Notes for Tuesday – August 23, 2016

August 23rd is the anniversary of the declaration of the independent state of “Franklin” in Eastern Tennessee by the settlers there in 1784. Unfortunately, the Continental Congress rejected it, so the state of Franklin never became a reality.

In 1833, Britain abolished slavery in the colonies and 700,000 slaves were freed. I can’t help but wonder; Had Abraham Lincoln allowed the political process to run its course, as it did in England, and slavery was abolished by the will of the people, as it would have been, rather than executive order, would we have the racial tensions we have today?

Guest Article: SHTF Intelligence – Getting Started- Part Three, by Samuel Culper

This is the third article in a series about using intelligence for preparedness. I’m starting from square zero in order to introduce a new crop of Americans to the concept of using intelligence, to prove that there’s a need for intelligence and to get readers quickly up to speed on how to incorporate it into their security planning. For a better foundation, be sure to read Part One and Part Two and check out the Ultimate ACE Startup Guide, too.

Brief Recap

In the first article, we established that prepared communities need intelligence because they’re going to have blind spots during an emergency or disaster. I recommended writing out a list called Intelligence Requirements. Before we build a house, we need to be organized with the right tools and materials. The same is true of intelligence, and our requirements prepare for us the path ahead. In the second article, I talked about shopping at the hardware store for our materials list. Once we have our requirements, we need to start satisfying them through intelligence gathering. I wanted to stress that we have to automate collection as much as possible, and I offered some strategies on how to accomplish that. The second article was about how to collect information now while it’s inexpensive, easy, and readily available.

Today, I’m going to focus on the zero-hour, power/Internet goes down, what-should-we-do approach to intelligence gathering. While reading this, you’re going to realize that we need a small team to tackle intelligence. You can’t do it all by yourself. (I recommend forming a community watch group to find the individuals who are already geared towards community security. They may not be preppers yet, but as active and interested members of the community watch they’re already halfway there.)

First things first, we have to get eyes on the surrounding area and/or the neighborhood. In a worst-case SHTF scenario, that typically means getting an elevated vantage point, being in a forward position to look for threats, or setting up an listening post / observation post (LP/OP). The last thing we want to do in intelligence is to be surprised. And since “finding, knowing, and never losing” the threat is our job, that means that we have to be proactive. The most immediate threats are going to have the greatest proximity, so the quickest way to identify potential threats is to get them in our view before we’re in theirs. (I recommend the Motorola DTR550 for area communications, like back and forth to an LP/OP. It’s frequency-hopping capabilities ensure that we don’t come up on anyone else’s scanners, except for high-end state-sponsored platforms. If that’s your concern, then get an old school military field phone with sufficient wire.)

Simultaneously, we need to power up our police scanners and software defined radio (SDR) platform. (See the Ultimate ACE Startup Guide for detailed information.) Our police scanners already need to be programmed for our area, which is why I recommend the Uniden HomePatrol2. I’d set someone at a desk with earphones plugged into the police scanner. During a SHTF scenario, we should have 24/7 coverage on the police scanner. If we’re going to get consistent, authoritative intelligence information about events in the area, it’s most likely to originate from emergency services. On Forward Observer Podcast 44 – Battle Tracking Basics, I give a rundown about how this process works.

Next, I also recommend putting someone on the SDR platform to search out transmissions on radio frequencies that our police scanner won’t pick up. This could be a goldmine of information, especially if we can listen into a conversation. Be sure to log the times, frequencies, and call signs of these communications. (By the way, I routinely do this at home and work and have a list of frequencies in use by Ham radio operators. I recommend doing the same now, so that during an SHTF event, we can quickly tune to where the conversations are mostly like to occur. Practice now to avoid failure in the future. Also, check out our good friends at AmRRON.)

If we can begin visually monitoring the area around our home, listening to the police scanner, and begin searching for frequencies in use around us, then we have a really good start on gathering information about what’s going on around us. The next thing I would do in my neighborhood is start contacting neighbors door to door. My goal would be to get them to contact me if they see or hear anything; that way if things got really bad, I’ve already established contact with them and can bring them on board for community security. I live in a pretty good neighborhood in a pretty safe area. Chances are good that most folks want to keep it that way, so I’m offering a solution to that problem. I expect most will volunteer to help me.

