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You Must Be Prepared for the Next Financial Crisis
An interview with Bill Bonner, editor, The Bill Bonner Letter – Bill Bonner is an American author of books and articles on economic and financial subjects. He is the founder and president of Agora Publishing, and author of a daily financial column, Diary of a Rogue Economist. Bonner is also co-founder and regular contributor to The Daily Reckoning.
(Bill recently joined Porter on an episode of The Porter Stansberry Show to discuss this potential disaster scenario. Bill recently published a warning that will remind longtime readers of Porter’s “End of America” thesis. But as you’ll read in the excerpt below, Bill is focusing on the risk to the global paper money system…)
Porter Stansberry: So I was just getting ready for this interview, and I came across a very ominous recording where you talked about ATMs not working, gas stations closing, people not being able to get into their banks to cash or deposit checks – sort of the apocalyptic scenario of an end-of-the-world banking crisis. What makes you think that this is something people should be worried about now?
Bill Bonner: Now is now. Now is where we are, but nobody knows when this sort of thing will happen, and when it does happen, it’s inconvenient. I mean, if people were fully prepared for something like this, it wouldn’t happen at all.
But things like this don’t happen that way. They always come as surprises to most people. And so it’s hard to say… The “now” question is tough because I don’t know why now and why not in 10 days or in 10 years.
We’re in a situation where there’s more and more debt in the world. The response to the authorities of the crisis of 2008-2009 was simply to add more debt to a situation that was already caused by too much debt. And so the problem that we had in 2008 was not resolved at all. It was made worse and postponed.
What we’re going to see at some point is a re-enactment of the crisis of 2008-2009, but worse… because there’s more debt. And the interest rates are already at zero now, so they can’t lower rates much more.
So the next time this occurs, it’s going to be much worse, and people have to be prepared for what almost happened last time, which was that the banks closed… and they were ready to shut the ATMs down, when meanwhile, people need cash. And so that’s what I keep saying make sure you have some cash on hand.
Porter Stansberry: Yeah, I had a hard time explaining that message as well. It’s not contradictory to say that we fear a collapse of the dollar and then suggest for you to have some in reserve… Because in the immediate days and weeks following a run on the dollar, that paper currency is going to be very important.
Bill Bonner: Well, yes. In all fairness, there are not that many instances of it, so it’s hard to form an average. But in a banking crisis, which is what we had in 2008 and what we expect now, the banks seize up because they’re going broke.
And people realize it. So their reflex is to go and get their hands on something they can hold onto, and that is cash. You’ve got a bank account, you’ve got money in it, you want to run to the ATM and get that cash out before the ATM runs out of money.
And they will run out of money, because there’s not enough cash in all of the United States to cover the obligations and the needs that people will have.
Porter Stansberry: There’s not enough cash in the United States to cover the liabilities of two banks – Bank of America and JP Morgan.
Bill Bonner: No, no, there’s not much cash because the country has shifted to credit. The whole story of the last 50 years has been the expansion of credit, and credit is what people use.
You’ve got to stand in line at a grocery store, and often the person in front of you is paying with credit. Maybe you are, too. And so when the credit stops, the whole economy comes to a stop.
I think people have to get a lot more sophisticated about money because we are so used to an economy and a society where the money was fairly reliable and you could say…
“Oh, I’ve got cash. I’m not worried about anything. I’ve got cash.” We’d say, “Where is the cash?” “Well, it’s in the bank.”
But having money in the bank is not the same as having cash. When you have cash, you have what they call trustless money. That means you can go and buy stuff with it. But when you have an account in a bank, it means the bank owes you money.
Now, you’ve got a counter party. You’ve got somebody on the other side, and if you study these statements of the banks, the balance sheets of these banks, those banks are all in danger of going broke because they’ve lent so much money to so many flimsy, flaky projects.
And all of that collateral that they’ve got on houses and the money they lent to companies for mergers and acquisitions… the equity… it disappears.
And so all of a sudden, the bank, which has very little in real reserves, is illiquid. It’s illiquid and bankrupt, so you have a credit.
Your bank account is not cash. It’s what you have as a credit against a bankrupt institution. So you’re going to be in big trouble.
