Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Four Strategies for Surviving a Riot

Regardless of what happens in the election, we are in for a period of even greater civil unrest and political turmoil. Things will get much worse before they get better. Get ready for a chaotic and dangerous few years.

I. Avoid the Riot
   
The best strategy, of course, is to avoid the riot entirely. If possible, don't live, shop, work, or go to school in riot-likely areas.  Riot-likely areas include Washington, DC, and other large cities and urban areas, especially in inner city areas and near "bad" neighborhoods, or near university and college campuses. 

If you must live or work in these areas, pay attention to current events to know when trouble is brewing. Riots actually are fairly predictable. Pay attention to local news for potential triggers such as controversial police shootings or "racial incidents" that suddenly get a lot of media attention. 

Organized political violence is also on the rise, often attached to planned events - such as political rallies, marches, international conferences, etc. These events are magnets for anarchists, social justice warriors, eco-protestors, ANTIFA, BLM. and other groups looking to cause trouble to make political points, so avoid being in the area during such events. This should be easy to do since these events are announced months ahead of time.

II. Move Away from the Riot

There has been an incident (a police shooting, perhaps) and an angry mob is gathering near your location. It is time to get out of the area. Don't hang around hoping things will calm down. Don't hang around out of curiosity or stubbornness. Get out of the area as soon as possible. This brings up the value of knowing the area, having maps, and a reliable vehicle. 

You meed to know the areas immediately around and between your workplace, home, and schools. You need to know multiple routes out of each location. How do you get home from work (or school) if your main route is blocked for some reason? What if the bridge you have to cross is blocked? What if that major intersection you need to pass through is filled with brick-throwing rioters? Think through all the possible escape routes. Familiarize yourself with them now. By familiarize, I mean actually drive or walk those routes, not just note them on a map.

You need a reliable vehicle to get you out of the area, so make sure you keep up with your vehicles regular maintenance (see my article Preppers' Auto Maintenance Schedule). If you do use public transportation, make sure you know the bus/subway/train schedules for all nearby stops. Leave early enough to get out of the area before things get bad, since public transport may be suspended during the riot.

III. Hide/Shelter In-Place
     
The situation got out-of-hand more quickly than you anticipated. Or the riot zone greatly expanded to engulf the area you are in. Either way, you failed to achieve the two safest options. Now your best bet is to hide, shelter in-place, or otherwise become invisible to the rioting mob. 

If you live in an area that may be prone to riots (large cities and urban areas,  near "bad" neighborhoods, or near university and college campuses), you need to harden your home now and perhaps even create & supply a safe room that can be completely sealed off from the rest of your home. 

If you work in such an area, you need to maintain a survival kit at your workplace or in your car that will enable you to go several  days without returning home. It should include items such as food & water, a personal water filter, a basic first aid kit, extra of medications you take, flashlight and extra batteries, perhaps a poncho and blanket.Your workplace should have emergency items such as fire extinguishers, a more extensive first aid kit, and an emergency radio. Ask if it does, and where they are located.

Most riots are usually over quickly, often by the next morning, and authorities will begin to retake control. But sporadic rioting may go on for days. This illustrates the need to maintain enough food, water, and other supplies to ride out the danger without having to go out in search of those supplies. Everyone, even non-preppers, should maintain at least two weeks worth of food, water, and supplies in their home at all times. More is better.

While you are in the riot zone, do your best to remain well-hidden. Don't make yourself a target. Time for your best gray-man imitation. Get out of your business suit or fancy dress (keep a change of clothes & shoes at your workplace or in your car). Hide any expensive watches or jewelry. Stay away from windows and doorways. Keep lights off. Don't make noise.

IV.  Self-Defense

Self-defense is always a last resort. It means you have failed to avoid or defuse the situation (perhaps through no fault of your own). It means you may have to take a life. It definitely means your life is in grave danger. And in a riot situation, you will almost certainly be greatly outnumbered. Not a good situation to be in.

