Tag Archives: financial crisis

Virus End Game: New Digital Financial System Roll Out

In this report, Spiro Skouras recaps the events leading up to the current global coronavirus outbreak, while looking ahead at the looming financial crisis and how the virus will likely be blamed, providing cover for the crimes committed by the central bankers.

Spiro also analyzes the potential outcomes of the current situation, which includes a major step towards a cashless society and global governance, as the current crisis seems to be playing right into the hands of the central bankers and the United Nations.

Links

The Banking Digital Arms Race, video that proceeds the one embedded above
https://www.activistpost.com/2019/12/the-banking-digital-arms-race.html

The U.N. & Central Banks: A Rockefeller & Rothschild Coup
https://www.activistpost.com/2020/01/the-u-n-central-banks-a-rockefeller-rothschild-coup.html

Did Bill Gates & World Economic Forum Predict Coronavirus Outbreak? An Inside Look May Shock You!
https://www.activistpost.com/2020/01/did-bill-gates-world-economic-forum-predict-coronavirus-outbreak-an-inside-look-may-shock-you.html

US Biowarfare Act Author: Studies Confirm Coronavirus Weaponized
https://www.activistpost.com/2020/02/us-biowarfare-act-author-studies-confirm-coronavirus-weaponized.html

UN Troops Featured in Military World Games in Wuhan China Weeks Before Coronavirus Outbreak
https://www.activistpost.com/2020/02/un-troops-featured-in-world-military-games-in-wuhan-china-weeks-before-coronavirus-outbreak.html

Nearly 10K Military Personnel From 110 Nations In Wuhan China Weeks Before Coronavirus Outbreak!
https://www.activistpost.com/2020/02/nearly-10k-military-personnel-from-110-nations-in-wuhan-china-weeks-before-coronavirus-outbreak.html

Can cryptocurrency become the UN money of the future?
https://finance.yahoo.com/news/cryptocurrency-become-un-money-future-120035529.html

UNICEF launches Cryptocurrency Fund
https://www.unicef.org/press-releases/unicef-launches-cryptocurrency-fund

NYSE Announces Disaster-Recovery Test Due To Virus Fears
https://www.zerohedge.com/markets/nyse-announces-disaster-recovery-test-due-virus-fears


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What The New 5.5% Unemployment Rate Means For Full Time Job Seekers

Amazing Math from the Bureau of Labor Statistics

by Hambone’s Stuff

According to the most recent Bureau of Labor Statistics release, the UE (unemployment) rate fell to 5.5% as of February. The last time the UE rate was this low was May of 2008.

What I’m fascinated by is the fact that the US population grew from February 2008 to February 2015 by 16.8 million persons, or a 5.5% increase in total population, and on a net basis, not a single one of those 16.8 million persons got a FT (full time) job… while a net 2.7 million were lucky enough to get a (or multiple) PT (part time) job.

This means that 14.3 million persons, or 4.4% of the current US population, were added without a single job among them (chart below). This makes for fascinating math when a 4.4% increase of the total US population without jobs can nearly halve the UE rate down to 5.5%, equal to 2008’s UE rates?

Source; Bureau of Labor Statistics

The recent BLS data are considered “strong employment reports” and are taken as such booming harbingers of economic accomplishment that the Federal Reserve feels rates need to begin their long awaited hikes.

Just to avoid some confusion on this 16.8 million population growth…this does not mean there was a baby boom over this period…quite the opposite as a flat birth rate has been offset by an even faster declining death rate (the baby boom and older generations are living much longer than previous generations…thus the pig through the python population growth).

And just to make sure this isn’t cherry picking data…below is non-seasonally adjusted raw data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics back to ’08 showing rising PT jobs and declining FT jobs.

https://i0.wp.com/www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user5/imageroot/2015/03/bls%202.jpg
Source; Bureau of Labor Statistics

To add perspective we back it up to ’00…and note that over the entire period the US created 7.6 million net new FT jobs and (4 million net PT jobs). But not a single net FT job since prior to Feb ’08.

https://i0.wp.com/www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user5/imageroot/2015/03/bls%203.jpgSource; Bureau of Labor Statistics

I’m pretty confident to say that the stagnant household income data is simply noting the loss of higher quality FT jobs with benefits being replaced with lower quality, lower hour, little to no benefits PT jobs.

I’m sure economists will try to explain away the above raw data as the demographic shifts of retiring baby boomers…but that old chestnut isn’t exactly supported by the data (below). Population growth and jobs growth since ‘07 is clearly in the 55+ year old segment (+17 million population, +7 million employees) while the 25-54 year old working core is shrinking (-1 million population and even faster declines in employment of -5 million).

https://i0.wp.com/www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user5/imageroot/2015/03/bls%204.jpgSource; Bureau of Labor Statistics

The chart below highlights the substitution of debt creation for the breakdown of jobs creation (and note the unwillingness to tax ourselves now versus willingness to indebt our future generations).

https://i2.wp.com/www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user5/imageroot/2015/03/bls%205.jpgSource; BLS, Treasury, Federal Reserve

And below you can see the impact of the falling 25-54 year old segment from ’07 onward…resulting in declining mortgage debt, oil consumption, and general economic activity…and the substitution of debt in place of growth.

https://i0.wp.com/www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user5/imageroot/2015/03/bls%206.pngSource; Treasury, EIA, BLS, Federal Reserve

So you decide, strong jobs data, out and out propaganda, or something in between?

The $100 Trillion Reason the Fed is Terrified of Deflation

by Phoenix Capital Research

Falling Prices Ahead

Over the last few months, Janet Yellen, head of the Federal Reserve Bank repeatedly stated that lower oil prices were “positive” for the US economy. This is simply astounding because the Fed has repeatedly told us time and again that it was IN-flation NOT DE-flation that was great for the economy.

And yet, repeatedly, the head of the Fed admitted, in public, that deflation can in fact be positive.

How can deflation be both positive for the economy at the same time that the economy needs MORE inflation?

The answer is easy… Yellen doesn’t care about the economy. She cares about the US’s massive debt load AKA the BOND BUBBLE.

Yellen knows deflation is actually very good for consumers. Who doesn’t want cheaper housing or cheaper goods and services? In fact, deflation is actually the general order of things for the world: human innovation and creativity naturally works to increase productivity, which makes goods and services cheaper.

However, DEBT DEFLATION is a nightmare for the Fed because it would almost immediately bankrupt both the US and the Too Big To Fail Wall Street Banks. With the US sporting a Debt to GDP ratio of over 100%… and the Wall Street banks sitting on over $191 TRILLION worth of derivatives trades based on interest rates (bonds), the very last thing the Fed wants is even a WHIFF of debt deflation to hit the bond markets.

This is why the Fed is so obsessed with creating inflation: because it renders these gargantuan debt loads more serviceable. In simplest terms, the Fed must “inflate or die.” It will willingly sacrifice the economy, and Americans’ quality of life in order to stop the bond bubble from popping.

https://i0.wp.com/www.silverbearcafe.com/private/images/inflation2.jpg

This is also why the Fed happily talks about stocks all the time; it’s a great distraction from the real story: the fact that the bond bubble is the single largest bubble in history and that when it bursts entire countries will go bust.

This is why the Fed NEEDS interest rates to be as low as possible… any slight jump in rates means that the US will rapidly spiral towards bankruptcy. Indeed, every 1% increase in interest rates means between $150-$175 billion more in interest payments on US debt per year.

If you’ve ever wondered how the Fed can claim inflation is a good thing… now you know. Inflation is bad for all of us… but it allows the US Government to spend money it doesn’t have without going bankrupt… YET.

However, this won’t last. All bubbles end. And when the global bond bubble bursts (currently standing at $100 trillion and counting) the entire system will implode.

Totalitarian Rule in America: False Flags, Secret Prisons, Extrajudicial Assassinations, Media Censorship, The Rounding Up of Alleged “Terrorists” …


by Joachim Hagopian

1984_270x453

Every day signs are looming larger than life as we know it in the wealthiest nation on earth that it’s about to crash and burn, forever changing not for the better. The latest wake-up call arrived in a Guardian article earlier this week. The story features a secret prison not unlike the CIA torture detention centers all over the world whereby the Chicago police hold rounded up US citizens for hours or days at a time for interrogation. The same internationally illegal roundups of suspected “potential terrorists” (which by latest Gestapo America standards can easily be you or me) that the CIA and military black ops deploy globally, are being covertly conducted not only in Obama’s hometown where his thug buddy Rahm rules, but likely every US city and soon coming to a neighborhood near you.

The complete loss of constitutional civil liberties where we can be taken in without warrant, locked up and shackled for indefinite periods of time, where to all our friends and family we simply disappear, those totalitarian Orwellian tactics are here today in secret CIA-like “black site” locations throughout the nation. Lawyers are summarily turned away. Those imprisoned are not booked nor entered in any record-keeping system, only to typically be beaten and shackled. It was determined that one man at the Chicago site already died while in custody. If this inhumane brutality hidden from public view is operating in one major US metropolis, it means that these secret police detention centers are no doubt also up and running in secret locations throughout America. This worst case scenario of police state USA is just one more nightmare come true. And this comes after it’s been determined that Americans are at least 100 times more likely to die at the hands of murdering police than in all other industrialized nations.

For numerous decades the United States has engaged in both high intensive and low intensive counterinsurgency and counter terrorism wars around the globe. But now in the twenty-first century all those same black ops wars have come home to roost right here in the land of the not-so-free. To police state USA all American citizens are the potential enemy. It’s also fair to say that the police in countless jails and prisons have unlawfully beaten and killed thousands of US citizens while in police custody over the years. Sadly, this form of murder in covert black sites where inmates are literally tortured to death takes police state brutality and slaughter to a whole new unprecedented level. And of course those of color and poor are most often the victims. Two years ago it was reported that a black man is killed by police every 28 hours. And with the deaths spiking last year, it’s more apt to be closer to every 24 hours now.

On a far less shocking and dramatic note, the latest FCC 3 to 2 vote on Thursday to “maintain net neutrality” has been treated in the press as a triumph for the people. Yet before we internet users celebrate, several keys factors still need to be pondered. We already know the overriding history in North America where giant transnational corporations enjoy more individual rights than us individuals in this age of globalism. The people may have averted a disastrous lost battle but the war of corporate greed winning out over the rights of people goes on. The FCC’s ruling declared that the internet falls under the rules and regulations of the telecommunications industry and we know what’s been happening there. Six corporate entities virtually control all the world’s major media outlets.

Secondly, the 300-page details of the FCC decision has yet to be released. Literally armies of telecom lawyers will be analyzing every line of 300 pages with a fine-tooth comb just searching for the myriad of potential loopholes by which the large corporate internet providers can find ways to squeeze additional money for the giants at our expense. Finally, the FCC has a special new rule called the “general conduct rule” whereby as in FCC Chairman Wheeler’s words, “it wants to referee” in getting to decide what it deems unfair or “hurts consumers, competition or innovation.” With such a vague and wide open birth, the FCC wields enormous power to interpret its 300 pages of new rules in what it considers running afoul of “proper conduct” and it may not be in favor of us internet consumers. Meanwhile, the telecom lawyers have unlimited time and money to finagle, lobby and court FCC’s favor, not unlike Big Business rules over the EPA in getting away with all kinds of unregulated pollution and Big Pharma literally owns the FDA.

Big Gov operates in deviously sneaky ways. It knows ruling against net neutrality now would cause a storm of fury in America that temporarily Washington is choosing at this moment to avoid. But as mentioned, the mountains of fine print perfectly suited for loopholes contained in 300 pages of rules can easily turn this ephemeral victory into another staggering long term defeat for the people. It’s simply akin to the hard kill being deferred to the soft kill strategy, quietly sneaking through little changes that in their totality will eventually peck away at net neutrality and ultimately kill it. We need to always remember that in recent years gov.corps is one entity that historically favors corporate greed and profit over the well-being of a bunch of humans. The power elite’s agenda remains to offer less internet services, less access to not only the internet but to particular websites that will come at higher prices to access in the future.

Indeed the growing threat of our tyrannical fascist government cutting off access to independent alternative news sites falling victim to state censorship is still very real and extremely foreboding. Increasingly the elite’s agenda is to dis-empower the global masses by keeping them ignorant, dumbed down and in the dark without any access to the truth. Taking away much of the World Wide Web is their sinister strategy that’s still operating at all times despite this recent decision.

The totalitarian government in Washington has realized that their propagandizing mainstream media machine has been rapidly losing its credibility and audience. Upwards of 4 out of 5 Americans today aren’t even tuning in to the likes of NBC’s Brian Williams’ fake show for MSM’s inaccurate reporting of the latest unfolding events in the globalized censored world. And that trend arrived long before we learned Williams turned out to be another mainstream liar.

The totalitarian government’s fusion into corporate fascism has long recognized that supplying the world with free internet allows the masses access to alternative independent news sites for far more accurate reporting of world news and developments. At increasing risk of censorship black outs and persecution, independent news strives to tell the truth to the rest of the world, exposing the official narrative of pure lies and evildoing perpetrated by the criminal syndicate acting as the rogue government. A continued free and independent internet news outlet making suppression of the truth difficult poses a real threat to fascism. That’s why free internet is still under attack.

The other reason the internet poses a threat to New World Order is its enormous capacity to provide instant global communication between billions of humans around the globe that together possess a potentially powerful resistance movement opposing the oppressive tactics being implemented by globalized multinational governments. Ultimately an awakened, informed and empowered citizenry of the world united in solidarity poses the biggest threat to global fascism and its New World Order. That’s why through Executive Order Obama has given himself supreme dictatorial authority to shut  down the internet in America under the pretense of a national emergency.

As another in-our face, over-the-top, draconian measure that reveals how today’s totalitarian police state is fast closing in on us is the feds’ agenda to impose its latest sinister plan to impose mandatory vaccine immunizations on every American adult as well as child. Since 9/11 the feds have been systematically stripping away all our liberties. But when forcing potentially lethal injections on us citizens against our will, the tyrants in Washington will likely have a real fight on their hands. With overwhelming evidence piling up indicating vaccines pose a deadly danger to millions of humans, the feds forcing injections on all US adults may be the catalyst that sparks a genuine grassroots revolt not unlike what the Boston Tea Party was to the American Revolution. With an increasing segment of the US population becoming sick and tired of their government’s rampant oppression, their battle cry may be “enough is enough with your abusive totalitarian bullshit.” The US government has long overstepped both its legal and ethical boundaries that the people may now be reaching the tipping point toward active rebellion.

