The Canadian economy is rolling over and their recent jobs situation is worse than the US (and it’s always cold weather-y up there?!) but the last great pillar of the ‘recovery’ in Canada is perhaps about to get crushed. As the WSJ noted recently, Canada’s housing market is the most expensive in the world (60% over-valued by historical standards) and one simple reason explains it – Canada has been very open to foreign investors, which means that in an age of unprecedented global liquidity cash-rich wealthy individuals who are looking for places to park their excess funds can do so in its housing market. Until now… As SCMP reports, Canada’s government has announced that it is scrapping its controversial investor visa scheme, which has allowed waves of rich Hongkongers and mainland Chinese to immigrate since 1986. Soft landing?
Deutsche Banks’s house-price-to-rent index says Canada has the most expensive housing market in the world – 60% over-valued…
“Canada, for example, is very open to foreign investors, which means that in an age of unprecedented global liquidity cash-rich wealthy individuals who are looking for places to park their excess funds can do so in its housing market far more easily than in Japan, with its closed system. ”
As it’s home price index hardly missed a beat while the US plunged… (different scales but point is to illustrate drastic difference when financial crisis started – and where the liquidity went…)
Canada’s government has announced that it is scrapping its controversial investor visa scheme, which has allowed waves of rich Hongkongers and mainland Chinese to immigrate since 1986.
The surprise announcement was made in Finance Minister Jim Flaherty’s budget, which was delivered to parliament in Ottawa on Tuesday afternoon local time. Tens of thousands of Chinese millionaires in the queue will reportedly have their applications scrapped and their application fees returned.
The decision came less than a week after the South China Morning Post published a series of investigative reports into the controversial 28-year-old scheme.
The Post revealed how the scheme spun out of control when Canada’s Hong Kong consulate was overwhelmed by a massive influx of applications from mainland millionaires.Applications to the scheme were frozen in 2012 as a result, as immigration staff struggled to clear the backlog.
“In recent years, significant progress has been made to better align the immigration system with Canada’s economic needs. The current immigrant investor program stands out as an exception to this success,” Flaherty’s budget papers said.
“For decades, it has significantly undervalued Canadian permanent residence, providing a pathway to Canadian citizenship in exchange for a guaranteed loan that is significantly less than our peer countries require,” it read.
Under the scheme, would-be migrants worth a minimum of C$1.6 million (HK$11.3 million) loaned the government C$800,000 interest free for a period of five years. The simplicity and low relative cost of the risk-free scheme made it the world’s most popular wealth migration program.
A parallel investor migration scheme run by Quebec still remains open. Many Chinese migrants use the alternative scheme to get into Canada via the French-speaking province and then move elsewhere in Canada. The federal government has previously pledged to crack down on what it said was a fraudulent practice.
Flaherty also announced yesterday the scrapping of a smaller economic migration scheme for entrepreneurs.
All told, 59,000 investor applicants and 7,000 entrepreneurs will have their applications returned, Postmedia News reported. Seventy per cent of the backlog, as of last January, was Chinese, suggesting more than 46,000 mainlanders will be affected by yesterday’s announcements.
The Immigrant Investor Program, which has brought about 185,000 migrants to Canada, was instrumental in facilitating an exodus of rich Hongkongers in the wake of the 1989 Tiananmen massacre and in the run-up to the handover. More than 30,000 Hongkongers immigrated using the scheme, though SAR applications have dwindled since 1997.
So, the Canadian government is looking a liquidity-splooging gift-horse in the mouth and saying “no, thanks” – an impressive decision to take given the potential weakness in the real economy… we’ll see how long it takes for the decision to be unwound or altered…
It appears it’s not enough to have a record year on your stock market? Economic hardship, socialism, starvation, and not enough toilet paper have apparently led to the bloodiest riots in Caracas in years. As AP reports, at least 2 people were killed as large anti-Maduro protests engulfed the nation’s capital.
The logo of the anti-Maduro protestors…
— I v o !? (@Ivobreque) February 12, 2014
And direct from Maduro’s Twitter account showing the world that all is well…
— Nicolás Maduro (@maduro_en) February 12, 2014
Gunfire erupted in downtown Caracas when armed members of a pro-government vigilante group arrived on motorcycles and began firing at more than 100 anti-Maduro student protesters clashing with security forces. As the crowd fled in panic, one demonstrator fell to the ground with a bullet wound in his head.
Also killed was the leader of a pro-government 23rd of January collective, as militant supporters of Venezuela’s socialist administration call themselves. National Assembly President Diosdado Cabello said the “revolutionary” known by his nickname Juancho was “vilely assassinated by the fascists” but he didn’t provide details.
While anti-government demonstrators vented frustration over issues ranging from rampant crime to mounting economic hardships, they were united in their resolve to force Maduro out of office by constitutional means.
“All of these problems — shortages, inflation, insecurity, the lack of opportunities — have a single culprit: the government,” Leopoldo Lopez, a Harvard University-trained former mayor, told a crowd of about 10,000 people gathered at Plaza Venezuela in Caracas.
Images of the Deadly day…
— Selene ingrid (@belleselene) February 12, 2014
— Manuel Vidalón (@iosoimanuel) February 12, 2014
— Genesis Veronica R (@genicaRive) February 12, 2014
— Francesco Guttuso (@FraGuttuso) February 12, 2014
— YA CUBA TWITEA (@YACUBATWITEA) February 12, 2014
— Alfredo d Jesus Viso (@AlfredoViso01) February 12, 2014
— Diario El Mundo (@Diario_ElMundo) February 12, 2014
Americans aren’t wild about the government’s currency either. Instead of holding dollars and other financial assets, investors are storing wealth in art, wine, and antique cars. The Economist reported in November, “This buying binge… is growing distrust of financial assets.”