But, self-defense may become necessary.  It is why it is important to be armed and well-trained. Well-trained means more than just target practice - you need to take a good defensive shooting course (or several).  So, if it is legal to carry where you are, please seriously consider doing so. Know and obey the laws, get all the proper licenses and permits, get well-trained, and practice gun safety, of course. But carry if you can.

Final Thought:  Although riots often occur spontaneously in response to a particular event, we are seeing a sharp rise in organized violence, often funded through layers of shady organizations to hide the real organizers and their real (typically political) motivations. These organizers will only be emboldened or grow more desperate, depending on the November election's outcome, so expect this trend towards organized political violence to not only continue, but to grow. Stay safe.

You may also be interested in my article Preparing for Civil Unrest and Political Turmoil.
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Wednesday, October 24, 2018

"Beginner Books" for Preparedness

Maybe you're growing uneasy over the recent gyrations of the stock market and concerns over the ongoing trade war with China. Perhaps the sharp increase in civil unrest and political violence, bullying, and intimidation has you worried. Or it could be understandable alarm over the two illegal migrant caravans, including known MS-13 members and potential ISIS soldiers,  working their way towards our southern border. Whatever the reasons, you are thinking about preparing yourself and your family for whatever future chaos and dangers may come. Here are a few books (and one article) I recommend to get you started.

The following books are especially great for beginners and newbies to prepping, but are still useful to more seasoned preppers. They also make great gifts for family, friends, neighbors, and co-workers who may be growing concerned themselves and thinking of prepping. 


http://amzn.to/1P3ISEG

What Could Possibly Go Wrong??? How To Go From Completely Clueless To Totally Prepared by Survivor Jane. Great introduction to preparedness without the technical jargon or doom-and-gloom that might put off many people. Written by a woman especially for women, but newbie men will benefit , too.  LEVEL:  Newbie - Best for those brand new to prepping or still unsure about it.

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0761563679/ref=as_li_qf_sp_asin_il_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=0761563679&linkCode=as2&tag=timg0a-20&linkId=RUIP7B2CKPYMZHVEEmergency Food Storage & Survival Handbook, by Peggy Layton, has detailed information and lists for everything from an emergency car kit, to a 72-hour emergency kit (aka "bug out" kit), to building stockpiles of food, water, medicine and other necessities. Included in the book is a section on ideas for apartment dwellers and others with little storage space. LEVEL:  Beginner to Intermediate. I consider this a CORE BOOK for most preppers.

https://amzn.to/2SgQZDg
Countdown to Preparedness: The Prepper's 52 Week Course to Total Disaster Readiness, by Jim Cobb. This is perfect for the folks looking for a step-by-step, week-by-week, guide to preparedness. Follow this plan and you will be better prepared than 98% of Americans in just a year. Want to prepare faster? Just double up the weeks and you'll be there in just six-months. LEVEL: Beginner.  

https://amzn.to/2EUw0Ub
How to Survive the End of the World as We Know It: Tactics, Techniques, and Technologies for Uncertain Times, by James Wesley, Rawles. Rawles is a well-known name within the survivalist community, and this book gives coverage of most topics within survivalism and prepping, not just food storage and bugging out. It is slightly more advanced then the other books on the list, but still accessible by those new to prepping. LEVEL:
Beginner to Intermediate.

http://amzn.to/2h6mXzC
ACEP First Aid Manual, 5th Edition - Everyone, prepper or not, should learn first aid. This first aid manual of the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP) is much more up-to-date (2014) than the American Red Cross manual, which hasn't been updated since 1992. LEVEL: All levels. I consider this a CORE BOOK for all preppers.

https://amzn.to/2CBOVA5
The Survival Medicine Handbook: THE essential guide for when medical help is NOT on the way, by Dr. Joe Alton and Nurse Amy Alton. This is the second medical book to buy after a good first aid handbook (see above). LEVEL: Intermediate. I consider this a CORE BOOK for most preppers.

There are, of course, lots of other good books for preppers and survivalists, but this is a good list for those just starting the journey.

