Friday, October 19, 2018

Boko Haram Murders Red Cross Aid Worker in Nigeria

Muslim Group Claims that They Will Keep Leah Sharibu and Other Christian as Slaves for Life

International Christian Concern (ICC) is reporting that Boko Haram, an Islamic extremist group from northern Nigeria, released a video depicting the execution of Hauwa Leman, an aid worker with International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). This is the second captive who Boko Haram has killed recently, as they killed Saifura Khorsa on September 15. They said that they killed Hauwa and Saifura for being apostates.

In the video, they make Hauwa kneel down on the ground with her hands tied and wearing a hijab, before shooting her. In the video of Saifura, they said that if the government did not give in to their demands, they would kill Hauwa and two other captives, Leah Sharibu (age 15) and Alice Ngaddah (a mother of two).

However, in the recently released video, Boko Haram claimed that they will “keep [Leah and Alice] as slaves.” They said that they are not allowed to kill “kafir,” or people who are not apostates, like they did with Hauwa and Saifura, but will instead keep them as their slaves.

ICC spoke with a close friend of the Sharibu family, who said, “On Friday, October 12, a federal government delegation…. visited the Sharibu family at Dapchi. This was the very first time any government official had visited the family since the abduction of Leah. This visit according to the Information Minister was a follow up from the recent phone call by the president to Rebecca, Leah’s mom. [It was meant] to reassure the family that the government is doing everything possible to ensure Leah is released soon, but they did not say how soon.”

She continued, “This visit devastated the family…. and all of us who were there, as we had hoped that they were bringing Leah. [This is because] the president just recently spoke to Rebecca with strong words of assurances of Leah’s soon release.” 

The officials came to the family home with nearly 100 people, mostly security personnel, which made the family believe that they would be getting Leah back. They were devastated by the news that Boko Haram is not planning on returning Leah now, due to the government’s lack of response to this case.

Nathan Johnson, ICC’s Regional Manager, said, “We are deeply saddened by the news that Leah and Alice will not only be kept, but that they will be made into slaves to serve those who persecute them. This continued persecution by Boko Haram must be stopped, and the government must figure out a plan to help rescue these young women. Leah’s faith is truly amazing and we will continue to pray that she will be freed and return home safely.”

----- This article is from a press release by International Christian Concern (ICC). You can visit their website at   https://www.persecution.org/  

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

The Post-Apocalyptic Economy and Job Market

As a thought experiment, I imagined what a post-apocalyptic economy and job market would look like. Here is what I imagined: 

It finally happened. The SHTF. It was TEOTWAWKI. Maybe it was war with China that went nuclear. Maybe it was a mutated version of Ebola that went worldwide. Maybe Elizabeth Warren won the Presidency in 2020. Whatever the reason, civilization finally collapsed worldwide. The Apocalypse happened. Now, the remnants of mankind find themselves in a post-apocalyptic world. Everything has changed. Well, almost everything. People still need to provide for themselves and their families. The End came, and we still have to work. What will the post-apocalyptic economy look like?

In my opinion, the apocalypse will lead to:
  • the end of our modern mass-production, throw-away economy
  • the end of globalization and large-scale corporations
  • the rise of localized, agrarian economies dominated by food-production and family-owned small business
  • the emergence of a low-energy economy, as large-scale production of fuel and electricity ceases 
  • Modern fiat currencies will disappear, replaced by barter and tangible assets (gold silver, etc.). 
  • Local currencies will eventually arise as the political situation stablizes, but will typically be backed by tangible assets
There will be no jobs at Google, or Microsoft, or Apple. Not even any jobs at Walmart, or McDonald's, or even Taco Bell. The era of multi-national conglomerates, and even large national corporations, will be over. But there will still be an economy and a job market, because there will still be jobs that need to be done, and exchanges to be made. Most people will work for themselves, or at very small businesses in their locality. But, work at what jobs? What skills will be in demand?

1- Day Laborers.  In a grid-down, post-apocalyptic world, robots and AI will be useless, as will the much of the automation and machines of the industrial era. Most work will have to be done by people and by hand. There will be great demand for so-called low skilled laborers to do the grunt work and heavy lifting that will need to be done. Unfortunately, the day labor work will be hard and low-paying, much like today (except without those pesky safety regulations and modern child-labor laws). 