But while the big money is setting art market records and pumping up high-end real estate prices, the distrust-in-government script has not pushed the suspicious into the barbarous relic. The lowly dollar has soared versus gold since September 2011.
Every central banker on earth has sworn an oath to Keynesian money creation, yet the yellow metal has retraced nearly $700 from its $1,895 high. The only limits to fiat money creation are the imagination of central bankers and the willingness of commercial bankers to lend. That being the case, the main culprit for gold’s lackluster performance over the past two years is something else, Tocqueville Asset Management Portfolio Manager and Senior Managing Director John Hathaway explained in his brilliant report “Let’s Get Physical.
Hathaway points out that the wind is clearly in the face of gold production. It currently costs as much or more to produce an ounce than you can sell it for. Mining gold is expensive; gone are the days of fishing large nuggets from California or Alaska streams. Millions of tonnes of ore must be moved and processed for just tiny bits of metal, and few large deposits have been found in recent years.
“Production post-2015 seems set to decline and perhaps sharply,” says Hathaway.
Satoshi Nakamoto created a kind of digital gold in 2009 that, too, is limited in supply. No more than 21 million bitcoins will be “mined,” and there are currently fewer than 12 million in existence. Satoshi made the cyber version of gold easy to mine in the early going. But like the gold mining business, mining bitcoins becomes ever more difficult. Today, you need a souped-up supercomputer to solve the equations that verify bitcoin transactions—which is the process that creates the cyber currency.
The value of this cyber-dollar alternative has exploded versus the government’s currency, rising from less than $25 per bitcoin in May 2011 to nearly $1,000 recently. One reason is surely its portability. Business is conducted globally today, in contrast to the ancient world where most everyone lived their lives inside a 25-mile radius. Thus, carrying bitcoins weightlessly in your phone is preferable to hauling around Krugerrands.
No Paper Bitcoins
But while being the portable new kid on the currency block may account for some of Bitcoin’s popularity, it doesn’t explain why Bitcoin has soared while gold has declined at the same time.
Hathaway puts his finger on the difference between the price action of the ancient versus the modern. “The Bitcoin-gold incongruity is explained by the fact that financial engineers have not yet discovered a way to collateralize bitcoins for leveraged trades,” he writes. “There is (as yet) no Bitcoin futures exchange, no Bitcoin derivatives, no Bitcoin hypothecation or rehypothecation.”
So, anyone wanting to speculate in Bitcoin has to actually buy some of the very limited supply of the cyber currency, which pushes up its price.
In contrast, the shinier but less-than-cyber currency, gold, has a mature and extensive financial infrastructure that inflates its supply—on paper—exponentially. The man from Tocqueville quotes gold expert Jeff Christian of the CPM Group who wrote in 2000 that “an ounce of gold is now involved in half a dozen transactions.” And while “the physical volume has not changed, the turnover has multiplied.”
The general process begins when a gold producer mines and processes the gold. Then the refiners sell it to bullion banks, primarily in London. Some is sold to jewelers and mints.
“The physical gold that remains in London as unallocated bars is the foundation for leveraged paper-gold trades. This chain of events is perfectly ordinary and in keeping with time-honored custom,” explains Hathaway.
He estimates the equivalent of 9,000 metric tons of gold is traded daily, while only 2,800 metric tons is mined annually.
Gold is loaned, leased, hypothecated, and rehypothecated, over and over. That’s the reason, for instance, why it will take so much time for the Germans to repatriate their 700 tonnes of gold currently stored in New York and Paris. While a couple of planes could haul the entire stash to Germany in no time, only 37 tonnes have been delivered a year after the request. The 700 tonnes are scheduled to be delivered by 2020. However, it appears there is not enough free and unencumbered physical gold to meet even that generous schedule. The Germans have been told they can come look at their gold, they just can’t have it yet.
Leveraging Up in London
The City of London provides a loose regulatory environment for the mega-banks to leverage up. Jon Corzine used London rules to rehypothecate customer deposits for MF Global to make a $6.2 billion Eurozone repo bet. MF’s customer agreements allowed for such a thing.
After MF’s collapse, Christopher Elias wrote in Thomson Reuters, “Like Wall Street cocaine, leveraging amplifies the ups and downs of an investment; increasing the returns but also amplifying the costs. With MF Global’s leverage reaching 40 to 1 by the time of its collapse, it didn’t need a Eurozone default to trigger its downfall—all it needed was for these amplified costs to outstrip its asset base.”
Hathaway’s work makes a solid case that the gold market is every bit as leveraged as MF Global, that it’s a mountain of paper transactions teetering on a comparatively tiny bit of physical gold.
“Unlike the physical gold market,” writes Hathaway, “which is not amenable to absorbing large capital flows, the paper market, through nearly infinite rehypothecation, is ideal for hyperactive trading activity, especially in conjunction with related bets on FX, equity indices, and interest rates.”
This hyper-leveraging is reminiscent of America’s housing debt boom of the last decade. Wall Street securitization cleared the way for mortgages to be bought, sold, and transferred electronically. As long as home prices were rising and homeowners were making payments, everything was copasetic. However, once buyers quit paying, the scramble to determine which lenders encumbered which homes led to market chaos. In many states, the backlog of foreclosures still has not cleared.