Of course everything gov.corps does has an intended purpose. With this latest Big Brother violation – the National Adult Immunization Plan (NAIC), it appears the feds are actually intending to create a national confrontational backlash. Ever since 9/11 they’ve been preparing for the civil unrest that they’ve been insidiously provoking and escalating. With the US police state fully militarized, mechanized and mobilized, apparently Washington’s nearing ready to unleash its absolute brutality full force against its own people.

In the same way the US lies and propaganda are attempting to demonize Putin as the bad guy excuse to start WWIII, baiting him to react to relentless over-the-top Empire transgressions, the feds are using the same demented strategy now on us too. They want Americans to react and oppose them so they can bring out their big guns and initiate those long awaited FEMA camp roundups we’ve been hearing about for years – all for the sake of quelling the unrest they themselves incite as their excuse to “restore civil order”. It’s downright demonic but unfortunately that’s where our nation and world appear to be heading, led by an elitist handful of sub-human psychopaths that within a short period of time are bent on killing off at least 90% of us currently inhabiting this planet.

The neocon 9/11 inside job shows more about the treasonous, demonic elements controlling the US government (along with Saudi-Israeli assistance) that executed nearly 3000 innocent Americans to justify waging permanent war around the world than it does 19 box-cutting Muslim terrorist-stooges borrowed from the Saudi government accomplice. Yet the evildoers responsible for 9/11 have targeted Islamic religion as their scapegoat and polarized the entire world with dozens of false flags purposely designed to demonize Muslims worldwide. By waging false flag terrorism events like January’s Charlie Hebdo attack in Paris, between Bush and the Obama regime they have maintained the US and the world in a constant state of emergency, using that designated status as their carte blanche false flag policy to get away with anything and everything evil.

As an example, with the total dismantling of the US Constitution since 9/11 that for more than two centuries guaranteed Americans their civil liberties, now the criminal syndicate of our shadow rogue de facto government currently in power is waging undeclared war against the American people. Meanwhile, increasing numbers of Americans at grave risk to themselves are growing boldly courageous enough to vocally object to the tyranny and criminality of the treasonous feds who’ve systematically violated both their oath to uphold and protect the Constitution and the Constitution itself as our nation’s no longer recognized rule of law. This criminal element inside our own government is not only killing innocent people around the world but is now beginning to brazenly murder innocent American citizens on US soil with increasing regularity. Recall Obama a couple years ago envisioning out loud his use of drones to kill citizens here in the US in the not too distant future. And now he’s selling killer drones to US allies that inevitably will fall into ISIS/al Qaeda hands as the rogue government’s fake enemy and true ally that will join the Empire in the slaughter of Americans.

For years the federal government has been arming and militarizing its robotic henchmen in preparation for waging all-out war against the mounting anger and civil unrest coming from the American people. The exponential growth of the Homeland Security Department and FEMA, the pathological surveillance state, the militarization of US police state, the 2012 National Defense Authorization Act that authorizes military force to break into our homes and arrest law-abiding US citizens without warrant, without charges and imprison Americans without due process or legal representation for an indefinite period of time, all of these highly disturbing developments act as hardcore evidence of the government’s not-so-hidden war against the American people.

For some time now Obama has been both secretly and not so secretively negotiating a full frontal assault on America with implementation of the nightmarish UN Agenda 21 whereby under the rationale of sustainability the UN will work in conspired unison with DHS to relocate much of the US population away from rural and suburban areas into denser populated urban zones. According to their plan, the US has already been broken down into various regional sections most of which will end up unpopulated. Similar to the method of how “national security” has been used to cram down our throats in order to justify stripping us of all our rights and freedom, Agenda 21 uses the transparent facade of “sustainability” as its oppressive criminal excuse to confiscate and steal our homes and force people into federal urban housing. Counties throughout the States and beyond have been busily enacting Agenda 21 laws using eminent domain to illegally force people off their own land and property.

Those who object are labeled non-compliant dissidents joining the activists and journalists who’ve been protesting and exposing the federal crimes against humanity. They are the designated enemy to be rounded up and placed in the more than 1000 FEMA concentration camps that have been waiting to be filled. In the last decade Halliburton has contracted with gov.corps to refurbish and build hundreds of prisons throughout America. To justify mass murder and imprisonment, the feds are now openly calling those of us who object to their lethal madness homegrown terrorists. Yet it is they who are the true terrorist-traitors reigning terror, theft and destruction down on this entire planet. We law abiding citizens are determined patriots willing to stand up for our rights, indeed standing up for humanity and the very survival of our human species. Members of the ruling elite are the perverse, insane psychopathic criminal mass murderers.

The US government since 9/11 has turned the United States of America into a military-security-prison complex with multiple state and city information analysis fusion centers  working 24/7 around the clock in cahoots with militarized law enforcement and NSA surveillance creating dossiers on every single person in America. Those of us who object, resist and/or oppose the insanity of what’s happening will either be imprisoned or killed.

Obama has been secretly signing a host of Executive Orders (EO’s) without Congressional approval, many of which violate existing laws rendering his orders illegal. But the crime syndicate behind the current de facto government operates above all law. The criminals in power do not answer to anyone but the ruling elite. And though they’re all bona fide, soulless psychopaths, they’re utilizing their brute force to subjugate innocent, good people in bondage or worse yet, simply murdering them.

Perhaps the most graphically telling EO of all illustrating their sinister nature is Executive Order 13603, which grants Obama authorization to seize possession of every possible resource, from our property to “all food storage facilities” (meaning all food and water belonging to every person inside our homes). This extremist, maniacal edict is designed to enforce our submission, rendering us totally dependent on Big Brother government or face the obvious – starvation and extermination.

President Obama has quietly transferred his intelligence gathering apparatus from the superseded NSA now under the authority of the Department of Homeland Security. The reason is simple, NSA can only collect data but is not authorized to act on it. Now DHS does have federal authorization to act against all the dissident voices who’ve become outraged over how our government has betrayed the United States and our people. If not already, very soon DHS will be moving to lock up those observed and classified by NSA as targeted security threats who’ve been placed on growing watch lists. Among this list, a dissident’s gradient status as a security threat target is measured on how large a conduit disseminating the lowdown truth to the public that automatically places him or her at the top of the list to be silenced.

Neocon puppet Bush summed it up when he smugly pronounced, “You’re either with us or against us.” Ever since he uttered those words, the US population has become polarized into two growing divided camps. The one camp consists of the totalitarian enforcers that are members of the criminal government agencies having drawn the line in the sand with their massive bulk data collection separating themselves from their opposing camp – those of us citizens who disagree with their Orwellian nightmare-come-true. A third group of Americans are sitting on the fence, though leaning toward the oppressors as in the Stockholm syndrome, either employed in the Fortune 500 transnational corporations unwilling to bite the immoral hand that feeds them or part of the larger flock of sheeple representing Americans either too ignorant, weak or fearful who remain in denial or have stuck their head in the sand pretending or hoping that what’s happening above ground really isn’t happening at all. They are in for very a rude awakening.

Everyone part of this demonic system simply plays their part in doing what they’re told, not unlike the Nazi guards at the Jewish concentration camps during WWII. So now you can see why the psychiatric field has been co-opted and taken over by our Gestapo totalitarian government that represents the oppressive crime syndicate. Mental health clinicians are being mandated to brand anyone with a label in order to declare them certifiably ill with a mental disorder diagnosis that can be applied conveniently to anyone regardless of how stable, well-adjusted or strong their mental and emotional health may actually be. This labeling for control purposes will come in handy as to deciding who goes where under martial law.

Now you know why oppressive draconian laws have been springing up all over the country as well as globally usurping homeowners’ rights to even grow their own vegetable gardens in their own backyard. Harassing and shutting down community food co-ops that undermine local citizens’ resources and independence has been part of the feds’ agenda. In fact, anyone who is preparing to live off grid as a resourceful survivalist/prepper is also in their cross hairs. It’s even become unlawful in many municipalities to be a caring humanitarian these days. Serving food to the homeless in parks is now considered a crime across America.

For a long time Obama and the feds have been attempting to confiscate citizens’ Second Amendment rights to bear arms with the passing of stricter gun control legislation to such an extreme of using Sandy Hook as yet one more horrendous false flag. For that singular purpose, Obama has signed twenty-three Executive Orders on gun safety alone. Already early in 2015 Obama is at it again with his plan to take guns away from gun owners. His latest unilateral move is to ban a bullet commonly sold in local sporting goods stores that’s been among the most popular ammunition in America for generations, used in multiple rifles as well as a new kind of revolver. The catch here is the .223 caliber “green tipped” bullet is known to pierce bullet proof vests typically worn by police state nation. By outlawing and collecting all the most popular ammo and making it strictly for the feds’ use, when his government goes to war against Americans, it’ll obviously give his murdering death squads a distinct, unparalleled advantage.

During the global spread of the Ebola virus last August, Obama signed executive orders authorizing authorities to begin involuntarily rounding up and housing against their will the homeless and mentally ill to even include persons with known respiratory ailments (EO13295). All of these draconian measures demand total dependence and docility from its citizenry – or else. While Americans are now trapped in a domestic police state, cops are killing innocent people in the US every single day at an unprecedented, alarming rate. If you resist, you risk dying. And even if you don’t resist, you still risk dying.

The constant attack on citizens struggling to maintain their modest yet eroding standard of living desperately trying to stretch less money to cover the steadily rising costs of survival spells a very uncertain and even doubtful future for both Americans and people throughout the world. The ever-shrinking middle class in both North America and Europe is the inevitable, by designed outcome of globalization, privatization, destabilization, rising war and massive human impoverishment. The unstable future of the world feeds the emerging New World Order along with its demonically Orwellian control of the entire global population.

Ever since the breakup of the Soviet Union nearly a quarter century ago, the US as the sole global superpower has aggressively been surrounding the entire Russian border placing missiles on its doorstep aimed directly into Russia while the US Empire-NATO-European Union has co-opted as geopolitical puppets the entire former Soviet bloc nations of Eastern Europe including a number of Central Asian countries on the globalized chessboard hemming in Russia and China into checkmate position.

Despite this prodding, walled in aggression used as bait to manipulate Putin into reacting and fighting back, he has repeatedly outsmarted the US and its puppets by showing remarkable restraint. But the US has pushed him to the very limit. Understandably he has strengthened ties with neighboring China and formed an economic union with other emerging powers Brazil, India and South Africa (BRICS) in formidable economic self-defense. Just this week India’s cabinet approved of a BRICS development bank. Meanwhile, increasing financial reports have predicted that the US dollar and petrodollar as the standard international currency will be dropped. And that may spell economic disaster for the United States.

In response to the threat that the West poses, a coalition of nations in the East – Russia, China and India – have all been forced to prepare for the impending war the US Empire has been instigating. Clearly it is America and Europe that are the wrongful aggressors that have been deliberately setting the stage for World War III against nuclear-powered Russia and China. Also clearly in the court of world opinion, Putin is winning and once again Obama and his neocon aggressors are losing. The real problem though is all of us on earth might lose because of Obama and his puppet masters’ deadly games.

Everything in this world now is reversed from the way it once was and should be. It is painful to realize that we Americans were always brainwashed and taught that we were the good guys and the Russian and Chinese Communists were always the bad guy oppressors. However, now roles seem very much reversed whereas the relentless, instigating aggressor pushing for what could easily become nuclear war and the end of the world, American Empire has become the most dangerous rogue state on earth flailing in its final destructive acts before it collapses. The tragic irony and pathetic hypocrisy is that the United States always in its holier than thou self-righteousness criticized the totalitarianism of the Soviet Union and China. Yet it now appears that the darkest shadows of the gulag are operating as “black holes” right here in America, the land of the no longer free but the enslaved and the walking dead who haven’t awakened from their slumber of what used to be to find the once greatest nation on earth the most destructive predator spiraling into oblivion but seemingly determined to take the entire planet down with it.

In reality the US government is simply acting on orders from the ruling Western elite that has ordered destruction of the United States. The ruling elite has taken the entire human species hostage and like their Islamic State stooges, the psychopathic oligarchs are busily beheading the entire human civilization in a relentless combination of both soft and hard kill tactics designed to exterminate 90% of the global population. This is the first known human genocide – the earth’s sixth mass extinction and first caused by a handful of demonically possessed sub-human species that has been in control of planet earth for many centuries. We owe it to all life on planet earth to fight back.

 Joachim Hagopian is a West Point graduate and former US Army officer. He has written a manuscript based on his unique military experience entitled “Don’t Let The Bastards Getcha Down.” It examines and focuses on US international relations, leadership and national security issues. After the military, Joachim earned a master’s degree in Clinical Psychology and worked as a licensed therapist in the mental health field for more than a quarter century. He now concentrates on his writing and has a blog site at http://empireexposed. blogspot. com/.

The War On Success Of Small Business In America

Source: Zero Hedge
This is the war on success that our government is waging. They are almost trying to make the economy worse by putting companies out of business. To Quote Jim Clifton of Gallup:

Our leadership keeps thinking that the answer to economic growth and ultimately job creation is more innovation, and we continue to invest billions in it. But an innovation is worthless until an entrepreneur creates a business model for it and turns that innovative idea in something customers will buy. Because we have misdiagnosed the cause and effect of economic growth, we have misdiagnosed the cause and effect of job creation.

For the first time in 35 years, American business deaths now outnumber business births.

Let’s get one thing clear: This economy is never truly coming back unless we reverse the birth and death trends of American businesses. It is catastrophic to be dead wrong on the biggest issue of the last 50 years — the issue of where jobs come from…when small and medium-sized businesses are dying faster than they’re being born, so is free enterprise.
And when free enterprise dies, America dies with it.

Mike Maloney explains…

Understanding The Fear Of Self-Defense And Revolution

By Brandon Smith

Our era is a strange one when considering how social attitudes have developed in such a contrary fashion to the rest of history. I think that our forefathers would look upon our current culture with bewilderment when confronted with the fact that our generation has all but abandoned the option of physical rebellion as a tool for social change. Even among the most enslaved of nations and peoples, the idea of revolution has been held in regard as an entirely moral and principled affair involving every individual, no matter their age or economic station. Today, however, that which we call “revolution” has been delegated mostly to college-age intellectuals and has been so watered down and whitewashed with politically correct restrictions that the concept is hardly recognizable.

