Man-Made Disasters

The Economist Magazine Investigates Preppers

“Some Americans find survivalists sinister. After Adam Lanza shot 26 people in a school in Newtown, Connecticut in 2012, the media made much of the fact that his mother was a gun-stockpiling prepper. Yet there is no evidence that preppers in general are more dangerous than their compatriots. On the contrary, when natural disasters strike, it is useful to have neighbours who know how to stormproof a house and have bandages to spare.”

-The Economist website, December 17, 2014

Late this morning, I stumbled on an article on The Economist website about preppers. I just finished reading “Preparing for the apocalypse: I will survive,” and thought I’d blog about it a little. The author (couldn’t find a name attached with the piece for some reason) did a pretty good job writing about preppers/survivalists, not falling victim to the usual stereotypes/generalizing echoed in a comment on the article. From “walrusandthecarpenter”:

Preppers are people who are unhappy with their life and can’t wait for the end of the world to come and the tables to turn. They are excited for it to happen.

Me? I like my smartphone. I have a first aid kit though.

“I like my smartphone.” What a goof.

Like I was saying, the author did a pretty good job (points deducted for trying to link those Westboro folks to preppers) with the material. I found what James Wesley, Rawles of SurvivalBlog.com-fame had to say particularly interesting. From the article:

So how might TEOTWAWKI come about? The biggest threat, says Mr Rawles, is a huge solar flare. The last big one, in 1859, known as the “Carrington Event”, disabled telegraph lines. A similar disaster today would “fry the circuitry” of electronic devices and take out the power grid “from end to end”. It would take years to reactivate. Perhaps 60% of the American population could die, predicts Mr Rawles…

I’ve seen some put that die-off figure at 90 percent.

There was also this about present-day preppers:

Survivalists vary politically—just as they are dispersed geographically—and their views colour their apocalyptic imaginings. Many are conservatives, worried about crime, terrorism and hyperinflation and sure that the state cannot be relied upon to protect ordinary citizens. But a fair number are environmentalists, convinced that the planet can only take so much abuse before it becomes uninhabitable. The movement is broad enough to encompass anyone who suspects that disaster is looming, for any reason. It used to be mostly “Bible-believing Christian conservatives”, says Mr Rawles, “But now we have a lot of alfalfa-munching Birkenstock-wearing leftists.” He adds: “The more the better.”

One more reason for me not to bash specific political ideologies/parties- except when they really ask for it, of course.

(Editor’s note: Any former readers of Boom2Bust.com out there remember when I used to savage “Dubya” and Hank Paulson? Thinking of that reminds me this giant economic mess belongs to both sides of the political aisle.)

Jason Charles, a New York firefighter of Doomsday Preppers-fame (blogged about here), is also featured in the piece.

You can read the well-written article in its entirety on The Economist website here.

By Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

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Islamic State May Now Have A Dirty Bomb, But What About A Nuke?

“Militants in Iraq have taken hold of nuclear materials at university science facilities near the northern city of Mosul, the Iraqi government has said in a letter to the United Nations.

But two U.S. officials told CNN on Wednesday that the small amounts of uranium aren’t enriched or weapons-grade, prompting only minimal concern…”

-CNN website, July 10, 2014

I remember reading about the Islamic State getting their hands on that nuclear material near Mosul this summer. And I also remember the American response to it happening- which was basically “who cares?”

Now, I distinctly recall what I was thinking when I heard the news:

The caliphate is going to build themselves some dirty bombs.

From the United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission website:

A “dirty bomb” is one type of a radiological dispersal device (RDD) that combines conventional explosives, such as dynamite, with radioactive material. The terms dirty bomb and RDD are often used interchangeably in the media. Most RDDs would not release enough radiation to kill people or cause severe illness – the conventional explosive itself would be more harmful to individuals than the radioactive material. However, depending on the situation, an RDD explosion could create fear and panic, contaminate property, and require potentially costly cleanup… A dirty bomb is not a “Weapon of Mass Destruction” but a “Weapon of Mass Disruption,” where contamination and anxiety are the terrorists’ major objectives

A “weapon of mass disruption.” Cute.

On Saturday, the Daily Mirror- a British tabloid- ran the following:

Islamic State fanatics have built a dirty bomb, it has been claimed.

The fighters are said to have made a device using radioactive uranium stolen from Iraq’s Mosul University after seizing control of the city last June.

And this week they were boasting of the damage it would cause if blown up in London, although sources insist security measures would make it almost impossible to transport here…

If the bomb does exist, militants are far more likely to use it in Syria or Iraq, rather than trying to smuggle it into a Western country.

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

“Although sources insist security measures would make it almost impossible to transport here.”

“Militants are far more likely to use it in Syria or Iraq, rather than trying to smuggle it into a Western country.”

Not sure I agree with those statements. First off, you don’t need to “transport” the components required to construct a dirty bomb. There’s a good chance the bad guys would be able to source that locally in the U.K.

Second, going back to that NRC statement about dirty bombs being “weapons of mass disruption” rather than “destruction”- it’s my understanding that Iraq and Syria are way past being “disrupted.” Why would the Muslim extremists waste such fear-inducing devices there? New York City makes more sense as a potential dirty bomb target. Think Wall Street during the business week or Times Square on New Year’s Eve. That’s what I’d be trying to prevent if I were still in government and in the counter-terrorism field.

