Economics & Investing For Preppers

Here are the latest news items and commentary on current economics news, market trends, stocks, investing opportunities, and the precious metals markets. We also cover hedges, derivatives, and obscura. And it bears mention that most of these items are from the “tangibles heavy” contrarian perspective of SurvivalBlog’s Founder and Senior Editor, JWR. Today, we look at the fickle lumber commodity market. (See the Tangibles Investing section.)

Precious Metals:

Stefan Gleason: Five Big Lies About Precious Metals Investing Exposed

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“In Gold We Trust”: Waning Confidence In US Sends World’s Central Banks On Buying Spree

Economy & Finance:

Like something out of a survivalist novel:  With Venezuela in collapse, towns slip into primitive isolation

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At Zero Hedge: Profits Plunge As Home-Flipping Hits 9-Year-High

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Hedge Fund Analyst Admits Soliciting Fake Bond Quotes In $200 Million Investor Fraud Conspiracy

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At Wolf Street: Fed Balance Sheet Drops by $42 Billion in May, Sheds MBS at Fastest Pace, Starts the Reverse of Operation Twist

Continue reading“Economics & Investing For Preppers”



The Editors’ Quote of the Day:

Ironically, however, the question [of soil conditioning] is mostly academic. The cure for heavy clay soil is to add organic matter to break up the clay and improve drainage. The cure for sandy, dry soil is to add organic matter to retain water. The cure for acid soil is to add organic matter, particularly bird manure, to bring the pH up and make more nutrients available. The cure for alkaline soil is to add organic matter to buffer it. The cure for hardpan [soil] is to add organic matter to feed earthworms.” – Linda Woodrow 1996, Permaculture Home Garden



Preparedness Notes for Tuesday — June 11, 2019

John Wayne, the iconic American film actor, died forty years ago today. (On June 11th, 1979.) While John Wayne is probably best known for his westerns like True Grit (released 50 years ago, today), The Shootist and Fort Apache, we remember him best for his roles in The Alamo and The Green Berets, both of which reflected his patriotic, conservative leanings.

SurvivalBlog Writing Contest

Today we present another entry for Round 83  of the SurvivalBlog non-fiction writing contest. The more than $12,000 worth of prizes for this round include:

First Prize:

  1. A $3,000 gift certificate towards a Sol-Ark Solar Generator from Veteran owned Portable Solar LLC. The only EMP Hardened Solar Generator System available to the public.
  2. A Gunsite Academy Three Day Course Certificate. This can be used for any one, two, or three day course (a $1,095 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. These have hammer forged, chrome-lined barrels 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. This can be assembled in less than one minute without the use of any tools. It also provides a compact carry capability in a hard case or in 3-day pack (an $1,100 value),
  5. Two cases of Mountain House freeze-dried assorted entrees in #10 cans, courtesy of Ready Made Resources (a $350 value),
  6. A $250 gift certificate good for any product from Sunflower Ammo,
  7. American Gunsmithing Institute (AGI) is providing a $300 certificate good towards any of their DVD training courses.

Second Prize:

  1. A gift certificate from Quantum Harvest LLC (up to a $2,200 value) good for 12% off the purchase of any of their sun-tracking models, and 10% off the purchase price of any of their other models.
  2. A Front Sight Lifetime Diamond Membership, providing lifetime free training at any Front Sight Nevada course, with no limit on repeating classes. This prize is courtesy of a SurvivalBlog reader who prefers to be anonymous.
  3. 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,
  4. A Three-Day Deluxe Emergency Kit from Emergency Essentials (a $190 value),
  5. 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).
  6. An assortment of products along with a one hour consultation on health and wellness from Pruitt’s Tree Resin (a $265 value).

Third Prize:

  1. A Royal Berkey water filter, courtesy of Directive 21 (a $275 value),
  2. Expanded sets of both washable feminine pads and liners, donated by Naturally Cozy (a $185 retail value),
  3. Two Super Survival Pack seed collections, a $150 value, courtesy of Seed for Security, LLC,
  4. Mayflower Trading is donating a $200 gift certificate for homesteading appliances.