The failure of a handful of counterparties in the paper-gold market would be many times worse. In many cases, five to ten or more lenders claim ownership of the same physical gold. Gold markets would seize up for months, if not years, during bankruptcy proceedings, effectively removing millions of ounces from the market. It would take the mining industry decades to replace that supply.
Further, Hathaway believes that increased regulation “could lead, among other things, to tighter standards for collateral, rules on rehypothecation, etc. This could well lead to a scramble for physical.” And if regulators don’t tighten up these arrangements, the ETFs, LBMA, and Comex may do it themselves for the sake of customer trust.
What Hathaway calls the “murky pool” of unallocated London gold has supported paper-gold trading way beyond the amount of physical gold available. This pool is drying up and is setting up the mother of all short squeezes.
In that scenario, people with gold ETFs and other paper claims to gold will be devastated, warns Hathaway. They’ll receive “polite and apologetic letters from intermediaries offering to settle in cash at prices well below the physical market.”
It won’t be inflation that drives up the gold price but the unwinding of massive amounts of leverage.
Americans are right to fear their government, but they should fear their financial system as well. Governments have always rendered their paper currencies worthless. Paper entitling you to gold may give you more comfort than fiat dollars.
However, in a panic, paper gold won’t cut it. You’ll want to hold the real thing.
There’s one form of paper gold, though, you should take a closer look at right now: junior mining stocks. These are the small-cap companies exploring for new gold deposits, and the ones that make great discoveries are historically being richly rewarded… as are their shareholders.
However, even the best junior mining companies—those with top managements, proven world-class gold deposits, and cash in the bank—have been dragged down with the overall gold market and are now on sale at cheaper-than-dirt prices. Watch eight investment gurus and resource pros tell you how to become an “Upturn Millionaire” taking advantage of this anomaly in the market—click here.
February 12, 2014
Even if we used a 10:1 fractional reserve ratio, the Fed’s $85 billion per month QE was creating $10 trillion per year in liquidity.
The point to understanding the Status Quo financial system is doomed is not to revel in the doom but to understand why we have to look past the current corrupt, predatory, parasitic system to a better arrangement. That’s positive.
Longtime correspondent Harun I. submitted this quote from John Ing and a commentary on simple arithmetic. In “We Are Nowhere Near The Chaos That I Expect”, John Ing observes the consequences of deleveraging a highly leveraged system:
“We have already had $3 trillion in stock market capitalization wiped out. It is amazing that just a $20 billion tapering has been enough to cause all of this chaos around the globe.”
Harun then explained why it isn’t amazing at all–it’s entirely predictable:
Simple arithmetic will do. The Fed is leveraged 72:1. For every dollar it removes, it actually removes 72. The product of 72 and 20 is 1,440. The Fed has actually removed nearly $1.5 trillion of liquidity with its $20 billion tapering.It is a mathematical certainty that this geometric progression of debt growth will end (remember, for everything that is growing geometrically, that upon which the growth is dependent is contracting at the same rate). The contraction (deleveraging) must necessarily be as geometric as the expansion (leveraging).
The Fed can try to keep interest rates at zero but there will be dire consequences. The Fed can try to “taper” but there will be dire consequences.
What I find amazing is that even if we used a 10:1 fractional reserve ratio, the Fed’s $85 billion per month QE was creating $10 trillion per year in liquidity.
The World Economic Forum reported in 2011 that $100 trillion in new credit would be needed for world growth going forward. How long does anyone think tapering will last?
Over US$ 100 Trillion Additional Credit Needed to Support Global Growth(World Economic Forum)
Trying to force simplistic results out of complex systems inevitably generates unintended consequences. Liquidity and credit expansion act like pressure in a closed system; central planners look at the site of the last financial break and see no leaks, so they assume they’ve got the system under control.
But the next failure in the system will occur where no one is looking–the points in the system that everyone assumes are “safe.”
The system is doomed if central banks continue creating trillions of dollars in new leveraged credit and liquidity to keep the system from imploding, and it is also doomed if they cease creating new leveraged credit (i.e. taper their geometric expansion of credit). Doomed if you do taper, doomed if you don’t taper.
Here’s the Fed balance sheet. If you get a magnifying glass, you might discern some tapering.
Geometric expansion of credit is visible throughout the system. Never mind the infamous shadow banking system–look at the insane expansion of credit/debt in student loans:
Of related interest:
Resolution #1: Let’s Call Things What They Really Are in 2014 (January 15, 2014)
The Federal Reserve’s Nuclear Option: A One-Way Street to Oblivion (February 5, 2014)
We project that by 2035 the US will be energy self-sufficient while maintaining its position as the world’s top liquids and natural gas producer.
This illustrates the optimism which BP are projecting in their image of future production. But it carries with it a lot of inherent assumptions, some of which are relatively easy to identify in the summary graphic presentation that accompanied the initial presentation of the new report. Perhaps the most illustrative of their optimism is this plot, which shows the increasingly decoupled changes in energy supply relative to projected increases in GDP.
Figure 1. The reducing dependence on Energy growth as a control on GDP. (All figures are from the new BP Energy Outlook for 2035)
Each year there are significant projections for the future of energy over the next few decades. Recent posts have reviewed this year’s projections from the IEA and ExxonMobil. These projections, were also reviewedlast year and those reviews included the previous BP projectionalthough that only projected forward to 2030 – the current review has added five years to this.
The relative contributions of the different fuel sources to the overall mix have not changed appreciably in the past year. Oil is anticipated to continue to shrink in percentage contribution, and coal will also decline in relative contribution after around 2020. Natural gas and renewables are anticipated to make up the supply needed.