So the caliphate may have a dirty bomb. Not shock there if this turned out to be true considering the relative ease of constructing one. More of a concern should be the Islamic State getting their hands on a nuclear weapon. Why’s that? Because these guys have proven themselves to be hard-chargers and probably wouldn’t hesitate to detonate the damn thing among their enemies. Joe Cirincione, an expert on nuclear proliferation, penned on the Huffington Post website on November 28:

It is impossible now for ISIS to build a nuclear bomb from scratch. Doing so would require large, industrial facilities to enrich uranium, billions of dollars and gigawatts of energy. But if they could get the highly-enriched uranium — about 100 pounds would do, about the size of a soccer ball — it is possible that they could assemble the equipment and small technical team to build the bomb.

Jeffrey Lewis described in the superb documentary, Countdown to Zero, how few people are actually required to do this and how little it would cost. But it does require a sophisticated operation. ISIS has the capabilities required.

We have never encountered a terrorist group like ISIS. Their demonstrated brutality and willingness to kill large numbers of innocents is shocking, but is now the kind of terrorism that we have become familiar with over the past 20 years. ISIS adds three capabilities that catapult the threat beyond anything seen before: control of large, urban territories, huge amounts of cash (perhaps as much as $2 billion), and a global network of recruits.

With these assets they could illicitly acquire the nuclear material for a bomb from vulnerable storage sites in Russia or Pakistan, and possibly nuclear expertise as well

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Remember that phrase “if you build it, they will come” from the 1989 film Field of Dreams?

It’s seems like “if they build it, they will blow s**t up” as it concerns these particular jihadists.

By Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

Sources:

Dorman, Nick and Doyle, Neil. “British ISIS fanatics have built a dirty bomb and boast of the damage it could inflict on London.” The Mirror. 29 Nov. 2014. (http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/british-isis-fanatics-built-dirty-4721561). 2 Dec. 2014.

Cirincione, Joe. “Preventing a Nuclear ISIS.” Huffington Post. 18 Nov. 2014. (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/joe-cirincione/preventing-a-nuclear-isis_b_6180120.html). 2 Dec. 2014.

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Project Prepper, Part 29: Recap

It’s been some time since my last “Project Prepper” post. As such, I’m going to do a recap today about what this series of posts is all about for those who don’t already know.

On October 24, 2012, I wrote:

Back in early 2007, I decided to launch a blog that warned anyone who would listen of a coming U.S. financial crash.

By 2010, many Americans had tasted the type of carnage I predicted three years earlier. And it was at this time I decided to take my blogging in a new direction, from simply warning about the coming storm to providing information and possible solutions for coming out on the other side of the maelstrom in decent shape.

For almost two years on Survival And Prosperity, I’ve addressed that information component. As I see it, the writing is on the wall concerning where our economy and larger financial system is headed. As such, it’s time to really focus on potential solutions- those things that might help protect and grow self and wealth in these uncertain times and down the road.

Enter “Project Prepper.”

Once in a while I blog about preppers/survivalists, and as a result, I’m often mistaken for one. The truth is, I’m not a “modern survivalist.” I’m just an independent researcher and blogger currently focusing on economics, finance, investing, and personal safety.

That being said, as a result of my research and this blog, I’m now aware of the myriad of man-made and naturally-occurring threats to my life and lifestyle (and those of my loved ones), and think it’s probably wise to acquaint myself more with “prepping” via a sustained “hands-on” program of learning and doing, which I’ll call “Project Prepper.”

Through a series of posts on this blog which I suspect should last for quite some time (years?), I’ll be able to share my preparedness experiences with you.

By doing this, I’ll also be able to make more progress in providing readers of this blog those possible solutions I talked about earlier in the post.

Will I end up being a “prepper” at the end of it all? Who knows? If anything, I should be able to glean a good deal of useful knowledge from this venture.

Knowledge which I hope to share with you…

More next week as I talk about where “Project Prepper” currently stands after writing the above a little over two years ago.

Been working on personal safety as part of Project Prepper

Been working on personal safety as part of Project Prepper

ANY CHARACTER HERE

By Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

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Hacker ‘Guccifer’: Chicago And Unnamed Pennsylvania City To Be Nuked In 2015

According to the infamous hacker known as “Guccifer,” someone’s got Chicago and an unnamed Pennsylvania city in their crosshairs for a nuclear detonation next year. Andrew Higgins reported on The New York Times website on November 21:

The English-speaking prison psychologist, who attended my meeting with the hacker, rolled his eyes as Mr. Lazar started reading his explanatory text in good but heavily accented English. It was a compendium of wild conspiracy theories involving so-called Illuminati, a secret cabal that he believes runs the world. Most of the conspiracies were old hat, like ones relating to the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, by Al Qaeda. But others, such as an alleged plan to set off a nuclear bomb in Chicago and an unnamed city in Pennsylvania next year, were clearly his own work.

The psychologist said he had heard them all before but nonetheless had no doubt about the state of Mr. Lazar’s mental health. “He is not really crazy at all”…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

That claim about the Pennsylvania city also being targeted is a new development in the story. I blogged back on November 11:

The recently-apprehended hacker known as “Guccifer” (Marcel-Lehel Lazar, an unemployed 43-year-old Romanian) is in the news today for something he told The New York Times while meeting with them. Andrew Higgins reported on the Times website yesterday:

Before agreeing to answer questions from The New York Times in prison, where he shares a cell with four others, including two convicted murderers, he read out a lengthy handwritten statement that he said explained the purpose of his hacking.

A potpourri of conspiracy theories about the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, the 1997 death of Princess Diana and alleged plans for a nuclear attack in Chicago in 2015, it said: “This world is run by a group of conspirators called the Council of Illuminati, very rich people, noble families, bankers and industrialists from the 19th and 20th century.”

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Guccifer is reported to have accessed the private e-mails of numerous top military, political, and intelligence leaders around the world- including e-mails of former U.S. President George W. Bush’s family.

