Jim’s Quote of the Day:

"Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things falls apart; the centre cannot hold;
mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, …" – W.B. Yeats

Tribal Reservation Lines as Criteria for Choosing Your Retreat Locale

Indian (for those readers overseas: U.S. Native American aboriginal) reservation boundaries can be another important criteria for selecting your retreat locale. In recent years, tribal governments in the U.S. have started flexing their muscles. When living inside the boundaries of an Indian reservation you will face an extra layer of bureaucracy, taxes (or “fees” or “permits”), law enforcement, and potentially a myriad of restrictions. You will also lack the ability to recover damages in the case of accidents in many instances. Real estate agents will often try to down play the significance of being "on the reservation", but do some detailed research for yourself before you buy! In essence, when you buy property inside a reservation you only have whatever property rights that are granted to you by the tribe. This varies widely. These rights can be withdrawn at any time and you will have no recourse except though a tribal court that may have a bias.

Truck Frame-Mounted PTO Genset for Chevy/GMC Pickups

A regular SurvivalBlog contributor sent me the URL for a company called RealPower. They make a truck frame-mounted power take-off (PTO) genset for GMC/Chevrolet pickups. (If you have a 2001 to early 2004 GMC or Chevy truck with an Allison 1000 automatic transmission, then you have a PTO gear. Note: From March 1 through late 2004 Chevrolet and GMC pickup trucks were not built with PTO.  After January 1, 2005, PTO became optional.) Obviously these are not designed for continuous duty, but if you have the budget for a spare generator, then this might be a viable option. My first question: What RPM range is required when the genset is under load?

Proviso: I have not had the opportunity to do research on either the technology of the company’s reputation. Perhaps one our readers has some first hand experience with a RealPower genset and can enlighten us.

From The Memsahib: Book Review of “Why Gender Matters”

Why Gender Matters: What Parents and Teachers Need to Know about the Emerging Science of Sex Differences. by Leonard Sax, M.D., Ph.D.

During the years that I was growing up, parents were told that boys and girls were the same. Supposedly it was only the stereotypical way the children were treated that made girls bad at math and boys aggressive. If children were treated just the same, girls would excel at the sciences and boys would be able to express their feelings. In Why Gender Matters, Leonard Sax, using 20 years of research documents how sex differences are significant and profound.

I found this book fascinating and I would recommend it to all teachers and parents, especially to parents with children that are having difficulty in school. I learned that boys do not hear as well as girls. Many boys have difficulty hearing their soft spoken female teachers and are labeled as having Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD). In the majority of the cases a diagnosis of ADD is made by the teacher–not a doctor!

One study cited showed that newborn girls were pre-wired to be attracted to faces while boys were twice as likely to prefer a moving object. A study of the cells that make up male and female eyes showed a profound difference. Female eyes are best adapted to detect color and texture while males eyes are best adapted to detect location, direction, and speed.

In the chapter entitled “School” Dr. Sax shows how gender-blind education is harmful to girls as well as boys. He states, “there is no difference in what girls and boys can learn. But there are big differences in the best way to teach them.” Then he goes on to give examples of how teaching methods can be used to best teach boys and girls.

Because of the difference between the male and female brain and the difference in there stages of development girls and boys should be disciplined differently. Dr. Sax lays out age appropriate and gender appropriate methods. Three chapters in this book are about Drugs, Sex, and Homosexuality. A bit of it is graphic. But even though the topics are disturbing and the material shocking, I still feel the information in these chapter was worth reading to understand the culture of today’s youth and the pressures they are likely to experience from their peers. I found this book at our local library. If your library does not have it, you can likely get it through inter-library loan. I especially recommend this book to parents, and I wish it was required reading for teachers!

Hurricane Katrina

I won’t belabor this point. Either folks were prepared, or they weren’t. Apparently, most weren’t and are now suffering. You’ve read the news stories. Those of you that own televisions have doubtless seen the news coverage. There is a concise compendium on Yahoo that summarizes the effects of the storm. I’d appreciate hearing some first hand accounts from SurvivalBlog readers that are in the affected area. Please keep the folks in Louisiana and Mississippi in your prayers!