Figure 2. Relative contributions of the different fuel sources to overall global energy supply to 2035.
BP have made it a little easier to see how this breaks down by plotting the ten-year increments in fuel contribution as well as the overall totals.
Figure 3. Changes in projected fuel supplies over the period to 2035.
Changing the plot to show the ten-year incremental changes illustrates how coal, now surging as an international fuel source, is anticipated to decline beyond 2020.
Figure 4. Projected ten-year incremental changes in fuel supply through 2035.
Note that in overall total BP is projecting that global consumption will rise by 41% over today’s numbers, most of which increase will come from the rapidly-developing countries of the world.
Figure 5. Regional increments of energy consumption growth over the decades to 2035.
The reliance on the improvements in energy efficiency to stall further growth in energy demand from the OECD countries is evident in this picture.
BP notes that the decade from 2002 to 2012 saw the “largest ever growth in energy consumption in volume terms,” but anticipates that this rate will never be exceeded in the decades to come. And they anticipate that as Chinese growth fades in the decades, so the growth of the Indian and adjacent economies will almost match that of China by the end of the period. As the nations of the world complete their industrialization, so the growth in the demand for fuel will see a greater emphasis on transportation demands.
Interestingly the decline in the demand for coal that BO projects is linked to the completion of industrialization in China, and this assumption is, of course, predicated on oil and natural gas remaining available to meet the demand at a reasonable cost.
Figure 6. Anticipated primary sources for generation of electric power.
The projections for changes in liquid fuel supply are also relatively simply presented. First one can see the projected changes in demand, with the OECD countries declining, as demand increase seems to focus in the Eastern nations.
Figure 7. Anticipated changes in global demand for liquid fuels
It is where this growth in supply is to come from that is of the greatest concern, and BP suggest the following:
Figure 8. The anticipated sources for growth in liquid fuel supply through 2035.
BP note the largest sources of these gains as being:
The largest increments of non-OPEC supply will come from the US (3.6 Mb/d), Canada (3.4 Mb/d), and Brazil (2.4 Mb/d), which offset declines in mature provinces such as the North Sea. OPEC supply growth will come primarily from NGLs (3.1 Mb/d) and crude oil in Iraq (2.6 Mb/d).
One of the more interesting plots in the report shows how, over last year, the changes in US production more than compensated for the declines in production from the MENA countries.
Figure 9. The ability of increased US production to balance declines in production from the nations in turmoil in MENA.
BP anticipates that continued US increases in production will more than balance the anticipated increases in global demand, so that the continued disruptions will not significantly affect global supply even though, as they have historically, they extend for more than ten years. The US gains are anticipated to continue to such an extent that OPEC will be required to rein in their supplies in order to sustain global prices.
Figure 10. Changes in the demand for OPEC oil and the result on their production reserve capacity.
One anticipates, given that KSA has said that they will not increase overall supply much above current levels, that the increases in production that BP anticipate will likely come from Iraq, and Iran if the sanctions are lifted. Given the current situation in those parts the latter seems increasingly more likely than the former. Further BP note that the increasing populations in these countries and their consequent increases in demand for energy is likely to constrain the levels at which these countries can continue to export.
In conclusion, and to justify the heading at the top of this piece, BP anticipate a continued growth in US oil production such that, by 2035 imports are virtually eliminated, being more than offset by the gains in the export of natural gas products. BP anticipates that the latter will increase by 2025 to around 12 bcf/d and continue at about that level.
Figure 11. BP projections for changes in the US oil supply sources for the period to 2035.
The Organic Prepper
February 11th, 2014
What’s the difference between an arm-chair survivalist and the real deal? The difference between someone who could get by for a few weeks and someone who could thrive indefinitely?
One word – action.
I was lucky enough to meet someone who is the real deal recently. Mark is a long-term survivalist, and he graciously answered about a million questions about his lifestyle. The end result was, I learned a lot, including how little I actually know in comparison to someone who lives an off-grid, non-consumer life every single day. Even better, I have permission to share this information with the rest of you in the form of a new series: Long-Term Survival.
Mark lives in the desert, and he’s off the grid. His well was dug by hand over the course of a month. His shelter is built by hand. There is no indoor plumbing and he cooks most meals outdoors over a fire. He’s a big believer in tools and skills over beans and rice.
Daisy: What does bugging out mean to you?
Mark: My “bug out kit” is tool heavy for food, shelter, and fire. Everything else is a luxury. So I would not pack a lot of the stuff others might be going for. If I was bugging out, I’d plan for it to be for the long haul. I’d want a set of tools that would make life easier and almost guarantee that you would have a roof over your head, food in your belly, and fire to keep warm by. I am going to carry tools over comforts because the comforts can eventually come from using the tools.
Daisy: Is this the kind of kit you’d recommend for anyone who is interested in building the ultimate bug out kit?
Mark: Well, you have to practice with the tool set I am going to talk about and become comfortable with them. Also, remember that your mind is tool number one and the best tool you can exploit.
Daisy: Why is your bug-out plan so different than the basic plan we see outlined on all of the prepping sites?
Mark: If you look around at everyone’s “bug out bag” and “bug out plans,” they all revolve around a 3 day disaster or getting to your “bug out location”. Not many people are set to “bug out” for the long haul. But what if you couldn’t look back? What if bugging out meant 30 years instead of 3 days, or if there was no home to come back to? If it came down to bugging out, I’d want to far far away. I’d be building a semi-permanent shelter and starting a trap line and learning all the hunting trails. Then, when its time to move south for the winter I’d pack my stuff and walk to my warmer spot, and do the same thing. I want to have a life, not always be running around like a squirrel after a nut once things really collapse, like history has told us EVERY other society like ours has done.
