Thursday, December 29, 2011

SDS Daily Briefing for Thursday, December 29, 2011

Back on Frequency

We spent the Christmas holiday in Tennessee with our respective families.  This year, we wanted to take our small dogs with us, so we drove the 900 miles.  The drive home yesterday lasted over 14 hours, including stops.  We're glad to be home.

Report From Sniper School

I've been meaning to summarize my experiences at Sniper School (okay, it's not really called that, but that's what the four of us who attended decided to call it), but the holidays got in the way.  So I'll try to cover the bases tonight.

The four of us took our AR-15s to a range about two hours east of Austin, where we met Kenan  Flasowski of FAST, Inc.  Kenan is a former Army sniper and a wealth of knowledge.

A little background is helpful here.  Shooting long distances, or even medium range distances, requires a strong understanding of ballistics.  Unlike tactical handgun shooting, where you are shooting at short ranges with small barreled guns, rifle shooting is far more complex.  Suffice it to say that if you are learning to shoot rifles at any distance, you first need some instruction in ballistics, proper breathing, and sight picture on your rifle.

We had hoped to get out to 400 meters, but the weather and our collective skill sets dictated a different strategy.  After we got our rifles zeroed in at 25 meters in the prone position, we practiced shooting from kneeling and sitting positions.  While that sounds easy, I can assure you that unless you're in your early twenties or are in phenomenal physical condition, contorting yourself into a stable shooting position is challenging. 

The rain, wind and temperatures limited our ability to do everything we had hope to accomplish, but Kenan didn't let that discourage him.  We set up one of those party tent things you see at tailgate parties - just a roof and open sides - large enough to accommodate all five of us and room for our gear.  Kenan put us on the clock and had us shoot steel targets at 100 yards, utilizing cover and from different positions.  The great thing about working with Kenan is that as a former sniper and plenty of trigger time in Iraq and Afghanistan, he knows what works and what doesn't, and coveys that information to you without the macho "I'm a bad ass" you get at many gun schools.

My personal take aways:

  • I don't shoot nearly enough.  And I certainly don't shoot nearly enough with my rifle.
  • Optics help.  Peering through that peep hole sight at 100 meters made for difficult shooting at times.  The guys with optics didn't have that problem.
  • ARs shoot high.  I need to learn that and compensate for it.
  • You MUST keep your AR in good working order.  By this I mean you must clean it regularly.  My rifle did well, but towards the end of the class, some of the other ARs were beginning to choke on all of residue left behind from the hundreds of rounds we fired.
On a side note, one of the guys had a "bump stock."  What is that, you ask?

For about $350, you can have one of these too.  And yes, I tried it out.  It rocked.
    An Uplifting Scary Video

    Here's a unique way at looking at the faltering economy.  The conclusions the presenter reaches tend to reach apocalyptic levels, but the time progression of the unemployment rates across a map of the U.S. is quite thought provoking.  I share this for what it's worth.

    2012 Analysis Newsletter Out Soon

    I'm preparing a special report on the upcoming year.  I will be happy to share it with you.  More details to follow this weekend.

    Wednesday, December 21, 2011

    SDS Daily Briefing for Wednesday, December 21, 2011

    Reading List For the Holidays

    Blogging over the next week or so will be limited, as I am celebrating the holidays like everyone else.  I would encourage you to read three articles over the next few days.  M.D. Creekmore found the first two, which he mentions on his blog

    Why All Signs Point To Chaos - European economic woes may create major problems for our own weakened economy.

    Cops Ready For War - The article's title tells it all.  This is key because of the article below.

    Rights Activists "Appalled" As Senate Passes Prison Without Trial Bill - the National Defense Authorization Act should shock every American.  The idea that you or your family member could be labeled as a terrorist and put in jail without a trial violates many of the basic rights afforded us under our Constitution.  Don't think for one minute this couldn't apply to you.  Ever bought an MRE or other storeable food?  Ever paid cash for an item?  Ever attended a Tea Party or other political function that wasn't a Democrat or Republican sponsored one?  You, too, could be labeled as a terrorist and have your constitutionally protected rights to due process essentially ignored.  All in the name of allegedly making us safer.