So is the Romanian hacker just trying to save his skin somehow with such claims, or did he really uncover such a plot to nuke Chicago and the Pennsylvania city while engaged in criminal activity?

Hopefully, Higgins is able to get more info out of Guccifer going forward- if there’s anything to get.

By Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

Source:

Higgins, Andrew. “The Man Behind the Hacking: Talking to Guccifer.” The New York Times. 21 Nov. 2014. (http://www.nytimes.com/times-insider/2014/11/21/the-man-behind-the-hacking-talking-to-guccifer/?_r=0). 26 Nov. 2014.

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Disaster Retreat: A ‘Prepped Community’ In Central Virginia

Back on November 13, I blogged about how the 5,000-person Vivos Survival Shelter & Resort that was to be constructed in an existing below-ground complex just outside of Atchison, Kansas, had been cancelled. I wrote:

Too bad the project didn’t pan out. I’ll have to check around and see if a similar affordable private underground shelter isn’t in the works someplace else in the United States.

Well, I did check around, and wasn’t able to find another private underground survival shelter of that size in the works. However, I did stumble on a related project out in central Virginia the other day that caught my attention.

Enter Disaster Retreat. From the website’s FAQ page:

WHAT IS DISASTER RETREAT?

Disaster Retreat is a 160+ acre former private hunting reserve. Now offered as a rural retreat in times of crisis.

Disaster Retreat is a “Prepped Community”. We do the upkeep and tenants have the security of knowing they have a place prepared. Tenants also have greater privacy by not attaching their own names to any government documents.

Disaster Retreat is NOT a vacation home, rather it is an active insurance against disaster. Tenants pay a monthly fee and to lease space and have supplies “Prepped” for the tenants arrival.

A place that will actually PROTECT your Family! An investment that will provide shelter and security for your family, even in the most tumultuous of times.

WHAT DOES DISASTER RETREAT OFFER?

Disaster Retreat offers leases on 1/4 acre and up parcels of land. The tenants are highly encouraged to install their own private underground bunkers. As part of the lease, Disaster Retreat provides all emergency food and water supplies for the tenants.

Our onsite caretaker will rotate these supplies for each individual tenant and ensure all bunkers are in good working order. The objective is to have everything ready at all times.

FOOD AND SHELTER: Sleep well knowing, that no matter what the emergency, you have a home consisting of your private shelter waiting for you and ready. Meals for you and your family can be included in your lease and the stock can be monitored and refreshed, as needed, by our staff.

WATER AND POWER: If you choose Off-the-Grid water and power, you are guaranteed that you and your loved ones will always have the things they need. Our staff will also rotate and refresh your unit’s internal water storage, as needed.

SAFETY AND SECURITY: Disaster Retreat provides you the opportunity to “Bug Out” and retreat to a safe location, complete with your own personal space and all of the necessities of modern living. As we all hope for the best, YOU will be prepared for the worst… from Natural Disasters, Man-Made Acts of Aggression to Nuclear War.

You Can Now Own an Underground Bunker, the Zenith of Emergency Preparedness!

Here is the land, now is the time! Disaster Retreat is giving you the ability to lease your own wooded acreage, with the explicit permission to install your very own Underground Bunker or Fallout Shelter, without you having to take care of it all! Who has the time for that, as time is money. Best of all it is only a short trip from your home now!

We have even negotiated special pricing on behalf of our tenants, with Ultimate Bunker, a premier bunker manufacturer, specializing in family and luxury bunkers…


“Disaster Retreat, Your Prepper Community.”
YouTube Video

There’s quite a bit more information about the “crisis retreat” on that FAQ page, including:

HOW DO I GET TO DISASTER RETREAT?

Disaster Retreat is within driving distance of Northern VA, Washington DC and Raleigh NC. We also offer a private landing strip and Helipad.

WHAT DOES IT COST?

Our pricing is very simple. It starts at $997 per 1⁄4 acre for standard-sized lots. However, the member can chose premium lots or multiple lots in order to meet their individual needs…

WHAT IS INCLUDED WITH A LEASE?

All of the specifics are spelled out in our lease agreement but the basics are the following:

– A 10 year lease to place an underground bunker.
– Maintenance of lease area so that it is ready for you 24/7.
– As much or as little support as you want setting up at the beginning.
– $400 worth of shelf-life food for your initial food stock.
– Year round running streams.
– Confidentiality.
– Pre-event security.
– Private emergency grass landing strip and helipad.
– Shelter maintenance per manufacturer’s recommendations if desired.
– Many other services can be added to the lease agreement to meet individual desires.

Sounds promising. I wonder if someone would build anything like that out in my neck of the woods (Chicagoland)?

For more information, visit the Disaster Retreat website here.

By Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

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Huckabee TV Special ‘Threats To America’

Anyone catch the FOX News show Huckabee this past weekend? The one-hour special was entitled “Threats To America,” and the weekly political commentary program that’s hosted by Mike Huckabee pointed out several of them. The former Arkansas governor told viewers Saturday:

Tonight on this Huckabee special- threats to America, and what really ought to scare us. We’re going to be talking with experts around the world to separate the fact from the frivolous. And we’re going to find out if the government is preparing for problems- or if they’re just playing possum. Our purpose is not to present our version of a Freddy Krueger movie. No, it’s to help you understand the real threats that this country faces, and what the country and what you could and should do to be ready.