Daisy: So if you had to just grab one bag and go, what tools would be in it?
Mark: In my opinion, there are 5 tools you need to have, and some of these have multiple uses: a Swiss Army champion knife for your medical kit , a Leatherman crunch for repairs, a CRKT Folts minimalist hunter neck knife for small game skinning and utility (best neck knife around and it is only 25 bucks. I personally use it and also the tano one as a utility knife both on neck but one will do, the hunter), a Mora “light my fire” camp knife – it’s a utility medium game skinning with build in ferro rod, and a medium size forged axe with at least a 2lb head 2.5-3lb would be best – it’s one step above a hatchet for shelter, fire wood, large game skinning, and protection.
Daisy: Wow, you answered that quickly!
Mark: You should also add for readers that these tools are for your hands only. They mean your survival, so never lend them out to anyone, not even parents, children, brothers, sisters, husbands, or wives. They should all have their own. These are yours and yours alone.
Daisy: Okay, let’s go over these different tools. Tell me about the Swiss Army knife that you recommend. (link to this tool – $99)
Mark: The Swiss army knife is high grade stainless steel. This is important because it can be sterilized and has a very sharp fine edged blade that can basically double as a scalpel. There are several tools in The Champ that can lend themselves to helping in a medical emergency. There is a magnifier to look for ticks and other parasites, as well a pair of decent tweezers for tick or sliver removal. Fine scissors to cut bandaging or other types of cloth and light materials…the list goes on. Trust me when I say you will be happy you have it along in your medical kit if an emergency ever arises.
Mark: The crunch is a mini “vise-grip” with a groove in its nose to lock down on something like a sewing machine needle, if you need to use it to sew for repairs. It has some screw drivers: a small common blade (flat), a medium common blade, and Philips (cross). As well, there is a rasp, a file, a large screwdriver, and a serrated knife that is graduated in both standard and metric to measure and can cut light wire like copper, aluminum, brass, or bronze. It also has a bit driver, and all of the tools lock into place. It is one of the few tools Leatherman makes that falls under the category of ”heavy duty” in their line up.
Daisy: What is a neck knife? (link to tool $36.99)
Mark: A neck knife is a small all around utility/skinning knife that is always right there within reach. I prefer a hunters blade. This is the knife you will be doing most of your daily small game skinning and other light camp chores with. Never leave home with out it, as you never know when and where you might need it.
Mark: I prefer having a dedicated knife that is married with a ferro rod “fire steel”. That way you have a medium duty knife for skinning, camp utility, carving, and a last ditch resort to make sure you have a fire. Mora makes a very nice and economical bushcraft knife/ferro rod set. You can shop around – several knife makers are now making hunter-bushcraft/fire sets. You want a high carbon steel blade on this knife if you can because the ferro rod will work better. Do not skimp on quality for anything less than a Mora on this item. Mora would be the low end for price, and yet still provide a quality knife that you can rely on.
Mark: The Hultafors hunter’s axe is a high quality choice. Hultafors is the oldest axe company in the world. They have been forging axes since 1697 and their axes are much less expensive than the competition’s axes. This is not the absolute highest quality axe, but it is still a good quality, forged axe. I actually have one of these, its smaller brother, and a carpenter axe from this company, and I love them all. The Hultafors hunter’s axe is in the “classic” line and is around 85 bucks, with maybe a tiny bit more for shipping vs. 150+ bucks from the competition on production-forged axes of this size. You can use this tool for building an advanced shelter, for all of your camp amenities such as table, chair, loo, etc. It can also be used for harvesting all the firewood you need, as well as skinning and splitting any large animals you may have hunted, trapped or found as “road kill”. [laughter] Also, it can be very effective as a weapon to protect yourself. I can guarantee that if you practice with an axe and follow through on a heavy swing you will damage anything wild attempting to get you in its jaws.
Daisy: I’m sure it would also deter anything human attempting to cause you harm.
Mark: You do as you wish. I don’t want people thinking I am a crazy human killer. [laughter]
These tools are tried and true, and Mark owns them all. At an investment of less than $300, they could easily mean the difference between life and death, or at the very least, comfort and misery. He also recommends the addition of a rasp or file and a short honing strop to keep the tools sharp and tuned up.
Next in the Long-Term Survival Series, Mark will talk about living without water flowing from the taps. He’ll discuss digging a well, conservation measures, sanitation, and how he does some of those things that we all take for granted with our indoor plumbing that most of us can’t imagine life without.
About the contributor:
Mark lives in the desert in the American Southwest. He was raised in a survivalist family, and this has been his lifestyle for as long as he can remember. He has entered a design contest with functional axe that has multiple purposes and is geared towards survival…If you have found his contribution to this website to be helpful, please say thank you by going to Facebook and giving it a “like” – the winner of the contest will see his design produced.
Delivered by The Daily Sheeple
Contributed by Daisy Luther of The Organic Prepper.
Daisy Luther is a freelance writer and editor. Her website, The Organic Prepper, offers information on healthy prepping, including premium nutritional choices, general wellness and non-tech solutions. You can follow Daisy on Facebook and Twitter, and you can email her email@example.com
Written by 24 carat
The Rockefellers, The Rothschilds and many other giant Dynasties…
These financial industry giants lived through all the wealth cycles of the past 100 years and more. What used to be long term wealth investments evolved to the day-trading, making money activities, with a top in the year 2000. Then the financial industry morphed rapidly into the absurd High Frequency Trading. All wealth is now a spooky derivative of what it once was. Debt rules!