    These are strange times.  But more people are paying attention.  Many who wouldn't have thought twice about preparedness and the erosion of our rights and national sovereignty two years ago now confide in me they are worried and are beginning to take steps to prepare themselves for harder times.

    As we end the year, think about what things you need to be doing in 2012 to be more self reliant.  Make a plan and create a budget to allow you to make those things come to fruition.

    Saturday, December 17, 2011

    SDS Weekend Briefing for Saturday, December 17, 2011

    Need A New Investment Idea?  How About Antique Firearms?

    CNBC ran this article earlier this week.  It's my understanding that certain antique firearms are exempt from New York City ordinances prohibiting handguns.  Something to think about.

    I Hope You Are Reading This Newsletter

    Texas Todd turned me on to this newsletter.  Fantastic reading.  Makes me wonder why I even bother blogging....I could just read what they write and save myself a lot of time.

    Sniper School On Monday
    I, along with three other lobbyists, head east of Austin for what we're calling "Sniper School."  The day long class is designed to enable us to shoot AR-15s out to 400 meters.  If our instructor, a former Army sniper, can teach me to reliably hit a man sized silhouette at 400 meters in a day, I will be forever impressed.  I will certainly blog about our experience.

    Thursday, December 15, 2011

    SDS Daily Briefing for Thursday, December 15, 2011

    Guns Sales Are Off The Charts

    Gun sales on Black Friday set new sales records.  People, especially women, are taking more responsibility for their own personal safety. 

    If you're one of those new gun buyers, I congratulate you.  I also highly encourage you to get training on how to use it safely and effectively.

    Building Your Team

    Today, I had lunch with a fellow prepper.  It's good for me to meet with other preppers to hear their concerns and share ideas. 

    One of the topics we discussed was how to build a team or network of like minded people to share ideas and, if need be, rely upon in a crisis.  In my mind, it's one of the most difficult challenges - if not the most difficult one - someone who wants to prep as part of a network.

    It got me to thinking - what might someone new to prepping do in order to build their own network?  Some ideas include:

    • The Internet is filled with info on preparedness groups around the country.  Reach out to them.  I do caution people about jumping head first into any preparedness group.  Start slowly with any prep network you join.  While I'd like to tell you everyone who is a prepper is an upright person, I know there are some within the movement who have ideas counter to mine.
    • Talk to your close friends.  Identify ones you think "get it" but perhaps haven't started taking action, and encourage them to do so.  They can be a fantastic asset, since you've already vetted them to be worthy of close friend material.
    • Look beyond conventional "prepper" groups.  Groups focusing on gardening, amateur radio, neighborhood watch, and training people in first aid are often filled with people who are interested in learning more about self sufficiency. 

    Wednesday, December 14, 2011

    SDS Daily Briefing for Wednesday, December 14, 2011

    Santelli For Three....YESSS!

    If you watch this two minute video, you will know more about the national debt situation than the vast majority of Americans.  Rick Santelli has a way of distilling complex finance issues into very simple terms we can understand.  This may be his best work yet.

    Follow Up From Yesterday's Briefing

    I mentioned I'd read a comment on the electricity rate article I linked to in yesterday's blog.  I went back so I could attribute the comment to the correct person.  That would be Sharon Lank of Nashville.  While her comment led me to believe she might be a prepper, her other postings on her Facebook page make me think otherwise.  And I'm pretty sure she would not like me.  Nonetheless, I believe in giving credit where it's due.  Unlike both parties in Washington.

    Today's Silver And Gold Prices

    Those of us long in metals - and I am in that group - got hammered today, especially if you held silver.  The metals fell in large part due to a flight to the U.S. dollar.  The EU crisis has everyone freaked, and as a result, commodities tanked, the equity markets tanked, and the Euro (predictably) fell against the USD. 

    We continue to wait to see if and when there will be a decoupling of metals from the equity markets.  Once that happens, I suspect we would see metals and other commodities grow much higher. 