I believe the civil rights movements in America and in India in the 20th century have in many ways warped the public view of how opposition to totalitarianism is actually accomplished. I find it interesting that movements led by Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr. enjoy so much adoration in mainstream media and in public schooling, while the American Revolution is often either misrepresented or not discussed at all. Gandhi’s movement was, in concrete terms, a failure until Indians had actually began organizing to physically fight the British, causing the Crown to attempt to defuse the movement by suddenly offering up a reformation of Indian governance (one that would continue to benefit them). When one examines the facts surrounding Cointelpro operations by the FBI and CIA during the civil rights movement in America, one realizes that half the efforts and actions were legitimate and the other half entirely manipulated.

Over the course of half a century, the philosophy of “anti-violence” has come to include a distinct distaste for self-defense. Self-defense is now consistently equated to “violence” (and is, thus, immoral), regardless of environmental circumstances.

Even in the liberty movement, there are people who disregard physical defense as either barbaric or “futile” and have adopted rather less-effective pacifist ideologies of more socialist activism. The problem with certain factions of libertarianism is that they tend to live within their own heads, reveling in a world of Ayn Randian and Rothbardian political and social theory, while abandoning the other side of concrete resistance. Some in the survival community call these people “egghead libertarians,” and I think the label fits.

They rejoice only in the intellectual; thus, they tend to see themselves only as “intellectual warriors.” For them, the war against tyranny by extension must be fought on an intellectual battlefield. Otherwise, as individuals, they have little to offer the resistance. They believe that if they merely present a better and more logical philosophy, they will win over the masses to their side or even change the souls of the rather soulless psychopaths creating tyranny in the first place. Like magic, they will have won the fight without ever truly fighting. It sounds like a strategy right out of the “Art Of War,” but really it is an intricate excuse designed to avoid risk.

They have almost no experience with and, therefore, no respect for the concept of self-defense and revolution. And they have no capacity to fathom what such an endeavor would entail. This unknown scenario inspires fear in them — a fear of struggle, a fear of failure and a fear of death.

While taking action from a position of love for one’s fellow man is indeed noble, it is sometimes not enough in the face of pure evil — the kind of evil inherent in the ranks of elitism and the globalist ideology. It is important to keep at least one foot on the ground when building a movement of dissent and realize that while maintaining the moral high ground is paramount, there are limitations to what peaceful resistance can accomplish, depending on the opponent. If you are not prepared to use both peaceful means and physical defense if necessary, your movement will ultimately fail against an enemy without conscience.

Never before in history have humans been so dismissive of the self-defense concept when it comes to government, and I attribute this to clever conditioning and to an ingrained and powerful fear. Here are some of the most commonly heard arguments against physical revolution and why they are either ill-conceived or outright disingenuous.

Revolution Is Morally Wrong?

I find the attitude of moral superiority of the nonviolence crowd rather disconcerting at times and, in many ways, dishonest. It is very common to run into nonviolence proponents who are not satisfied with their own personal choice of pacifism alone. In many cases, they will attack or undermine other parts of the movement preparing for self-defense on the basis that even mere preparation is somehow akin to physical aggression. These people are never satisfied until everyone in the movement meets their “high standards” of activist purity.

In the end, I think their position is less about a regard for peace than it is about a regard for their own egos. People in general tend to support the formation of taboos (as opposed to honest principles) in order to gain what they see as the moral upper hand over others. They invent a condition of arbitrary piety around themselves in an act of self-elevation that does not constitute true morality.

Anyone who makes self-defense a taboo is not only living in a fantasy land outside the inherent structures of natural law, he is also likely doing so because he enjoys the sense of social superiority such a position affords. In this way many of the more irrational nonviolence activists are, in fact, no better that the raving acolytes of the cult of political correctness.

Physical self-defense against tyranny is not only necessary, but entirely honorable. When the violence of an individual is thwarted by defense, when a potential thief robs the wrong house, when a rape is prevented by an armed and prepared woman or when a potential murderer is shot dead by a citizen who refused to be a victim, our society cheers. But when someone suggests that the same measures be taken against a violent and corrupt government, people suddenly claim moral hazard.

There is no difference between the act of defending oneself against a common criminal and defending oneself against a criminal government. I would venture to say that self-defense is a moral imperative more vital to the survival of peace and freedom than any other.

Revolution Is Futile And The Enemy Is Too Strong?

When anti-defense initiates cannot effectively argue against the moral principles of physical revolution, they invariably change tactics, asserting instead that revolution is a useless endeavor that will end only in tragedy for the participants. I see this argument as a product of brainless nihilism rather than rationalism, and such a defeatist mindset invariably stems from cowardice rather than logic.

Nihilism is a powerful psychological force that destroys all hope and all positive pursuits. It is essentially the act of denying success before an endeavor is ever undertaken. Nihilists ensure their own failure because for them every scenario is a no-win scenario.

To them, I might seem like a blind optimist, while they see themselves as realists. In truth, pro-self-defense advocates are far more realistic. There is certainly a fundamental difference in the manner in which we look at the world. When I and those “optimists” like me see a problem, we look for a solution regardless of the scale of the threat; and if we cannot immediately find an obvious solution right away, we keep working until we do. There is no such thing as a no-win scenario for us. There is always a way to overcome an obstacle.

I would also point out the reality that, at bottom, it does not matter what the odds are in a revolution for freedom. When all is said and done, you will probably be confronted with two choices in the face of tyranny: fight and possibly die; or surrender, become a slave and probably still die. Those who argue against self-defense are in most cases trying to avoid the inevitability of this choice by creating non-options and non-solutions out of thin air. This is the opposite of realism.

Physical revolution requires a methodology of adaptivity and courage. Fear has no place in the mind of a freedom fighter, and nihilism is just as foreign to him. The goal of liberty will be accomplished. Totalitarians will be defeated. The size of the movement is not a factor. We expect that we will be in the minority. There is no other outcome but victory because we will allow no other outcome. Period. If we are proven wrong, then we are proven wrong; but it will not be due to a lack of trying.

In our age, arguments of the technological superiority of the enemy are often brandished as clear evidence of the uselessness of physical resistance. I think one could also make the argument that technological superiority in media manipulation and other fields could make nonviolent resistance useless as well. I’m not really sure why nihilists cling to the notion that technology matters at all, except that it perhaps offers an easy and lazy avenue of debate. The enemy has predator drones; therefore, revolution is futile.

In conjunction with Oath Keepers, I will soon be producing a video that will show the liberty movement how to build their own working thermal-evasion suits. Perhaps this will quell the incessant proclamations that drones and tanks and Apache helicopters mean anything at all in the face of asymmetric warfare. If the enemy can’t see you, they can’t kill you; and for every high-tech enemy, there is a low tech solution. Of course, I doubt this will mean anything to the nihilists, who don’t have the will to fight for anything except their belief that fighting back is useless.

Revolutions Are Always Co-Opted?

I have heard it argued by multiple sources within the liberty movement over the years that revolution is a poor option in defeating tyranny because of the cyclical nature of political and social change. They claim that all we have to do is look back at history to see that even when a revolution is successful in removing oligarchy, the resulting republic is invariably co-opted years or decades down the road. I agree, to a point.

The problem is not that the concept of revolution is ineffective. What these skeptics of physical rebellion tend to overlook or deliberately ignore is that no revolution in the history of man has ever gone far enough. Each revolution has targeted the corrupt government of their day, but no revolution has ever actually removed the elitist cabal behind those regimes — the same cabal of elites that has bankrolled nearly every tyranny over the past several centuries.

This is due in part to the fact that knowledge of who these elites are was not widespread. Today, for the first time ever, mankind has full access to information on who the globalists are and what they want. In fact, the elites barely hide who they are or what their intentions are anymore. One can simply look up the roster of organization like Bilderberg, Tavistock, the Trilateral Commission, the Council on Foreign Relations, the International Monetary Fund, the Bank for International Settlements, etc. At least in the liberty movement, we know who the real enemy is.

Co-option is always a threat if you do not know who the enemy is. A revolution against the Obama administration alone, for example, would be useless because President Obama is nothing but a puppet, a mascot playing a role. Removing middlemen is a half-measure, and anyone who tries to lead you into revolution on the premise that Obama alone is the source of your troubles is probably an elitist leading you toward disaster. If you are not removing the root of the threat, then the threat will persist.

Co-option also occurs when people become obsessed with the idea of popular top-down leadership rather than bottom-up decentralized resistance. If you are out there looking for the next George Washington on a white horse to save you from tyranny, then you will eventually get him; but he may not be at all what he seems. Beware of generals and top brass suddenly in support of revolution. Beware of any notion of military coup. Beware of any revolution that uses political party divisions as a motivator. Beware of any government with a central bank that wishes to bankroll your revolution. Stay decentralized and refuse any push for top-down leadership. This is the only way to avoid co-option.

Revolution Solves Nothing Because Mankind Is ‘Predisposed’ To Tyranny?

The great lie being injected into the movement over the past few years is that removal of the elites will solve nothing because the “real problem” is the corrupt nature of humanity in general and that if we remove one set of elites, they will simply be replaced with another set, as if society is fatally predisposed to develop an elitist class. This is the most vapid form of defeatist garbage ever regurgitated by nihilists.

First, we have no idea whatsoever what life would be like without the globalist network because we have never lived in a society in which they have been removed, even for a single generation. I think early America after the revolution is the only example I can find of a society free from most elitist controls, and the prosperity that developed in that environment leads me to believe that removal of the entire elitist framework would result in undeniable positive changes for the world. Why else would the globalists spend the past two centuries attempting to dismantle the Constitution and the Bill of Rights?

Second, if mankind is so “predisposed” to become naturally subservient to an elitist class, why do the elites feel so compelled to manipulate the masses with complex forms of propaganda and fear tactics? Why go through all the trouble of engineering economic disparity and war? What is the point if we are all dumb animals just waiting to be ruled? The argument is nonsense. The elites spend billions of dollars, if not trillions of dollars, in capital and go to such extremes because oligarchy is not a natural state of man. It is so unnatural that the elites are forced to expend constant energy trying to keep us from progressing away from the slave dynamic.

I believe a revolution is indeed necessary, a final revolution to remove the influence of the globalist cult once and for all — not only their puppet governments, puppet political parties and puppet despots, but the globalists themselves. Will bad men still exist in this world? Of course they will. But the kind of advanced and well-organized internationlist machine that thrives today will no longer exist. To save a patient poisoned to the extreme, the patient must be purged until his body can recover on its own. The elites are a poison that must be physically removed from the human system.

Something Rotten Is Piling Up In This Economy

Total US business inventories balloon to Lehman-Moment levels

https://farm4.staticflickr.com/3912/15252459662_c459d49944_h.jpgby Wolf Richter

“We do have more work to do in the US,” admitted John Bryant, CEO of Kellogg’s which makes Pringles, Pop Tarts, Kashi Cereal, and a million other things that consumers are increasingly reluctant or unable to buy. He was trying to explain the crummy quarterly results and the big-fat operating loss of $422 million, along with a lousy outlook that sent its stock careening down 4.5% during the rest of the day.

Then in the evening, ConAgra, with brands like Healthy Choice for consumers and something yummy they call “commercial food” for restaurants, cut its fiscal 2015 earnings guidance, citing a laundry list of problems, including the “strengthening dollar” and “a higher-than-planned mark-to-market loss from certain commodity index hedges.” But it blamed two operating issues “for the majority of the EPS cut: “a highly competitive bidding environment” and “execution shortfalls.”

After which confession time still wasn’t over: it would be “evaluating the need” for additional write-offs. What had gone well? Cost cutting – “strong SG&A efficiencies,” the statement called it. But the pandemic cost-cutting by corporate America represents wages and other companies’ sales.

It’s tough out there for companies that have to deal with the over-indebted, under-employed, strung-out American consumers with fickle loyalties and finicky tastes, who have been subjected to this corporate cost-cutting for years.

And so retail sales, according to the Commerce Department, dropped a seasonally adjusted 0.8% in January. That’s on top of a 0.9% decline in December. The hitherto inconceivable is happening: folks are saving money on gas, but not everyone is immediately spending all that money! It’s so inconceivable that I warned about it and other effects of the oil price crash two months ago: “Wall Street promises a big boost to US GDP,” I wrote. “What have these folks been smoking?”

But even excluding gasoline sales, retail sales were flat last month after edging down 0.2% in December. And sure, some of the savings from gasoline will be spent eventually, but there are plenty of Americans with enough money left over every month to where their spending patterns aren’t influenced by the price of gas.

But this report, an advance estimate that is subject to potentially large revisions, covers only spending at retailers and restaurants, a portion of total consumer spending, which includes healthcare and anything else that consumers pay out of their noses for. And year-over-year, retail sales actually rose 3.3%, with food services sales up 11.3%, auto sales up 10.7% thanks to prodigious subprime financing, while sales at gas stations sagged 23.5%.

So from just the retail sales report, the consumer situation remains murky.

But there is another gauge that is moving deeper and deeper into the red. It has been deteriorating consistently since last summer. A couple of days ago, I reported that wholesale inventories were ballooning in relationship to sales, a red flag in our era when just-in-time delivery and lean inventories have been honed into an art to minimize how much working capital and physical space gets tied up. The crucial inventories-to-sales ratio for wholesalers had reached the highest level since the financial crisis.

Now the Commerce Department released total business sales and inventories for December, which include sales and inventories at retailers, wholesalers, and manufactures – the entire channel. And it’s even worse.

Combined sales by retailers, wholesalers, and manufacturers, adjusted seasonally but not for price changes, dropped 0.9% from November, and was up only 0.9% from December 2013 – not even beating inflation.

Retailers were able to keep their inventories stable in relationship to sales, which inched up 2.6% year-over-year. So the inventories-to-sales ratio remained at 1.43.

Further up the channel, wholesalers saw sales rise only 1.43%, but their inventories stacked up, and the inventories-to-sales ratio hit 1.22, up from 1.16 a year earlier.

And manufactures? That great “manufacturing renaissance” in the US? Year over year, sales declined 0.9%, but inventories rose 2.7%, and their inventories-to-sales ratio jumped to 1.34 from 1.29 a year earlier.