Remember that every set of eyes and ears in your neighborhood is a sensor. I want to make sure that I can collect as much of what’s seen and heard as possible. That means that I need to influence them or otherwise gain their cooperation to feed me information. As a former intelligence analyst, that’s been an easy sell to my prepping neighbors. Should you be in a similar situation with preppers already on the block, as a group you should nominate a person in charge of collating information and building out the security picture.

We’re now getting into the world of very basic Human Intelligence, called HUMINT. Plainly stated, that’s gathering information from conversations with humans. That means getting out and talking to people. Beyond what we can sit back and collect passively through observation or listening, we may have to be more aggressive in collecting information through human sources.

With the Internet, radios, and scanners, we can be very wide and very deep in our intelligence gathering. That’s a 1:n ratio. We have one collection platform, in this case a radio receiver, and we can scan a very wide band to collect information from anyone who is transmitting. But when we deal with human intelligence, we’re often on a 1:1 ratio; that is, one collector speaking to one source at any given time. That’s a very slow and difficult way to do business, and this underscores a real need for us to be out in our community getting to know folks before an SHTF event.

Instead of a typical 1:1, I want you to consider the scalability of that ratio. If one person is limited to gathering intelligence information from one person at a time, wouldn’t it make sense to scale that ratio to 10:10 or 100:100? It absolutely would. Every set of eyes and ears is a sensor, so we as an intelligence element tasked with providing intelligence for community security should absolutely be interested in encouraging community members to passively collect lots of information. All that information is reported back to us, and then we’re engaged in the arduous task of compiling and evaluating that information in order to create intelligence.

Intelligence doesn’t produce itself, so it’s incumbent on us to build that capability. The more accurate information we have, the more well-informed we can be. Without first being well-informed, making high-risk, time-sensitive decisions just got a whole lot more complicated. In Part Four of this series, I’ll be discussing the last two phases of the Intelligence Cycle: Production and Dissemination. I’ll point out different intelligence products we may need to produce and then how to ensure that our threat intelligence is distributed to people in the community who need to know.

Samuel Culper is the Director of Forward Observer and the SHTF Intelligence Center. He was an Army and contract Intelligence analyst with multiple tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, and is the author of SHTF Intelligence: An Intelligence Analyst’s Guide to Community Security.

Letter Re: Dehydrating Foods


In regards to what to use to keep your small foods from falling through the cracks of the screens, I have an answer that may or may not be safe, but I’ve have years of good luck. I put tin foil on the screen, then put a spritz of Pam cooking spray, then use a bit of paper towel to make sure the foil gets covered. I don’t spray the foil completely because I don’t care for the oily texture that remains after dehydration. When I use foil, I only use every other tray giving my machine ample air flow. When my process is done, my project slides off and into a Ball or Mason jar where I air seal it. Examples of food I use this on is corn, peas, scrambled eggs, cabbage, et cetera, whatever I’m slicing and dicing small or is rather soft. Out of all my canning and prepping items I have purchased and obtained over the years, my dehydrator was my most expensive. It is my favorite gadget though. I use it the most. My family never has a clue that I’m cooking with dehydrated food, and I enjoy the wonderful aromas my house has when my machine is running. If you don’t have a dehydrator in your kitchen tool kit, treat yourself. Dehydrate some banana slices sprinkled with cinnamon. Oh my! Time is short. Get your machine going while the fall harvest season approaches and there is abundance. Put up all you are able. Your machine needs to run 24/7 right now. Blessings. – J.

News From The American Redoubt:

Miles from nowhere… Video of a family’s life at the end of the road: Living in Idaho Back Country

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Ten-Minute Video: North Idaho Wilderness Beauty.

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The editors of the leftward-leaning Coeur d’Alene Press put their spin on the recent widely-read feature article in The Economist: Welcome to the American Redoubt

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Wyoming Now Claiming It Owns the Wind – Taxes Energy Created by Mother Nature

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From a SurvivalBlog reader:

The employees of the largest employer in our Eastern Oregon county were made aware of this little gem today. It would cost our firm at least 4-5 million dollars annually in additional tax penalties. Our county has one of if not the highest poverty and unemployment rates in the state. Times are hard enough in the resource dependent rural areas of the Oregon as it is. This comes at a time when our parent owner is slashing every cost and job position they can to try and stay profitable and please their global shareholders. Really!? A productivity tax? Amazingly stupid in an age of so-called economic enlightenment. Once again brilliance like this can only be birthed in an environment of income re-distribution and rabid socialism. Multanoma and Washington Counties must be overflowing with a breed of the most ardent of Marxist Communist. One has to wonder if they don’t proudly salute their local statue of Lenin each day at sunrise. If there is no such figure in the Greater Salem area then perhaps the money they gain from this new “prosperity tax” would get them one. I am sure there is at least one of these “gems” still sitting around in a Moscow scrap yard somewhere that escaped the melting pot. And some newly minted Capitalist who would surely give them a good deal on it as well.