The experts consulted were:

• Lieutenant General Daniel Bolger, United States Army (Ret.)
• Pete Hegseth- CEO of Concerned Veterans for America
• KT McFarland- FOX News National Security Analyst and host of FoxNews.com’s DEFCON 3
• Gary Berntsen- Former Central Intelligence Agency officer
• Gordon Chang- Lawyer, author, and TV pundit
• Shawn Henry- Retired executive assistant director at the Federal Bureau of Investigation
• Frank Gaffney- Founder and president of the Center for Security Policy

As for those threats to America? They include (in order presented on TV special):

1. Terrorism


YouTube Video

2. China


YouTube Video

3. Cyberattack


YouTube Video

4. Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP)


YouTube Video

5. Misuse Of U.S. Military


YouTube Video

Real interesting stuff- from what I saw. Unfortunately, I can’t find what I believe is the last part of the show anywhere on YouTube.com. Oh well. I think the “meat” of the TV special is above.

By Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

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World’s Largest Private Underground Shelter Project Cancelled

There’s been more talk than usual in the news about underground survival shelters due to a recent Wall Street Journal article featuring luxury survival condo builder Larry Hall of Doomsday Preppers-fame (blogged about here in March 2012). Headlining that November 9 piece:

“Affluent buyers worried about doomsday are snapping up well-appointed bunkers built in a former missile silo”

Regular readers of Survival And Prosperity know the wealthy have been acquiring survival shelters for a number of years now.

But what about those who would like the perceived safety of a bunker but don’t have the financial resources to acquire one? Well, they may have been consoled knowing there were plans for a more affordable 5,000-person Vivos Survival Shelter & Resort (wrote about in June 2013) to be built in an existing below-ground complex just south of Atchison, Kansas. Encompassing over 2 million square feet, it was billed as the world’s largest private underground survival shelter. But checking on the status of the project today, I read the following on the website of Del Mar, California-based Vivos Group:

Vivos has reluctantly decided to pull the plug on the Atchison, KS project for use as an underground survival shelter from our expanding network. Despite our significant investment of time and expense for the intended retrofit and outfitting of the cave system, numerous concerns arose related to the geological stability and safety of the cave structure that we believe may compromise its ability to withstand the anticipated forces of future catastrophic or earth changing events. These are risks we simply cannot take with potentially so many lives at stake.

Our concerns included many issues from a history of previous ‘domeout’ cave collapses, with the potential for unforeseeable and unpredictable future cave-ins; controlling the ongoing humidity and temperature extremes; to a variety of health and environmental concerns expressed by our members and crew who visited the facility with no clear means of mitigation.

We hope to soon be able to offer another shelter within this geographic region of America. In the meantime, please contact us about other immediate Vivos shelter opportunities.

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)


“World’s largest doomsday shelter coming to Kansas”
YouTube Video

Too bad the project didn’t pan out. I’ll have to check around and see if a similar affordable private underground shelter isn’t in the works someplace else in the United States.

By Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

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Hacker ‘Guccifer’: Chicago Targeted For Nuclear Attack In 2015

The recently-apprehended hacker known as “Guccifer” (Marcel-Lehel Lazar, an unemployed 43-year-old Romanian) is in the news today for something he told The New York Times while meeting with them. Andrew Higgins reported on the Times website yesterday:

Before agreeing to answer questions from The New York Times in prison, where he shares a cell with four others, including two convicted murderers, he read out a lengthy handwritten statement that he said explained the purpose of his hacking.

A potpourri of conspiracy theories about the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, the 1997 death of Princess Diana and alleged plans for a nuclear attack in Chicago in 2015, it said: “This world is run by a group of conspirators called the Council of Illuminati, very rich people, noble families, bankers and industrialists from the 19th and 20th century.”

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

The Times article didn’t elaborate on the supposed nuclear strike. And as far as I can tell there’s been no mention of it elsewhere out in cyberspace.

Assuming “Guccifer” isn’t spinning this tale in an attempt to save his hide, some are already jumping to the conclusion that such an attack would be a “false flag” event perpetrated by this Illuminati.

But what if Mr. Lazar discovered the plans within the e-mails of those powerful individuals whose accounts he was known to hack? In other words, they had intelligence about the coming nuke attack in their possession (it’s conceivable having such power/prestige might afford them that privilege) but the event wouldn’t be of their doing.

If not them, then who?

Consider what I blogged back on June 1:

WBBM (Chicago) Political Editor Craig Dellimore recently interviewed Robert Holley, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation office in Chicago, for the WBBM Newsradio show At Issue. From their exchange that was uploaded on the show’s web page today:

DELLIMORE: With all the headlines about street gangs, shootings, and corruption in and around Chicago, I think people can sometimes forget that terrorism is still a threat here, and is a major focus of what the FBI has to do. We haven’t had a major attack here- though there have been some plots thwarted. How real is the threat of terrorism these days?
HOLLEY: I would say, Craig, that the threat that we face now is probably more so than right after 9/11. Al-Qaeda Central has been thwarted in many of the attacks that they have been trying to conduct here in the West and against our allied partners overseas. Through Osama bin Laden being killed, and other leaders within core Al-Qaeda- the core leadership within Al-Qaeda- over the last several years, their ability to plan and conduct operations has been limited. What happened is, it is diffused to other groups. Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula- we call them AQAP. Al-Qaeda in Islamic Magreb- AQIM. Al Nusra in Syria. So these are all significant threats- terrorism threats. Although they are headquartered overseas, they have an intent to strike here in the West. And they are actively plotting, recruiting, and training to conduct attacks here in the United States.
DELLIMORE: Is some of this theoretical, or do investigators uncover more concrete signs that Chicago could be a target, at least more so than we average folks might realize?
HOLLEY: I would never describe it as being theoretical. It is an actual threat. And there is no community in the United States that is immune from an attack on their communities. We saw what happened in Boston by two homegrown violent extremists. There have been multiple disruptions through different JTTF (unintelligible word) throughout the FBI in the United States over the last several years. You can look at Lubbock, Texas. Not a large metropolitan area, but had a significant attempt to conduct a terrorist attack there…

“The threat that we face now is probably more so than right after 9/11.”