For all three combined, the inventories-to-sales ratio rose to 1.33 in December, after climbing methodically since summer. The last time it was rising to this level was in September 2008 – the Lehman Moment – when sales up the entire channel were beginning to grind to a near halt, a terrible condition that morphed into the Great Recession. That propitious September, the inventories-to-sales reached 1.32, still a smidgen below where it is today:

US-Business-inventories-sales-ratio-2005_2014-Dec

Optimistic merchants and manufacturers expect sales to rise. They plan for it and order accordingly. If sales boom and draw down inventories, the inventories-to-sales ratio remains lean. That’s the rosy scenario. But that hasn’t been happening recently.

In our less rosy reality, sales are not keeping up with expectations, and inventories are piling up. The increase in inventories adds to GDP, and so from that point of view, they beautify the numbers. But from the business point of view, growing inventories caused by lagging sales can turn into a nightmare. And unless sales can somehow be cranked up for all businesses across the entire country to bring down these inventories, orders to suppliers will be trimmed – and that ricochets nastily around the economy with all kinds of unpleasant secondary fireworks.

World War III Has Started

by Greg Hunter

Analyst and trader Gregory Mannarino says, “We are deeply engaged in an economic war against Russia. This is a collective collusion that is very scary.

“We are watching epic events occur. People have been saying for years, where is the collapse, where is it? It’s now.

“The strength of the U.S. dollar is a fear trade. When you see the dollar going parabolic with a flattening yield curve, this is a huge tell.”

“People need to understand here that economic warfare is war. World War III, beyond any shadow of a doubt, is already here.”

The Baltic Dry Index is another tell that says the economy is not good because the shipping of goods has come to a crawl.

Venezuela Pushed Into Depression: Food Distribution Under Military Protection

Shoppers line up outside Excelsior Gama grocery story in the Chacao section of eastern Caracas on Jan. 9. 2015.

By Andrew Rosati and Noris Soto

Shoppers thronged grocery stores across Caracas today as deepening shortages led the government to put Venezuela’s food distribution under military protection.

Long lines, some stretching for blocks, formed outside grocery stores in the South American country’s capital as residents search for scarce basic items such as detergent and chicken.

“I’ve visited six stores already today looking for detergent — I can’t find it anywhere,” said Lisbeth Elsa, a 27-year-old janitor, waiting in line outside a supermarket in eastern Caracas. “We’re wearing our dirty clothes again because we can’t find it. At this point I’ll buy whatever I can find.”

A dearth of foreign currency exacerbated by collapsing oil prices has led to shortages of imports from toilet paper to car batteries, and helped push annual inflation to 64 percent in November. The lines will persist as long as price controls remain in place, Luis Vicente Leon, director of Caracas-based polling firm Datanalisis, said today in a telephone interview.

Government officials met with representatives from supermarket chains today to guarantee supplies, state news agency AVN reported. Interior Minister Carmen Melendez said yesterday that security forces would be sent to food stores and distribution centers to protect shoppers.

Empty shelves sit in a supermarket in the La Boyera part of eastern Caracas on Jan. 9, 2015. Photographer: Noris Soto/Bloomberg

‘Into Desperation’

“Don’t fall into desperation — we have the capacity and products for everyone, with calmness and patience. The stores are full,” she said on state television.

President Nicolas Maduro last week vowed to implement an economic “counter-offensive” to steer the country out of recession, including an overhaul of the foreign exchange system. He has yet to provide details. While the main government-controlled exchange sets a rate of 6.3 bolivars per U.S. dollar, the black market rate is as much as 187 per dollar.

Inside a Plan Suarez grocery store yesterday in eastern Caracas, shelves were mostly bare. Customers struggled and fought for items at times, with many trying to skip lines. The most sought-after products included detergent, with customers waiting in line for two to three hours to buy a maximum of two bags. A security guard asked that photos of empty shelves not be taken.

Police inside a Luvebras supermarket in eastern Caracas intervened to help staff distribute toilet paper and other products.

‘Looming Fear’

“You can’t find anything, I’ve spent 15 days looking for diapers,” Jean Paul Mate, a meat vendor, said outside the Luvebras store. “You have to take off work to look for products. I go to at least five stores a day.”

Venezuelan online news outlet VIVOplay posted a video of government food security regulator Carlos Osorio being interrupted by throngs of shoppers searching for products as he broadcast on state television from a Bicentenario government-run supermarket in central Caracas.

“What we’re seeing is worse than usual, it’s not only a seasonal problem,” Datanalisis’s Leon said. “Companies are not sure how they will restock their inventories or find merchandise, with a looming fear of a devaluation.”

The price for Venezuela’s oil, which accounts for more than 95 percent of the country’s exports, has plunged by more than half from last year’s peak in June to $47 a barrel this month.

“This is the worst it has ever been — I’ve seen lines thousands of people long,” Greisly Jarpe, a 42-year-old data analyst, said as she waited for dish soap in eastern Caracas. “People are so desperate they’re sleeping in the lines.”

The Spike Series By Cold Steel

Spike Series

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Easily concealed, razor sharp and light as a feather — the Spike series by Cold Steel!

Good Alternative

County Officials Use 24 Cops and Military Vehicle To Collect Civil Judgment

Marathon County sent this armored vehicle along with two dozen officers to collect a civil judgment from Roger Hoeppner and possibly remove wooden pallets and other items from his home outside Wausau.

Escorted 75 year old to bank and forced to withdraw $80,000 and hand it over to police

by Bruce Vielmetti

When officials in the tiny Town of Stettin in Marathon County went to collect a civil judgment from 75-year-old Roger Hoeppner this month, they sent 24 armed officers and an armored military vehicle.

Among other issues, the recent unrest in Ferguson, Mo., focused attention on the growing militarization of local law enforcement, particularly the use by even very small police departments of surplus armored military vehicles.

Marathon County sheriff’s officials aren’t apologizing for their tactics. Sheriff’s Capt. Greg Bean said officials expected to have to seize and remove tractors and wooden pallets to pay the judgment — hence the cadre of deputies. He also said what while Hoeppner was never considered dangerous, he was known to be argumentative.

Hoeppner said when he noticed deputies outside his house, he called his attorney, Ryan Lister of Wausau. Lister said he quickly left for Hoeppner’s house but was stopped by a roadblock that was kept up until after his client had been taken away in handcuffs. “Rather than provide Mr. Hoeppner or his counsel notice…and attempt to collect without spending thousands of taxpayer dollars on the military-style maneuvers, the town unilaterally decided to enforce its civil judgment” with a show of force, Lister said.

Bean said deputies had to handcuff Hoeppner because he was not following all their instructions, but did eventually agree to pay the $80,000 judgment after a visit to a bank — accompanied by deputies.

Bean also said the armored truck was summoned only after Hoeppner initially refused to come out of his house. Once the truck appeared, so did Hoeppner.

“I’ve been involved in about five standoff situations where, as soon as the MARV showed up, the person gives up,” saving time, money and increasing safety, Bean said.

Madison’s police recently made a similar endorsement after officers used one to carry out the safe arrest of a man who had fired at police from a window of his home.

MARV stands for Marathon County Response Vehicle, which his department obtained in 2011. It’s the only one in the county and gets used 10 to 20 times a year, Bean said.

“People may not always understand why, but an armored vehicle is almost a necessity now,” Bean said.

Long Standing Rift:

Hoeppner has filed a notice of claim against the town, and is considering a federal civil rights lawsuit, according to a Madison attorney who represents him in another case about Hoeppner’s right to speak at town meetings.

“It’s a long-running, heavily litigated dispute over his use of his property,” said the lawyer, Jeff Scott Olson. “They’re trying to collect in a very heavy-handed manner.”

Hoeppner owns about 20 acres along Packer Drive, which runs nearly parallel with Highway 29 west of Wausau, where he restores antique tractors and runs a pallet repair business. The latter at times featured giant piles of the wooden pallets visible from Packer Drive.

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In 2008, the town sued Hoeppner over claimed violations of ordinances about zoning, signs, rubbish and vehicles. About a year later, the two sides settled; Hoeppner was supposed to clean up his property, and the town was supposed to open discussions about its zoning.

The town felt Hoeppner had not complied, and it brought a motion for contempt and enforcement. In September 2010, a judge ordered Hoeppner to remove certain items from his land.

The following May, the judge found Hoeppner had still not complied and authorized the town to seize assets. In the summer of 2011, the town hauled away several tractors, pallets, equipment and other items and auctioned them off for “pennies on the dollar,” according to Lister.

But the dispute wasn’t over. In April 2013, the judge entered a final judgment that imposed a $500-a-day fine against Hoeppner for not adhering to the original May 2011 order, and granting the town’s legal fees.

Hoeppner appealed, but lost in a March ruling. So by Oct. 2, he owed the town about $80,000, according to court records, and the Town of Stettin obtained a writ of execution to collect — without notice to Hoeppner or his attorneys, they say.

Threats Alleged:

Town Chairman Matt Wasmundt said neither he nor other town officials and their attorneys could comment about Hoeppner or the serving of the writ, citing pending litigation and “threats.”

Hoeppner, retired from a job at a paper factory, and Lister deny Hoeppner ever engaged in threats of any kind against Wasmundt or other town officials.

In a federal civil rights suit, Hoeppner contends that Wasmundt infringed on his free speech rights by calling deputies to town board meetings where Hoeppner wished to address the board during public comment periods, and for later eliminating public comment entirely from meeting agendas.

Once, Hoeppner said, he was arrested by the deputies at Wasmundt’s direction, only to later be released without charge.

Town Called Unfair:

In an interview, he said he wanted to address what he felt was the town’s unfair focus on his property, when there are dozens of others arguably in violation of the town’s zoning, which is all agricultural-residential.

He said he felt Wasmundt has a “vendetta” against him and a “my way or the highway” style of running the town.

He described deputies with guns drawn walking around his garage.

Asked if he was, as the sheriff’s captain described him, argumentative, Hoeppner admitted he was probably “hostile,” though not threatening when confronted with a writ.

“The $86,000 figure is enough to shock most men,” he said. “And they wanted it now, today.” He said the town later agreed to $6,000 less because it wouldn’t have to pay for hauling away his other equipment to sell.

Hoeppner estimates that, in all, his battle with the town has cost him about $200,000, a retirement fund he “worked very hard to accumulate.” In addition, he said, his arrest the day the armored truck appeared upset his wife so much, he had to take her to a hospital for a few hours.

What Happens When Your Friend’s Smartphone Can Tell That You’re Lying?


Get ready for that smartphone to know your true feelings. (Michael Nagle/Bloomberg)

In just a few weeks, the next installment of “The Hunger Games” will arrive in movie theaters. The latest in a long line of films to depict a future all-knowing or controlling government — think “1984” or “Minority Report” — the dystopian tale will likely be a runaway hit. But the power to seem all-knowing – or at least know more than do now – may soon lie in technology that’s already in the palm of your hand.

We are nearing a point where our smartphones will be able to recognize a face or voice, in real life or on-screen. And identification is only the most basic of the possibilities. Many app-makers are experimenting with software that can also analyze – able to determine someone’s emotions or honesty just by a few facial cues.

This interpersonal assessment technology promises to make our lives easier. For instance, facial recognition technology can allow people to get immediate and amazing customer service. If a restaurant or retailer can identify me before I walk in the door, it would be able to identify me as a returning customer, accessing my favorite dishes or products. I would be greeted like an old friend (whether I were, or not).

Similarly, algorithms are now being developed that link thousands of facial cues with human emotions. Our brains do this naturally – we know without asking whether someone is happy or upset based only on their expressions. Law enforcement and poker players take this a step further, using facial cues to determine someone’s honesty. But with technology augmenting our brain’s natural behavior – possibly providing direct, measurable and verifiable input – we can produce measurable and verifiable data. As sensors move from our smartphones to activity trackers to smart watches from Apple and Samsung, we are measuring more than ever and are not far off from continuously tracking our emotions. And software is now in development to interpret people’s emotions, then project the results via an app onto a screen such as Google Glass.

Technology can also analyze the human voice to determine emotion – again, not just mimicking, but surpassing our brain’s abilities. Moodies, an app developed by Beyond Verbal, is able to detect a speaker’s mood based on nothing more than a voice. Worldwide call centers are testing the technology to help operators determine whether callers are upset and likely to switch their business to a competitor.

There are also some potentially negative consequences. If you can simply run a person’s image and voice through an app to determine their emotions and veracity, we will have to adjust as a society. Many of our daily interactions are built on small lies: “So happy to see you”, “Of course I remember you,” and “This is the best (food, activity or place).” In other words, society’s function is smoothed by little white lies – do we really want to eliminate that?

As we uncover our deceptions – implicit and explicit, including those of which we have convinced even ourselves – a market for technology that hides our emotions will arise. Entrepreneurs may create “emotion-cloaking devices.” Facial coverings may become more popular. Perhaps there’ll be sanctuaries where no devices are allowed, either by custom or law — an atmosphere akin to how we now feel about taking pictures in public bathrooms and kids’ classrooms.

One thing is for sure: politics is in for a major overhaul. With every smartphone possessing a virtual lie-detector test, elected officials will need to be creative in the ways they talk to us. In fact, my fear is the most insecure and most powerful politicians will resist, and quickly seek to regulate or restrict these technologies — ignoring their obvious good — in a hidden but discoverable attempt to preserve their own power and half-truths.

Ready or not, technologies are quickly arriving, which allow us to assess other people to a degree of accuracy we never before imagined. While by no means a cure for Alzheimer’s — at least in the disease’s early stages — facial recognition software could supplement a sufferer’s slowly deteriorating memory and help recall acquaintances, friends and loved ones.

Before we rush to decry these assessment technologies, we must also consider their incredible array of benefits. If this “recognition revolution” can indeed realize its potential, won’t it absolutely be worth a little uncertainty today?

Know Your Enemy

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A Veteran Policeman’s Observations on The Free Shit Army

Source: SurvivalBlog

A lot has been written warning us of what will happen when the City Dwellers find their homes are untenable and vacate [en masse as The Golden Horde] for “the country”, but I haven’t seen anything on what the make-up of these hordes will be. The generic term “city dwellers” encompasses a lot of territory. Who will they be,what kind of shape will they be in, how will they be armed…all of these need to be examined.