By Paul Seyfried
I don’t know where you are reading this—on a desktop computer or mobile device—but for the sake of argument, let’s say a convicted felon is kicking in your door right now. The only weapons you have to fight him off are the items within a 3-foot circle of your current position. How much trouble are you in?
I’ve said it before: If you are more than three seconds away from your primary self-defense weapon, fix that right now.
My primary defensive weapon is a firearm. But that is only a tool. More important is your understanding of the righteous use of violence as it applies to legal self-defense. In short, are you mentally ready to fight? Will active self-defense be your default setting when the time comes? Gear and gadgets do not matter if you are not ready, willing, and able to use them. If, in the face of great and immediate danger, you don’t automatically reach for a weapon, look for cover, and start thinking about your defensive options, you will be well behind your attacker when the fight starts. That’s no good.
Too many people get caught in sequential thinking that goes something like this: What is happening? Is this really happening? This can’t be happening. I don’t believe this is happening.
By the time those thoughts bounce around your head, you are swinging seriously behind the attacker’s fastball.
Right here and right now clear your head of all that crap. Make the decision to accept that bad things happen. They can happen to you. Understand that when you see, feel, or even sense that they are starting to happen, you need to take action. The time for thinking about what is happening has already passed and you need to take some action or get into the fight.
This does not mean that you need to charge into an aggressive confrontation. Taking action can be as simple as crossing the street to put some distance between you and a potential threat. If you carry your firearm in a purse, get your hand on your gun early and be ready to draw if the situation warrants it. Think about taking defensive action. Self-defense is more than fighting, and it starts with the idea that you will someday have to fight.
In self-defense circles we talk about mindset all the time. There is a reason for that. Think about this: Your attacker is a predator. Before he strikes he stalks, assesses the risk, seeks a suitable location, and waits for the most opportune moment. He has planned his attack and counts on the fact that his element of surprise will give him the advantage. To defeat this type of predator, you need to be as vigilant as he is cunning. You need to be prepared. Most importantly, you need to be willing to act with equal violence and aggression to stop the violent assault. If you are standing there flat-footed trying to figure out what is going on, your chances of winning the fight are greatly reduced.
And make no mistake about it. I want you to win the fight. I don’t want you to simply “survive.” This is a fight for your life. You need to prevail. You do that by being prepared.
(Source – CDC and Ready.gov)
Biological agents are organisms or toxins that can kill or incapacitate people, livestock and crops. A biological attack is the deliberate release of germs or other biological substances that can make you sick. However, in nature there are many items that can prove to be harmful and in some cases these can be seeded by terrorists.
These include but are not limited to:
- Various strains of Influenza
- Yellow Fever
- Chicken Pox
Actions to Take:
- Take vaccinations that may be offered. If you are unsure as to your status check with your doctor to ensure all required or suggested immunizations are up to date. Children and older adults are particularly vulnerable to biological agents.
- At all times one should maintain a high level of personal hygiene. This is especially critical before, during, or following a biological attack. Wash hands frequently, shower, clean surfaces using sanitary wipes, be aware of your surroundings and distance yourself from individuals coughing, sneezing, or secreting other bodily fluids.
- Avoid large and small animals such as mice and wildlife, insects (mosquitoes, ticks, etc.), birds, especially bats, and unknown domestic pets (cats and dogs, etc.).
- If you believe you have been exposed to a biological agent, take off and bag your clothes and other personal items. Wash, wear a facemask, or if not available, make a mask out of two or three layers of material.
- Most biological agents can be filtered using home HEPA (High Efficiency, Particulate Air) filters in the air intakes. These filters are capable of filtering most biological agents that are typically larger than 3 microns.
- In a declared biological emergency or developing epidemic, there may be reason to stay away from crowds where others may be infected.
- Since biological agents and diseases exhibit varying incubation periods, usually measured in days or even weeks, biological agent attacks are not as noticeable initially. The more serious phases of the disease will occur several days after the disease has been contracted.
- It is important that you only seek medical attention when you are certain you are ill. It is likely that the medical care system will be overwhelmed and the “worried well” will exacerbate that problem if they seek care when they do not need it. Your local medical experts will inform you of the symptoms that indicate you may be ill. Many symptoms do overlap, so ensure you don’t seek care until you need it.
