Notes for Tuesday – May 03, 2016

May 3, 1952 is the birthday of Pastor Chuck Baldwin. He has done yeoman service in promoting the American Redoubt movement.

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Today, we present another entry for Round 64 of the SurvivalBlog non-fiction writing contest. The nearly $12,000 worth of prizes for this round include:

First Prize:

  1. A Tactical Self-Contained 2-Series Solar Power Generator system from Always Empowered. This compact starter power system is packaged in a wheeled O.D. green EMP-shielded Pelican hard case (a $1,700 value),
  2. A Gunsite Academy Three Day Course Certificate that is good for any one, two, or three day course (a $1,195 value),
  3. A course certificate from onPoint Tactical 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,
  4. DRD Tactical is providing a 5.56 Nato QD Billet upper with a hammer forged, chrome-lined barrel and a hard case to go with your own AR lower. It will allow any standard AR-type rifle to have a quick change barrel, which can be assembled in less than 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),
  5. Gun Mag Warehouse is providing 20 Magpul PMAG 30-rd Magazines (a value of $300) and a Gun Mag Warehouse T-Shirt; (an equivalent prize will be awarded for residents in states with magazine restrictions),
  6. Two cases of Mountain House freeze-dried assorted entrees in #10 cans, courtesy of Ready Made Resources (a $350 value),
  7. The Ark Institute is donating a non-GMO, non-hybrid vegetable seed package (enough for two families of four) plus 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),
  8. A $250 gift certificate good for any product from Sunflower Ammo,
  9. KellyKettleUSA.com is donating an AquaBrick water filtration kit with a retail value of $250, and
  10. 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 transferable certificate for a two-day Ultimate Bug Out Course from Florida Firearms Training (a $400 value),
  3. A Model 175 Series Solar Generator provided by Quantum Harvest LLC (a $439 value),
  4. A Trekker IV™ Four-Person Emergency Kit from Emergency Essentials (a $250 value),
  5. A $200 gift certificate good towards any books published by PrepperPress.com,
  6. A pre-selected assortment of military surplus gear from CJL Enterprize (a $300 value),
  7. RepackBox is providing a $300 gift certificate to their site, and
  8. Safecastle is providing a package of 10 LifeStraws (a $200 value)
  9. American Gunsmithing Institute (AGI) is providing a $300 certificate good towards any of their DVD training courses.

Third Prize:

  1. A Royal Berkey water filter, courtesy of Directive 21 (a $275 value),
  2. A $245 gift certificate from custom knife-maker Jon Kelly Designs, of Eureka, Montana,
  3. 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,
  4. Expanded sets of both washable feminine pads and liners, donated by Naturally Cozy (a $185 retail value),
  5. Two Super Survival Pack seed collections, a $150 value, courtesy of Seed for Security, LLC,
  6. Mayflower Trading is donating a $200 gift certificate for homesteading appliances,
  7. Montie Gear is donating a Precision Rest (a $249 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 64 ends on May 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.

Surviving the 2015 Fire of Lake County California- Part 1, by B.G.

This is a true story of a thirty-something survivalist/engineer and his family as well as some lessons learned in the second most destructive fire in California history.

I had seen other large fires in Lake County over the years, and they would arrive in apocalyptic fashion, as the up swelling of a mushroom cloud. This one started no differently on a windy afternoon as I was pulling pork chops off of the grill. At about one o’clock in the afternoon, the wall of black smoke that erupted to our south immediately flattened out due to the wind. It formed an anvil shape with its horns stabbing like a dagger at the hamlet of Middletown. We immediately got out the portable scanner that I had bought in response to two other large fires that had recently missed our home. The day suddenly became night, and the roosters crowed. The underbelly of the black curtain soon glowed a hellish orange, and the power was cut. Our cell phone and scanner became the only window through this curtain. Listening to the scanner, it became clear that the carefully designed incident command system– the backbone of the wildland firefighter organization– began to crack like the men’s voices over the radio. Despite a flurry of chaotic and often misleading radio chatter, one thing was certain; it was coming.