2 - Medical.  The world-wide apocalypse will destroy the modern healthcare system. Big Pharma will have ceased to exist, as will modern high-tech hospitals, and even insurance companies. The current medical system will be replaced by old-fashioned country doctors and nurses, mid-wives, and apothecaries. Anyone with any medical knowledge will find that knowledge in high-demand, especially those with knowledge and skills of herbal and other natural healing methods. Modern licensing requirements will effectively be null-and-void as the collapse of government leaves no one to enforce those requirements. Unfortunately, this means that charlatans and quacks will appear (the snake-oil salesmen of yesteryear), along with skilled and knowledgeable people. Caveat emptor (let the buyer beware).   

3- Tinker.  The throw-away economy is over. People with have to repair and make do, instead of just going to the nearest big box store to buy new replacements. Tinkers, people who are skilled at repairing tools and other (usually metal) household items, will be in demand. Knife and blade sharpening fits in this category.      

 4- Food Systems.  Most of a post-apocalyptic economy will center around food production. Homesteading will be the norm by default. Most folks will raise at least a portion, if not most, of their own food. Anyone able to enhance food production (build greenhouses, teach permaculture, etc.) will be in demand. Farmers able to grow enough food to feed others besides just their family will be celebrated. Millers and cannery operators will be in demand. 

5- Water Systems.  As the water infrastructure collapses, those able to dig wells and irrigation systems will be in high demand. 

6- Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Sills - Animals, for both food and as beasts of burden, will be extremely important post-apocalypse.  Folks skilled in breeding and/or caring for animals will be in demand. 

7- Sewing.  Again, the end of the mass-production, throw-away economy means people will need to make things last. Sewing skills will be in demand. 

8- Tradesmen / Craftsmen. The ability to build, make, maintain, and repair, especially in a low-energy environment (think hand tools, not power tools) , will be essential to survival of human civilization. 

9- Woodsmen (Lumberjacks, hunters, trappers, tanners, forgers, herbalists, etc.).  Forests contain many resources that will be needed by folks in the post-apocalyptic world. Forests teem with edible plants and animals. Trees provide wood for burning and lumber for building. Leaves provide compost for improving soils. In addition to food, plants and mushrooms provide dyes and medicines, and animals provide furs and leather.  Anyone with the knowledge and skills to extract and process these resources from forests will do well in the post-apocalyptic world. 

10- Traveling Merchants.  Most trade will occur locally, but there will be the need to trade with other regions, too. Those able to set themselves up as traveling merchants should be able to make a lucrative, albeit dangerous, living. Read up on the traveling merchants of the middle ages for a preview of what may be to come. 

11- Salvaging.  Modern civilization will leave plenty of material behind. Salvaging that material for use post-apocalypse will be an opportunity for those with the appropriate skills and tools. It also is potentially dangerous, as you may have to deal with anything from dilapidated building to competing scavengers. 

12- Entertainers.  People like to be entertained, and TV, movies, and the Internet will be gone. Before mass media, there was high demand for traveling entertainment - circuses, carnivals, vaudeville acts, and so forth. 

13- Vice.  In hard times, people like to be distracted from their troubles. Many folks will turn to abusing alcohol, drugs, and sex for that distraction. Just study what happened in the aftermath of the collapse of the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe. Or what happened in Argentina after their economic & political collapse in 2001. Or what is happening in Venezuela right now. Sadly, there will be folks unscrupulous enough, or desperate enough, to supply vice to those who to want it.  There are better, safer, more moral options (see numbers 1 - 12 above).
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Monday, October 15, 2018

EDC Items - Which Are Actually the Most Useful?

There are a lot of neat gadgets and gizmos for preppers, and it seems like the list of recommended EDC items is almost limitless. But, we can only carry so much stuff before it becomes too heavy or too bulky or too clanky. Do we really need to carry all that stuff with us at all times? Which EDC items are really the most useful?