(Illustration of the Rocket Stove concept)
Practical Emergency Cooking Methods
By Sid Ogden – TACDA Advisory Board Member
Major disasters almost always result in loss of power, which could extend to many days or even weeks. Heating our homes and cooking becomes a challenge. Refrigerated and frozen foods need to be consumed or lost. Unprocessed foods need to be prepared and cooked. Fuel will be scarce. We will be forced to capture heat from any source possible.
Rocket Stoves offer a great advantage during times of crisis. Cooking on a rocket stove occurs at the top of the chimney, where the fire is hottest, instead of at the bottom of the chimney over an open fire.
Rocket stoves provide controlled use of fuel, complete combustion of volatiles, and efficient use of the resultant heat. They have become popular in many third-world countries for heating homes, cooking and boiling water.
The main components are:
- Fuel magazine: Horizontal area where unburned fuel is placed. The fuel is pushed horizontally, through a small door near the bottom of the stove.
- Combustion chamber: The area at the end of the magazine where the fuel is burned.
- Chimney: A vertical area above the combustion chamber, which provides the updraft needed to maintain a hot fire.
- Heat exchanger: The heat from the chimney is transferred to either a pot for cooking, or to a conductive reflector for heating a room.
The fuel magazine can be horizontal where additional fuel will be added manually, or the fuel can be added from above, through another door in the chimney. As the fuel burns within the combustion chamber, convection draws new air into the combustion chamber from the door below, ensuring that any smoke from smoldering wood near to the fire is also drawn into the fire and up the chimney. The chimney can be insulated to maximize the temperature and improve combustion. This will increase the efficiency of the stove by two percent or more.
The design of the stove allows it to operate on small diameter sticks and takes about half as much fuel as a traditional open fire.
Learn more about this amazing stove, as well as other cooking and heating sources by visiting the internet web site: http://www.aprovecho.org. From there, go to “Publication & Media”, then to “Publications”, and then to “Capturing Heat”. If you want to build your own stove, check out the Youtube info on “Capturing Heat” by Dean Still & Jim Kness . We suggest that you study the site, and make a copy of the information.
(Rocket Stoves can be purchased commercially. Sid recommends the site http://www.stovetec.net.)
In response to an inquiry by Michael McFall, reporter for The Salt Lake Tribune
By Paul Seyfried
The National Facility Survey, done in the 1960s, reveals a valuable history of fallout shelters. President Kennedy was a strong advocate of a national shelter program, much like Switzerland’s shelter program is today. His shelter program was modeled after the Swiss system. He had planned to unveil the program during his trip to Dallas. He was distracted by a murder’s bullet. Lyndon B. Johnson cancelled our civil defense shelter program, which would have built blast-hardened shelters in the nation’s densely populated cities. Less rigorous fallout shelters would have been constructed for rural areas.
Later, an effort was made by the U.S. Government to survey large buildings with multiple stories employing masonry construction to find areas in them that would provide a minimum level of protection that would give occupants a fighting chance of surviving the fallout effects from a nuclear attack. A national grain reserve was established in rural areas that would provide enough food to feed the population for seven years (80 percent of grain is fed to meat-producing animals in peace time, but most of these would be slaughtered immediately, retaining only breading stock to replenish herds during recovery). This frees up millions of tons of grain for human use. We no longer maintain such a reserve, while Russia still maintains a four year supply. We are now on a Just-In-Time system.
The established protection criteria was a protection factor of 40 (or PF 40). Formulas for determining this level were devised, and survey teams went out and identified hospitals, municipal buildings, high rises, etc. that had the right features. The idea was to house as many Americans as possible in hastily organized shelters, stocking them with water, crude rations, and chemical toilets.
The critical need for shelter occurs in the first two to three days, assuming the attack commencement and conclusion occurs within a few hours. In the early years of the 1960s, most weapons would be delivered via aircraft…so we had maybe 14 to 20 hours of preparations before an attack would arrive. Evacuation plans were developed to move as many people outside of large cities. Counterforce weapons and strategies were not developed yet, so cities were assumed to be the primary targets, other than obvious enemy airfields.