    Is US Prepared For Electromagnetic Pulse Attack?

    This story is getting a lot of chatter among many in the preparedness community.  It's not that it tells us anything we didn't already know, but instead because of the timing.  Many say the Iranian situation is pushing this concern up towards the top of the threat list. 

    EMP remains a terrifying threat.  How real is it?  A number of bright people remain quite concerned...and the video in the link above is a litany of all the reasons why an EMP attack would suck.

    Conspiracy theorists aside (who promote the idea that the EMP threat is simply a fiction created by the industrial military complex to justify more defense spending), I remain concerned about the threat, simply because the ramifications could be devastating.  I still put other concerns, such as the economy and severe weather, ahead of the EMP threat.

    Tuesday, December 13, 2011

    SDS Daily Update for Tuesday, December 13, 2011

    "Stop Complaining and Panel Up."

    Someone posted this Facebook comment in response to the article that came out a day or so go regarding the dramatic increase in electricity rates over the last few years.  A number of people were blaming Obama and/or Bush for the issue.  One astute lady commented that she had put 3.6 kW solar panels on her house and was selling power back to the utility company as a way to offset her energy bills.  She concluded her post by poignantly saying, "Stop complaining and panel up."

    That could very well be the mantra of the Suburban Dad Survivalist Nation.  Queen Elizabeth is often fond of telling her grandsons "Never complain, never explain."  That stiff British upper lip may be a turn off to many, but it explains a lot about the mental toughness of those Britons who endured the Battle of London not so long ago.  We should take a lesson from these two ladies.  Complaining about Obama or Bush or Europe's mess won't help us going forward.  On the other hand, when we "panel up" - both literally and figuratively - we begin to take more control of our own destiny.

    When Arithmetic Trumps Economics

    These days, this Suburban Dad spends a fair amount of time on the treadmill.  Because he is fat.  And because he likes eating sweet things.  During my time on the treadmill in my younger and single days, I might pass much of that time checking out the talent on the Stairmaster.  Now that I am older, my head is usually down, with earbuds pumping Stone Temple Pilots or Billy Idol into my brain, flipping through a financial newsletter, a devotional or gun magazine.  (And yes, that is what my demographic is into).

    Tonight's reading assignment was to continue reading this month's Financial Intelligence Report.  Monthly columnist James Dale Davidson writes this month on the Euro crisis, he rhetorically asks (and then answers) his readers:

    But why did the establishment financial operators, normally compliant with even the most fantastic
    “fairyland” accounting, suddenly revert to using arithmetic to do their sums [in determining the financial health of Italy and the EU]? I suspect for many, the reason is they know something you don’t — that the gag is up. Think of rats deserting a sinking ship.

    As I  have discussed before on this blog, set all economic theory aside for a moment.  Set aside any proclivities you might have for class warfare or blaming Obama or Bush or Ben Bernanke.  Think in terms of simple arithmetic.  And when you do that for Italy, Davidson points out the math is pretty clear:

    According to published reports, Italy needs to refinance about €310 billion in debt next year.  Currently, the average interest rate on the expiring debt is less than 3 percent. If the Italians need to
    pay 7 percent plus on the refinancing, that implies an additional 400 basis points of cost times €310
    billion of maturing debt. This will add another €12.5 billion of interest expense to the €54 billion interest payments already scheduled.

    The problem here is twofold. Possibly optimistic projections suggest Italy’s economy will grow by 0.1 percent in real terms in 2012 and by 3 percent in nominal terms, adding up to an expected nominal gross domestic product growth of about €60 billion. By contrast, Italy’s interest costs on its mammoth debt will be about €66.5 billion in 2012, exceeding the economy’s margin of growth by 10 percent. And, while Italy is ill-prepared to grow its way out of the debt crisis, it is also too big to bail out.

