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Kennedy on Civil Defense


The following is a letter from President John F. Kennedy to the members of Congress and read by Stewart Pittman

October 6, 1961


I was gratified to learn of the productive meeting of the Committee on Civil Defense of the Governors’ Conference on September 17 in the Pentagon. The basis was well laid for continuing and close cooperation between your committee and all of us concerned with the federal civil defense program.

There is need for a nationwide understanding of what each level of government, each private organization and each citizen can do to bring about and maintain the best attainable protection for the civilian population against the major effects of a thermonuclear attack. Information is in preparation which I will use to inform the American people on what individuals should know and can do for their own protection. In the meantime, your committee may wish to inform the Governors of the goal towards which the Federal Government, the state governments, industry and other institutions in the United States should work.

In simple terms, this goal is to reach for fallout protection for every American as rapidly as possible. Radioactive fallout, extending down-wind for as much as several hundred miles, could account for the major part of the casualties which might result from a thermonuclear attack on an unprotected population. Protection against this threat is within reach of an informed America willing to face the facts and act.

The Federal Government is moving forward to bring into operation fallout shelter space for large groups of people under very austere conditions. Many homeowners, communities and business firms can and will provide more adequate and better located shelter space for their own needs. The Federal Government is backing this effort with a massive dissemination of technical information. In addition, we will inform those who cannot afford costly structures on low-cost methods of improvising shielding against fallout radiation. The people of this country will be urged, by me, by the Governors and by other leaders to do what is within their means.

The state governments have a vital role to play in accelerating attainment of the goal of full fallout protection. Shelter can be provided in new construction of state and local public buildings. State and municipal laws and ordinances can be adapted to encourage private initiative in this effort. State and local leadership in organizing people to prepare, and communities to operate, during and immediately after an attack is a cornerstone of any successful civil defense effort.

I look forward to the closest cooperation between all levels of government in the United States to move rapidly towards this goal. Your committee is making a major contribution in stimulating participation by the state governments in the nationwide civil defense effort.



The Military: making a difference

A not so well known story from the Pentagon on 9-11-2011 (Author Unknown)

Military Man Hugs Daughter

During a visit with a fellow chaplain, who happened to be assigned to the Pentagon, I had a chance to hear a first-hand account of an incident that happened right after Flight 77 hit the Pentagon. The chaplain told me what happened at a day care center near where the impact occurred.

This day care had many children, including infants who were in heavy cribs. The day care supervisor, looking at all the children they needed to evacuate, was in a panic over what they could do. There were many children, mostly toddlers, as well as the infants that would need to be taken out with the cribs. There was no time to try to bundle them into carriers and strollers. Just then a young Marine came running into the center and asked what they needed. After hearing what the center director was trying to do, he ran back out into the hallway and disappeared. The director thought, ‘well, there we are—on our own.’

About two minutes later, that Marine returned with 40 other Marines in tow. Each of them grabbed a crib with a child, and the rest started gathering up toddlers. The director and her staff then helped them take all the children out of the center and down toward the park near the Potomac and the Pentagon. Once they got about 3/4 of a mile outside the building, the Marines stopped in the park, and then did a fabulous thing – they formed a circle with the cribs, which were quite sturdy and heavy, like the covered wagons in the Old West. Inside this circle of cribs, they put the toddlers, to keep them from wandering off. Outside this circle were the 40 Marines, forming a perimeter around the children and waiting for instructions. There they remained until the parents could be notified and come get their children.

The chaplain then said, “I don’t think any of us saw nor heard of this on any of the news stories of the day. It was an incredible story of our men there. There wasn’t a dry eye in the room. The thought of those Marines and what they did and how fast they reacted; could we expect any less from them? It was one of the most touching stories from the Pentagon.

Remember Ronald Reagan’s great compliment: “Most of us wonder if our lives made any difference. Marines don’t have that problem.” God Bless the USA, our troops, and you. It’s the Military, not the reporter who has given us the freedom of the press. It’s the Military, not the poet, who has given us the freedom of speech. It’s the Military, not the politicians that ensures our right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. It’s the Military who salutes the flag, who serves beneath the flag, and whose coffin is draped by the flag.

If you care to offer the smallest token of recognition and appreciation for the military, please re-tell this story, and pray for our men and women who have served and are currently serving our country, and pray for those who have given the ultimate sacrifice for freedom.

What to Do With Good News?


By Edward Teller, Ph.D.

(published in the Journal of Civil Defense, Spring 1993)

I had just finished a delightful lunch with my grandson. At the end of it, he made a statement as horrible as it was surprising: “A few years ago,” he said, “I thought that the human race would not survive the 21st century. I have become more optimistic. There’s now a 50% chance.”

