Thursday, May 19, 2016

Shrinking U.S. middle class: 47% of Americans don’t have $400 for Emergencies


The title says it all. A recent pool by The Federal Reserve Board shows that 47% of Americans would struggle to come up with $400 to deal with emergencies. The article is well worth reading.
The Secret Shame of Middle-Class Americans
The (misguided) idea is that higher education should come along with massive debt. If we add to that a mortgage and car payments most Americans simply accept the fact of living in debt most of their adult lives. If we throw in unexpected job/career difficulties or serious diseases, this means most Americans struggle with keeping themselves from going bankrupt if not literally dying.
Lesson of the day: Cash is king, even for economic collapses you want a cash cushion. Economic disasters teach us that in nearly all cases cash does not lose value overnight, especially not stable well recognized currencies. You should aim to have at least a month worth of expenses in cash.
If banks close and ATMs run out of money, how much cash do you have at hand?
FerFAL
Fernando “FerFAL” Aguirre is the author of “The Modern Survival Manual: Surviving the Economic Collapse” and “Bugging Out and Relocating: When Staying is not an Option”.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

How much food does the average family have in Venezuela?

As you probably know already Venezuela is collapsing in a pretty dramatic way. The situation has been critical for years now but people are now running out of food.
This Business Insider article illustrates the situation well, 'We want out of this agony': What it's like to eat in a country that's on the verge of collapse”.
One of the more telling materials in it is the series of photos showing how much food typical families in Venezuela have left.
"Now eating is a luxury, before we could earn some money and buy clothes or something, now everything goes on food," Yaneidy Guzman said.

"We eat today, but we do not know what we will eat tomorrow," Francisca Landaeta said. "We are bad — I never thought it would come to this."

"We have about 15 days eating bread with cheese or arepa with cheese," Lender Perez said. "We are eating worse than before, because we can't find food and those we can find we can't afford."

"I have to leave the house at 5 a.m., facing the risk of being killed, to stand in line all day and only buy two or three products," Jhonny Mendez said.

Lesson of the day folks: you can never store enough water and food. Also, know when to bug out of the country entirely.
FerFAL
Fernando “FerFAL” Aguirre is the author of “The Modern Survival Manual: Surviving the Economic Collapse” and “Bugging Out and Relocating: When Staying is not an Option”.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

The Zebralight H52W: The Best Survivalist flashlight?


The Zebralight H52W has been around for a few years. The LED has been upgrading over time, currently it’s a Cree XM-L2, in either cool or neutral white, but the excellent concept, design and execution have remained. In spite of this I did not buy one until now. It seemed I always had something else that I liked well enough or was very happy with. Boy I wish I had bought one of these before.

The Best Survivalist flashlight?

I use the question mark because I still believe that the Streamlight Sidewinder Compact II is the ultimate survival flashlight, the one I would have if I could have only one to deal with SHTF for extended periods of time. Having said that, the Zebralight is an extremely strong contender for the #1 place in the list. Both of these are angle head lights, making them very versatile. What I like about the Sidewinder Compact II the most is the military grade toughness and the ability to indistinctively use AA, AAA and CR123 format batteries. This trait is crucial for such a survivalist flashlight. On the other hand the H52W is almost half the size, making it better for pocket EDC, and with the right battery can put almost five times as much lumens downrange with its 500 lumen high mode.
The Zebralight H52W makes very good use of its angle head and clip. Like the old Fulton MX991/U military flashlight, they can be clipped to webbing, straps or belts, keeping the reflector pointed forward. I used it recently attaching it to the neck of my t-shirt (the H52W is small and light enough to allow this) I can also clip it to my belt or front jeans pocket. The Zebralight H52W is actually intended to be headlamp so it includes a headstrap which is compact yet comfortable, turning it into a pretty good headlamp. The H52W uses a single AA battery. This is an important factor given that AA are one of the easiest batteries to come across. It can also run on lithium and li-ion batteries, considerably increasing its capabilities with the use of 3.7V14500 rechargable batteries. Many AA lights expressively forbid the use of 3.7V batteries and the few that do allow it often end up losing functions such as the lower lumen modes. Not the case here. The light includes yet another feature that is important for anyone carrying and using the light frequently as their EDC, a battery voltage indicator. Clicking it four times the LED blinks 1 to 4 times letting you know how much battery is left. Clicking three times you get the beacon and strobe mode, which you can select by double clicking. With 14500 it has a maximum output of 500 lumens. This runs for only one minute before dropping to 270 lumens to avoid overheating. The moonlight mode can be programed as low as 0,01 lumens which can supposedly run for 3 months.

