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These Aren’t Considered SHTF Survival Skills, But They Really Should Be March 31, 2017

MCan you grow your own food and raise your own livestock? Can you fix your own car? Are you a competent marksman? Can you hunt and fish? Do you know your way around a first-aid kit? Can you make your own biofuel? How about bartering?

Everyone who’s interested in prepping has heard about or considered learning some of those skills (among many others) countless times already. There are certain skills that seem essential for surviving a catastrophic event, and they are repeatedly mentioned and discussed ad nauseam in the prepper community. Of course they’re vitally important and sophisticated subjects that warrant lots of discussion, but there are a few skills that are often totally overlooked; probably because they seem mundane and unexciting.

That however, doesn’t mean they should be ignored. If you’re looking to tack a few more skills under your belt, or at least confirm that you don’t have any of these gaps in your prepper education, consider the following:

Learning Another Language

If society collapsed, then nation-state borders would temporarily lose their meaning. People living in immigrant enclaves, gated communities, and small towns across the country would be uprooted from their lives. Everyone would be wrenched away from their social bubbles. In other words, you would be running into all kinds of people who you would normally never meet, and a lot of those folks will speak a different language. The more languages you know, the less misunderstandings you’ll face after the collapse.

Driving Stick

As time goes on there are fewer and fewer vehicles with manual transmissions being built and sold, and the number of people who actually know how to drive a stick shift is declining. But this could become a vital skill after the collapse. Stick shifts tend to be older, and older cars tend to be easier to fix and maintain. Older vehicles are also a lot easier to hotwire (I’m not suggesting that you steal. There would be many abandoned cars if society collapsed). So if you don’t know already, now is a good time to learn how to drive a stick.

Investing

Investing sounds like a skill that is exactly the opposite of what you need to know to survive. When we think of investors, we imagine people who are reliant on the grid; people who work for investment firms and sit behind computers all day. In reality, investing is still an important skill to have when civilization crumbles. Being a good investor requires you to have a solid understanding of how the world works, so you can use that understanding to figure out what is going to be more valuable in the future. At a base level, there isn’t much difference between investing money in a promising company, and trading a can of soup for a pack of cigarettes that will be worth more in the future as supplies dwindle.

Negotiation, Persuasion, and Conflict Resolution

Preppers spend a lot of time preparing to survive violent situations. However, violence is messy and destructive. And more times than not it’s preventable with a little bit of tact and understanding. Don’t buy a dozen guns and thousands of rounds of ammunition without working on your own ability communicate with others, and find common interests with people who oppose you. If society collapsed, the only people you should have to physically protect yourself from, are the ones who refuse to talk to you.

Stress Management

In the modern world, most people deal with stress by consuming addictive substances and engaging themselves in an endless stream of entertainment. After the collapse, there will be no TV or internet, and the substances people use to take the edge off will be hard to come by. And this will happen as everyone is dealing with the most stressful event anyone has seen in generations. If you can’t handle hard times without the aid of a stiff drink and a cigarette, then you’re not ready to cope with an event that could destroy our civilization.

Joshua Krause was born and raised in the Bay Area. He is a writer and researcher focused on principles of self-sufficiency and liberty at Ready Nutrition. You can follow Joshua’s work at our Facebook page or on his personal Twitter.

Joshua’s website is Strange Danger

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

Originally published March 31st, 2017
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The Ticking Time Bomb That Will Wipe Out Virtually Every Pension Fund In America March 30, 2017

Are millions of Americans about to see the big, juicy pensions that they were counting on to fund their golden years go up in flames in the biggest financial disaster in U.S. history? When Bloomberg published an editorial entitled “Pension Crisis Too Big for Markets to Ignore“, it simply confirmed what a lot of people already knew to be true.  Pension funds all over America are woefully underfunded, and they have been pouring mind boggling amounts of money into very risky investments such as Internet stocks and commercial mortgages.  Just like with subprime mortgages in 2008, this is a crisis that everyone can see coming well in advance, and yet nothing is being done about it.

On a day to day basis, Americans generally don’t think very much about pensions.  Most of those that have been promised pensions simply have faith that they will be there when they need them.

Unfortunately, the truth is that pension plans all over the country are severely underfunded, and this has already resulted in local fiascos such as the one that we just witnessed in Dallas.

But what happened in Dallas is just the very small tip of a very large iceberg.  According to Bloomberg, unfunded pension obligations on a national basis “have risen to $1.9 trillion from $292 billion since 2007″…

As was the case with the subprime crisis, the writing appears to be on the wall. And yet calamity has yet to strike. How so? Call it the triumvirate of conspirators – the actuaries, accountants and their accomplices in office. Throw in the law of big numbers, very big numbers, and you get to a disaster in a seemingly permanent state of making. Unfunded pension obligations have risen to $1.9 trillion from $292 billion since 2007.

And of course that $1.9 trillion number is not actually the real number.