Outsmarting The Fire and the People Fleeing It

As the flames crept closer, we could hear homes being leveled as their propane tanks boiled and peeled open. From an engineering standpoint, 500 gallons of a liquid turns into a gas all within a few thousandths of a second. A home is blown over by the expanding gas before the propane has a chance to ignite. At one point, we could hear the deep thud of a home being turned to matchsticks every 30 seconds. At times, the base of the smoke was so bright that I didn’t mind having the power cut, as I could read a newspaper at midnight. I had soon loaded food, fuel, medical supplies, a large chainsaw, bolt cutters, and guns into the pickup in preparation to escape. In a second car, we had the two children’s car seats and cotton blankets to put over the kids. My thinking was that I would ride out front in the pickup and cut through any gates or saw through any fallen trees that might block us. As we felt we had fairly good situational awareness, we decided to stay put. The fire was still pretty far from us, and the number of traffic collisions due to “lookie loos” was appalling. The danger of a traffic accident outweighed the dangers of the fire. I am a person who likes to take action, and just waiting for things is not my nature. I also had this gnawing sense that we had made a mistake in staying and that my wife and children would meet a horrible end. My wife, who was a former wildland firefighter in Colorado, kept telling me that she could keep us safer by staying put. She had been listening faithfully to the scanner and knew all the lingo, fire behavior, and nearby landmarks much better than I did. She had formed a mental picture of the fire that I did not have the training to synthesize. To me the Valley Fire, as it would be called, was just a glowing hell on the horizon that would burn my children alive. Just as I was about to force us to leave, she got very stern with me, reiterating, “we must stay put!”, but I needed convincing. I got out a fire map given to us by the fire service from another fire that burned near us a few weeks earlier. I asked her to draw out the fire lines in pencil on the map. That map was an unbelievably useful tool. I could immediately see why she wanted us to stay put. The fire was headed toward us, but it was going to burn through the community of Hidden Valley Lake first. With the map, I could see that as Hidden Valley Lake was evacuated our only paved egress was going to be or was already totally jammed with escapees. (We learned later that it took an acquaintance of ours an hour to travel a few miles on our planned escape route.) Based on the scanner chatter, we estimated how long it would take to fully evacuate Hidden Valley Lake. We then estimated how long it would take the fire to get to us. It was pretty obvious that we could wait out the jam of evacuees, let the road clear, and then evacuate. Our decision was reinforced by radio reports of people being burned in their cars while stuck in traffic jams. In the end, things worked out better than we hoped. The traffic did abate and, just as we were making final preparations to leave, the wind shifted and spared our home. The fire had come within two miles.

Lessons Learned

A. Situational awareness is the most important asset in a disaster. Do not rely on newscasts, as they are too slow and they lack the detail required to make meaningful decisions. A portable scanner should be an early purchase in your disaster preparedness.

B. It may be better to stay than go. We were probably safer for the vast portion of our ordeal by staying put. Obviously, the information you garner will dictate your decision making.

C. Think slowly. Modern society is built on speed, and we are constantly rewarded for making rapid choices. Unless the threat is immediate, you probably have a lot more time to make decisions than you think. It is hard to take your eyes off a wall of fire coming toward you and to plan. However, deliberate thinking is far more powerful than speed in most disasters.

D. Paper maps and pencils offer more protection than guns. As a disaster unfolds, create a map of the flood, fire, epidemic, or whatever. Note the names of major streets or landmarks near you, and listen for them on your scanner. You will make better decisions with a clear and tangible picture in front of you.

E. You will be somewhat confused, overwhelmed, and the situation will feel almost unreal. Disasters are chaotic, by definition. On top of worrying about your loved ones, there is a pervasive sense of unreality. Don’t let this alarm you. It’s a perfectly normal reaction to an abnormal situation. The whole experience felt similar to the first weeks after the arrival of a new baby. Disasters thrust you into a mental fog by stress and sleep deprivation. All the disaster preparedness literature I have read over the years completely failed to warn me just how much my cognitive skills would be impacted by fear and lack of sleep.