Something for Chicago-area readers to chew on.

Personally, I suspect that if the bad guys got their hands on a nuke, New York City and Lower Manhattan in particular (Wall Street, One World Trade Center) would be in their crosshairs because of its economic and symbolic value. Washington, D.C., would be a close second due to its political importance.

As for Chicago? Well, some would argue Muslim extremists can’t do much more damage to the city than “The Machine” hasn’t already done.

By Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

Source:

Higgins, Andrew. “For Guccifer, Hacking Was Easy. Prison Is Hard.” The New York Times. 10 Nov. 2014. (http://www.nytimes.com/2014/11/11/world/europe/for-guccifer-hacking-was-easy-prison-is-hard-.html?_r=0). 11 Nov. 2014.

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Wisconsin Prepper & Survival Expo Scheduled For October 25

Last Wednesday, I blogged about a prepper/survivalist show that took place over the weekend in northwest Indiana (anyone go?).

This Wednesday, I’m going to talk about one that’s scheduled to take place on Saturday, October 25, in Appleton, Wisconsin (3 hour 17 minute drive from Chicago according to Google). From the event flyer:

Are you and your family ready if disaster strikes?

Wisconsin Prepper & Survival Expo

Largest preparedness and sustainable living event in Wisconsin

Free Admission

October 25th
9:00 am – 4:00 pm

Players Choice Sports & Expo Center
W3035 Edgewood Trail (Hwy JJ)
Appleton, WI 54913

www.wisconsinprepperexpo.com
info@wisconsinprepperexpo.com

If the power went out for several days, would you and your family be ready? How about in the middle of winter? What if you were given a half hour notice that you had to evacuate your home. Consider the reverse, what if there was a pandemic and you had to stay in your home for a week or two?

If you have never given this serious thought, now is the time to learn from the experts. Join us for the largest prepping and survival expo in Wisconsin.

Everything you will need & want to know to be prepared for Natural or Man-made Disasters, Pandemics and other Emergency Issues that could affect our daily lives in the Midwest.

This family friendly event meant for everyone, from those with little experience to the most experienced.

According to the flyer, over 200 exhibits, presentations, workshops, classes, and activities are planned for the expo. Subject areas include:

• Alternative Energy
• Backyard Farming & Urban Homestead
• Breathing and Oxygen Systems
• Bug Out Bags & Home Ready Kits
• Camping Equipment
• Chicken, Goats, Rabbits, & Quail
• Curing Meat and Fish
• Butchering Livestock at Home
• Communications/HAM radio/GPS
• Disaster Response
• Drying fruit, herbs & vegetables
• Earth Shelters and Bunkers
• Emergency Preparedness
• First Aid & Emergency Medical Supplies
• Food Production/Advanced Gardening
• Foraging for Wild Plants
• Heirloom Seed and Organic Gardening
• Homebrew Equipment
• Homeopathic Health / Natural Remedies
• Hunting, Trapping, Fishing & Gathering
• Hydroponics/Aquaponics
• Pet Care Preparedness
• Preserving the Harvest
• Safe and Fast Evacuation
• Security and Defense
• Sharpening Hand Tools
• Soil & Fertility
• Survival Skills & Equipment
• Tactical & Military Surplus
• Urban Survival
• Water & Food Storage Options
• Water Purification and Filtration
• Wilderness Survival

Nice. Sounds like there’s tons of useful information that can be taken away from this event. And did I mention admission is free?

In addition to Saturday’s show, there’s something called the “Prepper Immersion Experience” ($50) the day before the event and a “Prepper Breakfast” ($TBA) the day of the expo.

For more information about the Wisconsin Prepper & Survival Expo, go to their website here.

By Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

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Survivalism ‘Shouldn’t Come With A Bad Reputation’

“Survivalism: The stark ideology that may have led to killing of a Pennsylvania state trooper”

-Actual headline on the Washington Post website, September 17, 2014

“I love publishing material that readers can sink their teeth into and learn a lot from. I hope to do a lot more of it when things calm down on my end. At the same time, I will blog about some topics that might not be so informative- like prepping as a form of insurance, for example. Why’s that? It depends on the situation really. But in the case of “Prepping As Insurance,” I’m disappointed in how the mainstream media often portrays preppers/survivalists. Many times, the so-called Fourth Estate equates preparedness with anti-social behavior, paranoia (sound familiar?), and/or domestic terrorism. I like to point out that emergency preparedness (something Uncle Sam/other levels of government actively push- even while demonizing it in some instances) can be thought of as another form of insurance and one of our civic duties as American citizens (the emphasis on self-reliance/sufficiency frees up public safety resources in major emergencies) by its practitioners. Letting the idea fester in our society that prepping is BAD could ultimately result in way too many helpless Americans in a SHTF situation. My intention with this post- while not really one that is chock-full of knowledge- is to help torpedo that dangerous idea with hopes (dreams?) of a more resilient society once again.”

-One of my comments in a discussion about last Friday’s Survival And Prosperity post entitled “Prepping As Insurance”

I’ve always thought any negative associations with prepping/survivalism stemming from related “reality” TV shows like National Geographic Channel’s Doomsday Preppers were essentially harmless. As they were rolling out a couple of years ago, I trusted people would be able to figure out it’s only entertainment television- with some useful knowledge thrown in to keep more “demanding” viewers coming back for more. Entertainment TV with a good deal of shock and awe to ratchet up ratings and score as many advertising dollars as possible.

Several years on, and plenty of critics- particularly in the mainstream media- of preparedness/survivalism base their view at least in part of what they’ve seen on TV.