The age of the ICBM changed all of that. Americans today would have no warning….the concept of a suit on TV telling Americans that an attack was imminent is fantasy. Flight time of a submarine-launched ballistic missile, fired from 200 miles off-shore at Washington DC, programmed for a depressed flight trajectory, would arrive on target in about 3 1/2 minutes. It is highly unlikely that the U.S. could detect the launch, plot its intended target, pick up the phones and warn the White House Situation Room, and get the POTUS to the bunker entrance in time. The National Command Authority would likely be wiped out, with any surviving members, unable to determine who was in charge (communications would be vastly suppressed from the concurrent EMP laydown) before most of the U.S. nuclear deterrent was reduced to smoking rubble.
[Russia will have 80 percent of it’s strategic nuclear missile force on road and rail-mobile launch vehicles by 2015. It’s remaining fixed silos are “cold-launch” systems, able to be re-loaded in a few hours with fresh missiles. SS-18 silos are “super-hardened”, and are difficult to neutralize. Arms treaties do not address “reloads”…only launch silos. Meanwhile, our land-based nuclear deterrent is the old Minute Man system, initially deployed in 1965. They are still in their original silos, addresses unchanged. We can tell from the laydown splashes of Russian missile tests off the Kamchatka peninsula, which missile field they are rehearsing on. But I digress.]
The old fallout shelters had NO ventilation systems, no sanitation systems, other than the 15 gallon steel drum toilet kits stocked there. No blast doors, or blast valves on ventilation pipes to protect occupants from direct weapons effects (heat, blast, debris, fire). This joke of a system gave ammunition to the anti-civil defense lobby. Indeed, these “shelters” were a joke. A PF 40 is BARELY adequate protection, assuming your area was not heavily hit by fallout. Virtually everyone inside would probably get sick…but most would not die.
Of course, the president and other officials were to be housed in hardened bunkers, designed for high overpressures. We know how to protect people from WMD, we just don’t do it for the taxpayer. Switzerland, Sweden, Norway, Finland, Singapore, Yugoslavia, Czech Republic, South Korea, Russia, China, Israel, and lately, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, UAE, and others have initiated shelter programs to some degree or other. Switzerland remains the only country where 120 percent of the entire population, not just government officials, have blast-hardened, nuclear, biological, chemical shelters. They are required by Federal building codes for any area intended for human habitation. Homes, hospitals, schools, churches and temples, apartment buildings, stores, shops, manufacturing facilities, theaters, etc…..they all have them under the building, or a separate one nearby. I toured many of them in 1999, taking lots of pics and video. Everywhere we went, we’d ask to see their shelters. After an odd look, we’d explain that we were Americans and that we didn’t have any shelters in our country….and we would like to see theirs. All showed them upon request.
At a school in a small village, we found the school shelter under a field house and track. So happens, they were conducting their semi-annual war game drills, and cleaning/maintenance routine. Pharmaceuticals were replaced with new ones, the six month old inventory was rotated to retail stores. Diesel fuel for the generators were tested. Kitchens exercised. A clean-cut male teenager asked us in perfect English is we’d like to go inside. Of course, we said “Yes!” A few minutes later, he returned with a seasoned man, white hair, in a pale blue uniform. He was the officer in charge of that shelter. He graciously gave us an hour and a half tour, through the infirmary, medical bays containing 36 patient beds each, and general housing areas for healthy citizens (bed capacity: 250, personnel capacity: 750).
They hot bunk…just like the navy. You get a bunk for every three people. Each had a pillow, exactly placed, as with a ruler. Fresh water reservoir, flush toilets, showers for hygiene and decontamination. Ten kilowatt diesel generator in a separate area, sealed off with a concrete blast door. NBC filtration units, all capable of being operated by six volunteers, on 15 minute shifts. With 750 people, they’ll have no trouble finding volunteers. Ceiling thickness, was one meter of steel reinforced concrete, and a meter of earth (the soccer field). Fallout protection factor: Over one million. [Remember the U.S. spec? PF40?] Most residential shelters had protection factors of around PF5,000.