Looking at my actual experiences with my EDC over the years, here are the items I have actually found the most useful:

Extra Cash.  Sometimes we need cash when we least expect it, and ATMs never seem to be nearby when we need one. I now carry some emergency cash on me, separate from my spending cash. Its not in my wallet, so I'm less tempted to spend it, thus saving it for a true emergency.

Quarters.  Lots of uses for quarters - drink & snack vending machines, pay phones (there are still a few around), change for the drive-thru, gas station air pumps, parking meters, car washes, car vacuums, coin laundries, stamp vending machines, and even the shopping carts at ALDI's. I carry a couple of dollars in quarters in my pocket, and have another few dollars worth in the cup holder of my vehicle.

Swiss Army Knife.  I probably use my Swiss Army Knife (Hiker model) on a daily basis. Its a great high-quality pocket knife, and the screwdrivers come in handy quite often. I've even used the wood saw on occasion.

Leatherman Multi-Tool.  I don't use it as often as my Swiss Army Knife, but it has come in very useful on a number of occasions, especially the pliers. When I needed it, I was very glad to have it. 

The Leatherman Charge TTi is probably the ultimate multi-tool, but is a bit pricey. The Leatherman Rebar is another good choice for less money. 

Pocket Flashlight.  Another often-used EDC item is my pocket flashlight. I have several, but am still trying to find the "perfect" one, so I don't have a particular recommendation yet

Cell Phone.  Nothing beats being able to communicate with others in an emergency.

Pen & Index Cards.  Useful for shopping lists, taking notes, leaving messages, and keeping up with appointments & contact information, I carry a small stack of index cards held together with a binder clip (a hipster PDA). Also a good pen (I've been using this tactical pen which writes very smoothly - never had to use it for self-defense though) .

Wet Ones Hand Wipes.  I use Wet Ones hand wipes almost daily.I keep two or three individually wrapped ones in the front pocket of my Maxpedition Micro Pocket organizer. I can easily slip one out when needed, then refill later that night. 

(I mainly use the pocket organizer as my individual first aid kit and to carry the emergency cash mentioned above. I also carry a small roll of duct tape and a Bic lighter in it. The organizer nicely fits in the cargo pocket of my pants.)

Of course, everybody is different, with different circumstances, concerns, and needs. Your list of useful EDC items will probably be different than mine. Point is to think through your EDC, and make sure you're carrying those items you really need before carrying the latest EDC gizmo being marketed to preppers. 
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Saturday, October 13, 2018

What Preppers Can Learn From the House of Rothschild

NOTE: This is a rewritten and greatly expanded version of an article I originally wrote in 2012.  In it, I stick to the provable historical record, avoiding speculation and conspiracy theories.

For those unfamiliar, the Rothschilds are a European banking and financial dynasty, founders and owners of of various private banks throughout Europe, owners of the Château Lafite Rothschild and Château Mouton Rothschild wine estates, and one of the wealthiest and most influential families in the world. Other Rothschild businesses include various financial services (in addition to the private banking firms), real estate management, mining, energy, and even farming (beyond just the vineyards). The Rothschilds have an extremely interesting family history, an examination of which offers valuable insights into surviving turbulent times.

The History of the Rothschild's is Relevant to Preppers

For well over 200 years, the Rothschild family dynasty has survived, overcoming many challenges despite deep anti-Jewish sentiment, often enforced by law (facing legal discrimination, at times quite severe), as well as the dangers, chaos, and hardships of the Napoleonic Wars, World War I, the Great Depression, World War II and the Holocaust, and the rise of socialism throughout Europe. Moreover, they survived and thrived despite a major civilization change as the world's center shifted from Europe and Britain in the 18th and 19th centuries to the USA in the 20th century (much as the world's center seems to be shifting from the USA to China and the East, today). 

Most preppers and survivalists today are concerned about surviving similar events - wars, political upheavals, severe economic downturns, demographic and political shifts, the continued rise of socialism and collectivism. Today, Christians are also facing a rising tide of anti-religious sentiment, the loss of Freedom of Religion, legal discrimination, persecution, and even genocide in certain parts of the world. We are concerned for not only ourselves, but for future generations of our families - our children, grandchildren, and so on. An examination of how the Rothschild family so successfully dealt with these issues for generations sheds light on what we might do to ensure our own family's success for generations.