The user interface of the H52W sounds tricky at first to say the least, but once you do get used to it, it becomes almost intuitive and fast to use. The light has low medium and high mode, and there’s a second sublevel mode for each which can be programed into two output modes or three in the case of the second low mode.
A short click turns the light on in high, either one of the high modes used last time. A double click turns the light on in medium mode (again, either one of the two used last) and one long click turns it on low. In any case pressing and holding cycles through low, medium and high and double clicking engages the sub level of each of those. After a few days, it was simple enough to double click so as to get an either brighter or dimmer light if either of the low medium or high mode wasn’t exactly what I was looking for. Again, sounds messy but you soon get the hang of it.
As much as I liked the H52W I couldn’t get over the fact that it simply wasn’t a multi battery flashlight like the Sidewinder Compact II… or was it? Out of pure curiosity I dropped a AAA in there and clicked the light. Surprisingly, it came to life. The light is clearly not intended to be used with AAA but the spring on the cap happens to be long enough to make contact. It is not very reliable. The small AAA moves out of contact easily but the point is it does work and using a bit of paper rolled around it to keep it centered in place would greatly improve the reliability.
The Zebralight H52W is now my EDC light. I know something better will eventually come along to replace it. Looking forward to that though, because if it does replace my Zebralight I know it will be one hell of an amazing flashlight.
FerFAL
Fernando “FerFAL” Aguirre is the author of “The Modern Survival Manual: Surviving the Economic Collapse” and “Bugging Out and Relocating: When Staying is not an Option”.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Puerto Rico Goes Belly Up

A market in San Juan. Puerto Rico’s government defaulted earlier this month on a $399 million payment. Some state and local governments on the United States mainland may be veering toward similar fates.
Message:
Argentina bound: Puerto Rico goes belly up, rest of USA next
http://www.msn.com/en-us/news/us/puerto-rico%E2%80%99s-fiscal-fiasco-is-harbinger-of-mainland-woes/ar-BBsTm56?li=BBnb7Kz&ocid=mailsignout
Yep, we've seen this movie before. Puerto Rico is bankrupt and those
who can leave are doing so...to the mainland USA which is about to
follow the same path. When the USA defaults, the rich will fly away to
private islands or maybe that Galt's Gulch-style retreat that the Bush
family is rumored to be building in Paraguay, and watch the fun over
satellite TV until the power goes out and the feed goes blank. BTW,
this is why any prepper worth his salt checks multiple news feeds
every day-arrogant idiots who only watch one feed tend to miss
important news.
-B
Puerto Rico has been falling apart for some time now.
You actually bring up two very important points.
First, be careful of the main stream media. You need to understand that all media companies are owned by people with certain interests and the media they own promotes the agenda behind those interests. Understanding this and understanding the way they manipulate and create public opinion is more important than ever for a modern survivalist. We live in an age in which we have more information available to us than ever before, but that also means that there’s just as many more channels to influence the masses.
Second, the importance of timing. Know when to leave. The ultimate survival strategy to a worst case event is moving away from it. In cases like these you need to identify when it’s time to leave. It’s not always easy, but while you don’t want to overreact, you also don’t want to wait too long past the point of no return. Due to war, economic collapse or tyranny, it may get to a point when it just too late to leave, or it becomes exponentially more dangerous or expensive to do so.
FerFAL
Fernando “FerFAL” Aguirre is the author of “The Modern Survival Manual: Surviving the Economic Collapse” and “Bugging Out and Relocating: When Staying is not an Option”.

Monday, May 9, 2016

Venezuela: Water during an Economic Collapse

"Now eating is a luxury, before we could earn some money and buy clothes or something, now everything goes on food," Yaneidy Guzman said.
Fernando
I have been reading stories about the situation in Venezuela. Specifically about the ability or lack of ability to buy food.   In looking at the pictures in this article, the latest one I've read, I noticed that the kitchens are really small, but more I noticed that many people seem to have the blue plastic water barrels in the kitchens.
Is this what they are? Water barrels? Tell us about the water situation when hard economic times hit hard in countries and communities, and the families especially.
here is the link to the latest article I read.
http://www.businessinsider.com/venezuela-economic-food-crisis-meals-2016-4
Thank you, Selene
.
Good eye.
Water Shortage Cripples Venezuela
It is true, there’s a big problem with water in Venezuela. The government blames adverse climatic conditions, but this is typical of corrupt authoritarian governments: The problem is failing infrastructure and complete disregard for the social well-being of the population.
Water is maybe the most overlooked aspect of preparedness when stockpiling supplies. People think of guns, of food, even of having water filters, but actual water? Ask most people how much actual drinking water they have and few will truly have a week worth of water stored.
Don’t underestimate water people! Stock up as much as you can, it will never be enough. Not only for drinking, but also cooking, sanitation, washing clothes, hands and flushing toilets. Big water containers are great but don’t forget smaller ones. Start collecting containers, 2L soda bottles are actually great. They are very handy for use and fit in lots of dead spaces around the house, especially smaller ones where finding storage space is sometimes difficult.
Just ask yourself, how long have you prepared for if SHTF. Keep in mind that you’ll need a gallon per person per day. I suggest to have at least a week’s worth for your entire family group.
FerFAL
Fernando “FerFAL” Aguirre is the author of “The Modern Survival Manual: Surviving the Economic Collapse” and “Bugging Out and Relocating: When Staying is not an Option”.