Looters

A few days into our ordeal, after the fire lines had stabilized, we started to hear reports on the police radio frequencies of looters. Apparently, when an area is designated as under mandatory evacuation, an undesirable element starts looting the homes in that area. I began carrying a pump action shotgun everywhere I went. (I have a rather amusing picture of me pushing a child in a rope swing while carrying a slung shotgun.) One afternoon I could hear unexpected vehicles coming up our driveway. (Our house is far up a dirt road.) The dogs started going nuts. Two bikers riding in front as scouts came up our driveway, followed by a white van. These were the idiot type, tough guy bikers with their leather vests and rocker patches. (I wish I was kidding; it was so stupid.) I got lucky; their gaze was not initially on me. I had just made up my mind to empty six rounds of 00 buck into them when they looked at me and raced off. I didn’t even get the weapon fully off my shoulder. I would learn later that the sheriff chased these guys all over the county, though I’m not sure if they were ever caught. Within half an hour of this incident, I put out a sign that blocked the road saying “looters will be shot without warning”. Thankfully, I did not have any more encounters with looters. However, three men were arrested by the Lake County Sheriff not two miles from us. One had a .40 cal pistol. The following account from September 17th, 2015, from the Press Democrat gives you an idea of what their intentions were. “In the vehicle, he found a full face mask, 3 pairs of gloves, tools, duct tape, zip ties, numerous key rings with keys, acetone, lighter, headlamps, flashlights, binoculars, empty plastic bags, empty garbage bags, a backpack, and large knives”. Who knows what these men would have done to my wife and my children. However, by the looks of the equipment captured with them, they were armed and equipped for night looting, and they expected little resistance.

Letter Re: Velcro on Tactical Gear

Hi Hugh!

Concerning your Velcro usage information request, it is possible to snow/ice load Velcro in transitional weather until it functions poorly. Specially, if the loops are a bit “used”, the stuff can end up nearly dead. We end up replacing Velcro on snowmobile suits and other winter gear if it gets like this. Personally, I have a hypothesis that sometimes the stuff gets beat up by the cold/wind/wet combination, as covered areas of Velcro on the same suits/gear seem to hold up longer.

Another issue, and why years ago my unit didn’t allow any Velcro in our deployment gear, is noise. Nothing stands out in the quiet more than the sharp rip of Velcro being opened. A couple years back Velcro introduced a “Quiet Closure Hook and Loop” version that can work where the orientation of the two tabs is pretty constant. This may still give you away if something like a snag opens it “against the grain”.

Keep up the great work! – Steve W.

News From The American Redoubt:

More jobs lost in Wyoming’s coal community

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South Dakota homicide suspect arrested in Wyoming

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Reported shooting at bank in North Spokane

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Police: Pipe bomb turns out to be geocache container

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Gallatin Co. wants to dispose of Cold War commode kits

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Malheur Wildlife Refuge Involved Officials Names Revealed – RBS

Economics and Investing:

GNC planning to sell off more than 1,000 stores – Sent in by RBS.

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Ron Paul Asks “What Did Fed Chairman Yellen Tell Obama?” – Of course there is no official documentation or minutes of the meeting. – M.B.

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Lets Stop Pretending Nuclear Power Is Commercially Viable

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Workers unearth large trove of Roman coins at Spanish park – The timeline is during the fall of the Roman Empire. The Seville Archaeological Museum said the construction workers came across 19 amphoras containing thousands of bronze and silver-coated coins dating from the end of the fourth century. The coins are believed to have been recently minted at the time and had probably been stored away to pay soldiers or civil servants. – LRM

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Commercial Short Positions In The Silver Market Hit All-Time Record!

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SurvivalBlog and its editors are not paid investment counselors or advisers. Please see our Provisos page for details.

