Note from JWR:

Today is the last day in the unprecedented 25% off sale on Alpine Aire freeze dried foods at Ready Made Resources. They are offering free shipping on full case lots. Don’t miss out, as this is a special “test” sale, approved for just Ready Made Resources by Alpine Aire, and might not be repeated. — Today, with permission, we present a guest article by David Galland of The Casey Report. It comes to us by way of John Mauldin’s excellent (and free) e-newsletter, Thoughts From the Frontline.

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An Insider’s View of the Real Estate Train Wreck, by David Galland, The Casey Report

The first time I spoke with real estate entrepreneur Andy Miller was in late 2007, when I asked him to serve on the faculty of a Casey Research Summit. As John Mauldin, a former faculty member himself, knows, we’re very selective with our speakers. And there was no one in the nation I wanted more than Andy to address the critical topic of real estate. My interest in Andy was due to the fact that he has been singularly successful in pretty much all aspects of the real estate market, including financing and developing large projects – such as shopping centers, apartment communities, office buildings, and warehouses – from one end of the country to the other. His expertise has also allowed him to build an impressive business providing assistance to large financial institutions that need help in dealing with problem commercial real estate loans. As you might suspect, business is booming. Back in 2007, however, what most intrigued me about Andy was that he had been almost alone among his peer group in foreseeing the coming end of the real estate bubble, and in liquidating essentially all of his considerable portfolio of projects near the top. There are people … Continue reading

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Mike Williamson’s Product Review: Dead On Tools Annihilator Demolition Hammer

A friend on an Austrian gun board introduced me to the Dead On Tools Annihilator Demolition Hammer. Just the photo was enough to convince me to pick one up for a try. The balance is a bit forward, but there’s plenty of grip surface to choke up on if needed. The hammer end made short work of a 2” concrete block, and the chisel end’s impact split them readily. Note that it will need re-sharpened with a file from time to time. After the block, I tried a chunk of sandstone with some full swings. I got sparks and chipped off a few corners, but didn’t make serious headway. On the other hand, I proved it was tough enough to take the impact. (A reviewer elsewhere claimed he managed to break two of them. I’m presuming there was a run of poor heat treatment in that lot. He was given free, no-questions-asked exchanges by the company.) The claw puller on the head has fantastic leverage, with that broad head, and made ripping nails loose an amusement rather than a chore. I even hammered a few extra 20d nails in for the fun of it, then ripped them back out. As … Continue reading

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Economics and Investing:

Mac Slavo gets is all right in this piece posted in the SHTFPlan blog: Wealth Preservation, Investing, and Prepping in 2010. (Thanks to G.S. in the State of Jefferson for the link.) Damon sent this: U.S. Economy Grows 5.7 Percent in Fourth Quarter of 2009. JWR Adds: They’re calling it a “recovery”? That is laughable. I call it nothing more that the effect of many hundreds of billions of dollars in short term stimulus. Keep in mind that this will effectively be paid for with money borrowed from my children’s generation. The current presidential administration has spent more than $3.5 trillion, and much of that went to “stimulus.” And all that got was just 5.7% in growth? I suspect that the real underlying economy is actually heading into a depression that will last a decade or more. If you look at the job numbers minus the stimulus-generated make-work jobs, the government’s sleight of hand is apparent. Maybe they won’t call it “conspiracy theory nonsense” anymore: Secret Banking Cabal Emerges From AIG Shadows: David Reilly. (A tip of the hat to K.L. in Alaska for the link) Items from The Economatrix: Energy Prices Fall So Far in 2010 Wages and Benefits … Continue reading

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Odds ‘n Sods:

Reader “P.S.” sent this article from an Arizona newspaper: City won’t let homeowners live with solar power    o o o SurvivalBlog’s Editor At Large, Michael Z. Williamson, mentioned an interesting privacy-related article over at Tech Republic: GoogleSharing: A way to prevent tracking by Google    o o o F.R. sent us this link: How to Survive a Fall Through Ice    o o o Chris S. sent a link to a video that illustrates why you should not buy a cheap light-gauge gun vault. As I’ve often said: There is no substitute for mass. Buy a proper vault with sufficient wall and door thicknesses! And, as previously mention in my blog, be sure to bolt it down to the floor!