Flawed Doctrine, Good Food Storage Advice

The Church of Latter Saints (commonly called the Mormons) and I will never come to agreement doctrinally. (Their doctrinal books refer to Christ as a spirit brother of Lucifer, and one of a pantheon of gods. It is hard to bridge a doctrinal divide that deep!) But I will give them credit for requiring their church members to lay in a substantially deep larder. There are some great food storage tips and some useful recipes for cooking with food storage at this LDS web site.

Letter Re: Where to Get Iodine Crystals?

Iodine crystals for disinfecting water are available as a trade product called “Polar Pure” from most of the regular backpacking supply places such as REI. It comes in a small bottle with a screened top, you fill it, shake it, and then decant a capful or two of the supersaturated solution into your water. The bottle has full instructions and also a thermometer so you know how long the water should sit before use. The cost was about $8 or so, last time I bought any. – “Doc”

JWR’s Reply: A highly recommended product! One little three ounce bottle can treat up to 2,000 quarts of water. I recommend that you buy one for each of your G.O.O.D. kits. Warning: The wire screen at the top of the bottle is there for a reason. Ingesting iodine crystals can be deadly!

Polar Pure is sold by Nitro-Pak, Campmor, Great Outdoors Depot, and several other Internet vendors. I recommend that you stock up before the Nanny State decides that the only use for iodine crystals is for cooking up methamphetamines.

Letter Re: Field Medicine Training

Hi Jim and Memsahib:
I think this site has valuable information for your readers as well as offering a Field Medicine School open to all who wish to attend. A three day course is around $325. The school is taught by veterans based on U.S. Navy Combat Medicine skills. It would be difficult to find another school filled with high-caliber cadre as well versed in this area anywhere. This link takes you to the curriculum site. Curriculum – Emergency Medicine – Medical Information http://www.medicalcorps.org/curriculum.htm

Keep up the great job! – “F1”

Jim’s Quote of the Day:

“You have never lived
’til you have almost died.
And for those that fight for it,
Life has a flavor that the protected will never know.”
– Anonymous quote penned on the wall of a USMC hooch at Khe Sahn, RVN

Note from JWR:

Wow! 20,000+ unique visits and 451,700 page hits in just 24 days! Not bad for a newborn baby blog. Please keep spreading the word. Brief posts to your favorite blogs or to discussion forums/bulletin boards about SurvivalBlog.com would be greatly appreciated!

Semi-Spiked Story from Oz — “Dumping of US Dollar Could Trigger ‘Economic September 11′”

I very rarely post lengthy excerpts from other sources. However, I am essentially forced to in this case. You see, this prematurely archived article was posted at The Australian newspaper website for just a few hours, earlier today. (Actually late afternoon on the 28th in the U.S., due to the time difference and being on the other side of the International Date Line). It was briefly on their “The World” page–one of their main pages. But it now shows up only in their archives. No explanation was given why it has mysteriously disappeared from their “The World” page. It appears to have been at least partially spiked. A tip of the hat to SurvivalBlog reader “Mr. Coffee” for alerting us to this story. I have made some edits for the sake of brevity and to avoid running afoul of “fair use” legalities.

Headline: Dumping of US Dollar Could Trigger ‘Economic September 11’

There is a potentially fatal flaw at the heart of the global economy: the strong possibility of financial meltdown following a collapse of confidence in the greenback, Clyde Prestowitz
tells Bruce Stannard
29 August 2005

THE nightmare scenario that haunts global strategist Clyde Prestowitz is an economic September 11 — a worldwide financial panic triggered by a sudden massive sell-off of US dollars that would lead inexorably to the collapse of economies around the world. If that happens, Prestowitz predicts: “It would make the Great Depression of the 1930s look like a walk in the park.” Australia would be sucked into the vortex of such a recession, which would cause great hardship throughout the world, he warns. Prestowitz is not a doomsayer, neither is he alone in his views. As president of the Economic Strategy Institute, a Washington think tank, he is in regular contact with the most influential US business leaders, several of whom — Warren Buffet and George Soros included — have taken steps to hedge their currency positions against the possibility of a cataclysmic plunge in the greenback. “Right now,” he says, “we have a situation in which the US is running huge trade deficits — about $US650 billion ($766 billion) in 2004 — which are financed by borrowings from the central banks of Asia — mainly the Chinese and the Japanese. All the world’s central banks are chock-full of US dollars — they’re holding many more dollars than they really want. They’re holding those dollars because at the moment there’s no great alternative and also because the global economy depends on US consumption. If they dump the dollar and the dollar collapses, then the whole global economy is in trouble.