John D. Rockefeller Sr and Jr
The US was the biggest gold reserve holder in the entire world, with 28,000 metric tons of gold in its vaults (60% of the world’s total gold reserves). Most, if not all, of that gold disappeared from the UST, whilst the financial industry and the debt driven economy, expanded. First there was the London Gold Pool selling central bank gold reserves, then in 1974 Louise Auchincloss Boyer discovered that N. Rockefeller was selling UST Fort Knox gold. Three days later she fell out of her window (July 3, 1974). Immediately afterwards a Fort Knox propaganda tour was organized. All gold fever stopped in 1980. Stock markets started their rise to the moon. Fifteen years later, the European System of Central Banks started their gold sales. Stock markets reached for the stars and suddenly The Queen made a propaganda tour through the London gold vaults (Dec, 2012). Now, China, Russia and other pro gold states (BRICS Development Bank) are accumulating the scare residues of available physical gold. The debt driven Western economy is in stagnation and the global debt crisis remains unsolved.
Where has all the physical bullion gold gone. Where is it concentrated after 45 years of distribution and very low paper gold prices. Hard to say, but the main flow of physical gold went certainly from West to East. Simply because the Western financial (pseudo) wealth industry was rising since 1980 and that made physical gold obsolete, in particular for the average Western man on the street.
The MSCI emerging market index is declining and never reached the Dow/Nasdaq/S&P heights. Physical gold has flown to these Eastern emerging (mostly surplus producing) markets whilst Western deficits are still rising. An upside down world,…or not. European banks have a $ 3.4 trillion exposure to the weak emerging markets who are suffering from brutal $ withdrawals. China’s shadow banking is enormous and dangerous. The entire world has multiple fundamental reasons to embrace physical gold as a wealth asset, but only an extremely small minority keeps accumulating physical gold. The bulk of physical gold is now in the very strong hands of Western and Eastern giant dynasties and a relative very small group of gold wealth connected individuals. They all continue to accumulate, whatever the paper price of gold may discourage. They all anticipate the same looming catastrophe: pseudo-wealth destruction!
The Far & Middle East stores its wealth in physical gold and the West keeps going for financial industry pseudo-wealth and paper gold for making more (debt)money. This gold imbalance will increase strongly the more the gold price declines! Declining gold prices must encourage the further accumulation of risk assets. The Western giants don’t care that Joe sixpack has no gold. They must feed their financial industry pseudo-wealth (buy stocks and debt paper). The Western giants, with trainloads of physical gold, don’t care that the scarce left-overs of available physical gold flows cheaply to the East. When the pseudo-wealth comes to an end and the East will say physical gold is the real store of wealth, the Western giants with gold in their vaults, remain wealthy. Then the whole (political) economic story restarts from scratch.
The giant dynasties *are* the financial industry. They produce and control the bulk of the debt-driven pseudo-wealth. The FED is even providing liquidity for Mario’s ECB (swaps). That’s why their balance sheet is diverging. Euro-land is in fact still $-land.
China’s present gold policies are building a base to take over the paper gold pricing from the dollar’s financial regime. The valuation of physical gold must be totally delinked from currency and risk assets. China wants an orderly and open Renminbi gold market with satisfactory gold market laws as to protect all wealth assets. A gold market where all underground speculative activities are strictly forbidden. They invite all foreigners to gradually participate in this gold market with emphasis on the free floating valuation of physical gold. This is in 100% contrast with the de facto dollar’s gold pricing and gold policies. The dollar system doesn’t want your wealth assets to be protected with gold. One day, the masses will embrace China’s gold policies and leave the international $-reserve for what it never was (hard currency). The Western giants, indeed anticipated this all along with stealth accumulation of physical gold in their private vaults. They know the day of reckoning comes nearby.
Catherine J. Frompovich
Everyone thinks it will never happen to them, and then it does. You and your family become unwilling captives of an event that demands your hunkering down for your safety and well-being. It can be a hurricane, snowstorm, or like I lived through, an ice storm that brought the Southeastern part of Pennsylvania into what people were calling “Snowmageddon”– one snow storm after another, often every other day, since November. If that wasn’t bad enough, we experienced a brutal weather ‘centerpiece’, the “ice apocalypse” that downed power lines for over 715,000 people early in February 2014. Most folks had no choice but to shelter in place at home.
After several days in icy frigid weather without power, light, heat, food refrigeration, phone service, cable, the Internet and all the high tech appliances – even cell phones at one time – modern life made us servants to, life stood still and we had to scramble to survive in what seemed like returning to a pre-technological world of make believe. However, it was all too real and many were totally unprepared. No school, no work, and no services – it seemed like no anything!
As a result, I got to thinking how readers would react if confronted with such out-of-control circumstances and what you should know to do when Old Man Winter turns worse than wicked. Some of my thoughts are below. As I write this, the sixth day of the ice apocalypse, more than 35,000 are still without power. I have power and can access my computer word program but no Internet service, so I will submit this when I’m able to connect to the outside world.
I hope my ideas and suggestions will encourage readers to prepare a “bug out bag,” evacuation plan, or shelter-in-place strategy, especially in order to gear up for the rest of this 2014 winter since Punxsutawney Phil, Pennsylvania’s weather prognosticating groundhog, claims there will be six more winter weeks before astrological spring arrives. That critter surely must know something because he no sooner made his prediction on February 2nd than the weather socked it to us on February 5th, and it just does not want to let up. Several inches more of snow as I write this!