Round 83 ends on July 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.



Our Wildfire Evacuation, Part 1, by SoCal9mm

Editor’s Introductory Note:  At nearly 10,000 words, this is one of the longest multi-part articles ever to appear in SurvivalBlog. It will be presented in five parts, concluding on Saturday. Despite its length, this is some fascinating and detailed reading. The author’s insights and “lessons learned” are quite valuable, and they go far beyond just the particular concerns of wildfire evacuation.

On the evening of December 4, 2017, the Thomas Fire started in Ventura County, California. By the time it was over, about 440 square miles had burned across Ventura and Santa Barbara Counties, more than 1,000 structures were lost, and at least 23 people had perished (2 directly from the fire, and another 21 [plus 2 missing] from subsequent mudslides caused by denuded hills). This fire resulted from the combination of a long-term drought (very dry brush) and a very strong Santa Ana wind condition (a semi-routine wind pattern that blows from the deserts of Utah, Nevada, and Arizona and pushes warm and very dry air into SoCal). Temperatures, even on this December evening, were in the 60s – 70s, humidity was in the single digits, and winds were blowing up to 70 mph. A spark was all that was needed to set off this firestorm, and that was provided by a downed power line.

The Thomas Fire came right on the heels of the devastating Tubbs Fire in and around Santa Rosa, California, which burned so quickly that entire neighborhoods were engulfed before people could escape. One heartbreaking news story told of a trapped couple who had to shelter all night in a swimming pool, just briefly exposing their mouths and noses to get air before going back down to escape the heat / flames. The husband survived, but the wife did not. The only thing to come out of the Tubbs Fire that could be called “good” was that such terrible stories from Santa Rosa were fresh in the minds of many of us in Ventura County – and we knew that we had to get out NOW when the evacuation was called for. I firmly believe that without the “lesson” that the Tubbs Fire taught many Californians, the death toll from the Thomas Fire would have been higher.

On the first night of the Thomas Fire, somewhere between 30,000 and 50,000 people were forced to evacuate from our homes. Over the course of the next 3-to-4 weeks, as the fire spread across Ventura and Santa Barbara counties, the number of people displaced rose to over 100,000. We were out of our home for a little more than four weeks.Continue reading“Our Wildfire Evacuation, Part 1, by SoCal9mm”



SurvivalBlog’s News From The American Redoubt

Here is SurvivalBlog’s News From The American Redoubt. This weekly column features news stories and event announcements from around the American Redoubt region. We also mention companies of interest to preppers that are located in the region. Today, we focus on the C-47 Miss Montana’s flight to Europe, in commemoration of the 75th anniversary of the D-Day invasion. (See the Montana section.)

Region-Wide

The Conservative Move web site is still getting a lot of inquiries about the Inland Northwest and Northern Rockies. Which States are the biggest magnets for conservatives who are fed up with liberal coastal politics?  Texas and Idaho.  But substantial numbers are also heading to Montana and Wyoming.

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This article…

Exodus: As Bay Area moves left, these conservative voters move out

…lends credence to this brief article that my #1 Son Jonathan wrote:

Who is Moving to the Redoubt?

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Thanks a bunch, Kate – that’s 60+ people out of work. A quote:

“Portland-based Stimson Lumber announced today that it will lay off at least 60 people at its Forest Grove mill—40 percent of the workforce there—and move some of its operations to Idaho and Montana.

Stimson CEO Andrew Miller presented the layoffs as a direct response to three environmental and tax policies championed by Oregon Gov. Kate Brown. He cited a $1 billion-a-year tax increase to fund schools passed by the Oregon Legislature this month; a 2015 Clean Fuels Program requiring reduced carbon emissions, and a cap and trade package currently under consideration.”