Economics and Investing:

Gold Demand To See Boost From Indian Wedding Season

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The ultimate breakdown likely to be surprising, sudden, intense, and large

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A sure sign of a sick political economy appears in Illinois – Connecticut is not far behind. A state “death spiral”: high taxes drive out business and people, causing more tax increases, an underfunded State pension plan (CT is only funded 45%), and so it goes! – H.L.

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Items from Mr. Econocobas:

The Marginal Buyer Holds The Pin That Pops Every Asset Bubble

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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:

Lets bring in more muslims, Boy, 8, dies in Swedish hand grenade blast.

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Container Full Of Assault Rifles And Grenade Launchers Headed To USA, Seized In Spain – G.P.

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From reader A.S. – This was posted some years ago (Australian, but easily adapted for anyone) timely to repost again, its in a PDF format. Very worthwhile to keep in the current circumstances around the world: The food Lifeboat

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An example of when sheltering in place just isn’t a possibility: Mysterious gas leak forces 200 people to evacuate San Diego neighborhood. Is your BOB ready to go? – P.S.

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The Justice Department Used Shaky Statistics to Drop Private Prisons

Pat Cascio’s Product Review: Taurus 605 .357 Magnum

Once again, we are taking a look at a revolver, for survival purposes. We have received numerous requests from our readers over the past several months for more articles on revolvers. We sometimes tend to get so caught up with the newest and coolest semiauto handguns that we forget the good ole’ fashioned revolver. While the revolver is a very old design, it is not antiquated, as many think it is.

We also have to take into consideration what is meant by “survival” in any discussion on this topic. For too many, myself included, survival means financial survival, and no firearm is going to help me survive this unless I had some high-end collector grade firearms. I don’t own anything even closely resembling a collector’s gun. To others, survival might mean living in the boonies and surviving what dangers they might face on a daily basis. In many rural villages in Alaska, and outlying areas far from villages where people live, survival means hunting and fishing for your food and packing the most powerful handgun you can handle in the event of an attack by a brown bear or an enraged moose.


Many police officers believe that survival just means getting home safely at the end of their shift. To civilians in a big city, survival might mean getting home safely from a long commute through dangerous neighborhoods. I have been there and done that when I lived in Chicago, IL many years ago, and it appears Chicago is no safer now. As I wrote this article, there were 40 shootings with two dead over a long holiday weekend, and the weekend was only half over.

So, we have many different types of survival that we all must deal with, quite often on a daily basis. We must select the appropriate form of protection to get us through whatever situations we might have to deal with. We select our tools very carefully, and hope we make the right decisions. While a firearm is considered a “weapon”, it is also considered a “tool” for the job at hand. Keep that in mind.

The Taurus Model 605 revolver is such a tool and an excellent choice for many tasks. My sample 605 is a snubby, with a 3-inch barrel, although the 2-inch barrel is more commonly encountered, as it is a little bit easier to conceal that shorter barrel, especially if carrying on the belt instead of inside the waist, where that slightly longer barrel is easier to conceal. The Taurus 605 is a stainless steel, 5-shot revolver, and the stainless finish is a brushed one with a nice soft finish that’s not shinny.


The 605 is a double-action/single-action revolver in that it can readily be fired by simply pulling the trigger or manually cocking the hammer and then firing it, for a lighter trigger pull. The gun weighs 24 ounces and has sports rubber grips with the Taurus logo in the center. The fixed sights, front and rear, are about as hardy as they come; however, they were a bit hard for my aged eyes to pick up. So, I applied some bright orange paint to the front sight. This helped a lot. The rear sight is a notch in the top strap of the revolver. There is no way to adjust it, and it’s practically impossible for it to be damaged or destroyed. Of course, the gun is chambered in .357 Magnum, and it can also shoot .38 Special loads. My sample was purchased used, and the previous owner snugged the grip screw down too tight, and the grips were actually pushing away from the gun at a few points, so I replaced the grips with a pair of Hogue rubber grips for all of my shooting for this article. They’re much nicer grips all the way around, and they really helped absorb the recoil when shooting .357 Mag rounds.