That same Bloomberg article goes on to admit that if honest math was being used that the real number would actually be closer to 6 trillion dollars…

So why not just flip the switch and require truth and honesty in public pension math? Too many cities and potentially states would buckle under the weight of more realistic assumed rates of return. By some estimates, unfunded liabilities would triple to upwards of $6 trillion if the prevailing yields on Treasuries were used. That would translate into much steeper funding requirements at a time when budgets are already severely constrained. Pockets of the country would face essential public service budgets being slashed to dangerous levels.

So where are all of these pensions eventually going to come up with 6 trillion dollars?

That is a very good question.

Ultimately, even if financial conditions stay as stable as they are right now, a whole lot of people are not going to get the money that they were promised.

But things will get really “interesting” if we see a major downturn in the financial markets.  According to Dave Kranzler, if the stock market were to fall by 10 percent or more and stay there for a number of months, that “would cause every single public pension fund to blow up”.  And Kranzler is also deeply concerned about the tremendous amount of exposure that these pension funds have to commercial mortgages…

Circling back to the mall/REIT ticking time-bomb, while the Fed can keep the stock market propped up as means of preventing an immediate nuclear melt-down in U.S. pensions (all of which are substantially “maxed-out” in their mandated equities allocation), the collapse of commercial mortgage-back securities (CMBS) will have the affect of launching a nuclear sub-missile directly into the side of the U.S. financial system.

The commercial mortgage market is about $3 trillion, of which about $1 trillion has been packaged into asset-backed securities and stuffed into yield-starved pension funds. Without a doubt, the same degree of fraud of has been used to concoct the various tranches in these CMBS trusts that was employed during the mid-2000’s mortgage/housing bubble, with full cooperation of the ratings agencies then and now. Just like in 2008, with the derivatives that have been layered into the mix, the embedded leverage in the commercial mortgage/CMBS/REIT model is the financial equivalent of the Fukushima nuclear power plant collapse.

I have previously talked about the ongoing retail apocalypse in the United States which threatens to make so many of these commercial mortgage securities go bad.  It is being projected that somewhere around 3,500 stores will close in the months ahead, and this is going to absolutely devastate mall owners.  In turn, it is inevitable that a lot of their debts will start to go bad, and pension funds will be hit extremely hard by this.

But the coming stock market crash is going to hit pension funds even harder.  Stocks are ridiculously overvalued right now, and if they simply return to “normal valuations”, pension funds are going to lose trillions of dollars.

We are talking about a financial tsunami that will be absolutely unprecedented in our history, and yet investors continue to act like the party can last forever.  In fact, we just learned that margin debt on Wall Street has just hit another brand new record high

The latest data from the New York Stock Exchange show margin debt, or cash borrowed to buy shares, hit a record $528.2 billion in February, up from its prior high of $513.3 billion in January.

Of course my regular readers already know that margin debt also shot up to dramatic peaks just before the last two stock market crashes as well

Prior periods when margin debt hit records occurred around stock market peaks, including 2000 when the dot-com stock boom went bust, and 2007 when stocks began to crater amid early signs of trouble in the housing market ahead of the 2008 financial crisis.

Margin debt jumped 22% from the end of 1999 before peaking in March 2000 at $278.5 billion, the same month stocks peaked. In 2007, margin debt shot up to $381.4 billion in July, three months before stocks topped.

We are perfectly primed for the greatest financial disaster in American history, and yet very few people are sounding the alarm.

This massive financial bubble is a ticking time bomb, and when it finally goes off it is going to wipe out virtually every pension fund in the United States.

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A Prepper’s DIY: Building Your Own Cleaning Kits for Firearms

ReadyNutrition Readers, there can never be enough emphasis placed on the importance of weapons cleaning and maintenance.  We had a piece recently on how to maintain your weapons during the wintertime.  Keep in mind: the game changes completely when you fire the firearm.  You cannot afford to allow that weapon to sit with carbon buildup after you’ve fired it.  The moisture will come into play, and neglected, the weapon will be in really bad shape in about a week’s period of time or less.  If you are taking the tips on a regularly-scheduled maintenance program seriously, then it should be no problem whatsoever to incorporate your cleaning sessions into it after you have fired.


Keep this in mind: If you’ll maintain your car, can you do any less for your weapon…a piece of equipment where cleanliness and function may mean life or death?


Building Your Own Cleaning Kits for Firearms

So, how about a cleaning kit for your weapon?  Here’s what you need: One large “mothership” cleaning kit for general purpose and maintenance, and one cleaning kit that is portable, for what you carry or tote into the great outdoors.  There are plenty of different brands to choose from, and in the manner that fishing gear is more tailored to catch fishermen than fish, the same principle applies to cleaning kits.  You need some basics, and it is the basics we’ll cover.  First, your component parts:

  1. Cleaning rods: brass or steel is preferable; aluminum if there’s nothing else.  You want enough sections to be able to clean out your longest rifle barrel, and extra sections and handgrips for pistols and other rifles, as well.
  2. Bore Brushes: these are often stamped with the caliber (.22, .38, .45, etc.) on the base just past the threaded part you screw into the rod. They are also made for your chamber…to clean where the cartridge is actually seated when fired.  The ones stamped with the caliber are meant to pass through the entire length of the barrel. If you have multiple firearms, consider getting this bore brush kit.
  3. Patch-tips: have an “eye” hole at the end, and are threaded to screw onto your cleaning rod. The larger the eye, the bigger the patch it takes.
  4. Cleaning brushes: You will have some that are made with nylon bristles, akin to a toothbrush, and some with wire/metal bristles. This latter group is especially helpful with carbon buildups.
  5. Patches: can be 1” square, 2” square, and so forth; usually made of cotton or muslin fiber to clean the inside of the barrel and other locations with your firearm.
  6. Pipe cleaners: especially helpful for small holes and other locations that have interworking mechanisms, such as trigger or hammer assemblies. Very useful in cleaning out carbon from around springs, deep within the magazine well, and in front of your firing pins.
  7. Bore light devices: Once again, there are numerous types to choose from. I carry a small “mini Maglite” that uses one AAA battery; however, I recommend the little Plexiglas 90-degree angle “sticks” that are L-shaped.  You place one end into the end of your barrel, and the other end point toward a light source (a light bulb, the sun, etc.) and it will illuminate your barrel.
  8. Lubricant: Self-explanatory here. The function is to clean and also to coat with a light coating.  If you caught my other piece, then you may recall: I recommend 5W/30 Mobil Synthetic Motor Oil, available at about $7 to $8 per quart.  All the name-brand oils (Outers, etc.) sell for little 1 – 2 ounce bottles for about $3 to $4.  You do the math.  The Mobil Synthetic is a better oil, and far less expensive.
  9. Bore Solvent: On this one I don’t cut corners, because other solvents can leave a film…I pick up the brand-name stuff from Outers, RCBS, etc. A small bottle of it will last you a long time if you stretch it.  You need it to clean off hardcore powder fouling…the type coming from when you burn off more than a couple of hundred rounds in a weapon.  Search your catalogs, and you can find volume deals for a gallon at a time.
  10. Cleaning rags, pouches, and other accessories (magnifying glass, scraping tools, etc.)

Now as we mentioned in the beginning, what you can do for ease of simplicity is work from the “mothership” principle: consolidate the majority of your supplies in one box/chest, and “work” off of smaller, independent “kits” for individual firearms.

You want the ability to clean each weapon no matter where it is.  If they’re consolidated in one location?  Fine, but you want the ability to throw together a pouch with all of the supplies and materials listed above specific to any firearm.  Tote the kit with you along with the firearm when you leave home, away from the consolidated supplies (the mothership).  You will find that you can build numerous “kits,” or pouches for each firearm.  Keep them all together until the time you take the firearm away.

The rule of thumb: if the firearm is away from the home, the cleaning kit should be with it.  You will find military issue nylon pouches (they have three snaps) are exceptionally useful for these individual kits.  They hold all of the rods (broken down), your brushes, patches, and a small bottle for your oil.   This photo shows an issue kit you can order from www.amazon.com for $16.20 called a UTG Model 4/AR15 Cleaning Kit Complete with Pouch

Although specifically for an M-4 (AR-15), as it is a 5.56 mm/.223 caliber weapon, you will find it can be used for a variety of different weapons cleaning applications.  Use your imagination, as necessity is the mother of invention.  You want to keep your cleaning kits and supplies in a water-tight, sealable case that will prevent moisture and perhaps take a beating.  Supplement this kit with cleaning rags and a small tool kit.  Patches you can make from something such as a white or cream-colored bedsheet that has outlived its original use.

Use your creativity and your imagination to make what you want and tailor it to your use.  Bottom line: your weapon can’t take care of you unless it is properly taken care of.  You can be smart and use some of these tips to lessen the bite to your wallet.  Just don’t cut corners when it comes to maintenance.  When you’re done at the range, either take it down and clean it there, or take it home and clean it right away.  Practice hard, clean those firearms, and keep in that good fight!  JJ out!

Jeremiah Johnson is the Nom de plume of a retired Green Beret of the United States Army Special Forces (Airborne). Mr. Johnson was a Special Forces Medic, EMT and ACLS-certified, with comprehensive training in wilderness survival, rescue, and patient-extraction. He is a Certified Master Herbalist and a graduate of the Global College of Natural Medicine of Santa Ana, CA. A graduate of the U.S. Army’s survival course of SERE school (Survival Evasion Resistance Escape), Mr. Johnson also successfully completed the Montana Master Food Preserver Course for home-canning, smoking, and dehydrating foods.

Mr. Johnson dries and tinctures a wide variety of medicinal herbs taken by wild crafting and cultivation, in addition to preserving and canning his own food. An expert in land navigation, survival, mountaineering, and parachuting as trained by the United States Army, Mr. Johnson is an ardent advocate for preparedness, self-sufficiency, and long-term disaster sustainability for families. He and his wife survived Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath. Cross-trained as a Special Forces Engineer, he is an expert in supply, logistics, transport, and long-term storage of perishable materials, having incorporated many of these techniques plus some unique innovations in his own homestead.

Mr. Johnson brings practical, tested experience firmly rooted in formal education to his writings and to our team. He and his wife live in a cabin in the mountains of Western Montana with their three cats.

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

Originally published March 30th, 2017
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