Idaho

Video: Rep. Heather Scott on Idaho Administrative Rules

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Spring chinook season closed on two rivers

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Yo, red stater: Worried Idaho could turn blue? Stop blaming Californians moving here.

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A new SurvivalRealty listing in Idaho: 60 Off-grid Remote Acres

Continue reading“SurvivalBlog’s News From The American Redoubt”



The Survivalist’s Odds ‘n Sods:

SurvivalBlog presents another edition of The Survivalist’s Odds ‘n Sods— a collection of news bits and pieces that are relevant to the modern survivalist and prepper from “JWR”.  Today, we look at warnings of a second civil war.

Civil War II?

Some pundits are suggesting that a second civil war is ineluctable.  For example, there is this piece published a few days ago at Daily KosHow do we avert the inevitable plutocrat-driven civil war?

Fake Videos of You Using Facebook images

Reader DSV sent this: Samsung can now create fake videos of you using Facebook images

A New Balloon Eye in the Sky

Reader G.P. sent this: A New Surveillance Tool Is Coming to U.S. Skies. A pericope:

“An Arizona company developing a new type of high-altitude, long-range surveillance platform just completed a 16-day mission during which massive balloons floated over four western U.S. states, all part of an effort to someday keep them aloft for months at a time.

World View Enterprises Inc. builds what it calls Stratollites, a system designed to offer the type of coverage satellites afford but without the need to launch incredibly expensive rockets into space. Effectively unmanned balloons, the untethered platforms operate with surveillance equipment payloads of as much as 110 pounds (50 kg) at altitudes of 50,000 feet to 75,000 feet, the company said, far above commercial air traffic.

They will be able to monitor mines, pipelines, transit infrastructure—and perhaps the contents of your fenced-off backyard—in hyper-accurate detail.”Continue reading“The Survivalist’s Odds ‘n Sods:”







Kel-Tec CMR 30, by Pat Cascio

The debate seems to have no end, when it comes to rifles (and handguns) for the End Times, or a SHTF event. Everyone has an opinion on this subject, and we are all entitled to our opinions – and I don’t think there is a right or wrong opinion – it’s just that – an opinion. Not everyone wants an AR-15 type of rifle or carbine, nor does everyone want an AK-47 type of rifle. These are probably two of the most popular firearms when talk turns to defending oneself and their family, in a very bad situation, where there is no Without Rule Of Law (WROL) and we have to depend on ourselves and our weapons to stay safe.

My preferred weapon for the bad times are AR-15 types of rifles or carbines. However, I have no problem whatsoever, with a quality-made AK-47 type of rifle for the same purposes. When push comes to shove, I’ll pick-up an AR first if I have that choice.

Those in the AR camp, feel that the AR is the better weapon for combat or survival for many reasons. Number one is the quality of most ARs, and secondly, they are light-weight, and the ammo .223 or 5.56mm is more readily available, and you can pack a lot more of this light-weight ammo, than you can the 7.62X39 round – that most AKs take. Plus, if you want a reliable AK mag, you really need to go with the steel mags. I’ve not been pleased with some of the polymer mags that are available for AKs. Steel mags add weight – a lot more weight. Most AR 30-round magazines are made out of polymer or aluminum alloy and are much lighter in weight. And  because they have a less pronounced curve they are also more compact – and thus easier to carry in your web gear. Yeah, I know, there are some steel mags for ARs, but I don’t like ‘em – my preferred AR mag is the MagPul PMags – polymer – and they are the best mags on the market – end of story.

Spare parts are easy to come by for ARs, not so easy for AKs – and when the chips fall, you may not be able to find spare AK parts. But AR spare parts are readily available all over the place. There are lots of reasons to pick an AR over an AK if you ask me.