If I seem to be rambling along, please bear with me because in the end, I think it will be well worth your time.
First and Foremost: Stay Out of Harm’s Way
Stay indoors away from windows, sliding glass doors, and near solid walls, preferably in the center of the house to maximize using warmer areas of the house. Those who live in “Tornado Alley” know how important it is to seek proper shelter within the house. During winter storms, like the ice apocalypse, tree limbs, whole trees, power lines and poles can burst into flames or come crashing down onto anything standing in their way, including you if you are out and about walking or playing.
One of my nine lives was used up when a huge tree uprooted and crashed onto the street where I had just walked only 25 steps before.
Discourage playing in snow, as clothing will become wet, cannot be dried and you will be wet and cold. Frost bite can set in within 15 minutes, so remember that.
Cars and Personal Vehicles
- Battery: If your vehicle’s battery is more than 3 years old, consider replacing it so that when very cold temperatures challenge its starting capability, it will be up to the task and start your vehicle. Your vehicle eventually may become your ‘lifeline’.
- Vehicle Charger with USB Port: This device uses the vehicle’s cigarette lighter to recharge a cell phone and/or any electronic device that uses a USB port like a laptop computer simultaneously while charging the cell phone. Every person who has a cell phone needs this charger, I believe. BTW, make certain the car’s lighter fuses are in working order in the vehicle otherwise the charger doesn’t work.
- Blankets: For families, have one heavy duty blanket per family member wrapped in large plastic trash bags to keep them clean in the trunk of the car. This is a must for cold weather survival on the road, for loss of power, evacuation or sheltering in place.
- Gasoline/Diesel Fuel: If there are several vehicles in a family, keep at least one car/vehicle with a full tank of gas. That car should contain the blankets, vehicle charger, and newer battery. When there are power outages, gas stations may not be able to pump gas. Also, if you have to evacuate, a full tank can get you farther than having to worry how far you can go with only a quarter tank of gasoline or diesel.
- Windshield Wiper Fluid: Make certain you use the type that will not freeze! Keep an extra gallon of it in the trunk of the car.
Bottled Water is a must regardless of what type of disaster happens. Always have at least one case (12 liter glass bottles) of water stored within easy access regardless of whether you have municipal water or a well pump that needs electricity to operate.
If you have a well pump, check out online what’s available to draw water from the well without electric power.
Battery-operated Radio with fresh batteries is a must so that you can access important information and updates regarding power outages, safety measures, and/or warming shelters.
Dwellings – Family Homes
- Lanterns, battery-operated: Consider having 1 large lantern with enough extra fresh batteries for each floor of the house. If you evacuate, take lanterns with you.
- Flashlight with extra batteries in each bedroom in case the problem occurs during sleeping hours. For small children consider giving each child a different-colored glow light to carry so the child can be identified easily by his/her flashlight. If you evacuate, take glow lights with you.
- Room thermometer: an old fashion type rather than a digital so you can see when you have to run faucets to keep pipes from freezing. More info under Water Pipes.
- Appliances NOT to use: Kerosene heaters, charcoal grills, or any device (e.g., generator in the house or garage) that makes or emits fumes or carbon monoxide, including scented candles. It should be noted that burning candles ‘eat up’ oxygen in the room and can cause dizziness while under stress, such as no power and no heat.
Plumbing and Water Pipes
Without heat pipes will freeze, especially those pipes that run along the outside walls of the house, e.g., under the kitchen sink inside the wall of the house/foundation, powder room, and laundry room, or if there is no basement and the house sits on a cement slab, like many townhouses do.
Frozen pipes can cause thousands upon thousands of dollars worth of water and/or mold damage.
Beforehand, learn the proper procedures for your dwelling’s specific plumbing situation. However, some suggestions to check out would be:
1. Short term frigid weather, no heat in house and inside house temperature is 50º. Open all faucets (both hot and cold) so that a stream of water runs constantly like a ‘thread of water’. Allow the faucets to run all night until the sun warms up the daytime temperature above freezing or heat comes on. If you have to do this more than 2 consecutive nights, then perhaps you ought to consider
2. Longer term frigid weather, no heat in house. Locate the water main coming into the house from outside. Turn the valve to the Off position. Then, open all faucets to drain the pipes and leave them open until it is safe to turn on the main water valve again. Before opening that main valve, close all faucets first, then slowly open the main water valve and allow the pipes to fill for about 15 minutes before slowly opening one set of faucets at a time.
#2A. If you have to evacuate your home, it may be wise to turn off the main water valve and drain the system as in #2 above before leaving the house, since you don’t know how long it will be before you will return.
3. Toilets: Flush toilets to empty tanks and pipes until no water runs after closing off main water valve.
4. Hot water heaters probably will be safe for several days before having to be drained, if at all. You will need to have a new/clean garden hose long enough that will take the tank water from the drain outlet at the bottom of the tank to a safe distance from the house to let the water drain. However, it is best to check with your plumber beforehand and write the instructions on a 3×5 card and tape it on the wall next to the water heater so you know what to do because in an emergency, we tend to become nervous, confused or forget.
5. Clothes washing machines and Dishwashers. In most cases, those pipes cannot be drained because electric power is needed to activate water.
No Working Toilets; Where to Go
Here’s a trick that works rather nicely.
Along with the stored water, food and clothing, store several large buckets (with lids would be nice) and several bags of kitty litter.