    Simply put, as I said in last night's blog, math can be a bitch sometimes.  Italy cannot mathematically grow its way out of the problem.  And just as Italy doesn't have the arithmetic to do so on its side, nor does the United States.  Again, putting aside economic theory and class warfare for a moment and just looking at the raw data, you cannot tax the rich enough to ever eliminate the deficit in any meaningful way.  There's simply not enough rich people out there to soak.  Like it or not, that's reality.  We need to learn to deal with that, lest we continue down the path we're on.

    And That Path Would Be.....

    A global recession, of course.  CNBC's website leads with this story it picked up from the Financial Times.   "Policymakers are worried," we're told in the article:

    Deeper gloom has infected the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, particularly with the response of advanced-economy politicians. Pier Carlo Padoan, its chief economist, said: "We are concerned that policymakers fail to see the urgency of taking decisive action to tackle the real and growing risks to the global economy."

    And the article goes downhill from there.

    So let me ask you - just what the hell are you doing to prepare for further economic malaise and possible depression?  If your answer is "uhh," it's time to "panel up."  If you are starting to take action, I have to think you are way ahead of most people, even if you're in the first steps of preparing.

    SDS Daily Briefing for December 12, 2011

    Take A Deep Breath.  Then Exhale.

    This will likely be my longest blog entry to date.  Might want to go get a Red Bull and a snack before you read any further.

    Beginning last Thursday, the internet forums on preparedness have been talking nonstop about the reports of a federal raid on a Latter Day Saints (LDS) cannery in Tennessee, seeking information regarding its customer lists.  Many have sounded the alarm on this news, holding it up as yet another example of government intervention into the lawful activities of citizens. 

    The stories about the alleged raid vary.  Perhaps the most dramatic tale can be found at the Oathkeepers website, which I gather broke the story.  It's hard not to be alarmed when you read something like:

    The man that manages the facility relayed to him that federal agents had visited the facility and demanded a list of individuals that had been purchasing bulk food. The manager informed the agents that the facility kept no such records and that all transactions were conducted on a cash-and-carry basis. The agents pressed for any record of personal checks, credit card transactions, etc., but the manager could provide no such record. The agents appeared to become very agitated and after several minutes of questioning finally left with no information. I contacted the manager and personally confirmed this information.

    The Oathkeepers piece goes on to say:

    So why do federal agents want to know who is storing away long-term food storage? We suspect it is for the following reasons:
    1. DHS/FEMA wants to know which Americans have food storage so the federal government can at some future point confiscate that food. Just as with lists of gun owners, compiling such lists is the first step toward future confiscation.
    2. DHS wants to identify those Americans who are “switched on” and squared away enough to actually store food for coming hard times (such as during an economic collapse). That population of awake, aware, and prepared Americans poses a “threat” to whatever DHS and its masters have in store for the American people, and as Joseph Stalin so ably demonstrated, one of the easiest ways to subjugate defiant people is to confiscate their food and starve them into submission.
    The federal government already tipped their hand by sending the FBI to military surplus stores (as we reported), gun stores, and pawn shops to encourage those businesses to spy on their customers who buy MRE’s (Meals Ready to Eat), bipods, “night flashlights”, high capacity magazines, rifle bipods, and bulk ammo. Maybe some of you fooled yourselves into thinking there might be some legitimate reason for them to track purchases of such items. But powdered milk and wheat berries? Those are hardly items that could be used in a terrorist attack. It must be the storage of food itself that the feds now find so offensive and so “dangerous.”

    Now, add to that this story, run by WTVF in Nashville, which reported local and state officials were doing door to door surveys in certain Nashville neighborhoods to assess people's disaster readiness.  These two stories, read together and and woven into a bigger picture, have led many to believe the government is stepping up its efforts to identify and monitor those within the prepper movement.

    I sense a large number of people in the various preparedness movements are stressing over this.  Take a deep breath.  Exhale.  Let me make the case for you why I don't think we need to worry.  And while I am at it, allow me a little latitude to make the case why reaching the conclusions listed above may actually hurt our cause.