Doomsday Preppers Toilet Paper

Doomsday Preppers Toilet Paper


They just don’t get it. And if you ask me, in many cases it’s because they’ve haven’t researched the subject thoroughly enough (either by choice or lack of time).

And the ones that do but who still try and push the goofy idea that most- if not all- preppers/survivalists are authority-hating, machine gun-toting, wannabe special forces types who are two sandwiches short of a picnic and long for the end of the world (note I’m not including “as we know it” here) to remake it in their own image- well, don’t forget they’ve got newspapers/other media products to sell.

So it was with some relief that I encountered the following article yesterday on the WFMZ-TV 69 News (Allentown, Pennsylvania) website. Talking about the ongoing manhunt for alleged cop killer Eric Frein, 69 News staff wrote:

This weekend, 69 News spoke with the chief of the Greater Philadelphia Search and Rescue about survivalists.

Mark Hopkins believes Frein will be able to evade police for a period of time, but police will catch up with him.

He says to a degree, everyone is a bit of a survivalist, and that description shouldn’t come with a bad reputation.

“I wouldn’t want to see that lumped together and think that all survivalists or all people that are doing this prepping stuff want to hurt people, because that’s not the case; this is clearly an outlawry,” Hopkins said…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

“Everyone is a bit of a survivalist, and that description shouldn’t come with a bad reputation.”

Something the “haters” would do well to remember. But probably won’t, or choose not to out of self-interest or something else.

By Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

Source:

“Survival expert believes police will catch up with Frein.” 69 News. 21 Sep. 2014. (http://www.wfmz.com/news/Regional-Poconos-Coal/survival-expert-believes-police-will-catch-up-with-frein/28175968). 22 Sep. 2014.

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BUDK, My Patriot Supply Weekend Sales

Just wanted to let you know about some terrific sales going on this weekend by two affiliate marketing partners of Survival And Prosperity- BUDK (not yet reviewed) and My Patriot Supply (reviewed here).

From an e-mail I received from Muncie, Indiana-based My Patriot Supply, “Your Patriot Owned Survival Store” :

We wanted to send a quick reminder that we’re offering you 20% off all seed packets but this offer ends Sunday. Whether you’re gardening to be more self-reliant or just trying to build your perfect garden, you’ll find exactly what you’re looking for in our wide varieties of seeds, all of which can be planted now or saved for years and planted when you’re ready.

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

And from Moultrie, Georgia-based BUDK, a vendor of knives, swords, and much more:

We’re overstocked with new products and just can’t make room. So we’re slashing prices on products and shipping all at once and offering you 15% OFF + FREE Shipping on all orders of $49 or more. Here’s your chance to save a ton and take advantage of this special offer today. But you’ve got to hurry, discounts this great only happen once in a blue moon, so snatch up the savings today! Just use the promo code above at checkout to receive the discount! *Exclusions Apply*

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

That promo code BUDK is referring to is BKSALE802, and the sale is good only through this weekend.

You can click on the banner ads for each vendor below to check out their respective sales. Please note that by clicking on an ad and purchasing a product, I receive a commission from that sale.



By Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

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Prepping As Insurance

A couple of days ago, I stumbled on a Chicago Tribune piece that made fun of preppers. I’ve encountered a number of these in the mainstream media the past few years, so I wasn’t really surprised to see one in my “local” paper. Columnist Steve Johnson wrote on the Tribune website:

All across the country people are preparing or, in the shorthand, “prepping” for a coming apocalypse — the day when, in the even shorter hand, the “SHTF.” That’s an acronym preppers use that stands, almost, for “something hits the fan.”

I read news stories about this anticipatory readiness. I witness it on reality TV, a realm in which shows are primarily about Alaskans, Kardashians and preppers. Even more meaningfully, I see it in such leading cultural indicators as costco.com and SkyMall. Many people think a social meltdown looms, and they are getting their gear, from canned goods to weaponry, in order.

Yet I dawdle. I toe-drag. Instead of outfitting the family for a dubious kind of survival, I let myself get distracted by such trifling matters as whether my sons have girlfriends and should I try one of those stand-up desks.

But I know, in my heart of hearts, that I am lax, and I must take stock. Let me enumerate the ways in which I am not prepared for the apocalypse…

That included such things as “I do not have a zombie fighting plan,” and “I have not doled out $3,999.99 to Costco for the ‘32,000 Total Servings 4-Person 1-Year Food Storage,’ an actual product,” along with “My cars are not swathed in armor, jacked up to go way off road and fitted with machine-gun turrets,” among others.

The Tribune columnist wrapped up his ridicule of preppers with the following:

When we can no longer hold out, well, that’s when we bite down on the cyanide capsules — OK, I’m going to be a little bit prepared — and thank our lucky stars we didn’t spend the good days cloaked in paranoia, suspicion and highly speculative, ridiculously costly planning.

Now, I’m not a prepper. Nor do I claim to be an expert on preppers. But from my experience researching and writing about them for a couple of years now, the actions of most preppers don’t seem to stem from some belief of “a coming apocalypse” (an image made popular by “reality” TV). Nor have the majority of preppers I’ve met/corresponded with been “cloaked in paranoia” or filled with “suspicion.” No doubt some fall into the camps. But I suspect most preppers are not unlike the Tribune columnist himself- an adult American with a job, car, kids/ loved ones depending on them, and many other “real world” responsibilities, concerns, and problems to boot.

It’s just that the prepper has either insured or is in the process of insuring his or her lifestyle in the event of a lasting emergency which can strike at any time.

This can include anything from a local power outage lasting a couple of days, to a regional man-made/natural disaster, to that “apocalypse” Johnson wrote about.