Is that what our children think? And their children? Is it this far that our fear of innovation of science, of the future, has escalated? To imagine the worst is all right as long as you couple your thoughts with the determination and the conviction that the worst can be averted.

We see now the beginnings of replacing confrontation between East and West by cooperation for mutual benefit. But it is true that the fear of a cataclysm of the big conflict is being, in fact, replaced by worry of conflict on a smaller scale. Indeed, proliferation of nuclear weapons continues as a possibility and proliferation of missiles is developing as a fact.

In view of the fear of a cataclysm, civil defense appeared as a necessity. One of my reasons for advocating it was my experience that a good beginning often has a one hundredfold payoff. And such a big payoff might even have sufficed.

Now, considering the properly reduced fears of my grandson, I will repeat my response to him. “I am firmly convinced that we will survive for better or for worse. I even predict that we shall survive for the better. To do this, we must continue to consider the worst. By being prepared for an attack from any part of the world, we may finally arrive at the state where violence between nations will have become as rare and as absurd as violence between individuals.

“But to do this, it will be of growing benefit to establish defenses against the possibilities of violence. The idea of a success of violence is the main reason why violence is still planned, particularly by those people to whom power is an ultimate goal rather than a heavy obligation.

“To me, the question is no longer whether civil defense will succeed. The only remaining question is whether the success of civil defense will have to be preceded by some bitter experiences or whether, for once, reason will suffice to produce protection.”

A safe-room tip!


Hi.  James here.  I have a question for you:

I am in the beginning process of building a barn with a small 16 x 12 safe room in the basement.  The walls will be poured concrete, 12” thick and I faced with 9” of stone.  The ceiling is an 8” slab.  I was opening that you could help me with the door and NBC system, as well as suggest what steps need to be taken to ensure I have properly planned for both the installations.  Can you help me with this situation?


Hi James,

Sounds like a neat project!   If you site your safe room in the corner away from the outside wall and next to solid earth (all the way to the top) the walls will likely be OK.  My concern is the thickness of the ceiling.  In Switzerland, bomb shelters are Federal building code…..everybody must have them.  There are one million surplus shelter spaces there, and they are still building 500 shelters each month.   Swiss shelter code is very explicit and well engineered for fallout protection and blast to three atmospheres (45 psi overpressure).  Their ceilings are anywhere from 30 inches to a meter thick, heavily reinforced with lots of rebar.  Depends on what other structure will be built on top, or how much additional earth will be added on top.  Most communal shelters feature a meter of concrete and a meter of earth.  I have lots of video we shot in Switzerland that show this. We also have the Swiss building code on a PDF that you can purchase from TACDA.

Vertical, walk in type doors let in a great deal of radiation.  The Swiss use armored doors, which feature an eight -inch thick concrete door leaf.  This door must be cast into the wall- retrofits are possible, but difficult.

Your emergency escape tunnel hatch should be made of solid steel and sit horizontally on the ground.  DO NOT compromise your ceiling thickness with a hatch… a tunnel out twelve feet or so, and then go vertical for the hatch.

The Swiss concrete shelters with 36 inches of concrete in the ceiling (though good for fallout and blast) WILL NOT defeat initial radiation, which is present within 7500 feet of a nuclear detonation).  At 3 atmospheres (45 psi), initial radiation could be a problem.  But those Swiss shelters that have a meter of concrete over them, plus a meter of earth, will fare well.

An eight-inch concrete ceiling will provide a protection factor (PF) of only around ten.  This will reduce your exposure to outside fallout type (gamma) radiation by only a factor of 11.  My personal minimum is PF-250, which will require a 24 inch ceiling and/or wall between you and the radiation source. If the earth-side wall is completely below grade, then that wall only has to be ten inches thick.   You can play around with the formula by using 2.7 inches of concrete for a halving thickness.  Each 2.7 inches doubles the protection factor.  Ten halving thicknesses provide a PF of 1,000.  That’s 27 inches.  PF1000 makes for a nice shelter that will provide a margin of safety if you get a rainout….that is, all the fallout that was jettisoned into the air by a local ground burst is scavenged from the atmosphere and returned to the ground instead of drifting hundreds of miles downwind. This can raise your exposure level outside the shelter from 1000 rads/hour to as high as 10,000 rads/hour.  A PF250 shelter will probably not be enough in this scenario.

Best regards,

Paul Seyfried

President of Utah Shelter Systems – 

Prepare for a Financial Crisis


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.


If You Are Always Ready, You Never Have to Get Ready!

Barrel of a Gun

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.

Biological Hazards


(Source – CDC and

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
  • Cholera
  • Typhus
  • Yellow Fever
  • Measles
  • Chicken Pox
  • Ebola

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.