[Snipped for brevity]

“It doesn’t take any great stretch of the imagination to see what could happen if one of these central bank managers decides to dump dollars. We had a situation recently when a mid-level official at the Central Bank of Korea used the word ‘diversification’. It was a throwaway remark at some obscure lunch, but there was instantaneous overreaction. The US stock market fell by 100 points in 15 minutes because the implication was that South Korea might be shifting out of US dollars. “So picture this: you have a quiet day in the market and maybe some smart MBA at the Central Bank of Chile or someplace looks at his portfolio and says, ‘I got too many dollars here. I’m gonna dump $10 billion’. So he dumps his dollars and suddenly the market thinks, ‘My god, this is it!’ Of course, the first guy out is OK, but you sure as hell can’t afford to be the last guy out. “You would then see an immediate cascade effect — a world financial panic on a scale that would dwarf the Great Depression of the 1930s.” Prestowitz says the panic could be started by something as simple as a hedge-fund miscalculation. “We had exactly that scenario in the US recently,” he points out, “when a big hedge fund called Long Term Capital Management went belly-up. These guys were pros. They had two Nobel prize-winning economists writing their trading algorithms, and their traders were the creme de la creme among New York bond traders. “They made a big bet — a trillion dollars leveraged 20 to one, and they blew it. They went belly-up. That threatened to bring down the whole system so US Federal Reserve chairman Alan Greenspan had to organise a bail-out through the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. “Now consider this: there are currently 8000 hedge funds in the US alone. Every day $6 trillion of derivative instruments trade on international markets. If there are four people in the world who understand those trades, I’d be surprised. So the potential for another disaster is not insignificant. This is why Warren Buffet, chairman of investment giant Berkshire Hathaway, is betting $US21 billion against the dollar. This is why currency speculator and hedge fund manager George Soros has also made a big bet against the dollar. “Soros is one of the greatest currency speculators of all time. He was the guy who broke the British pound in the early 1990s by betting $US10 billion it would fall. He made a quick billion when it did. In 2002, he warned that the greenback was in danger of losing a third of its value.

[Snipped for brevity]

If the dollar started to melt down, the results could be really nasty. A 1930s-style global depression is not out of the question.”
To underscore the point that he is not alone in this, Prestowitz cites Paul Volcker, head of the Federal Reserve before Greenspan, who has said publicly there is a 75 per cent chance of a dollar crash in the next five years. “No wonder people look at this and say, ‘Holy cow!’,” he says. “No one knows for sure what will happen, but clearly the global markets could implode very quickly. The lack of an alternative to the dollar is the only reason it hasn’t taken a big fall already.” Prestowitz, formerly a trade adviser and negotiator for former US president Ronald Reagan, believes the US will continue to be the world’s most powerful economy for the foreseeable future. But he foreshadows an inexorable decline, a trend that is likely to continue “depending on the way we play our cards”.

[Snipped for brevity]

“America’s global hegemony is already under challenge, and that challenge is going to become more and more evident as the extent of the relative US economic decline becomes evident. Right now, the US dollar is probably 40 per cent overvalued versus the Japanese yen or the Chinese renminbi. How’s the US going to look as a global power when the dollar is at 50 per cent of its current value?”

JWR’s Comment: Hmmm… I wonder why they spiked this story, post facto? I’m curious to know if this story made it into print in the hard copy edition of the newspaper. Chalk this one up to FFTAGFFR, folks!

Zoning Laws, HOAs, and CC&Rs as Criteria for Choosing Your Retreat Locale

“Homeowners Associations [HOAs] are the classic definition of a tyranny. HOAs are a level of government, with the power to tax, legislate, judge, and punish its citizens.”
– Michael Reardon, as quoted at: http://www.ahrc.com

To continue my train of thought on Criteria for Choosing Your Retreat Locale… You will gain several advantages if you live outside of city limits. You will avoid city taxes. You will most likely be on well or spring water instead of city water. In many cities because of zoning laws it is illegal to drill your own water well–since the utility companies want to maintain their monopoly. Operating a home business generally requires a city business license and a visit from the fire marshal. And of course, it is illegal to discharge a firearm inside city limits in most jurisdictions.