However, this article isn’t about AR versus AK for the End Times or any serious SHTF scenario. Instead, we are looking at an alternative to both the AR and AK, and that is the Kel-Tec CMR-30, and this is one fine weapon. First off, this little carbine is chambered in .22 Magnum – not .22 LR – and the .22 Mag has a lot more power compared to the .22 LR. Plus, we are looking at magazines – it comes with two, that hold 30 rounds each. Yeep, 30-round .22 Magnum magazines – that’s a lot of firepower.Continue reading“Kel-Tec CMR 30, by Pat Cascio”



Recipe of the Week: Penny’s Quick-Cooked Wheat Berries

We are always looking for recipes for storage foods.  This one is particularly useful.

Reader Penny in Arkansas kindly sent us her directions for cooking wheat berries.

There are far more uses for your stored wheat than just grinding flour!  Infogalactic has this description:

“A wheat berry, or wheatberry, is a whole wheat kernel (except for the hull/husk), composed of the bran, germ, and endosperm. Botanically, it is a type of fruit called a caryopsis. Wheat berries have a tan to reddish-brown color and are available as either a hard or soft processed grain. They are often added to salads or baked into bread to add a crunchy texture. If wheat berries are milled, whole-wheat flour is produced.

Wheat berries are the primary ingredient in an Eastern European Christmas porridge called kutya. In France, cooked durum wheat berries are commonly eaten as a side dish instead of rice or corn. This side dish is often called ebly, from the name of the first brand of prepared wheat berries.”

You can of course soak whole wheat kernels overnight with no heat, to swell and soften wheat berries, and then quickly heat them for serving, with nutritive value. But there is also Penny’s “quick-cooked” method:

Ingredients
  • Any desired quantity of wheat that will fit in a cooking pot, but leaving room for double that volume of water.
  • Water (tap water or treated rainwater)
  • Salt, to taste, and to match your doctor’s orders.
Directions
    1. Carefully examine the wheat, to make sure that there is no chaff (hulls), dirt, pebbles, or grit. Failure to do so could mean a trip to the dentist!
    2. Place the cleaned wheat kernels in a soup pot.
    3. Add at least twice the volume of water to the volume of wheat.
    4. Put your stove top on a high flame and bring the pot to a full boil.
    5. Reduce burner heat to low.
    6. Cover pot with a lid.
    7. Simmer the wheat berries for 1 hour, stirring occasionally.
    8. After one hour, the wheat berries should be soft enough to eat.
    9. Drain and briefly rinse the wheat berries. (Do not rinse them too long, or they will lose too much heat.)
Serving
  1. To serve the wheat berries hot, serve them immediately after cooking.
  2. To serve after refrigeration, the wheat berries can be re-heated in a microwave oven or quickly re-heated in a saucepan on your stovetop. Do not overcook them!
  3. Wheat berries can be served just like cooked oats, as a breakfast cereal. Cover with milk, cream or yogurt, and add fruit and a dash of maple syrup, honey, or brown sugar. Yummy!
Storage (After Cooking)

Cooked wheat berries can be stored in your refrigerator to parcel out in servings for up to 48 hours. After that, for safety they should be either fed to your chickens, or composted.

Cooked wheat berries can be stored in your freezer for up to 30 days.

A Useful Link

Cooking With Wheat: 5 Ways to Use Those Wheat Berries

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

 



Economics & Investing For Preppers

Here are the latest news items and commentary on current economics news, market trends, stocks, investing opportunities, and the precious metals markets. We also cover hedges, derivatives, and obscura. And it bears mention that most of these items are from the “tangibles heavy” contrarian perspective of SurvivalBlog’s Founder and Senior Editor, JWR. Today, I’m taking an unusual traverse from the normally-posted fodder to instead post a reminder about my tangibles investing philosophy, and how it drives me to write this column three days a week:

A Reiteration of My Tangibles Investing Philosophy

My readers and consulting clients often ask me why I so strongly emphasize tangibles. This because I consider tangibles a mitigation for risks to the U.S. Dollar as a currency unit. Like all other fiat currencies, the Dollar is doomed.  It has lost 98% of it purchasing power since the establishment of the Federal Reserve in 1913. The government benefits from price inflation because it is a hidden, indirect form of taxation.