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Note from JWR:

Today we present another entry for Round 26 of the SurvivalBlog non-fiction writing contest. First Prize: A.) 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 between $500 and $600, and B.) Two cases of Mountain House freeze dried assorted entrees, in #10 cans, courtesy of Ready Made Resources. (A $392 value.) C.) A HAZARiD Decontamination Kit from Safecastle.com. (A $350 value.), and D.) A 500 round case of Fiocchi 9mm Luger, 124gr. Hornady XTP/HP ammo, courtesy of Sunflower Ammo. This is a $249 value. Second Prize: A “grab bag” of preparedness gear and books from Jim’s Amazing Secret Bunker of Redundant Redundancy (JASBORR) with a retail value of at least $350. Third Prize: A copy of my “Rawles Gets You Ready” preparedness course, from Arbogast Publishing. Round 26 ends on January 31st, so get busy writing and e-mail us your entry. Remember that articles that relate practical “how to” skills for survival have an advantage in the judging.

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Barriers – Berries – and Bounty All Hidden in Plain Sight, by The Prudent Gardener

It seems a part of preparing for extremely hard times is acquiring knowledge and honing skills to maximize resources. SurvivalBlog has been tremendously helpful in developing exhaustive lists of needs, supplies, strategies and defenses. In addition, provision is made for faith, charity and quality of life to improve a healthy mental state. As a landscape contractor for 32 years, I am now seeing more potential for self-reliance that most property owners could develop with some planning and a better awareness of the resources they may already possess. This form of preparation could substantially improve our situation both short and long term. So much of our storing up – though most vital – is of a finite nature. Just as a woodlot on our property can supply continuous fuel, the well planned garden should not only include non-hybrid seeds, building up soils through composting, manures and cover crops, but also include a small greenhouse and/or cold frame that could yield early and late fresh greens that would provide a welcome and healthy addition to food storage. By learning now and purchasing the types of vegetables that your family will use and enjoy, you have done just the kind of preparing that … Continue reading

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Product Review: The Quest for a Truly Practical Rifle Sling, by CT in Texas

Over the last four years I’ve bought at least eight rifle slings. From the over the shoulder slings (which do not keep the weapon anywhere near ready) to complicated tactical slings. A year or two ago I ordered the “end all be all” of Tactical slings at the recommendation of a sales associate, then got it home and have had a hard time working that thing. It was complicated and I could not get it to work as described. Frankly, in a SHTF situation, I probably would have hog-tied myself with it, leaving myself bound, gagged and defenseless in the presence of an attacker. I had started to think that maybe it was just me, maybe I was the problem and maybe I was expecting too much from a sling. My criteria was simple though: 1. The sling needed to be rugged and well made. 2. The sling needed to keep the rifle on the front of me near ready. 3. It needed to be simple to use. # 3 was really important to me because in a panic, I can’t be fumbling with a sling. If I am not armed and need to become armed in a flash, I … Continue reading

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Economics and Investing:

Reader Johnny G. recommended an article by PIMCO’s Bill Gross titled: The Ring of Fire. Johnny’s comment: “It is interesting to see how and where SurvivalBlog precepts and the predictions of well connected, mainstream bond investors’ converge.” Some folks in England are catching on to what privately owning gold means: How to live without banks. (Thanks to Karl P. for the link.) George Gordon (“GG”) sent us this: The Fed’s Anti-Inflation Exit Strategy Will Fail; Sooner or later the pressure to lend out excess bank reserves will be unstoppable. Items from The Economatrix: Our Financial Rulers are on Another Planet IMF: Banks Must Raise Billions to Fend Off Crisis UK Economy Lies on Bed of Nitroglycerin Revealed: See Who Was Paid Off in the AIG Bailout How The Major Stock Indexes Fared on Friday The Latest Installment of the Friday FDIC Follies: Six More Banks Bite the Dust in California, Florida, Georgia, Minnesota, and Washington

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Odds ‘n Sods:

Our Editor At Large (Michael Z. Williamson) wrote to mention that there have been several new “underground homes” added to the 20th Century Castles (aka MissileBases.com) web site. JWR Notes: These are far beyond my budget, but interesting, nonetheless.    o o o I was pleased to see that the Atlas Trekker blog is now getting frequent updates. They’ve had some great posts on vehicular gear.    o o o Some folks seem that think that pump action shotguns are obsolete. I beg to differ. Courtesy of Michael Bane, here is a video of a reloading technique for advanced shooters that can keep a shotgun that has been “shot dry” or even one with a dented magazine tube still in the fight: Jasmine Jessie’s reloading technique. (To explain: under some local Cowboy Action Shooting rules, to “make it fair”, a shotgun’s loading is limited to just two shells. This puts pump gun shooters on a fairly level playing field with double-barrel shotgun shooters. Hence the need for rapid reloading, by hand.) For more information on this fun sport, see the SASS web site.    o o o A reminder that SurvivalBlog reader had a small batch of subdued Battle of … Continue reading

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