    Do The Math

    First, let's back up a bit and talk about logistics.  As I pointed out to Atlanta Jeff over the weekend, who was celebrating/lamenting his age relative to those half of his, math can be a real bitch sometimes.  And if you are really concerned about the government coming and confiscating every one's buckets of beans and guns, this should cheer you up.

    As best I can tell, there are approximately 2.2 million active and reserve duty officers and enlisted people in the U.S. military.  Add to that another estimated 800,000 federal, state and local law enforcement officers, or roughly 3 million people commissioned to carry guns.  In some martial law scenario, these 3 million people would be the ones going house to house, confiscating stuff.

    The U.S. Census estimates there are well over 100 million homes - including condos, apartments, town homes, and so forth - in the United States.  This means for every guy or gal with a commission to carry a gun as a soldier or cop, there are 33 homes they would have to visit.  Of course, this assumes that all three million of them would engage in home clearing activities.  I think it's safe to say many of these three million would be busy doing other things, like providing maintenance to military assets, flying airplanes, cooking food for troops, arresting rapists, running jails, etc. Simply put, it would be a logistical impossibility to go door to door to every (or even most) the United States looking for guns and stored food.

    But let's say the government is able to figure out, using ATF records, who might be likely to have guns in their home.  Clearly this universe will be smaller, but with an estimated tens of millions - if not hundreds of millions - of guns in the United States, this too presents a logistical challenge.

    So let's drill down again.  Now let's suppose the government decides to go after only those people with storeable foods.  Would the government do that?

    First, the federal government, by statute and executive order, could very well do so.  However, what would be the purpose of this?  I can only think of two reasons:

    1. The government wishes to redistribute your stored food to those who need it.
    2. The government wishes to deprive you of your autonomy.

    I don't give a lot of credence to the first reason, because collectively the stored foods of all the preppers in the U.S. won't go that far towards feeding the masses for a significant period of time.  It would be a poor use of the government's resources to undertake such a seizure to yield such a relatively little amount of food.

    The second reason, if true, would be far more troubling.  And we saw this sort of thing in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, although the government confiscation there was limited to guns.  As a result, many states (including Texas) passed "Katrina Laws" to make such confiscation illegal. 

    Do You Want The Government To Promote Preparedness Or Don't You?

    And so if the state and local leaders in Tennessee are paying any attention to the reaction to these stories, no doubt they are in a quandary - either they should encourage people to prepare for disasters (and thus sent people out door to door to survey their preparendess efforts), or they should stay out of the affairs of those of us who do.  Put another way, for those of you who are worried about all of this, what is the role of government in disaster readiness?  It seems whatever action it takes, someone will criticize it for either overstepping its legal authority or for not doing enough to educate people on preparedness. 

    And In The End...Turns Out the Story Wasn't True After All.

    This story also further underscores the need to pay attention and scrutinize everything you read.  Blogger M.D. Creekmore, the proprietor of, posted this video in response to the story on the LDS cannery raid:

    Later, I obtained portions of a text of an email sent by Oathkeepers to its distribution list. I am providing exactly what was provided to me, in toto:

    We have pulled this story about the Mormon cannery being visited by federal agents because the source of the information at the cannery is now denying that he ever told us that event occurred.

    From now on, we will NOT post any such story based on what we are told by other people unless, and until, they are willing to go on video or at least on an audio recording with their info. That way, in case someone starts to crumble under the public attention or other pressures, and wants to deny what they told us, we have video or audio proof.

    My Takeaways From This

    I think there are three things to learn from this.

    First, we must correctly assess the true threats.  I do not believe massive door to door confiscations on of food and guns by law enforcement and the military on a nationwide basis are a significant threat.  Note I am not saying it's not possible; I just don't see how they could realistically do it on a nationwide basis.  Could it be done on a local or regional basis?  Absolutely, as it was done in post-Katrina New Orleans.  So while I agree we should always remain vigilant from an overreaching government, be it to protect our privacy, our right to counsel, our freedom of speech, we must also learn to discern what is the real threat versus one that is speculative or unworkable.