A Very Brief History of the House of Rothschild

The Rothschild family dynasty began in the second half of the 18th century with Mayer Amschel Rothschild. Mayer Rothschild was born into the Judengasse, or "Jew Alley", in Frankfurt, Germany, in 1744. At that time all Jews in the city were required to live in that ghetto, which was locked at night, on Sundays, and on all Christian holidays. Jews were not allowed to own property, were forced to pay special taxes, were required to wear yellow markers on their clothing, and had to step aside whenever a Christian was walking on the same walkway as them. It was unlawful for Jews to pursue most professions.

Banking and money-changing was one of the few professions open to Jews, due to the fact that charging interest was considered "beneath" the status of the good Christians of that time. Thus Mayer Rothschild became a money-changer. He was successful, establishing an international business into which he placed his five sons in five cities in five countries throughout Europe (Germany, Britain, France, Austria, and Italy). 


These private banks and other businesses flourished, and by the late 1800s the Rothschild family possessed the largest private fortune in the world. Although their fortune has been divided among many heirs though the generations, and their various businesses are now largely independent of each other, collectively the Rothschild family is still among the world's richest and most influential families.

For a much more complete history, I recommend The Rise of the House of Rothschild, by Count Egon Caesar Corti, first published in 1928. Its a solid biography/history (no conspiracy theory stuff), crammed with details. Over 400 pages, heavily footnoted, with only a smattering of photos, its an academic read, but fascinating if you are into history. 

The 1934 film The House of Rothschild is also a fairly accurate representation of the family history. It is available for free download at the Internet Archive.

Survival Lessons from the House of Rothschild

1 - Find and Exploit Your Niche - Mayer Rothschild found his perfect niche as a banker & money-changer, and he exploited that niche to its maximum potential. It was a needed profession that most Europeans at that time looked down on because the charging of interest was considered not the "Christian" thing to do.

In today's world, are there professions that are needed, but under-filled because of one reason or another? I know that Jim Rogers has identified farming as one such profession. Others have pointed out that today we have a glut of lawyers, bankers, and other professionals, but not enough skilled tradesmen.

2- A Family Vision - Loyalty to family (and to their religion), not to a particular country or region, is a Rothschild hallmark. Rothschild family members to this day seem to identify first as Rothschilds, then as Jews, and avoid giving loyalty to any particular country, region, or political system. Never rooting in one place, they have always gone to where there is opportunity. In some ways, they seem to successfully live in this world, without becoming  part of this world (at least in political terms).  

There is a saying today: God, Family, Country. Perhaps the saying should just be God and Family. After all, the notion of Country is of the worldly system, not God's system. I consider myself a proud American, but not everyone wants to Make America Great Again. What if the socialists and collectivists eventually succeed in remaking (or destroying) America into their image? At what point does the America I love and support cease to exist, and what do I do then? How long do I hod on to an idea of an America that might not really exist? Just something to think about...

3- The Value of Knowing People - Mayer Rothschild's success was largely due to his ability to forge connections with Prince William of Hesse (in their case, over a mutual interest in stamp collecting!), and later with other elites throughout Europe. The Rothschild family connections have only grown through the generations and it is these connections that are the true source of their wealth and power.  

Although God and Family are most important, we still need connections with others. Lone wolves don't really do well over the long-term. We need people.  Building connections, and networks, an community are integral parts of prepping (or at least should be).

4- The Value of a Great Reputation - His reputation and that of his family was always very important to Mayer Rothschild. He insisted that his family always pay their bills on time, and to always be honest and straightforward in all their personal and business dealings. This concern over reputation is encoded into the Rothschild family motto, "Concordia, Integritas, Industria" (Harmony, Integrity, Industry).   

Are you concerned with your reputation and that of your family? Does integrity, honesty, and fairness mark your dealings with other people? Or do you smirk at such notions as being naive? Sadly, I've known a few preppers over the years that think that way. Far from naive, your character will determine your future. What values do you want to pass on to your children and to future generations of your family?