One category needs to be examined, I feel, more closely than others. Since I have seen posts on your site lately dealing with the nitty-gritty, unpleasant aspects of prepping, I think this is a needed look into what’s out there. I’ve been a cop over 20 years, my last uniform assignment before moving to Investigator being a two year stretch of Anti-Crime patrols in the Section 8 Housing projects of my city. This put me into contact with some of the “Worst of the Worst” that will be fleeing the cities in time of trouble. Gang-bangers, common street thugs, dope dealers and users, all have a place in the hierarchy of the streets. And they will certainly be part of what preppers will be facing in times of troubles. Here’s some of what I have learned:

The bottom rung is occupied by the drug addicts and users. They exist, not live as we understand the word. They have no assets, no goals, no drive. But they do have an almost animal instinct to continue living. They will be armed with anything they can steal or lay hands on. Most will have a knife of razor box cutter, and some sort of cheap pistol, or they will not live to get out of the city. Since they have no resources or assets, they will be on the edge of starvation and desperation almost within a day of an event. With no fixed residence or place to defend, they will be hitting the road and coming towards us. They will become violent without any provocation and there will be no negotiating or bargaining with them. They don’t want to hear your story or excuses. All they want is what you have. And have no doubts: They will do anything to get what they want. And this does include catering to their most base instincts of rape, murder and mutilation. Letting someone like this even close to you and what you have is flirting with death.  

The next and most numerous will be the drones who make up the majority of the project dwellers. They live on Government Entitlement checks, have no assets and, on any given day will have no more than 3 or 4 days supply of food in their apartments,most of this being refrigerated. There will be a high percentage of females without male companions,will have a large number of children and will be absolutely vicious and violently inclined. Their day to day existence within the defined society they live in demands they be aggressive and violent.They fight more, and are arrested more,than the males they live around. The males will have more serious charges, but the females will have more of them. They too cannot be trusted. If they are drug users, they will, and have, traded their children for drugs, and, based on this proven behavior, will most certainly abandon them or trade them if the situation calls for it. Seeing that you are supplied, they will leave their children in your yard and walk away, counting on your liberal Good Samaritan instinct that has always bailed them out in the past to care for their offspring and justify that to themselves as “doing what they have to do”. Knowing that they will do something as low as this,be assured they will do much worse. They habitually carry razor knives and small pistols such as .25 ACPs and .380 ACPs. They are very dangerous and unstable folks to be around. These females may or may not be accompanied by men. The males may be linked biologically to one or more of the children but will abandon them as easily as the females. These males come from the lower order of males (see next classification) and will be armed as described next.  

The next order of classification will be unattached or drone males. These males tend to be convicted of felonies before they are 21 and who hang around the other, more productive males who deal drugs and have money. They will also be the so-called “foot soldiers” of the drug and street gangs. They exhibit sociopath behavior and have no allegiance to anyone except maybe a family member, usually referred to as a “cousin” or a gang. They live off the female drones by paying cash rent, gained by low level drug dealing and petty crimes, to a female who has Section 8 housing, for a room that they sleep in and usually have no other attachment such as taking meals there.They live off fast food,carry guns of dubious origin and consume massive amounts of drugs and alcohol, mostly beer and cheap brandy and marijuana. They will not have any assets to defend, may accompany the female who rents them a room and will hang around the cities and projects only as long as their cohorts do. They will leave in junky vehicles,steal what they need along the way and kill,rob,rape and pillage their way across the countryside. Their weapons tend to be of the pistol variety although they may have access to shortened, easily concealable shotguns or rifles. Their lifestyle doesn’t give them a secure place to hide or keep long guns,but they will steal and use them if given a chance. They will also have some type of blade weapon and be proficient with the use of them. They are very dangerous to anyone who comes into contact with them. The last and highest order will be the moneyed drug dealer.He will have a flashy vehicle such as an Escalade or Lexus variety. He will have quality firearms, preferring Glock handguns and SKS or AK type rifles and will have ammunition for them in quantity. He will be arrogant and a definite killer. He will have assets to defend and may not leave his comfort zone until forced by authorities or circumstances. He will have “foot soldiers” and a woman traveling with him, but probably not children. He will travel well and be charming when trying to gain confidence or talk himself out of a jam. He will also be vicious and hateful, full of spite at those he sees as having taken away his lifestyle and means of making a living. He most probably will not have a lot in the way of supplies such as food and medical equipment, tending to live in the moment and not for the future. He will be one of the opportunistic “I’ll just take what I need” types. He will be very cunning, having risen to the top of the street hierarchy,and all the more dangerous because of this.  

When dealing with all of the above types, caution is the word. Never let them get even a glimpse of what you have. Never let them get past your outer barrier, be that a fence, abatis or boundary line. Its best to keep verbal contact to the barest minimum. A terse: “We have nothing, go away or we will shoot” is a good example. I have seen them be charming and seemingly harmless while edging into a fence gate or otherwise getting closer until they are in range to strike. You must always remember the 20 foot rule (Never let anyone get closer than 20 feet from you at any time). It is important to remember also that the longer they have been roaming and stealing,the better armed they may be, having stolen others firearms and equipment. Seeing an obvious street thug carrying an expensive scoped rifle or an engraved shotgun should be a tip off as to what they are. These type people would never spend money on a gun that may be taken by the law at anytime in their day to day existence. They do worship Glocks and the glamor they see in them. A dealer told me once, when confessing to an assault “I just outs with my Glock .40 and let it holla” as if he had done something great.  

I know that most people who read your blogs are aware enough to keep strangers away from their refuge.But if someone has never lived around these types of people,they may not be aware of just how dangerous they really are. As I mentioned,they can be charming,cunning and deceitful. They have lived their entire lives off the goodwill of others and The Government and are past masters at pretending to be needy,harmless and “safe”. Guile is engrained in them.   I leave you with one short story. In the days after Hurricane Katrina, we were reinforced with officers from other agencies, many states away, who had volunteered to help. (I was not in New Orleans, but on the edge of the hurricane strike) I was partnered with a state SWAT officer from up North. This man was experienced and a “steady hand”. As we walked through some of the power blacked-out , sweltering-in-the-heat projects, he turned to me and said: “This is worse than Mogadishu”. He was scared and had good reason to be. And this was after only three days of no electricity and relief was just starting to arrive. Think about those same areas after a real failure of services and food deliveries.   Good Luck.

50 Years Later: Reagan’s ’A Time for Choosing’ Speech

Fifty years ago Monday, Ronald Reagan gave the speech that launched his career in politics and made him a star.  The speech, called “A Time for Choosing,” aired to a prime time NBC audience and made him a household name.

 

 

Law Lets I.R.S. Seize Accounts on Suspicion, No Crime Required


Carole Hinders at her modest, cash-only Mexican restaurant in Arnolds Park, Iowa. Last year tax agents seized her funds. Credit Angela Jimenez for The New York Times

by Shaila Dewain

ARNOLDS PARK, Iowa — For almost 40 years, Carole Hinders has dished out Mexican specialties at her modest cash-only restaurant. For just as long, she deposited the earnings at a small bank branch a block away — until last year, when two tax agents knocked on her door and informed her that they had seized her checking account, almost $33,000.

The Internal Revenue Service agents did not accuse Ms. Hinders of money laundering or cheating on her taxes — in fact, she has not been charged with any crime. Instead, the money was seized solely because she had deposited less than $10,000 at a time, which they viewed as an attempt to avoid triggering a required government report.

“How can this happen?” Ms. Hinders said in a recent interview. “Who takes your money before they prove that you’ve done anything wrong with it?”

The federal government does.

Using a law designed to catch drug traffickers, racketeers and terrorists by tracking their cash, the government has gone after run-of-the-mill business owners and wage earners without so much as an allegation that they have committed serious crimes. The government can take the money without ever filing a criminal complaint, and the owners are left to prove they are innocent. Many give up.


The I.R.S. seized almost $33,000 from Ms. Hinders. Credit Angela Jimenez for The New York Times

“They’re going after people who are really not criminals,” said David Smith, a former federal prosecutor who is now a forfeiture expert and lawyer in Virginia. “They’re middle-class citizens who have never had any trouble with the law.”

On Thursday, in response to questions from The New York Times, the I.R.S. announced that it would curtail the practice, focusing instead on cases where the money is believed to have been acquired illegally or seizure is deemed justified by “exceptional circumstances.”

Richard Weber, the chief of Criminal Investigation at the I.R.S., said in a written statement, “This policy update will ensure that C.I. continues to focus our limited investigative resources on identifying and investigating violations within our jurisdiction that closely align with C.I.’s mission and key priorities.” He added that making deposits under $10,000 to evade reporting requirements, called structuring, is still a crime whether the money is from legal or illegal sources. The new policy will not apply to past seizures.

The I.R.S. is one of several federal agencies that pursue such cases and then refer them to the Justice Department. The Justice Department does not track the total number of cases pursued, the amount of money seized or how many of the cases were related to other crimes, said Peter Carr, a spokesman.

But the Institute for Justice, a Washington-based public interest law firm that is seeking to reform civil forfeiture practices, analyzed structuring data from the I.R.S., which made 639 seizures in 2012, up from 114 in 2005. Only one in five was prosecuted as a criminal structuring case.

The practice has swept up dairy farmers in Maryland, an Army sergeant in Virginia saving for his children’s college education and Ms. Hinders, 67, who has borrowed money, strained her credit cards and taken out a second mortgage to keep her restaurant going.

Their money was seized under an increasingly controversial area of law known as civil asset forfeiture, which allows law enforcement agents to take property they suspect of being tied to crime even if no criminal charges are filed. Law enforcement agencies get to keep a share of whatever is forfeited.

Critics say this incentive has led to the creation of a law enforcement dragnet, with more than 100 multi-agency task forces combing through bank reports, looking for accounts to seize. Under the Bank Secrecy Act, banks and other financial institutions must report cash deposits greater than $10,000. But since many criminals are aware of that requirement, banks also are supposed to report any suspicious transactions, including deposit patterns below $10,000. Last year, banks filed more than 700,000 suspicious activity reports. Owners who are caught up in structuring cases often cannot afford to fight. The median amount seized by the I.R.S. was $34,000, according to the Institute for Justice analysis, while legal costs can easily mount to $20,000 or more.

There is nothing illegal about depositing less than $10,000cash unless it is done specifically to evade the reporting requirement. But often a mere bank statement is enough for investigators to obtain a seizure warrant. In one Long Island case, the police submitted almost a year’s worth of daily deposits by a business, ranging from $5,550 to $9,910. The officer wrote in his warrant affidavit that based on his training and experience, the pattern “is consistent with structuring.” The government seized $447,000 from the business, a cash-intensive candy and cigarette distributor that has been run by one family for 27 years.

There are often legitimate business reasons for keeping deposits below $10,000, said Larry Salzman, a lawyer with the Institute for Justice who is representing Ms. Hinders and the Long Island family pro bono. For example, he said, a grocery store owner in Fraser, Mich., had an insurance policy that covered only up to $10,000 cash. When he neared the limit, he would make a deposit.

Ms. Hinders said that she did not know about the reporting requirement and that for decades, she thought she had been doing everyone a favor.


Jeff Hirsch, an owner of Bi-County Distributors on Long Island. The government seized $447,000 from the business, a candy and cigarette distributor run by one family for 27 years. Credit Bryan Thomas for The New York Times

“My mom had told me if you keep your deposits under $10,000, the bank avoids paperwork,” she said. “I didn’t actually think it had anything to do with the I.R.S.”

In May 2012, the bank branch Ms. Hinders used was acquired by Northwest Banker. JoLynn Van Steenwyk, the fraud and security manager for Northwest, said she could not discuss individual clients, but explained that the bank did not have access to past account histories after it acquired Ms. Hinders’s branch.

Banks are not permitted to advise customers that their deposit habits may be illegal or educate them about structuring unless they ask, in which case they are given a federal pamphlet, Ms. Van Steenwyk said. “We’re not allowed to tell them anything,” she said.

Still lawyers say it is not unusual for depositors to be advised by financial professionals, or even bank tellers, to keep their deposits below the reporting threshold. In the Long Island case, the company, Bi-County Distributors, had three bank accounts closed because of the paperwork burden of its frequent cash deposits, said Jeff Hirsch, the eldest of three brothers who own the company. Their accountant then recommended staying below the limit, so for more than a decade the company had been using its excess cash to pay vendors.

More than two years ago, the government seized $447,000, and the brothers have been unable to retrieve it. Mr. Salzman, who has taken over legal representation of the brothers, has argued that prosecutors violated a strict timeline laid out in the Civil Asset Forfeiture Reform Act, passed in 2000 to curb abuses. The office of the federal attorney for the Eastern District of New York said the law’s timeline did not apply in this case. Still, prosecutors asked the Hirsch’s first lawyer, Joseph Potashnik, to waive the CARFA timeline. The waiver he signed expired almost two years ago.

The federal attorney’s office said that parties often voluntarily negotiated to avoid going to court, and that Mr. Potashnik had been engaged in talks until just a few months ago. But Mr. Potashnik said he had spent that time trying, to no avail, to show that the brothers were innocent. They even paid a forensic accounting firm $25,000 to check the books.

“I don’t think they’re really interested in anything,” Mr. Potashnik said of the prosecutors. “They just want the money.”

Bi-County has survived only because longtime vendors have extended credit — one is owed almost $300,000, Mr. Hirsch said. Twice, the government has made settlement offers that would require the brothers to give up an “excessive” portion of the money, according to a new court filing.

“We’re just hanging on as a family here,” Mr. Hirsch said. “We weren’t going to take a settlement, because I was not guilty.”

Army Sgt. Jeff Cortazzo of Arlington, Va., began saving for his daughters’ college costs during the financial crisis, when many banks were failing. He stored cash first in his basement and then in a safe-deposit box. All of the money came from paychecks, he said, but he worried that when he deposited it in a bank, he would be forced to pay taxes on the money again. So he asked the bank teller what to do.

“She said: ‘Oh, that’s easy. You just have to deposit less than $10,000.’”

The government seized $66,000; settling cost Sergeant Cortazzo $21,000. As a result, the eldest of his three daughters had to delay college by a year.

“Why didn’t the teller tell me that was illegal?” he said. “I would have just plopped the whole thing in the account and been done with it.”

 

The New Great Depression

new poverty

by Mrs. Cogs

A few years back Peter Schiff opined the Great Depression of the 1930s would look like a Sunday school picnic compared to what is headed our way. Without a doubt the cat is out of the bag. Everyone knows things are not going well. Unfortunately, it seems most people think that fixing the system, changing the politicians, tweaking the rules and the return to honorable ways of yesteryear hold the solution to restoring our idea of a stable and prosperous society.