    Bear in mind that even if they cannot identify who is prepped before the crisis, if you are still in your home long term after a disaster, you will be relatively conspicuous to anyone looking for preppers.  In the end, all preppers out themselves by their mere existence in a long term crisis.  Never forget that.

    Second, we in the prepper movement need to cry wolf carefully.  When we raise the alarm like this story, we call into question the credibility of our movement.  There are not black helicopters behind every bush.  There are plenty of legitimate threats - economic hardship, terrorism, severe weather, to name a few - to motivate us to prepare. We don't need fake ones.  Let me say this now for a second time, friends - I am not saying we shouldn't be skeptical of our ever overreaching government.  We should be careful, however, when we make accusations like this.  Let's make sure we have all the facts.

    Finally, we as citizens need to be taking a leadership role in encouraging our government to take sensible preparation efforts which do not violate the rights of the citizens.  FEMA needs to prepare and exercise its abilities to respond to a hurricane or other disaster.  We need to encourage that.  Simultaneously, we need to encourage them to respect the rights of citizens who are prepared.

    Take a deep breath.  Exhale.  Let's keep our focus.  We still have a lot to do.

    Saturday, December 10, 2011

    SDS Weekend Update for December 10-11, 2011

    Straight Outta Compton...or Hollywood

    Check it.  Another episode of senseless gun violence in another allegedly gun free zone.  And thanks to the miracle of smart phones and YouTube, we get to see how it went down.  The best part of the video are the witness accounts of the story.  The lesson here? Go armed whenever you can, and don't be like these eye witnesses who were completely unprepared to handle something like this.

    Frozen Beer, Pink Floyd, and Alaskan Snow Drifts - A Story Of Survival

    If you read one article or story on preparedness this weekend, it should be this one.  He did a lot of things wrong...and a lot of things right.  We can all learn from this.  I'm glad he was confident enough in himself to share his experiences so that we might benefit.

    Man Runs Wild With Hammer At Mall, Despite Assertions That "Things Like That Don't Happen Here."

    The suburbs are filled with malls. Malls are filled with people.  Some of them are crazy.

    Have you discussed with the kids in your home what to do in a situation like this?  It's been a while for me, so we'll be having that conversation this weekend as a reminder.

    Thursday, December 8, 2011

    SDS Daily Briefing for Thursday, December 8, 2011

    We're Number 4,810,509! tracks Internet traffic...and my blog is now in the top 5,000,000 websites on the planet.  If you like what you're reading here, please share the link with friends and visit often.

    How Might Issues In Iran Affect Us?

    I suspect all of you have been watching the recent news coming out of Iran.  If not, just google it. 

    If the conflict escalates over the next weeks and months, I think we should expect:
    • higher gas prices.
    • an increase in the price of commodities, especially gold and silver.
    • a muted economic outlook
    Iran is no Iraq or Afghanistan.  One U.S. military official called it the greatest threat to the United States.  This threat largely stems from the country's burgeoning nuclear weapons program.

    Please put this on your list of things to monitor.

    100 Things That Disappear In A Crisis

    Game ball to Kansas Mary for sharing this with me tonight.  It's a good reference to use in case you're trying to poke holes in your plan.  I will admit there are a lot of items on this list I don't have but probably need.  That's why I draw up a budget every year for the items I want to acquire. 

    Wednesday, December 7, 2011

    SDS Daily Briefing for Wednesday, December 7, 2011

    Happy Pearl Harbor Day!

    Seventy years ago today, the Japanese navy attacked Pearl Harbor. 

    At the time, many felt like we felt right after 9/11.  Scared.  Angry. Determined.  And from that experience, the nation rallied together to fight two wars on opposite sides of the planet, and then go on to develop the American middle class.

    Can we harness that kind of spirit again?  I like to think we can.  There are still many Americans of all walks of life who want to see a vibrant economy, a smaller government, and more respect for freedom and liberty.  The challenges we face today remain difficult.  We can overcome them.  If we want to.

    CBS News Said It.  Thus, It Must Be True.