Odds ‘n Sods:

President Obama claims executive action on Gun Control within his authority. “The Social Security Administration will publish a proposed rule to help ensure that mental health records about people who are prohibited from buying a gun are reported to the background check system.” I thought this was a discussion, but now it is being implemented on a wide scale. – J.T.

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A Woman Woke Up To An Unidentified Cop Creepily Sitting on Her 4-Year-Old’s Bed – While this incident occurred in Canada, alas it could also happen in America– “the land of the fleeced and the home of the slave.” – H.L.

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For Bug Outs that could involve water crossings – a small – packable – inflatable boat that weighs only 2.2 lb and packs to the size of a one liter bottle. – NIC

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Verizon’s ‘Perma-Cookie’ Is a Privacy-Killing Machine – Sent in by DSV

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Antonius Aquinas: Feudalism: Was it so Bad?

Hugh’s Quote of the Day:

“A nation can survive its fools, and even the ambitious. But it cannot survive treason from within. An enemy at the gates is less formidable, for he is known and carries his banner openly. But the traitor moves amongst those within the gate freely, his sly whispers rustling through all the alleys, heard in the very halls of government itself. For the traitor appears not a traitor; he speaks in accents familiar to his victims, and he wears their face and their arguments, he appeals to the baseness that lies deep in the hearts of all men. He rots the soul of a nation, he works secretly and unknown in the night to undermine the pillars of the city, he infects the body politic so that it can no longer resist. A murderer is less to fear.” – Marcus Tullius Cicero

Pat Cascio’s Product Review: Henry Rifles U.S. Survival AR-7 Rifle

When asked by my wife or daughters what I want for my birthday or Christmas, I have a pretty set answer– “something that goes bang or cuts.” So, I’m fairly easy to shop for these days. Last Christmas my beautiful wife bought me a Henry U.S. Survival AR-7 Survival Rifle, and it is a most welcomed addition to my meager firearms battery. While just about any firearm can be used for “survival” purposes, the AR-7 was designed specifically to be a compact rifle that was designed to aid in actual survival situations.

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Some history on the AR-7 is in order, of course. The AR-7 was designed by Eugene Stoner, who designed the AR-15/M-16 military rifle that is still in use today, albeit under a different nomenclature. Stoner designed the AR-7 way back in 1958, and it was first mass produced in 1959. The AR-7 was designed with Air Force pilots in mind, first and foremost; in the event they were shot down they would have a weapon for self defense or for hunting food. Now, you simply don’t see the AR-7 in the hands of pilots who were shot down. Instead, they are always seen with a handgun of some kind in a shoulder holster. Given my druthers, in a real survival situation, I much prefer a long gun over a handgun any day of the week.

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The AR-7 is chambered in .22 LR and has been manufactured over the years by a number of different gun makers, starting with Armalite. Other makers included Charter Arms, Herter’s Outdoor Supply, and some were made in Argentina as well as in Israel. I’ve owned an original Armalite and the Charter Arms versions over the years, and neither worked reliably enough for me to want to bet my life on them. The AR-7 is a semi-automatic blow-back action rifle that holds an 8-rd magazine. Although after-market mags are available that hold more rounds, I haven’t found one that was reliable.

The unique feature of the AR-7 Survival Rifle is the fact that it is a take-down rifle; the receiver and barrel can be separated from the stock and stored in the plastic stock that is advertised as being “water resistant”. It makes for a very neat package that is easy to carry in a backpack or in a pilot’s survival pack. The entire gun only weighs about 3.5 lbs, and when assembled it is 35 inches long. Stowed in the stock, it is only 16.5 inches long, which is very compact for a rifle.

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The front sight on the Henry version is bright orange and made out of plastic, and the rear sight is a peep sight. The Henry version has the receiver and barrel Teflon coated to help prevent it from rusting. There is also a milled rail on the receiver, should one wish to top the AR-7 with some kind of scope. However, the scope would have to be removed before storing the receiver in the stock. Two magazines come with the gun. One can be left in the receiver, and the other has a nice spot inside the stock.