ARTICLE: A quick, no frills, down & dirty guide to preparing for the End, by Tim Gamble (me). As the name indicates, this is a quick, no frills outline of the basics of prepping and survivalism. LEVEL: Beginner.
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Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Do you have a Family Communications Plan?

Do you have a Family Communications Plan? More than just an address book or contact list with phone numbers. a communications plan let's everyone know how and when to get in touch with each other, and what to do if they cannot. After all,  a disaster is unlikely to happen at a convenient and predictable time when everyone is together. Also, phones and Internet my be down during, and even after, a disaster. The situation will be chaotic and confused.

https://amzn.to/2R7ddWIA communications plan should not only be about two-way communications between family and group members, but is also about listening - gathering news and information about what is going on around you. (It is a good idea to review Situational Awareness and the OODA Loop when developing a communications plan.)
  
 Communications plans can be quite detailed and extensive, too detailed and extensive to completely cover in a simple article. My goal with this article is encourage folks to develop a communications plan if you don't already have one, and to cover the basics for those just getting started. A more advanced exploration of communications plans can be found in the book Personal Emergency Communications by Andrew Baze.

Do you have an up-to-date list of family, friends, and other contacts? People move, phone numbers change, and email changes even more often - that list you put together five years ago is unlikely to still be current. 

Who should be on your contact list? Everyone who you might need to contact at some point. A partial list:
  • Family (immediate and extended)
  • Friends
  • Neighbors
  • Group members
  • Church members
  • Employers
  • Your kid's school
  • Your mechanic
  • The Tow Service you use
  • Electricians, Plumbers, and other repair services
  • Your Water, Power, and Gas companies
  • Your bank and insurance companies
  • Local hospitals
  • Your Doctors, Dentists, Eye Doctors, Veterinarians, Pharmacy...
  • Poison Control Center (1-800-222-1222) and other emergency services

Keep a paper master list of all contact information in your home and in your bug-out bag (and maybe at your office or in a safe deposit box). Keep electronic copies of the complete master list on your computer, smart phone, IPad, USB Key and other electronics, too.  All family members should know where these master lists are. Individual family members should also have paper copies of contact information relevant to them. (Your eight year-old probably doesn't need your plumber's phone number, but probably should have Grandma's and Aunt Ida's phone numbers, as well as your cell phone and work numbers.)

Do your kids know how to call 911?  And when they should? When they do, do they know their full name, their parents' full names, and their address and home phone number? My Mother taught early elementary school for years, and says she was constantly surprised by the number of kids she had that didn't know this basic information.

Make sure your kids know what to do if they can't get in touch with you. After trying your home and cell phone numbers, maybe they should try to reach you at a work number? Or maybe try Grandma, then Aunt Ida? Or maybe a neighbor or even your pastor? It depends on your own situation. Think this through now, and make sure your kids know. Maybe give them a prioritized list of numbers to call - try 1 first, then 2, then 3, and so forth...

Should kids have cell phones? This is up to you. There are both positives and negatives to kids having cell phones.  It depends on your circumstances, concerns, and the maturity level of your kids. I personally see no reason for a young kid to have a smart phone, but a basic cell phone may be a good idea. This is especially true as they grow older and start to take part in various non-school and after school activities without you. Remember, you have a right and a duty to monitor their cell phone activities, and to place limits on the use of the cell phone. I know one parent who does not allow her kids to have their cell phones in their rooms at night. This is okay.

Set Up Phone Trees.  Many churches have these (sometimes called prayer trees), in which prayer requests and other information can be spread quickly to all church members. Basically, person A calls two predetermined people, who each in turn call two predetermined people. Those four people each call two people, and so forth until the entire church is notified. Phone trees can be set up not just for churches, but for survival groups, extended families, neighborhoods, businesses, and schools.  Each could have their own set of rules for when and why the phone tree is to be activated.