It is essential to look ahead to eventual growth. If your new “country” place is on fairly level ground and just a mile outside city limits, odds are that it will be inside city limits in a few years! Do some prognostication on the ‘line of march” of the advancing phalanxes of “Ticky Tacky Houses”, and plan accordingly.

Avoid states or counties with restrictive zoning laws. Zoning laws and homeowner’s association (HOA) restrictions may restrict the style of home that you build, the number and type of outbuildings, limits on “for profit” agriculture and the size of garden plots, livestock raising, timber harvesting, operation of a home-based businesses, pond and road construction, and hunting or target shooting on your own land.

Those Dreaded CC&Rs
Unless you buy in a pro-gun covenant community, beware of buying a house or land with “covenants, conditions, and restrictions” (CC&Rs.) These are contractual agreements that affect the use of the land. CC&Rs are typically mandated in “planned communities” where the developer or the homeowner’s association (HOA) makes it conditional on owning a home that specific appearance standards be maintained. They can be fairly benign, such as delimiting the colors houses can be painted. In some cases, CC&Rs can be outrageously totalitarian. Some do not allow a car that is more than five years old to be parked in view of the street, or do not allow visiting relatives to park an RV in your driveway or on the street in front of your house.

A “private gated community” might outwardly seem like a safe place to buy a house, but there are some serious potential drawbacks. A planned community with typical restrictions can present an uphill battle for preparedness provisions. At the very least, it makes preparedness much more expensive. In spite of all the disadvantages, some readers may be able to afford both preparedness and luxury, and may wish for the professional networking and social environment that attracts others to luxury gated communities. A private, gated community has obvious superficial advantages in security, in that outsiders are conspicuous. Residents tend to be more aware of those who are out of place. Such communities, at their best may function like small towns and enjoy some of their advantages. (But good luck finding a welding shop or plumber in Pinecrest Estates!) Some gated communities can be more social and insular, so that neighbors tend to be better acquainted than in ordinary neighborhoods. At the very least, members will begin with an “us” mentality as any crisis approaches. See Mr. & Mrs. Bravo’s profile at the Profiles page for more on this subject. BTW, I also owe thanks to Mr. Bravo for his contribution to this blog post.

Homeowners in typical gated communities often fit the helpless model of urbanites. However, a community in one of the small-government, low-tax, gun-friendly states is more likely to attract conservatives who share the principles held by survivalists. The retired California executive might not seem like the ideal preparedness neighbor, until you learn that he picked Utah because he is a shooting enthusiast, and is already well ahead of you in preparedness provisions. Even the “ranchette” or “dualie pickup” mindset can be a good start, as owners probably have at least some preparedness inclinations, perhaps without even yet realizing it. If you can, imagine the guys at a neighborhood barbecue boasting about who has the largest propane tank or the best-equipped shop. You get the idea.

Gated communities in such suitable Western states may have a significant number of part-time residents. These occasional residents may already be thinking of their mountain home as a crisis retreat, and some may be especially receptive to programs that enhance the security of their “retreat” when away, and which keep it secure prior to their arrival in a crisis. Some such homes can be expected to remain unclaimed by their owners, and may at least be a last resort to shelter others in need. (With prior consent, naturally.) The collective mindset and character of an existing community should be evaluated before purchasing, to assess whether there is hope for the community to function in a crisis. Meet people, learn about the community “culture,” and decide for yourself. If you are considering a purchase in a new development, ask yourself if you are prepared to be a leader, to educate others, and to set an example without standing out as an oddball. As times change, association rules can be changed, and this takes a leader. Ideally, one influential individual will eventually convince some neighbors of the importance of preparedness. They too have already selected a good geographic region. To avoid marking yourself as the “neighborhood survivalist” (leading not only to social embarrassment, but also to the hordes at your door in a true crisis) start slowly.