The trigger pull was a bit heavy on my sample, and it came in about 7 lbs; however, it was crisp and smooth. The bolt handle consists of a rounded metal “rod” that stores inside the bolt. To chamber a round, you must pull the bolt handle out of the bolt, pull it back, and release it, to chamber a round. You can then push the bolt handle back into the bolt; it’s all very compact and neat. There is also a tang mounted safety on the receiver that is easy to operate.

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Take down and assembly of the AR-7 only takes about a minute. To assemble the rifle, you remove the plastic butt off the stock and take the barrel and receiver out. The receiver has a long tang screw that screws into the butt stock, and then you attach the barrel to the receiver. It has a nut that screws the barrel on tightly. That’s it! Just be sure to tighten the barrel nut as tightly as you can. You can’t put the barrel on “wrong” as there is a groove in it, that slides into the receiver.

The AR-7 is a favorite among bush pilots, who might have the misfortune of making an emergency landing in a remote area. I can already hear hard-core types saying that a .22 LR is no match for a big brown bear in Alaska; I concur. However, the odds are in your favor that you won’t be attacked by one of these big bears. As in life, there are always compromises, and the compact AR-7 is one of those compromises. Bush pilots have to constantly be aware of how much weight they are carrying in their small bush planes, and every ounce counts. The AR-7 with a brick of 500 rds of .22 LR ammo doesn’t take up much space or weigh very much.

The Henry version of the AR-7 comes in two different colors– all black (mine) and a woodland camo type pattern. Other than that, they are identical in all respects. BTW, you can store both magazines that come with the rifle, fully loaded, so at the very least you will have 16 rds of .22 LR on-hand, if you don’t have any extra .22 LR stored in a backpack or your pockets. Early versions on the AR-7 didn’t allow for the magazine to be left in the receiver. You had to remove it before putting it inside of the stock.

As already mentioned, I’ve owned several various AR-7 rifles over the years, and not a single one would function 100% of the time, no matter what ammo I used– hi-velocity, standard velocity, solids, or hollow point ammo. I’m happy to report my Henry AR-7 works flawlessly 100% of the time, no matter what type or brand of ammo I have fed it.

Now, as for accuracy, the gun is deadly out to 50-yards, giving me two-inch groups, if I do my part. However, the overly large, bright orange front sight is a detriment to better accuracy beyond that on small game. Out to 100 yards, I could hit some nice sized rocks, but I wouldn’t trust a shot that far out on small game; the front sight would completely cover the small game. I think Henry would do better to reduce the size of the front sight and make it in all-black instead of the bright orange. While the bright orange is easy to pick up, even in very low-light conditions, it just seems more like a distraction to my way of thinking. A much smaller front sight would be more conducive to better accuracy out to 100 yards and beyond.

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Now, to be sure, the .22 LR isn’t a man stopper round. However, it will do the job with proper shot placement. Of course, this isn’t any sort of “assault rifle”. It’s not designed for that role, but it will sure make someone wish they were farther down range from you if you unleashed a mag of ammo at them. It sure beats having to fend-off someone with a sharpened stick or throwing rocks at them.

It does take some getting used to in that there isn’t any front stock to hold onto, just a bare barrel. One is better to put their off-hand in front of the magazine for a better hold on the gun. Plus, the stock/receiver are slightly off-set from one another, too, with the stock sticking out a bit more on the left side than the right. But it’s no big deal once you get used to it.

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I filled my bath tub with water and placed the AR-7 in it with the receiver and barrel stowed in the stock. The gun didn’t get wet, period! However, it is advertised as being water “resistant” and not water proof. The gun also floated in the bath tub, too.

I’ve read reports of the barrel nut getting loose from the receiver after extensive firing. I didn’t have this problem, probably because I really snugged the barrel nut down tight to start with. I can see there might be accuracy problems and even problems feeding if the barrel nut isn’t tightened down completely.