Of course other countries are playing the same game with fiat Funny Money. The Forex market is a fanciful game of  “My trash is better than your trash.” The ups and downs in the Forex are just extrapolations of the monetary policies of the various nations. Those that inflate without a corresponding growth in their economy and exports see the foreign exchange value of their currencies decline. All of the fiat currencies are on  downhill slopes. The only difference is the relative pitch of the slopes, for each. Thus, the myth of “strong” versus “weak ” currencies has developed. There are NO truly strong fiat currencies. The fiats are all weak, albeit some of them are weaker than others. The only genuine strength is in precious metals and other barterable tangibles.

The gradual erosion of the Dollar can be offset by properly storing carefully-selected tangibles. Just look through the archives of the past few years of this column, for details on various tangible investments. In the age of inflation, it is wise to have more than half of your net worth in tangibles. The house you live in should of course be your main tangible investment. Beyond that, there is wisdom in diversity:  Productive farm land, silver, gold, platinum, hand tools, guns, ammunition, fine wristwatches, and even classic cars are all viable options. What they have in common is that they are denominated in themselves–not in some artifice of a currency digit. Those digits will all inevitably decline in real terms, and some will dramatically go “poof.” But the well-guarded contents of my gun and coin vaults will never go “poof.”

The Federal Reserve banking cartel and the U.S. Treasury have conspired to have a very loose monetary policy, ever since the dot.com bubble burst, back in 2000. So we’ve thusfar had 19 years of charades, artificially low interest rates, and Quantitative Easing prestidigitation. I believe that the inflationary chickens will soon come home to roost.

In mass inflation, your best shelter will be in tangibles. The formula for success as a tangibles investor in essence: Buy low, sell high, and then replace them with other tangibles that are depressed at the time, but that are likely to see similar gains. Lather, rinse, repeat. Yes, there are lots of other investments, and many of these can outpace inflation. But you core holdings should always be tangible ones.

Tangibles are the raison d’être for penning this column, week in and week out. Granted, other investments interest me, but none of them run so close to the core of my psyche. To me, all of those paper-based investments, and the new purely conceptual investments (such as cryptocureencies) seem downright laughable in comparison to tangibles. If I cannot lay my hands on it, then it cannot be depended upon–especially when the Schumer hits the fan.

Provisos:

SurvivalBlog and its Editors are not paid investment counselors or advisers. Please see our Provisos page for our detailed disclaimers.

News Tips:

Please send your economics and investing news tips to JWR. (Either via e-mail of via our Contact form.) These are often especially relevant, because they come from folks who particularly watch individual markets. And due to their diligence and focus, we benefit from fresh “on target” investing news. We often get the scoop on economic and investing news that is probably ignored (or reported late) by mainstream American news outlets. Thanks!



The Editors’ Quote of the Day:

“If this nation is to be wise as well as strong, if we are to achieve our destiny, then we need more new ideas for more wise men reading more good books in more public libraries. These libraries should be open to all—except the censor. We must know all the facts and hear all the alternatives and listen to all the criticisms. Let us welcome controversial books and controversial authors. For the Bill of Rights is the guardian of our security as well as our liberty.” – John F. Kennedy (Response to questionnaire in Saturday Review, October 2, 1960

 



Preparedness Notes for Sunday — June 9, 2019

On June 9, 1940 Norway surrendered to the invading German army, during World War II. The citizenry was then quickly disarmed by the Nazis, so resistance was limited. (The invaders had access to the Norwegian police gun registration lists.) To avoid many reprisals by the Germans, King Haakon the 7th also ordered that only uniformed Norwegian troops operating from offshore should overtly resist the Nazis.  The “H7” logo (pictured) became the ubiquitous symbol of resistance in occupied Norway.