Switzerland’s tax burden to the citizen to maintain their civil defense program is about $60.00 per year per person. That’s a real defense program. Actually defending/protecting the intended victims in the next war. It is not based on the threat of annihilation. DoD is hostile to an American program. It competes with funds for pet weapons programs. In Russia, Civil Defense has a general sitting at the table with the other branches of the armed forces. It is well funded…..Russia is now building more shelters again. Construction of the Yamantau Mountain facility never ceased. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mount_Yamantau
In WWII Germany, there was not a single fatality inside government-built “bombproof”, shelters constructed featuring four foot thick walls and ceilings. Germany has a high water table in many areas, so they build bombproofs up to four stories high. Many were struck with direct hits from 500 lb and 1,000 lb bombs, yet no one inside suffered injury. I doubt that an American city hall building would fare so well. In the Hamburg firestorm raid, 45,000 civilians perished in the fires…mostly exposed in the streets, trapped in hasty basement shelters, or crude trench shelters. None of the 240,000 inhabitants that were sheltered inside bombproofs were injured. Indeed, some had to step in the puddles of melted fat left from people who arrived at the shelters too late when they emerged the next morning.
The old fallout shelters were cleaned out during the Carter Administration, the biscuits fed to the hogs in Nebraska. Some survive with collectors, and biscuits were tested at Brigham Young University and found to still be viable. I have a CD chemical toilet, mostly for memorabilia. We have modern chemical toilets in our shelters. The Clinton Administration destroyed $200 million worth of the Victoreen fallout meters that still remained in the hands of state authorities. We rescued about 1,000 of them from Arizona. Many still work. I would agree that a shelter stay in the old public fallout shelters would be a real trial. The protection value was not very good, and conditions inside would be awful. But the German shelters were occupied at six times their rated capacity….occupants were packed inside like Japanese commuter trains. They slept all night standing up….one couldn’t fall down. Air was very bad, despite ventilation systems…they were overcrowded. But they lived another day.
As we now have a nuclear stockpile that the DOE refuses to certify as safe and reliable, and being that we can no longer manufacture new warheads to replace the long-obsolete (expired) warheads, I wonder how long we will continue to ignore the growing nuclear threat from abroad. Putin is building several new classes of nuclear subs, and new road-mobile, hard target capable ICBMs…..like this one. (http://www.globalsecurity.org/wmd/world/russia/rs-24.htm) The older, hard target killers like the SS-18 are getting upgrades to keep them in service for another decade, oddly, by the Ukrainians that manufactured them. Though and old liquid-fueled rocket, the SS-18 has never experienced a launch failure. A far better record than the Minuteman or Titan.
In our current state of vulnerability, it is important to realize that if the worst should happen, we are all on our own. No help is coming, no one is going to rope down from an orange Coast Guard chopper to save us. In the end, you are either ready, or you are not.
By Jim Rawles
We’re sharing an article from our Journal of Civil Defense a few years back – originally found on Survivalblog.com
A couple of years ago I was watching a commercial on television that showed two young men as they stood in a check-out line at a grocery store with a 6 pack of beer, a bag of chips and a package of toilet paper…when the young men found that they had only enough money for two of the three items, they chose the 6 pack of beer and the chips. When asked by checker “Paper or plastic?” the decision was unanimous, “Paper!”
This stark reality of such a simple decision led me on a journey that would involve many years and begin my search for the answer to the question of how much is enough toilet paper and where do I store it. I never really understood just how important TP was and the impact that it could have on our daily lives until that commercial was played out. Oh sure, like many deer hunters and fishermen or any outdoor type, we all have had our moment where our lack of preparedness has caused us great concern and given us an opportunity to experience the humility of mother nature without TP and all that it encompasses.
The necessity of toilet paper and the amount of storage room necessary for a one to two years supply and the quest to keep it dry, even in our homes, is sometimes a task that has caused me great concern and some sleepless nights to say the least. With a family of seven (who will most probably come home in an emergency) and no way to transport two years of their own TP supply plus their family and their gear, I had to find a way to simplify this dilemma. The one thing that I have learned in the past 28 years is that the simplest ideas most always end up being the best…with that being said, I find myself writing about one of the simplest ideas that my wife has produced for our family, and has ended my search for the perfect ending to the mystery.