Many Americans insure their health, their life, their residence, their vehicle, and so on. Why not their ability to live comfortably on a day-to-day basis in the event something terrible happens?

Consider what modern survivalist and The Survival Podcast host Jack Spriko said on August 13, 2014, about prepping as a form of insurance. In episode 1406, “Well, Why Isn’t Everyone a ‘Survivalist’?”:

I’ll say, “Dude, what kind of car do you drive?”
“Well, I have this car. I’ve got this new car and I bought it.”
“Do you have insurance on it?”
“Well, yeah. You have to.”
“If you didn’t have to, would you have insurance on your car?”
“Well, yeah.”
“Well, why?”
“Well, if you get into a wreck, you want someone to pay for it.”
“Oh, so you’re a prepper?”
“Oh, no. That’s not what that means.”
And I’m like, “It kind of does.”
“You have a potential disaster- a car wreck- and I’m sure your insurance covers things like injury or bodily harm or other people if you get sued, things like that. So you preempted a potential emergency with prior planning. This makes you prepared for that. Therefore you’re a prepper.”
“Well, that’s not what I’m talking about.”
And then if you start having a conversation with them, you’ll find there’s all these places in their life that they’ve put some sort of assurance or insurance into. But then there’s the gaping holes of things that are actually very, very important.
So you’ll say, “What happens if one of your family members dies?”
“Oh, well, you know- we have life insurance.”
“Great. Well what happens if you both lose your job for some reason and you’re trying to put food on the table?”
There’s some unemployment, but when you start doing the math, it’s like your whole life is going to fall apart.
“Well, if you have some food set aside- even just a couple of months- and for a couple of months you knew that you could just not go to a grocery store, or only go 10 percent as much as you used to buy, and you can use that 60-, 90-day period as a get-by in-between so you can get back on your feet, don’t you think that would take the pressure off of you, let you make better decisions about getting a new job?”
“Well, yeah.”
“Then why don’t you do it?”

“Then why don’t you do it?”

Short of not having the financial/physical resources to do so, maybe because it’s easier to mock others rather than make the effort to insure one’s way of life in the event of a real, drawn-out emergency?

Prepping as paranoia? Try prepping as insurance. That’s how I’ve observed more Americans considering it these days.

By Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

Source:

Johnson, Steve. “Completely unprepped for doomsday.” Chicago Tribune. 8 Sep. 2014. (http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/columnists/ct-doomsday-johnson-talk-20140908-column.html). 19 Sep. 2014.

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13th Anniversary Of 9/11

“Dozens of students at George Washington University were unaware of the anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks in recent interviews, while they were able to name celebrities involved in the nude photo scandal last week…”

-The Daily Caller website, September 10, 2014

Lest we forget…


“WTC Attack September 11, 2001 from New York Police Helicopter”
Warning: Language
YouTube Video

By Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

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The Coming Major Terrorist Attack On The U.S.

I read a disturbing piece on TheBlaze.com yesterday morning about the coming anniversary of 9/11. Sara Carter reported:

U.S. intelligence has picked up increased chatter among Islamist terror networks approaching the 13th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks and amid the continuing battle for supremacy between Al Qaeda and the Islamic State, current and former U.S. officials told TheBlaze.

“We’ve noticed a significant increase in chatter among Islamic terrorist organizations overseas both on the Internet and phone lines,” said a U.S. government official, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak on the matter. “This is certainly concerning, but as of yet we can’t pinpoint what or if they are planning a particular attack. We did see this kind of increase in chatter before the September 11 attacks. We just hope the public continues to remain vigilant.”

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

“We just hope the public continues to remain vigilant.”

As do I. Regular readers of Survival And Prosperity may recall that prior to the last few anniversaries of 9/11 , I blogged about the need for continued vigilance in the face of possible major terrorist attacks on the U.S. by an enemy who I think is not as impotent as this White House would like you to believe.

Thankfully, that vigilance hasn’t been called into play. Yet.

Personally, I believe the threat of a significant terrorist operation launched against America not only still remains, but has grown, due to a tussle between Al-Qaeda and the newly-minted Islamic State.

Once Osama bin Laden was killed, a new leader took the helm of the terrorist group. I wrote back on June 28, 2011:

Recent suggestions that Al-Qaeda is on the run and that their new leader, Ayman al-Zawahiri, is “a bit of a loser,” as a source close to the Obama administration has called him (source: The Telegraph)- in conjunction with those recent setbacks suffered by Al-Qaeda- may motivate the Egyptian surgeon to push for a major attack against the United States and/or its allies as soon as possible. With all its symbolism and accompanying celebrations, the Fourth of July weekend could have significant appeal for Al-Qaeda and al-Zawahiri to not only strike a blow against the United States, but dispel doubts over the operational capabilities of the terrorist organization and the leadership abilities of al-Zawahiri right from the get-go.

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

That July 4 came and went. As did other major U.S. holidays and “desirable” occasions ripe for an Al-Qaeda strike. When it comes to putting on a visible display of leadership, it’s pretty much been an epic fail for al-Zawahiri to date.

In the meantime, concern about such an attack has waned significantly. I blogged back on September 10, 2012:

Al-Qaeda is like the Rodney Dangerfield of terrorist organizations these days- can’t get no respect. Look at these recent headlines on some mainstream media websites:

“Terror takes back seat; Americans safer now”
-From the Associated Press on Yahoo! News, September 8, 2012

“Never have so few been able to frighten so many”
-Philly.com (joint project of The Philadelphia Inquirer and The Philadelphia Daily News, September 9, 2012)

“On anniversary of 9/11, fear is present but not all-consuming”
-The Boston Globe, September 10, 2012

There’s even this out of Hong Kong:

“Americans stop fretting about the threat of terrorism”
-South China Morning Post, September 10, 2012

I added:

I loathe Al-Qaeda as much as any other American. But let’s not call the outcome of the game (Al-Qaeda is now kaput) while it’s still in the early innings, as the next generation of terrorists- inspired by the American response and presence in the Middle East after 9/11- start to replace their predecessors who have been captured, incapacitated, and killed.