The disconnect is easy to perceive when we compare black and white faded photos from the 1930’s of dusty farms, soup lines and children who don’t smile to the modern edgy world images from our cell phones, televisions and computers of how things supposedly are now. We live in a bright and vivid world where descriptions have been meticulously spoon fed to us so we will largely act according to how others might see us and we can feel better about ourselves. This only works until financial or emotional changes crash into our lives such as the Big One roaring towards us all now.

The New Depression already began and the news blackout is deafening. Aside from malcontents who insist upon harping on unpleasant subjects and who have no desire to participate in society’s uniform “solutions”, one only has to watch a Sunday football game and it’s commercials to be refreshed in the programming that the American dream indeed lives on. It’s right there in front of us to see with our own eyes and if you are not living that life you are obviously doing something wrong. (And obviously this is sarcasm.)

americandream

As the government has altered the methods to compute inflation, unemployment and debt, the headlines are meaningless since we can no longer use these measures to compare with numbers from the past. Most people are so busy and programmed in their complicated lives that even if it is noticed, what could we possibly do about it? So we suck it up and proceed, feeling better after we catch that prescribed Sunday game. If we’re lucky we have a few like minded friends or family members to gripe to about the state of things before we carry on in the same manner. Until we can’t.

The modern day New Depression has indeed arrived, it just hasn’t been announced yet. Draw your own conclusions. The population of America: 319 million or 4.4% of the people in the world. Americans who are of working age and are “out of the work force”: 92 million. The average household worth compared to ten years ago: 36% less. Number of homeless people in America: 1.75 million (and those are the ones they can find to count). The percent of American college grads supported by parents two years after attaining their degree: 50%. The number of Americans who lead hungry lives: 31 million.

It is here and it’s about to get much uglier. How our personal future develops is largely dependent upon the mindset we each adopt now. As many of us have recently concluded, this postponement of announcing the reality and truth of the dire situation has bought us time. This is our wiggle room. It may last for a few more years or it may end next month.

What is required is something we can choose voluntarily or wait until it is forced upon us by circumstances. It is a critical examination and re-prioritizing of what we value. More than just taking for granted a roof over our heads and a meal when we are hungry a new mindset, or rather a return to what many consider old school views, is called for.

In a world of instant gratification and narcissistic attitudes, where many collect affirmation from unlimited sources via social media, all those “likes” aren’t going to mean so much when one is suddenly living in their car. Who won on the reality TV show of the week will quickly become meaningless when the kids are hungry. These rude awakenings happen every day for people and continue at an accelerated rate.

For years now I have followed the progress of well meaning people trying to change this downhill progression of behavior and the resulting events by means of protest, political change or through the alternative media. While more people are becoming aware of the true reality swirling around the pretty images of life still broadcasted to us, the system careens towards the tar pits and our efforts must first and foremost be focused upon ourselves. As I have stated many times before, if we are to help anyone else we must first put on our own oxygen mask and breathe deeply.

There are some tough truths to think about if you are going to save yourself. The one that knocked me off my feet was learning that if I don’t know how to take care of myself, then I am dependent upon others. And that is about to be a very bad thing. I realized I depended upon an employer to pay me so I could pay for food, water, heat, housing, basic sanitation; in essence every product I use. And I depend upon other people to do their job so I can access these goods and services. Many now depend upon the government to provide what they cannot. The opportunity to alter the way we depend upon others to fill our needs may or may to not be available or affordable in the future. And this deficiency exposes each of us to assured failure at some point along the line.

poverty in the USAWikiHow now supplies us with instructions on How To Live On The Street.

I was not really providing any of this for myself, but rather depending upon everyone else’s specialties to supply goods and services to me and others. The risk that another cannot or will not fulfill their end of this collective bargain is known as counter-party risk. As our systems degrade, this risk will be the weakest link for most people.

Being prepared for events or changing times is a very good idea, one I wholeheartedly endorse. But to only prepare yourself for a rough patch and then to expect life will continue with business as usual, because (after all) it always has, is foolish in the face of a paradigm change such as the magnitude the world is facing.

Never before have global systems of banking, food, natural resources and information been so over-leveraged and extended. When the music stops and everybody reaches for their chair, rather than one person being left without a seat, there will be one heavily protected chair for every 20 or 30 people. That is when the New Depression becomes official and is acknowledged in a public out loud voice.

It won’t matter whether the catalyst is blamed on an epidemic, terrorism or even Krugman’s alien invasion. Finally everyone will see that the music has stopped playing and be forced to recognize we are living in a very different world. May I humbly propose that what that world becomes for each of us ultimately largely depends upon what we do now.

For me, as I expect is also the case for many of you, making decisions that bring about big changes in our lives will be met with great disapproval of those closest to you. We live in a society where change is bad and should be resisted, unless of course it involves upward mobility and better “things”.

Moving to a smaller house? Yanking the kids out of the school system where their friends are? Leaving the urban jungle for parts unknown? This is just crazy talk. After all, in order to have these be positive changes, one would need to acknowledge that happiness does not come from what we have in life or how others perceive us. It requires a huge deliberate mental adjustment. I would suggest that this decision is your proverbial oxygen mask. Breathe deep and become comfortable with the new air. I think you’ll find it much fresher.

Rethinking the big picture involves “crazy talk” such as considering the liquidation of today’s luxuries and believed future security for a different goal. Try telling anyone who understands finance that you are thinking of quitting your job so you can get your hands on your 401k so you can cash it out after paying 45% in penalties and taxes. Then add the part about downsizing your home and lifestyle and for a while you will find you’ve become the new cautionary tale that person tells others about.

But here is the thing you can’t get around. When the music stops playing, whatever you have is all you have. Whether those ‘things’ consist of retirement funds, brokerage accounts or whatever you have at the bank, or public ‘benefits’ such as Social Security, disability, Medicare, Medicaid or EBT, all of them are just pieces of paper with a promise on it and you will NOT be on the short list of people to get what they expect. The late comedian George Carlin informed us many years ago, “It’s a small club and you ain’t in it.”

hungry

For now, those paper promises are still being delivered. The US Dollar has not become so debased it is worthless….yet. Capital controls have not yet been completely implemented to ‘protect’ your retirement funds from yourself. Even if you have no savings and are receiving food stamps and government aid, there are many choices everyone can make to be less dependent upon others, even if each seems like an inconsequential baby step. Every step you can take to provide something for yourself is a victory.

This is not your granny’s depression, this is the New Depression where anybody who really desires to can access the information highway and find alternatives, especially with a bit of help. As the systems we depend upon degrade, we can actually improve our lives with each decision we act upon as we learn that our needs and wants aren’t really what we were taught they are.

As the momentum of change progresses, the fear levels will increase and the herd will be corralled in various directions, often not ultimately in their best interest. The only way to avoid the majority of the chaos is to be able to depend upon yourself. Roll up your sleeves, it’s going to take a lot of time and hard work.

Many definitions are going to need revising such as what is ‘normal’ and what does one ‘deserve’. How we choose to look at life will determine the new normal and will predicate what we create and how we treat others. If the rules are all about to change, what better time to set an example such as showing small kindnesses or taking the generosity of our time to teach someone something useful? Maybe I cannot save the current system, but I certainly can turn to my neighbor and lend a hand.

I would suggest that before the brunt of the storm hits that all of us, even those far ahead of the curve, take some extra time to consider what we need and value. If you think because you are but one person that what you choose and how you act doesn’t make a difference, I am here to say you are wrong. How you write the narrative of your own reality makes all the difference in the world.

Teaching the next ones a better way.
Teaching the next ones a better way.

Mobility: Something To Think About

https://i0.wp.com/www.survivalnewsonline.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/BOL-cabin.gif

by Fren2ken

The concept of Bunker-in-Place as the best solution to the SHTF scenario has been the first choice of Preppers for a long time. To that end, we build up our supplies, choose our locations carefully, reinforce our dwellings, keep a low profile, and also stock ammo. This preparation ideally includes training oneself and establishing a small community of trusted fellow Preppers in fairly remote locations who have varied skill sets to make the community (SOC = Self Organizing Collective) self-sufficient. This is great. There remain, however, many folks that are unable to become fully integrated into a SOC for any number of valid reasons including lacking opportunity for contact, or other communications issues. It is to those Preppers that I address this discussion. The fact that you are reading this article on American Preppers Network is a good start towards communicating with fellow Preppers.

What do you do when, despite your best planning and preparation, you and your dependents are “caught out in the cold” when the SHFT happens? You gather your family together in your site. You have done the best you can to stockpile food and supplies for your family. You relocated your residence to a place that, to the best of your ability and resources, is as far away from the perceived danger zones as you could get. You built out your domicile as far as possible given your money and time constraints. You have trained and gained knowledge to the best of your ability but, you have not been able to get connected with others who are like-minded. You know that your location and support structure may have a limited time before you may be forced to Bug-out. You didn’t have the opportunity, money, or contacts to preposition caches through the countryside. Right? Now what do you do? The “balloon has gone up” and you foresee the end to your “bunker-in-place” strategy’s ability to support you. It is too late to consider new options if you reach that point and haven’t been able to plan for, or hoped the time would come that you would need to, prepare for a Bug-Out ahead of time.

Staying in-place for as long as possible with a low profile is always preferable to moving around due to the inherent dangers of travel in a post SHTF world, especially while the event(s) is/are in progress. Most Prepping sites and blogs have great info concerning everything except how to get you someplace else when things either become too dangerous or unsustainable where you are. The primary concentration of most sites is for critical item preparation and the mobility aspect is given little attention. There WILL come a time when, if you are not already established in a permanent Prepper community (SOC), you will find it necessary to seek out and join those communities. When that time comes, you want to have resources and knowledge to offer them when you get there, so as to not be a drain on their own already (likely) stretched resources.

Some of the solutions from down-to-Earth and knowledgeable Preppers have limitations that may not work for you. They generally advocate backpacking or biking out to a new location. These work but, limit what you are able to carry with you, depend on fair/good weather, and they assume that all your party are able to do the same. What do you do with remaining food, munitions, weapons, hand tools, raw materials, books, extra clothing, etc. that you don’t have carry capacity for but will have to be left behind when you decide to B-O? Make hard choices of what to leave behind, hoping you don’t leave something critical? How far can you travel in a day with your children or elders while loaded down to the max? Is it far enough to get you away from danger zones in a timely manner? What resources will you have left to offer to any SOC communities of fellow Preppers you encounter? Will you have barter goods? Excess food? Fuel? Can you carry enough weaponry and ammo to assure your safety?

As we begin this discussion, you are probably thinking, “I’ll load up the family car and slide down the road.” Sorry. Not a very good answer. The major highways will be littered with abandoned vehicles and patrolled by whatever entities are in charge by that point. That makes for a very high risk adventure. Secondary and tertiary roads are likely to be lower on the priority lists of patrols and to be more open than the major highways. Dirt roads and trails are most likely to be passable, particularly in the more rural areas. Make sure that you have local maps with trail and fire-road level detail. How will your family car deal with them? Answer: Not well and likely not for long. Your 1/2 –Ton pickup? Better but with limitations for passenger capacity. So. Now what? That is what we will attempt to address in this series. There are no perfect answers to these questions in an indeterminate SHTF aftermath. Our intent is to help increase your odds of being able to Bug-Out successfully, when time comes, by stimulating your thinking and invoking your Prep Planning muscles toward mobility.

In this series of articles, we explore the topic of mobility, with the goal of maximizing the load-out capabilities of your preparations and survivability when the bug-out time comes. While I don’t have all the answers, I have spent many years as an engineer and analyst of mobile systems in the DoD world. I am hoping to share concepts with you and cause you to seriously evaluate your mobility options and plans for Bugging-Out, should it become necessary. The Post SHTF world will be a dangerous and alien place…we can be sure of that. The time to plan is now. Part 2 of this series will take a top-level look at mobility plans. Again, the goal here is to start the thought process and give a venue for discussion. Please join in the discussion and share your views. There are no perfect answers. We can get more answers by sharing information and asking questions.

Preparing To Move:

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In most Prepper’s planning, there must be a contingency plan for Bugging Out. Sooner or later, most of us will run into the possibility that our location will no be longer be sustainable or defensible. This is most likely to occur if we are unable to form an association with a larger group of like-minded people (such as a Prepper SOC) or, when that group is too far away to be able to support us (and us them) in real-time. It is that point in time that we are looking at.

In preparation for SHTF or other disaster, we stocked up on all the items that we anticipate we will need for at least 3-months or more. This includes stored food, water (or a good source), tools, fuel, usable scrap materials, and shelter. Take a good look at the weight and bulk of all those items. How much of it are you able to take with you when you need to abandon your shelter? How many people are in your shelter group?

Establish a priority list of items. There are many reference sources in APN and other websites that will help you prioritize. We will not go into those here but, you need to compile that list. Make a list of minimum essentials for a 2-week duration from the priority list. Make that the list of items you plan to Bug-Out with. Now it is time for the list of “It would be nice to have” items that are what is left. Let’s look at what transportation capacity you have. According to priority, make sure that all the items on the 2-week list are accommodated. Evaluate your mobility options. Still have excess capacity? If so, see how many additional items you can add using the Priority list as a guide.

Let us consider for a moment the situation of the Preppers who are in a permanent encampment or SOC (Self Organizing Collective) community. These hardy folks will be guarding their territory and provisions like their life depends on it … because it does. If you are an unknown person or group and show up suddenly on their doorstep looking for entry, you will need to convince them that you and your group will be of value to their community and are no threat. If you arrive with nothing to contribute other than yourselves, you may find your self turned away due to resource constraints and/or perceived threat to the community. These communities will be stretched for food and other resources themselves. Adding to their load without contributing tangibles will be a difficult “sale”.

So, what is your plan? Are you planning to backpack out? The maximum a healthy adult can safely carry in a backpack for a long duration haul is about 75 lbs. Children can carry, at great need, 50% of their body weight. How much of your needed supplies can your party carry out? How much of your 2-week supply list can you accommodate? Hiking will allow you to average about 20 miles in an average day, terrain and weather permitting. Pulling a cart will allow greater capacity but, at the loss of ground covering ability.