Just a short piece of history, first: About five years ago, we were on a two-week camp out when a sudden and unforeseen four days of rain descended upon our group of 18 families, who were camped in a narrow canyon with restroom facilities about ½ mile from our camp. Even though we have our own toilet facilities, we decided to use the restroom facilities provided even though we knew we would have to plan our walks for the sake of nature very carefully. We found that in this situation of being away from these very useful luxuries (our portable outhouses), the trek of ½ mile in wet and cold conditions early in the morning or late at night, with a roll of TP tucked under our jackets was sometimes a daring adventure. I lost count of the times a roll of TP was dropped onto the wet ground or in a puddle of water making it completely useless, and of the nature walks that ended half way to the desired destination. And of the rolls of TP that were found early in the morning, standing silently alone atop the picnic table, dripping wet, after someone forgot that TP and rain don’t mix.
The use of toilet paper in very damp conditions led many of our group to wonder out loud about ways to solve this problem. The storage of large amounts of TP seemed to be a major concern for the whole group. Keeping it dry usually came up as well – the room necessary to store such was vast, to say the least, when you consider a one or two year supply of this basic luxury. I know that many folks on other blogs and survival sites are stacking phone books to use, or they are storing boxes and boxes of TP and to be quite honest, a phone book or a catalog is not quite the best choice of clean wipe tissue if you have ever tried it, and as my wife discovered, the cost of baby wipes was out of the question and our tries at making our own baby wipes (with environmentally safe soap) were discouraging simply because we knew that eventually we would run out of paper towels. We needed a solution to a problem that everyone will face someday – paper, plastic, a leaf, or well … let’s just say any port in the storm, whatever it came to, we still had a choice: find a solution or suffer someday.
They say that every problem is nothing more than a solution in waiting. Being born in the 1950s, I remembered what many of you may not – it was called the diaper pal and was as common as toothpaste for families with babies. A closed plastic container would hold about 10-15 dirty diapers and, if kept clean (which my mother and other moms demanded), would wait patiently until Saturday morning when the pal was drained into the toilet and the cotton diapers were placed in the washing machine, to be cleaned with bleach and Tide and hung on the clothes line to be sun dried and returned to the diaper basket where, once again, the cycle would continue.
The solution to my problem was as simple as looking to the past for an answer to the future. Why not use cotton diaper material, cut into 4 x 9 inch sections, and then sown around the edges of the material with a zig-zag stitch to prevent the edges from unraveling? My wife and some of her friends chose a Saturday afternoon, had the men load their sewing machines into the truck and carted them over to a local church where an assembly line soon formed; men setting up sewing machines, women cutting material, and other women sewing the edges, after which we men would then package them in bundles of 50 – a finished product that every man and women took special care not to lose. We all enjoyed the Saturday, we have a product that we are comfortable with now, and we have no fear of it being destroyed by rain or muddy puddles, left outside in the morning dew, or blown off of a table top. We can store 5,000 reusable sheets in a medium cardboard box.
My cost in time and material was around 20 cents per sheet if we figured $10 per man-hour to complete the task. Then again this was five years ago, but the benefits have outweighed our investment ten to one! The material was purchased at a local box store but as many of our women discovered, their mothers had a lot of diaper material stored in boxes in their basements and were grateful to have it put to good use. We have found that it took a few times to get use to not depositing the wipes into the toilet facility, but with practice and a few reminders the system works.
The results of our efforts became a very useful item that we now carry in all of our backpacks or bug out packs, stored in freezer bags (but we don’t care if they get wet, as they are still usable) and stacked neatly in our portable toilet’s cabinets in plastic containers right next to our regular TP that we still use while we can.
I have been able to find diaper pails at yard sales and in some stores, and I have found some that would have really made my mom sit up and take notice; they have two-way entries and are very insect proof. We have found that this cotton TP also serves as a wound dressing when two are sown together with a famine napkin in between, as a washcloth, a sweat rag, as a feminine pad (also when sown together with a sponge material in between) in an emergency situation, and other ways that we are finding each and every trip into the wilderness and around our home. As a student of outdoor survival and family preparedness for 28 years, I have found that each and every bit of information received, is another thread of the tapestry that will assist us in the days of uncertainty that lie ahead, and that will greatly add to our chances of survival in the world in which we will soon find ourselves.
Note from TACDA: Microfiber material may be an option to cotton. It dries quickly, and is very absorbent.