Do you have a plan for when the phones aren't working? This gets a bit tricky. Phone calls, text messages, and social media are easy ways to communicate. But what happens when the phones and Internet aren't working? Remember, on 9/11 the cell phone system was overwhelmed, and most calls didn't got through? (Note: Text messaging is less likely to be overwhelmed, and may be working even when voice calls aren't.) Perhaps two-way radios or even CB radios can help facilitate communications during grid-down situations. Figure this out and get the necessary equipment and knowledge for your family/group now, so you'll be ready when you need it. 

Messages may have to be delivered in person. Figure out how your family and group might do this, and when. Who will deliver messages and to whom? Having a code phrase might help verify the authenticity of the message. Make it something simple and silly, so that even kids can remember it ("purple elephants" or "unicorn hamburgers"). This way they can verify that the message is from you when a neighbor or weird cousin Eddie from out of state suddenly shows up claiming you sent them.  Written messages should also contain this code phrase. 

You may need to leave messages. Come up with protocols for this possibility and make sure everyone knows them. For example: The grid is down. You have to leave home unexpectedly for some reason. Leave a message in a predetermined place with the details of where you're going and when you might be back. That way if someone shows up looking for you, they'll know where to look for the note. Another example: You show up at Grandma's house. She's not home. Leave a note for her in a predetermined place (maybe taped to the back door?) in case she comes home before you find her. The code phrase could be written on the note to verify its authenticity.  

Listening and gathering information is vital during an emergency. An emergency radio is a vital piece of equipment. You can get weather reports, school and business closings, road closings, local news, national news, and other important information.  With emergency scanners, you can monitor police, fire, EMT, and other emergency and government bands. More advanced preppers might want to get into shortwave and ham radios. 
http://amzn.to/2h6IWci
Kaito KA500 Emergency Radio. This is an excellent one, in my opinion: AM/FM/SW/NOAA (weather alert) bands; powered five ways (electrical cord, USB port, AA batteries, solar, and hand-crank); plus flashlight, reading lamp, and cellphone charger.

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Saturday, October 20, 2018

Preparing for Civil Unrest and Political Turmoil

Regardless of the outcome of November's election, civil unrest and political turmoil in the US will only ratchet upwards.

If the Left loses, meaning that the GOP retains control of both the House and Senate, they will not accept the election results any more than they did when Trump won in 2016. In fact, they will only grow more desperate and turn even more to tactics of hate, bullying, intimidation, and violence. 

If the Dems win the House, expect multiple investigations and even impeachment proceedings against Trump & members of his administration, as well as against Justice Kavanaugh, which will be applauded by most of the media. In turn, this will gin up the anger and hate of the Left even more, and further embolden their Mob, which will see their intimidation tactics as working. Also, expect the Big Tech companies (Facebook, Google, Twitter, Instagram, Apple, etc.) to feel even freer to shut down Conservative (and even Libertarian) speech on their platforms.

Either way, expect more civil unrest and political turmoil in 2019 and beyond.  Things will not quiet down anytime soon and wiser heads will not prevail. We need to prepare for this inevitability.

What will make us targets?

Of Course, we will be targets of the Leftist Mob if we are exposed as Trump voters and supporters. But it goes beyond that. Even if you are not a Trump fan, but still hold on to traditional (non-Leftist) ideas and values, such as being pro-life, pro-traditional marriage, pro-gun, pro-Israel, or pro-Capitalism, you will be a target. Express concern over open borders or Muslim terrorism, you will be a target. Don't fully accept man-made global warming, you will be a target. Believe in the Constitution as written by our founders, you will be a target.Want small government and low taxes, you will...  well, you get the idea.

Hide or Not?

The first step in our preparations is to decide whether or not to hide our traditional beliefs and values that will make us targets. In other words, to simply attempt to avoid the notice of the Leftist Mob by "flying low," essentially going Gray Man now.  This means not wearing MAGA hats & shirts, not having NRA or pro-life bumper stickers & window decals, and not talking politics at the water cooler (or anywhere in public). It means keeping quiet about our religious or political affiliations, and not posting personal opinions of any significance on Facebook or other social media. 