That “next generation” is still being molded. However, a different group of Muslim extremists have rapidly emerged on the jihadist scene and pose a serious threat to the United States and its allies. Terry Atlas and A.R. Lakshmanan reported on Bloomberg.com on August 14:

The radical Islamic State’s advances in Iraq are strengthening its challenge to al-Qaeda in a contest for the leadership of the global jihadi movement, according to five U.S. intelligence officials.

Its territorial gains and declaration of a caliphate spanning parts of Syria and Iraq, reinforced by its use of social media to broadcast its accomplishments in many languages, are attracting recruits and even drawing defections from the leadership of the core al-Qaeda group and some affiliates, the officials told reporters at a briefing yesterday. They spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss intelligence assessments.

The U.S. intelligence community thinks the Islamic State has an incentive to conduct a major terrorist strike against U.S. or European targets, in part to further assert itself as the true leader of radical Islam , the officials said…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Much of the mainstream media is playing up the threat to the U.S. from the Islamic State. Personally, I’m more concerned about Al-Qaeda beating them to the punch. I’ve already talked about Ayman al-Zawahiri needing to establish his “street cred.” But the emergence of the other band of terrorists formerly known as ISIS (the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria) or ISIL (the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant) puts even more pressure, I suspect, for bin Laden’s standard bearers to carry out a successful major operation against the U.S. homeland, and with haste. Going back to that piece on TheBlaze.com, Carter added:

“The threat is two-fold because ISIS is in war with core Al Qaeda,” former CIA case officer Brian Fairchild said. “ISIS was kicked out of Al Qaeda in February and they’ve been fighting each other internally for leadership. ISIS is winning right now. They have captured the imagination of young Muslims from around the world and depriving Al Qaeda of its own fighters. Al Qaeda is split down the middle and now you have 9/11 [anniversary approaching]. It would be beneficial to both camps that on 9/11, some great attack in the United States takes place. It’s certainly a serious consideration because they are both vying for primacy.”

(Editor: Bold added for emphasis)

Who knows if either group is planning a 9/11/14 attack. But the motivation looks to be there. From what I know about the Islamic State, they’re more “shoot from the hip.” For Al-Qaeda, it’s all about patience and careful planning/preparation. I suspect the caliphate will eventually get around to attacking the U.S. homeland, if operationally-capable. But if bin Laden’s followers had anything already in the works, should they have the ability to carry it out, I fear they’ll speed things up to land the next major blow to the homeland. It seems to me they have more at stake here by letting the upstarts beat them to the punch. It would be disastrous for al-Zawahiri’s already-precarious leadership and the movement’s ability to attract and retain jihadists.

By Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

Sources:

Carter, Sara. “U.S. Officials Say ‘Significant Increase’ in Jihadi Chatter Ahead of 9/11 Anniversary.” TheBlaze.com. 27 Aug. 2014. (http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2014/08/27/u-s-officials-say-significant-increase-in-jihadi-chatter-ahead-of-911-anniversary/). 28 Aug. 2014.

Atlas, Terry and Lakshmanan, A.R. “ Islamic State Militants Said to Challenge Al-Qaeda for Jihadi Leadership.” Bloomberg.com. 14 Aug. 2014. (http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-08-15/islamic-state-militants-said-to-challenge-al-qaeda-for-jihadi-leadership.html). 28 Aug. 2014.

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USGS Updates National Seismic Hazard Maps

Regular readers of Survival And Prosperity know that I occasionally blog about the threat posed by earthquakes. So when I saw earlier today that the U.S. Geological Survey had recently updated their U.S. National Seismic Hazard Maps, I wanted make sure readers knew about it. From the USGS website this morning:

To help make the best decisions to protect communities from earthquakes, new USGS maps display how intense ground shaking could be across the nation.

The USGS recently updated their U.S. National Seismic Hazard Maps, which reflect the best and most current understanding of where future earthquakes will occur, how often they will occur, and how hard the ground will likely shake as a result.

While all states have some potential for earthquakes, 42 of the 50 states have a reasonable chance of experiencing damaging ground shaking from an earthquake in 50 years (the typical lifetime of a building). Scientists also conclude that 16 states have a relatively high likelihood of experiencing damaging ground shaking. These states have historically experienced earthquakes with a magnitude 6 or greater.

The hazard is especially high along the west coast, intermountain west, and in several active regions of the central and eastern U.S., such as near New Madrid, MO, and near Charleston, SC. The 16 states at highest risk are Alaska, Arkansas, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Kentucky, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming.

While these overarching conclusions of the national-level hazard are similar to those of the previous maps released in 2008, details and estimates differ for many cities and states. Several areas have been identified as being capable of having the potential for larger and more powerful earthquakes than previously thought due to more data and updated earthquake models

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

For more information about the recent updates made to the U.S. National Seismic Hazard Maps- and to view the maps themselves- go to the USGS website here.

By Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

(Editor’s note: Link added to “Resources” page)

Source:

Petersen, Mark and Robertson, Jessica. “New Insight on the Nation’s Earthquake Hazards.” USGS. 17 July 2014. (http://www.usgs.gov/blogs/features/usgs_top_story/new-insight-on-the-nations-earthquake-hazards/?from=title). 17 July 2014.

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Christopher E. Hill, Editor
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