Biking out is another option. Your carry capacity will be increased to a minor degree over hiking but, the amount of ground you can cover in an average day increases dramatically. On a good day, 50 to 75 miles will be achievable in a Post-SHTF environment. Children will decrease the achievable mileage due to physical constraints. Also depending on weather factors. Motorcycles may also be a viable option but with similar limitations on how much of a load they can safely carry, also depending on weather factors. In good weather, 200 miles will be possible on a motorcycle if the fuel tank is large enough. Neither of these options are very good in Winter travel due to ice, snow, or cold conditions.

With good advance planning, 4-wheeled motor vehicles will allow you to take the maximum of your provisions, people, supplies, equipment, and arms with you. Weather is less of a problem than biking or motorcycle. Fuel is always a concern but, with prior planning and a full tank, you will be able to cover 300 to 400 miles in a short time with all your supplies and your people. The downside is that they are louder and require better surfaces to travel on. This additional range and cargo capacity should permit you to arrive at your fellow Prepper’s SOC with much needed barter goods, provisions, tools, and materials. Any remaining fuel will be most welcome also. Purpose-bought vehicles are not necessary. If you can easily obtain “upgrades” or replacements of your existing vehicles, by all means do so but do so wisely. For Scouting purposes, it will be a good idea to include bicycles, ATV’s, or motorcycles. For carrying capacity, 4-wheel vehicles are best.

Part 3 of this series discusses the timing of your Bug-Out. Note that these articles not intended to be a Final Answer. They are intended to give you food for thought and the open up a venue for discussion of these topics.

When Should We Bug Out?

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Okay. You have planned and executed preparations for the SHTF or other disaster event to the best of your ability with available resources. Well, let’s imagine that finally it happened. The SHTF and you are now in survival mode, working your plan. For this exercise, we will assume that your situation is as follows: your dwelling is outside of a medium sized city at minimum; you have not been able to connect with a Prepper SOC within 50 miles of you; you have sufficient food and ammo for 4 months; you have a family of 4: your spouse, and 2 children under the age of 12. The Grid is unreliable and telephone service (cell and landline) is mostly unavailable. Now what? Be discrete and low profile. Be aware of what is going on around you.

Conventional wisdom says that in this situation, it is wisest to fort up (or “bunker”), working with your neighbors to defend your location and wait out the situation to see how it develops. In the first few days of the event, most city dwellers will remain in-place and wait for the government to resolve their problems. As time passes, those same city folk will see that the stores have become empty of food, fuel supplies are dwindling, potable water is in short supply, and ruffians are starting to rove around the city, looking for targets. You, being an aware human being and recognizing the signs of what comes next, know that it is time to hunker down. Now is when your planning begins to be worthwhile as you put it into effect. You are prepared for this.

The city dwellers will migrate away from the city that they know so well using major highways and byways. They will tend to avoid the lesser roadways as panic ensues because they fear running out of fuel and food sources as they travel to perceived “safe harbors”. In the initial phases of SHTF, local residents will be using the lesser-known roadways to get home, get provisions, or bug-out on their own. After all, “everyone knows” that there is always food and fuel on the Interstate. Right? This will hold true for 80 to 90% of the migrating herd. They will then gravitate to the smaller population centers as they run low on fuel, believing that the towns have the resources that they seek. Law enforcement and the military will channel these folks into established evacuation routes for better control of the migrating masses. The small towns are likely to fort up. So you bide your time and stay put for now. Be vigilant and observant of your surroundings.

If your situation stabilizes and order is restored locally, you’re good. If your situation looks like it will stabilize in a manner that won’t allow you to maintain your safety, it may be time to implement a Bug-Out Plan taking all you can carry with you. Do not wait until you have no remaining choices before you make this decision. Be aware of the situation around you. If it looks like it will be “going South” soon (within the next week or so), that is the time to pack it in and Bug-Out while you still have time and resources remaining. By looking ahead, you will have sufficient time to prepare and pack your goods and take advantage of nominal timing for leaving with at least 2-weeks of provisions.

Now is the time to let your Prepper contacts know that you are heading their way, if you were able to make arrangements with them prior to the SHTF. You did maintain communication with them as SHTF progressed … didn’t you? It is wise to forewarn them you are coming and your approximate timing to avoid being viewed as unknowns and a threat to their community. If you have no contacts, you will need to implement Plan B. Plan B is the plan that you made that recognizes that you may have to Bug-Out blindly into the unknown. Plan B will head into a direction that you believe will give the highest probability of reaching a safe location or community to join. Study your maps and terrain carefully in advance of moving. You will need to plan your route carefully. Take maximum advantage of railroad right-of-ways. All rail lines have service roads along the tracks. It is wise to make preliminary plans NOW, don’t wait until the moment is upon you. Hopefully, you will never have to implement Plan B. Be prepared anyhow.

Part 4 of this series of articles will briefly discuss vehicle selections. This series of articles is not intended to be the last word on the subjects covered. They are intended to provoke thought and a venue for further discussion amongst us.

Vehicle Selection Concepts:

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Buckle your seat belts. This is going to be a long one. There are many websites and blogs that will tell you all about what to prep with, how to prep, and how to survive a SHTF event. The majority of them concentrate on static locations. That is to say, how to prepare your home, bug-out location or how to cache supplies. What is not often discussed is how to get everybody in your party, and all the remaining supplies you stockpiled, out of a non-tenable location to a safer, more secure one.

My intent is not to provide an exhaustive and complete list to you, nor is it to tell you what to do. My intent is to point your thinking to possibilities that you may not have considered before this. It is too easy to get lost in details and concentrate solely on accumulating supplies to stay put. The probability there may come a time when you need to move out is significant. I’m reasonably sure that you would prefer to take all your unused preparations with you for further/future use and protection. After all, ammo and water are heavy, people take space and need food. You might also like to have barter goods available without reducing your own needed supplies.

There are some questions that you should be asking yourself. What kind of vehicle are you starting with? A small station wagon or SUV with AWD? A Jeep? A ½-ton pickup? A van? A Medium Duty truck? A combination of these? The next question is: How reliable is it? Is it in good condition? How new is it? What are its’ load and mobility capabilities? Do you need multiple vehicles?

Let’s talk newness. Shiny new, upscale vehicles scream TARGET. They are also susceptible to electronic component failures, Nature (sunspot activity EMP) or, police/officials (many new vehicles can be stopped remotely). They also draw too much attention from the unsavory types, looking for an easy target. How common is your vehicle? Can you find parts easily? Your better chances are with older, well-maintained, scruffy looking vehicles. They are easier to come by, repair, and cheaper too. Making them reliable is easy and fairly cheap. Choose well and keep it/them fully maintained. Make sure that you can accommodate all the members of your party, plus maximize storage and cargo weight capability. Install external cargo racking wherever possible (roof racks, ladder racks, etc.). Keep the fuel tank full. Keep all you are able loaded at all times.

Pickup trucks have good cargo capacity but are limited in the passenger department. SUV’s have passenger capacity but lack cargo capacity. You may want to think about multiple vehicles if you overrun one of these capabilities with a single vehicle. I know. You think I’m nuts. “What? Two fuel eating hogs?”. No. I am not insane. Multiple vehicles will give you options when you are out on the road. Think of it as built-in redundancy and “shelter in place” wherever you are each day. Even if you end up abandoning one along the way, you still have more supplies than you would otherwise have had and, possibly a new “cache” location when you leave the dead vehicle.

Have you considered a Contractor’s work truck? This is also known as a Work Body truck. These are commonly of the F350, F450, F550 (or GM or Dodge RAM equivalents). Look around next time you are on the road and notice how many of these vehicles are around. Note also how they are loaded. Interesting, isn’t it? These are heavy-duty beasts of burden. Their whole purpose in life is to haul equipment and materials safely, economically, and securely in all weather. They do not have an easy life. They do have huge payload capacities for their size, exceptional towing capacity and are built to take abuse. They do not often have the frills of their non-commercial brothers but have only one purpose in the world … work hard and work long. Picking one of these beasts up used is cheap but, be aware that they will require repairs before their full reliability is restored. The first owners will have worked them very hard and only replace them when reliability declines. Once restored, they will happily provide services to you for an extended time.

So you think I’m nuts for advocating a Work truck. Consider this: work trucks have the same characteristics as their cousins, without the luxury. They get the same, or better fuel mileage, use the same driveline components, and they were made reliable because the commercial world demands it. Many of them also have extended cabs to accommodate a larger crew and are 4X4. Think about your experience loading, unloading, or accessing your tools with a standard pickup truck. Wouldn’t it be nice to access your tools and equipment without climbing into the truck bed, chasing stuff around that has come loose? Wouldn’t it be nice if the goods and equipment stored could be kept out of the weather and secure, while still having the capability to place a full load in the bed AND have access to all of it? Consider also that the large population of such vehicles will guarantee that after SHTF, there will be spare parts available for a LONG time … jus’ sayin’. Food for thought.

In the final article of this series, we will explore camouflage. In it we will explore what is meant by the term. It doesn’t only mean “Multi-colored, earthen patterns to blend in with the woods.” There is much more to it than that. These articles are intended to get you thinking and provide a venue for further discussion and idea sharing.

Camouflage:

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In previous articles of this series, we have discussed, at a top level, various means of preparing for a Bug-Out using vehicles. The purpose of getting you mobile is to transport you, the members of your party, and the maximum of your supplies, safely to a new location. For this to happen, you need camouflage to pass through areas without issue.

What is camouflage really? Is it green/brown/black patterns painted on your vehicle(s)? Sometimes. By working definition, camouflage is the disguising of items so that they blend into their surroundings to escape notice. If you are in a urban or suburban area, a vehicle that is painted Desert or Forest Camouflage will stand out like a sore thumb among the surroundings. This defeats your purpose until you are fully in that environment. If you are in a rural or wilderness area, a shiny white vehicle might stand out. So, how do we reconcile the differences? Rattle-can paint.

Before the SHTF event and possible B-O time, the majority of us will be interacting primarily in an environment that requires travel and interaction in populated areas. Preppers generally are trying to stay discrete and off the radar. Attracting attention with vehicles that stand-out is less than desirable. We don’t want undue attention called to our activities. Your greatest camouflage is the ability to blend in with the vehicle population on the roads and in parking lots. To that end, you it is desirable to have ordinary looking transportation that is common to that area. Ordinary SUV’s, pickups, and trucks disappear into the background easily and are not memorable.

I have brought up the Work Truck in previous articles. You may concede that they have good capabilities for our uses but you wonder how noticeable they are. After all, they are usually large and heavy. Consider that these trucks have great camouflage. There are so many of them in use by companies and contractors that they effectively disappear in most populated areas. They “hide in plain sight”. A convoy of these vehicles will be mistaken for “official” or “worker” vehicles during the initial phases of an event, even into much of the settling period after it. This gives you an edge when Bugging-Out and will add some protection to your early travel by being “invisible” (ie: not noticed).

So, where does the rattle-can come in? Once you have escaped the populated areas during your B-O, you will be in areas where your ability to blend into natural surroundings becomes key. Provision your supplies with sufficient colors and quantities of paint to cover all your vehicles. This is the time to pause long enough to repaint your vehicles with the spray cans of paint to blend with your natural surroundings. The goal is to escape detection by undesirable groups to the best of your ability. This is likely to be the transition time of your travel patterns. In the early part of your B-O, you likely traveled during the daytime, hunkering down at night, to reduce attracting notice and to blend with others who are moving around. Once you have gotten away from the crowd and deeper into the wild areas, you may be changing over to night travel and digging in, covering up during the day, and scouting the next night’s travel route. Blending in with the surroundings will be necessary to escape detection by undesirable searches.

This concludes the Mobility articles. I hope that they have given you food for thought and perhaps given you ideas to ponder. My goal has been to cause you to think about, and plan for, your possible Bug-Out in the event that things go really wrong in our world. Keep prepping, keep planning, and be prepared for as many possibilities you can conceive. You will be glad you did, should we need to implement them in times of tribulation. Good luck and plan well.

Police Infuriated About New “Cop Detecting” Device That Warns People When a Cop is Near

by The Free Thought Project

A powerful new device has hit the market that promises to warn drivers of nearby emergency vehicles, including police cars, fire trucks and ambulances. The device is called “Target Blu Eye” and is being sold by the Dutch Company “Target Automotive.

The Blu Eye system works by monitoring frequencies that are used by emergency vehicles and then alerts the driver when those frequencies are nearby. It does not allow the driver to listen in on the encrypted communications, but will simply give a signal when those frequencies are nearby.

This is far more advanced and accurate than a traditional radar detector, because this device works even when the officer has their radar and other equipment turned off.

Police representatives and mainstream media sources are not pleased that this device is on the market, because it will give oppressed drivers an edge on police who depend on the element of surprise to generate their revenue.

The Sunday Times published an attack piece on the invention this week, calling it a “gadget for crooks,” and suggested that it undermines the goals of law enforcement.

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David Bizley, the Royal Automobile Club’s chief engineer responded to The Sunday Times, saying that his device actually makes the roads safer.

“As it does not distinguish between a police car, ambulance or fire engine responding to an emergency or one that is simply driving under non-blue-light conditions, this particular device is sadly just as likely to be bought by a minority of motorists who wish to evade being caught behaving illegally,” Bizley said.

The Target Blu Eye system sells for about $1,600 in Europe, where the device is currently being sold. The type of frequencies that the system is trained to detect are only used by emergency vehicles in Europe. However, according to Fox News, Target Managing Director Jan Rijks said a version that will be compatible with emergency vehicles in the US is nearly ready for release, and could be released sometime in 2015.

Rijks also responded to the attacks against his invention, saying that: “We promote the safe side. Of course, people may say, ‘I want, now and then, to drive a little faster,’ but in a big city there is no licence to speed because there is always the presence of emergency vehicles, which could be ambulances or fire engines. People driving with Blu Eye are more aware of their speed and driving behaviour because you get alerts, which makes people check that they are doing everything OK.

10 Rye Whiskeys


by Gear Patrol

You’ve heard it before, but here’s another shot: Rye whiskey is on the comeback. We’ve long contented ourselves with corn-based bourbon, and we’re not ready (in the least) to change that habit — but to be sure, rye deserves some serious sipping. Long handcuffed to mixed drinks like the Manhattan, rye’s extra boldness and spice in comparison to corn-heavy whiskey is particularly pertinent after a long day of work. It’s simple, like good things should be, served straight up or over ice, and of course still works beautifully in cocktails.