The benefit of this strategy is that we and our family will be much less likely to be threatened by the Leftist Mob. The downside is that we will have to deny major parts of who we are and what we believe, and give the Leftist Mob exactly what they want - our silence. 

I'm not going to tell you which you should do. I will definitely judge no one for either choice. It is a decision you will have to make for yourself and your family, and will depend on your own circumstances and concerns. 

Situational Awareness

Situational Awareness is essential in dealing with civil unrest and political turmoil. Much more than just being aware of your surroundings, though that is an important start, situational awareness means both knowing what to look for, and how to assess (make decisions about) your surroundings.

The end goal for situational awareness is correct action. The bridge from simply paying attention to taking correct action is the OODA-Loop. OODA Loop is an acronym for Observe, Orient, Decide, and Act. The Loop aspect is that one should be constantly looping through OODA since situations and circumstances change constantly. 

See my article Prepper's Guide to Situational Awareness and the OODA Loop for a much more detailed description. My point here is that situational awareness is a skill that can, and must, be learned if we are to be prepared for civil unrest and political turmoil.

Where will the unrest and turmoil take place?

You could be confronted by the Leftist Mob anywhere. But, you will be much more likely to experience civil unrest anywhere the Left is known to congregate: large cities and urban centers, Washington, DC, and college campuses across the country. Also businesses that you know to be run by Leftists and/or frequented by them. Be aware of your own workplace.  Is your your boss a Leftist? What about Human Resources and Upper Management? Your co-workers? Be aware, and adjust accordingly.

Doxing

Doxing is a tactic that the Left is increasingly using against their opponents. For those who don't know, doxing is the act of digging up personal information about someone and exposing that information publicly in hopes of opening up that person and their family to harassment and intimidation. Some folks have even lost their job due to being doxed. The doxer will expose the names of your spouse, children, grandchildren,  and employers, along with address and telephone numbers. They have even been known to reveal the name and address of their victim's church and even their kids' schools. Doxing is a vicious attempt at intimidation and bullying, with potentially sever and even fatal consequences. Protect your personal information.

You may be interested in my three-part article Operational Security (OPSEC).

Other Considerations

Communications will be especially important. Work out a communications plan with your family, friends, church, and survival groups. Have emergency radios and plenty of batteries. Make sure your cell phones are fully charged at ll times. Keep a spare charger in your car. Pay attention to the news, particularly your local news. 

Please know first aid, or learn it if you don't. Now is a good time to take a refresher course. Make sure you have first aid kits in your home, office, and vehicles.  

I normally don't talk guns out of OPSEC considerations, but I will say this: If it is legal to carry where you are, please seriously consider doing so. Know and obey the laws, get all the proper licenses and permits, get well-trained, and practice gun safety, of course. But carry if you can.
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http://amzn.to/2h6IWci

Kaito KA500 Emergency Radio. This one has is all: AM/FM/SW/NOAA (weather alert) bands; powered five ways (electrical cord, USB port, AA batteries, solar, and hand-crank); plus flashlight, reading lamp, and cellphone charger.

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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/  

Saturday, October 6, 2018

Iran’s Judges Further Criminalize Christianity

Two Believers Sentenced for Affirming Basic Christian Doctrines 

International Christian Concern (ICC) is reporting that on September 22, 2018, Iran’s judiciary affirmed the jail sentences of two Christians. The verdict wrote that believing in the Bible’s authority and Jesus as Lord are attacks against Islam. Saheb Fadaie was sentenced to 18 months and Fatemeh Bakhteri to 12 months in prison for “spreading propaganda against the regime.”

Dr. Mike Ansari of Heart4Iran, an Iranian Christian partnership platform, told ICC, “If there is no codified law with respect to a particular issue, judges must deliver their judgments on the basis of authoritative Islamic sources. Iranian courts typically follow the lead of conservative clerics such as Ayatollah Khomeini who viewed apostasy a crime punishable by death.”