    The ATF's "Fast and Furious" operation, it can be revealed, was to be used to argue for more stringent gun laws.  In essence, the ATF "secretly encouraged gun dealers to sell to suspected traffickers for Mexican drug cartels to go after the 'big fish.'"  Put in other terms, the ATF instructed gun dealers to sell guns to suspected criminals (which is illegal) and then use that as a reason to have more restrictions on gun sales.  It's akin to illegally giving someone heroin and asking them to use it, then observing the results of such heroin use, and then using those results as justification for making more anti-heroin laws.

    Now note the source of the story - CBS News.  CBS isn't exactly World Net Daily or Glenn Beck.  It's clearly mainstream media.  And the mainstream media is telling you the Obama administration used a program in which government agents encouraged people to dangerously skirt or even break the law in order to justify more laws, and as a result at least one lawman is dead, along with at least 150 Mexican nationals.  What part of that sounds like good policy to you?

    Fear the government that fears you owning a gun. 

    Tuesday, December 6, 2011

    SDS Update for Tuesday, December 6, 2011

    Two More Out There

    I taught my first concealed handgun license (CHL) class on Sunday.  My two students did a great job throughout the class, including the range portion.  They've started the application process; I hope to hear they've gotten their CHLs in the mail in the coming days.

    Two recent stories from the Houston area, such as this one and this one, highlight the need for all of us to stay vigilant, even if we live in the relative safety of the suburbs.  Crime does happen here in the 'burbs.

    More MFer stories

    I outlined back on 22 November how the MF Global debacle could affect our agricultural sector, and today's story along those lines reiterates that.  Agriculture is a capital intensive business, and big players in that sector - including many family farmers - require access to tremendous amounts of it and a secure, predictable financial market in which to keep their capital and invest it.  Fewer farmers able to plant as much food for us to eat = less food for us to eat at harvest time. 

    Pay attention, friends.  While this may not result in a food crisis, it does highlight how tenuous the system can be.  It also demonstrates to the MRE and camo crowd that if you are serious about being a prepper, you have to study everything - including the markets.

    Railway Strike Averted - For Now

    Speaking of markets, our nation narrowly avoided a massive railway strike.  As you may know, railroads carry 43% of all freight in the U.S., including a third of our exports and 70% of our coal.  Some believe a strike would have cost the U.S. economy, during this holiday shopping season, a whopping $2B a day.

    I'm not anti-union, as I think people should feel free and collectively bargain if they so choose, provided the rights of other workers who don't wish to do are not affected.  It's clear in this case the union used the upcoming holiday season as leverage to gain an advantage in the negotiation.  It's also clear such a strike would have had a devastating effect on our ability to obtain coal for heating and other basic necessities.

    The crisis you prepare for may not be the one you face.  If  you're prepared for a hurricane but end up using your supplies during a national railway crisis where there's a shortage of food at the grocery store, then your prep efforts were not in vain.

    Survival Garden Update

    I mentioned a while back I was testing some non-organic and organic gardening techniques.  I will tell you the non-organic garden is winning by a long shot. 

    In the preparedness community, many believe the only type of seeds you should use are of the heirloom variety.  I will tell you right now that in an emergency situation, if you can grow edible foods using hybrid seeds instead, those same people will use them.  They'd be crazy not to.

    Learn as much as you can about gardening, both organic techniques as well as conventional techniques.  Don't shun one for the other.  Learn about them both so you can maximize your yield long term.

    Thursday, December 1, 2011

    SDS Daily Update for Thursday, December 1, 2011

    Pay Attention To This

    Most people have no idea how critical railway shipping is to our economy.  If a strike shuts down our railway system in the coming days, we could see serious effects in our economy.  

    My suggestion - continue to plan for a soft economy for the foreseeable future.

    Suburban Evasion and Escape Class This Year

    Texas Todd and I are planning to attend one of onPoint Tactical's urban E&E class sometime in 2012.  I try to attend one out of town training class a year...and this one is what I want to do for 2012.  Not only should it be a lot of fun, I expect to learn a tremendous amount.  More details to follow.