Charter Arms produced the Explorer II, which was a pistol version of the AR-7, and I don’t think it ever really caught on because it was an overly large “pistol” to start with. Plus, Charter Arms had to use a different method of attaching the barrel to the receiver than the AR-7 rifle did. So folks couldn’t use the barrel from the rifle on the pistol, or the pistol barrel on the rifle. That’s BATF regulations, ya know.

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I’ve seen the AR-7 rifle featured in several movies. The James Bond 007 From Russia With Love was probably the most famous use of the gun, when it was used to take down a bad guy escaping from a secret window. However, Ian Flemming, who wrote the James Bond books, wasn’t any sort of firearms expert, and in the movie the AR-7 was referred to as a “point 25” caliber rifle. I’m assuming they meant a .25ACP round, yet I don’t know of any rifles chambered in .25ACP. Then we have the cornball Matt Helm spoof spy movies. He carried a Charter Arms Explorer II pistol with a delayed firing. When the trigger was pulled, there was a “click” instead of a “bang”, so the bad guy firing the gun would stupidly turn it on himself to see what the problem was. Then, in 10 seconds the gun would fire, killing the bad guy. Okay. Whatever!

Henry Repeating Arms lists the AR-7 U.S. Survival Rifle for $299, and it can be found for around $240 or a bit less, when put on sale. My wife got mine at the local small box membership store for $189, and that was a super sale of a deal. My local gun shop currently has one for $199, and I’m tempted to get it so my wife can have it in her emergency box in the back of her SUV to go along with her bug out bag and other gear that we carry in our e-boxes!

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Sure, I’d much rather have an AR-15 of some sort to carry in a SHTF emergency. However, it is much easier and more convenient to have the AR-7 in my e-box, locked in my pickup with a brick of 500 rds of .22 LR ammo. The AR-7 takes-up very little space, and I can toss it in my bug out bag, if necessary, or assemble the gun for ready use. And, as mentioned, the .22 LR isn’t a man stopper of a round, nor is it anything but a small game getting round. However, I know of one guy, who was out of work, raising two kids, and lived out in the boonies, who regularly used a .22 LR rifle to take deer with a shot to the head. Yeah, he was poaching, but he still had to feed his family. So, a shot to the head can take down a deer, and it will also take down a human, if need be.

The Henry AR-7 is a genuine “survival” rifle. It was designed from the start as such a weapon and not one that you would want to take out hunting on a daily basis. Other .22 rifles are much more suitable for those tasks. However, when the chips are down, and space and weight are a serious consideration as well as lots of ammo on-hand, the AR-7 will get the job done!

– Senior Product Review Editor, Pat Cascio

Recipe of the Week: Hamburger Soup

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb lean ground beef
  • ¼ tsp pepper
  • ¼ tsp basil
  • ¼ tsp oregano
  • ¼ tsp seasoned salt
  • 1 (8oz) can tomato sauce
  • 1 tbs soy sauce
  • 1 cup sliced celery
  • 1 cup sliced carrots
  • 1 cup macaroni, cooked and drained
  • ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 envelope onion soup mix
  • 3 cups boiling water

Directions:

  1. Crumble beef into slow-cooking pot.
  2. Add pepper, oregano, basil, seasoned salt, and dry soup mix.
  3. Stir in water, tomato sauce, and soy sauce; then add celery and carrots.
  4. Cover and cook on low for 6 to 8 hours.
  5. Turn control to high and add cooked macaroni and Parmesan cheese.
  6. Cover and cook on high for 10 to 15 minutes.

Makes 5 to 6 servings.

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

Letter Re: Velcro on Tactical Gear

Hugh,

I have had the opportunity to serve as an 03 with the Marine Corps, an officer with a small police department and in private contracting. During that time, I have been able to use all sorts of nice kits, and my experience stems from that.