“In the last few years, most extrajudicial killings in Iran have been slowly replaced with arbitrary arrest and detention,” Dr. Ansari continued. “Most of the arrested individuals are coerced to divulge information about their house church activities and those of their friends, under the threat of criminal persecution or arrest of family members.” 

Judge Mashaullah Ahmadzadeh was one of the judges involved in the sentencing. He is the head of Tehran’s Revolutionary Court, Branch 26. He is heavily complicit in Iran’s human rights abuses, and has presided over several cases which led to the imprisonment of Christians. The purpose of the Revolutionary Court is to try ideological opponents of the Islamic regime.

Judge Ahmad Zargar is currently on the European Union’s sanctions list for serious human rights violations, including overseeing miscarriages of justice. In addition to his role as an appeal judge, he is a hojjatolislam, a clerical position immediately below that of an ayatollah. He presided over Fadaie’s appeal, as well as those of several other Christian prisoners.

Both Christians were arrested while attending a house church in May 2017. Fadaie is currently serving a separate jail sentence in Evin Prison, Iran’s most notorious jail. Their sentencing comes at a time when the Iranian regime has increased the amount of pressure on the Church.

“As Christianity grows rapidly in Iran, the Islamic government and the clergy in power are alarmed. Their only strategy to slow down this growth is through a campaign of fear, violence, and intimidation… We expect the persecution in Iran will increase as the Islamic government feels threatened by the spread of Christianity among Muslims in Iran,” explained Dr. Hormoz Shariat, president and founder of Iran Alive Ministries.

Claire Evans, ICC’s Regional Manager, said, “The suppression of religious freedom and abuse of humans rights is what we have come to expect from Iran’s judiciary. The judiciary is not only sentencing Christians to jail—they are sending them to be tortured while imprisoned and harassed for life by the Intelligence Ministry. By deepening its criminalization of the Christian faith, the judiciary is inflicting significant and irreversible trauma on believers.”

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

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

What Exactly is Self-Reliance?


I talk a lot about self-reliance for two reasons. First, I think self-reliance is absolutely fundamental to what we are doing as preppers and survivalists. Without developing self reliance, all our other preparations will simply be useless. Second, I get the feeling the average person today doesn't have much self-reliance, and doesn't even understand what it is. So, what exactly is self-reliance? 

Before I try to explain what self-reliance is, let me take a moment to first explain what it is not. Self-reliance isn't about not needing other people. That is self-sufficiency, and is probably impossible to truly achieve. No matter how self-reliant we are, there will be times that we need others.  Having said that, let's move on to what self-reliance really is...

A quick dictionary definition of self-reliance is "Reliance on one's own capabilities, judgment, or resources; independence." This definition is from The Free Dictionary. A nice enough definition, as far as it goes, but it really doesn't explain exactly what is meant by self-reliance.

John McCann, in his book Practical Self-Reliance, does a better job of defining self-reliance: "self-reliance is being able to do as much as we can without outside assistance." Better, but it still falls far short of explaining exactly what self-reliance is.

There are lots of facets to the concept of self-reliance. A lot has been written on the subject, from Ralph Waldo Emerson's essay Self-Reliance, to John D. McCann's aforementioned book Practical Self-Reliance. Here is my attempt to boil down the thoughts of those men, myself, and others on the topic into seven foundational points:

1- Assume responsibility for your own life. Don't wait around for  others to take care of you. Take care of yourself without waiting for the government or anyone else to take care of you. Also, don't sit around whining that life is unfair, or that other's have it so much better than you. Instead, get off your a** and do something about it. You are in charge of your life, so act like it.

2- Take the blame for your own life. Don't scapegoat others. Don't "pass the buck." If you are blaming someone else, you are not being self-reliant. Even when things happen that seem beyond your control - such as being robbed, being laid-off, or even your house burning down - you are still in control of how you react to those things.

3- Be informed. It is your responsibility to find out the facts and information you need to make informed decisions. Keep up with current events, especially on the local level. Keep up with the trends in your industry. Know where to get information. Ask questions. Be a lifelong learner. Remember the acronym ASK - Always Seek Knowledge.