Today we present a short article on using and maintaining Imco brand cigarette lighters. Because it is so brief, this article will not be part of the writing contest judging.

 



Using and Maintaining Imco Lighters, by A.C.C.

I am writing with a bit of information that fellow readers might find helpful: We all agree that possessing the means to make fire is important. I suspect that like me, lots of you have put back a supply of disposable butane cigarette lighters. In a grid down world, they would make great barter items.

I have always thought it would be nice to also have some “Old School” liquid fuel lighters, as well. For years, I carried a Zippo lighter, but it was frustrating because the fuel evaporated so quickly that unless I refueled it at least every other day, it might not light. This is such a problem that some folks would cut a section of bicycle inner tube, to cover the joint and slow down evaporation. But then, you had to move the rubber tube each time before you could use the lighter. It was irritating enough that I eventually quit the Zippo, and went with Bic.

I still, however, wanted a liquid fuel alternative that could use a variety of fuels, work reliably, and go for at least a week between refueling. I read about the European counterpart to the Zippo. Most of the American G.I.s carried Zippos in WWII, but the Europeans mostly carried a very different design made by a company in Austria called Imco. The Imco is smaller and lighter than the Zippo. It is windproof and is designed so that you can take the fuel tank and wick out of the lighter mechanism, and use it as you would a candle.Continue reading“Using and Maintaining Imco Lighters, by A.C.C.”



The Survivalist’s Odds ‘n Sods:

SurvivalBlog presents another edition of The Survivalist’s Odds ‘n Sods— a collection of news bits and pieces that are relevant to the modern survivalist and prepper from “JWR”.  Today, we look at YouTube’s Checkmate Move.

YouTube’s Checkmate Move

Back in a March, I warned that we are entering Phase Three of the Internet Censorship War. I’ve now identified the Tech Left’s intended checkmate move in this war: Last week, YouTube announced that they had expanded their definition of “hate speech”. By simply adding the words “immigration status” to their list of prohibited speech, they gave themselves carte blanche to silence, demonetize, and de-platform anyone who advocates having strong borders.

With the 2020 Presidential election approaching, I have no doubt that the other social media giants will emulate YouTube’s policy change.  This is essentially a checkmate move, design to demonize Trump supporters. By doing this, the tech moguls clearly intend to throw the 2020 election. Anyone who opposes the Democrat/socialist agenda is now fair game for censorship. They have now effectively declared war on conservatives and traditionalists. And, since smartphones and social media have become ubiquitous, the tech corporation’s leftist leadership now controls the sociopolitical narrative. Unwittingly, their machinations have also set the stage for a Second Civil War.

In a 2013 essay, I pointed out the importance of defending the English language. (See: Incendiary Words: Of Detonations and Denotations.) By redefining the words “hate speech” to match their political agenda, the Tech Left attempting a political masterstroke. Do not let them succeed. We must develop alternative platforms and methods of correspondence, to counter the Tech Left’s censorship. Reversion to forwarded e-mail chains may very well be our new Committees of Correspondence. May God help us.

Working Satellites With Your H/T

Mike in Alaska suggested this video:  How to work amateur radio satellites with your handheld (HT) radio.

Subsonic Handloads for Mosin-Nagants

SurvivalBlog’s Editor At Large, Michael Z. Williamson recommended this article from a handloading experimenter in Finland: How to Handload Subsonic Rifle Cartridges.

JWR’s Safety Proviso: Be VERY cautious in developing your own handloads, especially with substitute powders and/or powder buffers.  And particularly for experimental subsonic loads, BEWARE of “squibs”–where a bullet doesn’t exit the muzzle. Firing a second shot behind a squibbed projectile is very likely to cause catastrophic damage to a rifle. If you ever suspect that you’ve had a squib, then pull the rifle’s bolt out, and take a look down the bore!

Continue reading“The Survivalist’s Odds ‘n Sods:”