I would say Velcro is not a good idea in my opinion, unless you include silencers (additional pieces of Velcro) which can be used to silence the hook and loop tearing noise. We often would sew extra Velcro into magazine pouch closures of similar on radio pouches, et cetera. So if you are headed out on a mission and need to keep quiet, you essentially disable the Velcro and hopefully have a secondary buckle (fastex) type closure to secure the items in the pouch.

A good friend of mine, when I asked him about his worst moments with Velcro, said “SNOW”. He said when you get snow up into the Velcro hook and loop and it freezes into the material it’s very difficult to tear back open without causing one side of the stitching to tear off the actual gear.

Again, I don’t care for Velcro in tactical gear, once it goes bad on gear and while in the field it’s near impossible to replace or repair. A nice alternative to this is gear with bungee straps; these are quiet and easily repaired or replaced in the field. We can all obtain several extra feet of bungee cordage, and it’s light and packs small.

Hope this information is of use to some of you out there, and God bless and keep you all in the coming days. Keep your powder dry. – D.H.

Economics and Investing:

Deutsche Bank Unveils The Next Step: “QE Has Run Its Course, It’s Time To Tax Wealth” – G.G.

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The Two Income Trap has only gotten worse: America has become a dual-income nation since one income isn’t enough to maintain a household. – D.B.

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Items from Professor Preponomics:

US News

Are Members of Congress Becoming Telemarketers? (60 Minutes/CBS) Excerpt: “And your job, new member of Congress, is to raise $18,000 a day. Your first responsibility is to make sure you hit $18,000 a day.

Crony Capitalism and the Rigged System: 0.01% of Households Gave 33% of Money Raised by Political Parties and Congressmen. (My Budget 360) Excerpt: “The system is rigged. Like a carnival game, the odds are against you. This isn’t something that started this year or last, but has been going on for many decades. As long as the media was controlled in a few hands the propaganda kept most of the public in the dark.”

Federal Inspectors General Under Threat (Government Waste Fraud and Abuse) Excerpt: “Denial of documents or stonewalling of investigations impedes the OIGs work and puts taxpayer’s interests, as well as their money, at risk. It was therefore a step in the wrong direction when departments and agencies under the Obama administration grew more and more obstructive beginning in 2010.”

A New Report Signals Disaster for American Shopping Malls (Business Insider) Excerpt: “Department stores need to close as many as 800 more locations — or one-fifth of all anchor space in US malls — to return to the levels of productivity they saw 10 years ago….”

International News

Saudi Prince Unveils Sweeping Plans to End “Addiction” to Oil (Reuters) Excerpt: “The powerful young prince overseeing Saudi Arabia’s economy unveiled ambitiious plans on Monday aimed at ending the kingdom’s “addiction” to oil and transforming it into a global investment power.”

A Millenial Has Taken Over Saudi Arabia’s Oil Policy and People Have Serious Concerns (Business Insider) Excerpt: “Paul Sankey, a senior analyst at Wolfe Research, told the Financial Times in April that because of Prince Mohammed’s young age — Sankey specifically calls him a “millennial” — he is pushing “the ‘old guard’ Saudi traditions” aside, “notably of behind-closed-doors consensus decision-making.”

BHS Collapse: 11,000 Workers’ Jobs at Stake as Retailer Goes Into Administration (The Telegraph) Excerpt: “BHS’s pension scheme, which has over 20,000 members and a significant deficit that could cost £571m to address, has been under assessment by the Pension Protection Fund lifeboat since last month….”

Personal Economics and Household Finance

21 Money-Saving Tricks That Every Homeowner Needs to Know (Bob Vila) Excerpt: “Putting a dent in your home improvement to-do list can often put an even bigger dent in your wallet. But these 21 humble DIY projects reduce, reuse, and reimagine what’s already under your roof to yield big results – and even bigger savings.”

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SurvivalBlog and its editors are not paid investment counselors or advisers. Please see our Provisos page for details.