4- Know where your going. Know what you want. What are your goals? What is your purpose? What do you hope to accomplish? Don't just drift through life. Think. Know yourself. Plan ahead.

5- Make your own decisions. Don't let others run your life for you - and that especially includes the government. Don't worry about what others think of you. Don't worry about being politically correct or socially acceptable. Don't give in to peer pressure. Don't just "go along to get along." Be informed of the issues, and decide for yourself. Be independent.

6- Learn skills. The more skills you have, the more self-reliant you can be. And by skills, I don't just mean various homesteading, bushcraft, and country skills so popular with most preppers, but other skills as well, including mechanical skills, computer skills, negotiating skills, business skills, financial skills, budgeting skills, leadership skills, networking skills...

7- Gain experience. Experience gives you wisdom. Knowledge learned from books, classrooms, and videos, is often theoretical. Theoretical knowledge may turn out to be wrong, incomplete, or impractical. Skills can be learned under perfect conditions. But real life tends to be messy, not perfect. Your skills may be challenged by difficult conditions or a lack of resources. Nothing beats actual real world experience. Find ways to gain that experience.


Remember:  The single most important thing you can do to survive any future chaos is to start taking responsibility for your own life now. This is self-reliance.
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Christian Churches Across China Harassed by Authorities

Churches in Henan, Guizhou, Guangdong, and Sichuan in Turmoil

International Christian Concern (ICC) is reporting that several churches across China were raided and had their crosses removed by authorities over the past week. Additionally, the pastor of a Beijing house church that has already been shut down was hit by a scooter allegedly orchestrated by the government.

On September 27, the government forcibly removed the cross of Zhenxi Street Christian Church in Lankao County, Henan province. Though the church is state-sanctioned, with its walls painted with government slogans such as, “Persist in following the Sinocization of China’s religion,” it could not escape the ongoing crackdown against churches.

On September 30, local authorities disrupted the Sunday service at Lamb Returning Home Church in Guangzhou. The preacher, Cao Zhichao, was one of the signatories who recently signed his name on the joint statement among house churches affirming religious freedom in China.

On the same day, China Aid reported that six officials visited Guangzhou Bible Reformed Church (GBRC), interrogated Pastor Huang Xiaoning, and recorded his ID number. The congregants were upset and challenged the authorities on their actions, “accusing them for trespassing and demanding them to show warrant and IDs.” The officials left after members called the police. GBRC was forcibly shut down earlier last month.
In Guizhou, the Guiyang Love Reformed Church was disbanded by local religious affairs bureau officials who visited during their Sunday service, claiming that the church violated the religious regulations.

According to China Free Press, Autumn Rain Covenant Church (ARCC) in Sichuan also faced harassment on the same day. A member published an online message, saying, “More than 20 police officers surrounded the church […] I wonder how many more are downstairs? Early in the morning the police came and blocked the main entrance of the church, I didn’t expect that they would now encircle the church. This is for God to refine our church and our brothers and sisters, thank God! Hallelujah! Amen!

Three of ARCC’s locations have been investigated and harassed by the authorities, with dozens of members and leaders pressured to stop attending the church. Authorities have also contacted landlords to pressure them to stop leasing to the church.

A source who wished to remain anonymous told ICC that the head pastor of the recently shut down Zion Church in Beijing, Jin Mingri, was hit by a scooter while he was running errands last week. This incident took place after the government charged the shuttered church with a hefty $170,000 “fee” following their eviction. While Jin was left only slightly injured, “this could be seen as a warning from the authority,” said the source.

Gina Goh, ICC’s Regional Manager, said, “Christians in China are bracing themselves for the worst clampdown since the Cultural Revolution. The scale and tactics employed by the authorities are unprecedented and disturbing. Every day there are churches across China that become fresh victims of persecution. ICC condemns the Chinese government’s scheme to taint religious freedom and urges the international community to continuously voice their concerns and stand with the oppressed.”

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