5- The Value of Information - The Rothschild family has always believed in the value of information; to them knowledge is money. They have always used their connections to stay abreast of news and important information that could affect their businesses or provide opportunities.

During the Napoleonic Wars, the Rothschild private courier system proved superior to even the British military's courier system. After winning at Waterloo, the Duke of Wellington immediately dispatched his official courier to London to bring the news of victory to the government. The official courier arrived in London 24 hours after the Rothschild courier had brought the same news.

What is your knowledge base? How are you staying informed of the news and information you need as you seek to ensure your family's success and survival? 


There are many other survival lessons to learn from the Rothschild family dynasty, including 6- the value of hard work, 7- the value of ambition,  8- the value of avoiding debt, and even 9- the value of physical assets, including art, antiques, and luxuries such as fine wines.

Bonus Lesson: Rothschild Asset Allocation - The Talmud, a book containing commentary on Jewish history, laws, and traditions, gives this bit of asset allocation advice: “Let every man divide his money into three parts, and invest a third in land, a third in business, and let him keep a third in reserve.

The Rothschild family would have been familiar with that bit of Talmudic wisdom, and actually kept a very similar asset allocation for their wealth. Historically, the Rothschild asset allocation, which has been hugely successful for them, is:

  • 1/3 in Financial Securities (the stocks and bonds portion of their allocation)
  • 1/3 in Real Estate (income producing: rental and/or productivity, such as their farms & vineyards)
  • 1/3 in Physical Assets (gold, silver, jewels, artwork, antiques, and other tangible items)
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American Pastor Andrew Brunson Released by Turkish Government

On October 12, 2018, Turkish courts released American pastor Andrew Brunson from house arrest. In court on Friday, Brunson was convicted of a “terror” charge, but as a result of the time previously served and good behavior, has been released from house arrest and his travel ban has been lifted. This will allow him to return to the United States.
 
After the hearing, Brunson left the courthouse and US officials said that he will be returning to his home in Izmir, Turkey before departing for the United States on Saturday morning. [Update: Pastor Brunson left Turkey late Friday for Germany to receive a medical examination before returning to the United States on Saturday.] 

US President Donald Trump tweeted, “PASTOR BRUNSON JUST RELEASED. WILL BE HOME SOON!

Pastor Brunson has ministered in Turkey since 1993 and was originally detained with his wife Norine in October 2016. While his wife was released shortly thereafter, Pastor Brunson remained imprisoned despite a lack of formal charges. The first series of charges was brought 63 days into his imprisonment, and other charges continued to be added as time progressed.

Pastor Brunson faced charges of having links to terrorist organizations, an increasingly common accusation in Turkey against any individual or group that the government is looking to target. If Pastor Brunson had not been released today, he could have faced up to 35 years in a Turkish prison.

The United States government has been fighting for the past 24 months for his release. Last week, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo stated, “President Trump has had a focus on it [and] the administration’s had a focus on it. We’re very hopeful that we’ll see a good outcome before too long.”

Since Brunson’s arrest, tensions have been high between Turkey and the United States as negotiations were made on Pastor Brunson’s behalf. In August of 2018, the United States imposed sanctions on two Turkish cabinet members, seeking to pressure the Turkish government to release Pastor Brunson. The Turkish government is hopeful that his release will help solve the diplomatic disputes between the United States and Turkey.

Religious freedom in Turkey has significantly deteriorated since the 2016 military coup. Turkey is currently listed as a Tier 2 Country on the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom’s (USCIRF) annual report.

Claire Evans, ICC’s Regional Manager, said, “Turkey’s release of Pastor Andrew Brunson is most welcome news. For two years, he has been held as a political hostage by Erdogan and has been imprisoned in challenging circumstances. While we are pleased with his release, it is disappointing that Turkey has still convicted him of a terrorism charge. This is a stark warning to the local Church that Turkey remains a serious violator of religious freedom.

----- This article is from a Oct. 12, 2018 press release by International Christian Concern (ICC). You can visit their website at   https://www.persecution.org/