Most who pay the premium for a gated community are already quite security conscious. Initiate seminars in security and crisis communication. Foster the “neighborhood watch” mindset. It can later morph into a neighborhood watch on steroids, if necessary, to meet changing conditions. Your neighbors will probably have invested thousands in security systems, and perhaps much more in “safe rooms” or “panic rooms”. Many may be interested in further enhancing their security. A seminar on earthquake/flood/fire preparedness may be welcome, and the discussions should help identify those receptive to much more diligent preparedness. Others may be interested in an expert guest speaker on firearms selection and tactics for home security. Listen to the questions and discussions to identify those with the best potential. Create a “security” subcommittee packed with the right people, and begin to make palatable recommendations to the community board. (This avoids the “lone crackpot” appearance.) Keep in mind that the best prepared and wisest neighbors will not be quick to talk about their provisions, so take the time to get to know your neighbors, just as if you were in a small rural town.

Some communities may have restrictions that are not onerous to preparations, but which require creativity. Private wells may be prohibited, but rainwater recovery is a viable alternative. Where visible propane tanks are prohibited, buried tanks may be acceptable–and desirable for other reasons. Solar systems may be purchased but left uninstalled until a crisis is imminent. This is not ideal, as anyone who has set up such a system knows. Consider getting a self-contained trailer-mounted system that sits in a spare garage bay. A proviso: If you roll it out in your driveway for use during a crisis be sure to put it up on blocks and remove the wheels to make the trailer more difficult to steal. Outbuildings may not be allowed, but large basement spaces provide a good alternative, although at a significant cost.

While gated communities adjacent to big cities in problematic areas like Chicago and Atlanta will never be viable, there are attractive communities in the Intermountain West that are well removed from these risks. For those who insist on the amenities of a planned community, and who can afford them without compromising on preparedness essentials, these bedroom communities may be found within an hour’s drive of cities like Bend, Oregon, Reno, Nevada, Salt Lake City, Utah, and others throughout the West. For the rest of us who face real-world financial constraints, we are much better off finding a home where we are not asked to pay extra for preparedness constraints that are difficult or expensive to overcome. The greatest mistake is to overspend on a home, perpetually deferring prepared provisions.

Is living in a gated community right for you? Give it some serious thought, and do your research. Experience has shown that a typical homeowners association tends to be organized and operated by a busybody retiree with a Hitler complex and nothing better to do than make everyone else’s lives miserable. But of course YMMV.

Covenant Communities
The flip side to commercially-developed “gated communities” is the prospect of finding (or forming) a Covenant Community with like-minded survivalists. In the late 1990s, the Mormon survivalist leader and highly decorated war hero Bo Gritz formed one such community. It is called Almost Heaven, near Kamiah, Idaho. It has had mixed results, since a good portion of those buying land there were concerned about the Y2K date rollover computer crisis. When Y2K thankfully turned out to be a non-event, many of those landowners moved on.

I will discuss Covenant Communities more in upcoming blog posts. In the meantime, if you have any experience with a Covenant Community, I’d appreciate getting your e-mailed comments to incorporate in those upcoming posts.

Letter From “Dan Fong” Re: Welding

Hi Jim,
I agree with our mutual friend “Doug Carlton” on the subject of using an under-the-hood powered welder. I used to sell them when I had my metal fabrication business but they don’t work with all alternators. They are portable and work great but you need to have your engine at a high RPM to operate. If you are in a retreat, I would recommend a generator because it will also power the air compressor you will need if you have a plasma cutter along with the cutter. The compressor can also be used for pneumatic tools. I don’t know the fuel consumption difference between using the under the hood unit versus a generator. – “Dan Fong”

Letter Re: Beretta 9mm Model 92/Centurion Owners — .40 S&W Kits Now on the Market

On the question of the 40 cal Beretta, I can recommend the multiple trade in 40 S&W Glocks that are out there. CDNN and AIM Surplus are now stocking police trade-in Glock 22s and 23s at reasonable prices and they throw in high cap magazines.

BTW, I mostly carry a Glock 26 or 17, because I know what a good 9mm round can do. Load it with the Ranger 127 grain hollow points and you have nearly the power of a .357 SIG, but without the problems. – L.K.