georgia Pacific makes one called “Preference”– Georgia Pacific product #27385. They are decent quality and run about a buck a roll, so a 30-roll case sells for $30. The price isn’t a screaming deal, but again you can stack those cases eight high, if you’re so inclined. The second way is more intriguing to us, and in fact we just pulled the trigger on a good-sized order and took delivery yesterday. These are referred to, in the industry, typically as “Multi Fold Towels”. Most of us have used them. No, they don’t even come close to as good as a Bounty-type paper towel. However, they will work, are inexpensive, and they stack really well. Amazon sells them, but again due to shipping costs, our local supplier was much more economical. You don’t have to have a dispenser for them, but we wanted a couple. Amazon has several available. We purchased these from our local supplier, as they are steel with an enamel coating that should last for many years.

There are different qualities of the towels available. What we purchased was the Scott brand multi fold towels (01807-10). A case of 4,000 towels was about $25. So, we purchased five cases of towels and two dispensers for well under $200. That is 20,000 hand towels!

Here is one more example. Our local paper company also sells cases of “J cup” 16oz hot or cold insulated cups. (These are the typical white foam type cup.) There are 1,000 cups to a case, and I don’t remember what I paid for them exactly, but it seems like about $35. In a survival scenario, think about the uses for them– soups, stews, chili, beans, coffee, tea, deserts, on and on. We think it would save a lot of water by us not having to wash dishes. They could be one time use, or you could even re-use them.

This can be done with myriad of products, including “paper” plates and bowls, plastic silverware, napkins, table cloths, aluminum foil, plastic wrap, and butcher paper. We even purchased a box of 2000 sheets of parchment paper!

I hope it has been helpful to the Survival Blog community to hear of ways that we have learned to buy in bulk and stretch our prepping dollars.

Blessings, JSP

Street Combat – This Ain’t No Game!, by Pat Cascio

FORWARD

Street Combat – This Ain’t No Game! is written for the law abiding citizens of America. In today’s world, the need for such a book is obvious, and Pat Cascio helps level the playing field between decent people and the evil predators who stalk the streets of the world today.

A straight forward, no holds barred manual, it’s written by a top expert, who knows his business and deeply cares about the survival of you and your loved ones. Pat knows that the police cannot be everywhere, and so the advantage is in the hands of the criminal predator who strikes when circumstances least suit his victims. He also knows that the average citizen lives in a push-button world that artificially isolates him from the inhuman jungle that’s out there.

It would be pleasant to believe that the information contained in this book is not necessary, but Pat knows better! The world today is not the well-ordered, law abiding society seeped in brotherly love, which we all long for. On the contrary, crime and terrorism have not disappeared. Therefore, there is no doubt that mastering the principles in this book can make the vital difference between life and death…or worse.

Cascio’s book is written to the point, and it pulls no punches. Most concise and professional, it puts forward street-proven principles, lessons, and techniques in a well-ordered, easy-to-read manner that both professional and layman will find interesting and beneficial. The reader is given a true case study. This is followed by the street-proven survival lesson. This is, in turn, followed by a recommended technique used by experts to defend one’s life and put the potential victim in the winner’s circle.

Pat Cascio has trained literally thousands of students in all aspects of hand-to-hand combat and weaponry for personal defense in the street, vehicle, and home. This book is testament to Pat’s belief that survival lies in one’s own hands, for you are the only one you can safely count on to be there one hundred per cent of the time. With crime, terrorism, and random violence hovering around us, the need for such a comprehensive book dealing with physical survival has never been greater. Hats off to Pat Cascio for giving us such a book.

Eugene Sockut

Jerusalem, Israel