I don’t believe the .357 Mag snubby is a beginner’s gun, period! The recoil and muzzle blast has caused more than one person to give up on the gun, after only a few rounds. Ask any gun shop owner who sold a snubby .357 Mag to someone who readily returned it, in like-new condition. Why the gun was returned is because of too much recoil and muzzle blast, according to what the previous owner said. I also see this when some clerks behind a gun shop counter, will sell a petite woman a super light-weight revolver in .38 Spl or .357 Mag, thinking that because the gun is light weight that it is the gun for them until the women actually shoot the gun. After they shoot it, the gun is returned in short order for something else, or the gun will be put away and never fired again. I know many husky males who also purchased a light-weight revolver in a hot-stepping caliber and after shooting it put it away or traded it for something else. To be sure, the .357 Mag in a revolver does have some serious muzzle blast and recoil, and the muzzle blast is a sight to behold when fired inside of a building in low light.

Of course, any revolver is more controllable if it is full-sized guise and manufactured out of all steel. That’s just common sense. However, the bigger the revolver, the harder it is to conceal. Although, full-sized handguns are much easier to shoot than their smaller counterparts, so keep that in-mind. I was recently teaching some new shooters firearms safety and marksmanship, and a small gal fell in love with a Ruger GP100– a full-sized .357 Mag. She shot it well, too. Go figure?


For testing the little Taurus 605 for this article, I probably had the largest assortment of ammo ever, for an article. From Buffalo Bore Ammunition, I had their .38 Spl 110-gr Barnes TAC XP all-copper hollow point standard pressure short barrel ammo, .38 Spl 110-gr Barnes TAC XP all-copper hollow point +P, and .38 Spl 125-gr Low Velocity JHP +P. In .357 Mag, I had the 180-gr Hard Cast, LFN GC Outdoorsman load +P, 125-gr JHC +P, and their 125-gr Barnes XPB +P. From Black Hills Ammunition, I had their .38 Spl 125-gr JHP +P, .38 Spl 148-gr MATCH HBWC, in .357 Mag I had their 125-gr JHP, and their 158-gr JHP. From Double Tap Ammunition I had their 110-gr Controlled Expansion JHP. I also had their .38 Spl. 148 Full Wadcuter match load, .38 Spl 110-gr DT Lead Free +P, .357 Mag 110-gr DT Lead Free load, .357 mag 180-gr Hard Cast solid. It was quite an assortment of .38 Spl and .357 Mag to run through the little Taurus 605.

There were no functioning problems with the Taurus, nor were any expected. The gun perked along just fine in over 300 rounds of shooting. Large rocks out to 50-yards were easy to hit. However, my accuracy testing was conducted at 15 yards, and that is a reasonable distance for a short-barreled revolver. I will say that there were several rounds that really woke me up, and that is the Double Tap 180-gr Hard Cast solid, and the Buffalo Bore 180-gr Outdoorsman load. They really made the little Taurus buck in my hand. Either of these would be an excellent choice when out hiking in the boonies, where you might encounter black bears. The Black Hills .357 Mag 125-gr JHP probably had the most muzzle blast for some reason.


The best groups I could get at 15 yards were right about 3 ½ inches. I was hoping for better though. The gun was rested over a sleeping back over the back of my pickup. I didn’t want the muzzle blast taking out the windshield of my rig. I had many groups over four inches, and the winner in the accuracy department is, well, actually no one load really stood out in the accuracy department. However, if I had to pick just one, it would be the Double Tap 148-gr Full Wadcutter Match, and it just barely, every so slightly gave me a best group of the day. Testing was conducted over several days. The muzzle blast and recoil of the .357 Mag loads were causing me to flinch after a bit. The .38 Spl loads were all easy to shoot, and you should use .38 Spl for most of your target practice, if you ask me, because they are less expensive and easier to shoot for extended periods of time.