And something with an extra kick-your-ass? That’s what whiskey’s all about. Rye whiskey sales have tripled in the last five years, so it’s time you jumped on this train. Here’s 10 great rye sippers at price points for the thirsty pauper or the libational prince.

Wild Turkey 101 Rye

This affordable 4-5 year aged rye rendition serves dual threat as a killer Manhattan mixture and a straight sipper with some serious zip. It’s solidly anchored in rye spiciness with a bit of apple and honey. Unfortunately, it’s a bit hard to find right now; the 81 proof iteration is similarly affordable and delicious.

George Dickel Rye Whiskey

Stop giggling at the name. This inexpensive rye whiskey is smoothness incarnate, aged five to six years using 95% rye. Plus, charcoal filtering means lots of tasty flavors, like vanilla, raisin and fruit — all at a poor college kid price.

Knob Creek Rye Whiskey

Knob Creek has long boasted tasty bourbons that won’t break the bank, and their rye blend is no different. Bare spice up front with earthy sweetness make this an interesting sip, and distinctly different at a still-affordable price.

Van Winkle Family Reserve Rye 13 year

With maturity comes layers of depth and intensity that our elderly readers are well aware of. Old Rip Van Winkle’s 13 year aged rye blends “cocoa, vanilla and white pepper” into rye’s standard kick. It’s rare to find this many years of aging at such a low price — you should jump on this discontinued whiskey before all the bottles are gone.

Michter’s US*1 Single Barrel Rye

This single barrel rye whiskey gives both spiciness and fruity flavors like plum and marmalade. Sound interesting? We think so.

Whistlepig Straight Rye Whiskey

Brewed by former Maker’s Mark Master distiller Dave Pickerell, this 100% Canadian rye whiskey is aged for 10 years in oak barrels before it makes its way into your happy stomach. That oak aging mellows the rye bite with vanilla notes, and the utter absence of corn still makes this a distinct, and tasty, drink.

Journeyman Ravenswood Rye

Tasty doesn’t have to mean aged. This young whiskey, made from organic rye and wheat, has bold grain notes and is smooth throughout — sounds perfect for a cocktail drink, doesn’t it?

Buffalo Trace Colonel E.H. Taylor, Jr. Straight Rye Whiskey

This corn-free, to-be-released creation has it all: alcohol burn, caramel, rye spice, cinnamon, and even strawberries. Oh, and it’s named after one of the founding fathers of American whiskey. He’d be proud of this one.

Sazerac 18 year Rye

Balance is key in one of the most sought-after rye whiskeys on the market. 18 years of relaxation mellow the usual oakiness and spice and induce citrus and honey. Only 28 barrels are released per yearly bottling, so if you can sniff this one out, hide it well from moochers.

Masterson’s 10 Year Old Straight Rye Whiskey

For those with a sweet tooth, Masterson’s first foray into whiskey is a treat. The usual spice (have we drilled that point home yet?) in this Canadian import is finished with raisin and orange notes. Not bad, eh?

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TrackingPoint unveils precision-guided AR line

TRACKINGPOINT PGF with ShotGlass

by Lee Williams

TrackingPoint Unveils the Next Generation of Precision-Guided Semi-Automatic Rifles

Three New Precision-Guided Rifles Support TrackingPoint ShotGlass™

Shooting Glass, Longer-Range Engagements and Higher Target Velocities

Pflugerville, TEXAS (October 14, 2014) — TrackingPoint™, creator of the world’s first and only Precision-Guided Firearm (PGF) systems, introduces new semi-automatic rifles that utilize fighter jet lock-and-launch technology enabling shots once considered beyond human ability.

The new semi-autos enable you to make routine shots on targets moving up to 15mph out to ranges of more than one half mile.  The new precision-guided semi-autos connect via WiFi to TrackingPoint’s newly introduced ShotGlass™ shooting glass technology. The Google Glass™ of hunting and shooting, ShotGlass™ enhances your precision-guided shooting experience via a built-in camera and high definition video display.

“The new semi-auto models were designed for several missions including wild boar eradication, predator control (including coyotes), whitetail hunting, homestead defense, and precision target shooting,” said TrackingPoint CEO John Lupher. “Precision-guided semi-automatic rifles are the game changer. Routinely making extraordinary shots at extreme distances on moving targets is a thrilling experience.”

The new semi-auto Precision-Guided Firearms are based on TrackingPoint’s breakthrough Tag-and-Shoot™ system.  Tag-and-Shoot frees the shooter from common errors caused by jitter and trigger jerk. With Tag-and-Shoot, ballistics are calculated automatically and the need to estimate shot hold-over is eliminated, enabling you to successfully eradicate moving targets at extraordinary distances.  Third party testing validates that Precision-Guided Firearms enable you to shoot better than the best shooter that ever lived.

TrackingPoint is offering three new semi-auto precision-guided rifles: a 5.56 caliber with one-third mile range at up to 10MPH target velocity for $7,495; 7.62 caliber with half-mile range at 15MPH target velocity for $14,995; and a brand new .300 WM with half-mile range at up to 20MPH target velocity for $18,995. To learn more go to http://www.Tracking-Point.com

About TrackingPoint

TrackingPoint based in Austin, Texas created the first Precision-Guided Firearm, a revolutionary new shooting system that puts fighter jet lock-and-launch technology in rifles, enabling anyone to make extraordinary shots on moving targets at extreme distances. www.tracking-point.com.

What It Does

A TrackingPoint Precision-Guided Firearm ensures never-before-seen precision at extreme distances and high target velocities. Here’s how:

  • TriggerLink™ connects the tracking optic with a guided trigger.
  • Tag-and-Shoot™ technology lets you designate an exact target impact point.
  • The tracking system then guides the trigger release.

How You Use It

Prepare for an extraordinary shooting experience beyond belief.

  • Press the tag button to designate an impact point.
  • Align the reticle with the tag.
  • Squeeze and hold the trigger.
  • The Precision-Guided Firearm does the rest

How to Survive: Preparing to Survive Pandemics, Disease Outbreaks and Disasters

by Robert Richardson

While many in this country have become extremely fearful over the current Ebola crisis, I still don’t think there’s a reason to panic. While there are some very real reasons to be concerned – any disease outbreak that has a 70% death rate is troubling, to say the least – the real crisis brought forward by this situation is our country’s level of preparedness when it comes to fighting any disease outbreak or pandemic.

Throughout history millions upon millions of people have died as the result of pandemic outbreaks; in fact, almost every recorded civilization has been affected by one of these outbreaks. From smallpox, which killed an estimated 300-500 million people during the 20th century, to things like tuberculosis, the 1918 Flu Pandemic and the Third Pandemic, caused by the Bubonic Plague, which wasn’t fully contained until 1959, pandemics are a very real cause for concern.

While most people, up until this recent Ebola crisis believed our medical system was equipped to deal with these types of outbreaks, because of modern technology and modern medicine, the fact is, we are no more prepared today than we were a hundred years ago. In fact, I believe we are in worse shape today, and I believe our modern world has somewhat set us up for disaster.

The risk of seeing a major Pandemic Outbreak has never been Greater

We live in an interconnected world; this makes it increasingly likely that we will see a major disease outbreak in the very near future. While it may not be this current Ebola outbreak, we will see some sort of pandemic outbreak at some point.  It’s a process that’s highly predictable.

When you consider the fact that the 1918 flu pandemic killed an estimated 50 million people, it’s actually quite frightening to think about a disease like that breaking out in today’s world. The 1918 Flu Pandemic took around 6 months to spread throughout the world. In today’s environment, where a disease outbreak is only a plane trip away, this same thing could be accomplished in a single day. The chance of a pandemic strain spreading throughout the world is greater than it’s ever been.

The Government is not ready, and will not be able to help.

I’ve been telling people this for over a decade. In fact, it was the basis for why I wrote my book, The Ultimate Situational Survival Guide: Self-Reliance Strategies for a Dangerous World.

After attending a number of high level conferences with the top government preparedness agencies, I was shocked at how little these people actually knew about preparedness. While I always recognized they wouldn’t be able to adequately respond to a large-scale disaster, it was actually shocking to see their complete lack of experience firsthand.

Even worse were the actual conference tracks. Conference after conference was dedicated to things like handling PR after the agency dropped the ball, how to talk to the media without making the agency look bad, or how to respond to an angry public on social media. Instead of figuring out why things went bad during previous disasters, these people instead choose to focus on how they should have responded in a way that made themselves look better ­– Simply Disgusting!

Over the years I’ve received a lot of criticism; mostly from unprepared people who were too lazy to take their own health and safety seriously. These people insisted the government was there to help; insisted that the billions of dollars we spend every year on federal preparedness was enough; insisted I was crazy for saying anything to the contrary. Well, after watching the government’s failed response to a single case of Ebola showing up inside the United States, I think most of that doubt has been put to rest.

A lot of really unprepared people are finally waking up to the realization that they need to be their own first responders, because to count on the government to do it isn’t an option that’s going to keep them breathing when the shit hits the fan. Sorry if that may be a little graphic for you, but what’s happening in our government isn’t pretty, and what happens during any crisis in this country, whether it’s a natural or man-made disaster, isn’t pretty when you’re not prepared. In fact, it quite possibly could be deadly.

Things the average person can do to protect themselves.

Understand what threats are out there: Only you can decide what threats to prepare for, but it should be based on a realistic threat assessment. Before spending a single cent on emergency preparedness gear, supplies, or whatever it is you think you need, you need to understand what the most likely threats are that you’ll face, and then formulate a plan to deal with them.

Prepare now! The time for pretending the government can help you, or all those days spent putting it off until tomorrow are over. It’s only a matter of time before you are affected by some sort of disaster, crisis, economic problem, or threat to your health and safety. Whether it’s Ebola, or some future threat we’ve yet to see, you need to start taking steps to protect yourself and your family now.

You need a stockpile of food, water and emergency supplies. Even during small-scale disasters our country’s infrastructure is quick to be affected. How many times have we seen entire grocery stores wiped out in the lead up to a major storm or hurricane? Now imagine a pandemic outbreak that affected the country for 3 – 6 months. If you don’t have an adequate supply of food and water, you’re going to starve or die of dehydration. I don’t mean to be harsh, but there’s simply no way to sugar coat what’s going to happen.

You need to be able to defend yourself. In the case of a deadly pandemic outbreak we are going to see major social unrest. The moment people realize they can’t feed their families, or they see people in their neighborhood dropping dead, all hell is going to break loose. Listen, people riot in this country over a basketball game; imagine these same people when they’re starving, and people are dying around them.

The Stock Market Has Lost Confidence In Central Banks As Gods

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The Fed’s Last Monetary Bullet is Spin

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens

Yes, there is a wall of worry that the stock market is no longer climbing but is now descending. The greatest worry, that makes all others pale in comparison, is that the U.S. central bank, the Federal Reserve, has nothing left in its monetary arsenal but one bullet – Fed-Speak, otherwise known as spin.

After three bond buying programs known as Quantitative Easing (QE) flooded Wall Street with bountiful amounts of play money while failing to significantly lift wages or economic growth, the U.S. central bank now has a balance sheet that has quadrupled since the 2008 crisis to $4.4 trillion. That it would be allowed to engage in QE4 in the next crisis is highly doubtful since QEs have proven to be financial bubble makers, income inequality makers and of little help to the average citizen.

Equally problematic, the Fed is already at the zero-bound range in interest rates with no bullets left to fire in that arena as the specter of deflation begins to emerge around the globe.

There is a growing reappraisal on Wall Street as to what the Fed was really attempting to do with all this talk of the potential for a rate hike next year. Was it simply attempting to reload monetary bullets into its empty gun? If one talks endlessly about a rate hike and then faces a financial crisis, will simply saying you will delay the hike have the same impact as a rate cut?

If that was the Fed’s reload option, it doesn’t appear to be working. Over the weekend, Fed Vice Chairman Stanley Fischer delivered a speech to the International Monetary Fund, stating that “if foreign growth is weaker than anticipated, the consequences for the U.S. economy could lead the Fed to remove accommodation more slowly than otherwise.” Rather than stemming the panic, the Dow sold off another 223 points on Monday.

Veteran traders on Wall Street understand that markets will trade on perception, and spin, for only so long. At some point, ample doses of reality overtake Pollyanna perceptions. The new reality includes the following:

The Treasury market is reading far different tea leaves than the Fed. What it sees is softening demand and the potential for recession – hardly a situation requiring a rate hike by the Fed next year. As of this morning, there is a spread of just 182 basis points (1.82 percentage points) between the two-year U.S. Treasury note and the 10-year note with the two-year yielding an anemic .38 percent and the 10-year having dropped since last Friday from 2.28 to 2.20 percent.

At the same time that yields on Treasuries are declining, yields on riskier debt are rising. Junk bond prices have been setting lower lows (pushing up yields) since July. (See the chart below.) This is the same scenario that played out during the 2008-2010 financial collapse.

Any significant rise in corporate bond yields would throw cold water on a key artificial impetus in the stock market – corporations borrowing heavily to buy back their own stock.

There is growing evidence of both a global economic slowdown and the potential for deflation. In Germany, industrial output, factory orders and exports have posted their worst results since the heart of the last financial crisis. The Eurozone produced zero growth from the first to second quarter.

Just this morning, business media are reporting that the U.K. inflation for September came in at a tepid 1.2 percent, down from 1.5 percent in August. The Bank of England, the U.K.’s central bank, has the same policy dilemma as the Fed: its benchmark rate is already at the low rate of .5 percent.

Commodity indexes are confirming a global economic slump and the potential for deflation. A glut of crude oil as demand weakens has ignited a price war among OPEC members, bringing crude prices to four year lows. Bloomberg’s Commodity Index, a measurement of 22 commodities from agriculture to metals, slumped 11.8 percent in the last quarter – the largest decline since the crisis of 2008.

And while the Ebola scare may be negatively impacting the share prices of airline stocks, it is a minor player in the overall wall of worry, at present at least, since the seeds that have fed this market rout became rooted in July, two months before the Ebola scare erupted in the U.S.

If there is a silver lining to be found in any of this, it just might be that the legislative branch of our government might be compelled to stop passing the buck to unelected members of the Fed and reassert its policy leadership role on behalf of Main Street rather than just Wall Street.

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Junk Bond Prices Have Been Setting Lower Lows Since July