I rarely carry my Taurus 605, because I have other handguns that I carry on a regular basis, and I don’t have a holster at this time that fits this little revolver. However, I do have a concealed carry jacket– a fleece jacket that has a built-in holster, on the left side inside the jacket, that can conceal a variety of handguns. I have carried the little Taurus in this jacket from time to time. However, there are plenty of holsters out there that will fit this snubby, inside the waist or on the belt.


A word on shooting .38 Spl ammo in .357 Mag revolvers: the shells are shorter, thus they tend to “mark” the inside of the chamber of a revolver. If you don’t thoroughly clean a revolver’s cylinders, it can make extraction of .357 Mag empty shells a bit difficult, which is not something you want if you need to do a speed reload. So, anytime you fire .38 Spl ammo in a .357 Mag revolver, make sure you give the cylinder a thorough cleaning.

If you’re in the market for a small, 5-shot revolver that is chambered in .357 Mag, then take a close look at the Taurus 605. It’s a lot of gun in a small package, and it will sure get the job done.

– Senior Product Review Editor, Pat Cascio

Recipe of the Week: Fondue Italiano


  • 1 lb lean ground beef
  • 1 envelope spaghetti sauce mix
  • 2 (15 oz) cans tomato sauce
  • 1 lb sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 8 oz mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • 2 tbs cornstarch
  • ½ cup dry red wine


  1. In a skillet or slow-cooking pot with browning unit, cook beef until crumbly; pour off excess fat.
  2. In a slow-cooking pot, combine beef with dry spaghetti sauce mix, tomato sauce, cheddar and mozzarella cheeses.
  3. Cover and cook on low for 2 hours. Dissolve cornstarch in the wine.
  4. Turn the control to high and add dissolved cornstarch.
  5. Heat on high for 10 to 15 minutes.
  6. Dip chunks of Italian bread into fondue while keeping mixture hot in the slow-cooking pot.

May be used as a hearty hot dip or as a main dish served with salad after the game or theater.

Makes 6 to 8 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: Development and Maintenance of the First Weapon


I appreciate B.C.’s points related to the majority of our population being poorly prepared physically to deal with increased levels of stress. As a physical therapist and athletic trainer for 24-plus years, I see it every day. I do want to make one observation and warning, for lack of a better term. There is a huge difference in “normal tissue” and “pathologic tissue”, or tissue that has gone through a process that is called secondary healing. Secondary healing is when there has been enough damage to a muscle, or ligament, or skin, or joint surface, (pick your tissue type), that “normal” recovery is impossible. This is most evident after severe burns. There is so much scar tissue that has developed in the normal skin tissue that normal appearance and function of the skin is no longer an option. The burn example is to create a visual that some injuries will not allow you to have the same recovery, back to normal Range-of-Motion, Strength, Function, Posture, et cetera. How does this apply? Let’s say you have a Labral Tear (rim of cartilage tear) in your shoulder that has been surgically repaired. There is hardware in your shoulder. There is scarring in that tissue. Due to this, you will not ever regain full Range-of-Motion in that shoulder. (It’s not necessarily a bad thing; a little less Range-of-Motion often means a little more shoulder stability.) If you attempt the Overhead Square Test with this previous injury, it will appear as a problem that needs to be “fixed”. It may not be. And forcing the shoulder to move into a “correct position” will probably cause compensation in your middle back, because you don’t have the ability to improve at the shoulder. Here’s my point: You may not be able to achieve a particular position. If you can’t, don’t get concerned. As we age, our connective tissue literally changes from “stretchy” to “less stretchy”. Don’t force something, and don’t think that not being able to achieve a particular position or movement indicates a deficit that needs “fixing”. As a physical therapist, I treat painful dysfunction, and 50% of the time it’s due to degenerative changes in joint surface (arthritis) or secondary healing (scar tissue embedded within normal connective tissue). You have to be careful thinking that if you force yourself to be able to achieve a full “Range-of-Motion”, that you have improved. Often you have now caused a new problem. (I treat late-blooming yoga patients all of the time who have fallen into this trap.) B.C. has excellent training points, but take your time, and don’t force an old injury into a new position, or you may make things worse. – D.W.

Economics and Investing:

The Bank of England Turns to More Easy Money

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The Panic That Will Be A Game-Changer For World Financial Markets

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Summary Of Recent Fed Statements: Spot The Common Theme

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Don’t Try to Buy Dollars in Azerbaijan’s Capital – There are none to be had!

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