To use the kitty litter toilet
Cover the bottom of the bucket with kitty litter and use it as a toilet. After each use, spread some kitty litter to absorb the moisture. Use toilet tissue sparingly. Cover with lid and use as needed until ¾ full. Place full bucket with lid on in a bathroom so that when the water is back on, and the toilet is running properly, you can flush the kitty litter toilet contents down the working toilet. However, you may have to add a few cupsful of water to the kitty litter toilet to make it pour more easily.
Since we seem to be living in dramatic and traumatic times, maybe it would be best to be prepared with special “survival clothing” that is not worn any time other than when it is needed, especially for winter. Keep that special clothing in an assigned closet or dry basement area where everyone in the family knows his/her gear is located. Schedule a practice drill or two, similar to fire drills at home and in school, so children will know where to go, what to look for, and how to act. Consider it “indoor camping.”
Each member of the family should have a hooded sweater rather than sweatshirt so that layering of other clothing can be more effective in keeping body heat in. Have several long sleeve shirts, cotton long johns/long underwear, and a pair of gloves, not mittens, so chores or games can be played while keeping hands/fingers warm.
If sheltering in place, the last layered piece of clothing should be a full length heavy duty bathrobe, which will keep body heat from escaping from the shoulders down to the mid calves of the legs.
Heavy duty knee-hi socks, heavy duty sweat pants, and a cap rather than a hat—something that a child’s head can fit into to keep the ears warm. Remember, the body loses most of its heat from the head, so a snugly fitting cap is important, especially when worn under the sweater’s hood. It’s nice and snuggly warm!
Don’t plan on changing clothes to sleep. When sheltering in place, keep all clothing on until the house is warm again. Don’t take a chance on changing into pajamas or other bedclothes because: a) you can become very cold and not be able to get warm again, and 2) if you have to leave in a hurry, you will not have proper clothing on. Do not undress; staying warm and keeping body heat from escaping [wearing cap, hooded sweater, gloves, and robe] is the trick that works for being comfortable when sheltering in place without heat in frigid temperatures.
If you can find a hotel/motel that is warm and has not raised the nightly rate from $100 to $250, as happens in disasters and/or emergencies, or if you cannot get to a community warming shelter, then you just may find sheltering in place necessary, and even safe and relatively ‘comfortable’ when prepared.
Keep several quality thermos bottles on hand so you can take them with you in the car and have them filled with hot coffee, tea, or hot water when you find a place open that can provide them.
There are many long-term, vacuum-packed, ready to eat foods that you may want to have on hand and stored with the bottle water. If you can’t do that, then the minimum that you should have on hand and rotate every six months by eating and replacing is:
- Trail mix, several packages and preferably organically grown.
- Organic dried fruits.
- Organic walnuts, almonds, pumpkin seeds.
- Box-type, high nutrient value breakfast cereal, organic preferred, no sugarcoated
- Non-dairy milks: almond, coconut, oat, rice [keep fresh and safe in a cupboard].
- Bottles of juice to make a very healthful and satisfying ‘cold tea’: ¼ cup of juice topped off with bottle water to make a full cup.
- NO sodas: they will make you thirsty and crave food because of the sugar drop that comes from all the sugar in soda. NO candy or junk foods, as they can make you edgy and children hyperactive, something not needed during a weather crisis.
- Cans of cooked beans that can be eaten cold or heated over an outdoor camping stove.
- Cans of hearty, chunky soups.
- Cans of chili: vegetarian and/or meat varieties.
- Whole grain crackers or saltines.
- Jars of applesauce or individual size applesauce containers.
- Jar of almond butter or cashew butter or peanut butter.
- Instant coffee, tea bags, hot chocolate mix.
- Appropriate food for baby and/or pets that can be spooned out rather than cooked.
- Small outdoor table-top size charcoal grill with briquettes and appropriate safely-protected fire lighter so that you can heat food when the grill is used outside the home with proper precautions, never inside any type of enclosure, e.g., house, tent, camper, and always away from wood decks and house siding.
- Box of wooden matches kept in a tin box for safety purposes. Also, a few emergency wax candles just in case.
Once the power goes off, do not open the doors on the freezer or refrigerator, as that will break the cold seal within, and your food will not stay safe as long as possible.
Here’s something I found surprisingly interesting: I have a regular family-size top freezer, bottom refrigerator unit and when I opened the freezer after 3 days of no power, the ice cubes I had stored in a plastic bag had not even started to melt. They were solid, which indicates the integrity of the cold seal and the freezer contents. The same with the lower refrigerator: Everything was ice cold, including a bottle of carrot juice and other items in glass bottles. That’s the key to not losing food: Never open the refrigerator/freezer doors until power is restored for at least ½ hour and you are certain it stays on. Sometimes there are temporary startups during restoration procedures.
If you must take food out of the freezer/refrigerator, do it immediately after power goes off and store it safely. See information below.
When it’s cold outdoors, 32 degrees and below, you can have a ‘refrigerator’ for some foods by wrapping them securely and placing them between a locked storm door and the regular door. Or, if you have a secure outdoor shed, you can place food securely wrapped in the shed, which is almost the temperature of a kitchen refrigerator.
During the ice storm of 2014, I was able to find a Whole Foods open and purchased cut-up fresh fruit that I stored in my garden shed to have for breakfast the next day. It was ice cold, just like out of the refrig when I went for it 18 hours later. I also kept some cheese in the shed. Same thing—cold and safe to eat with whole grain crackers I had in the kitchen.
Disconnect your computer from the electric wall socket so that when power comes on, it doesn’t get fried. My Verizon FIOS system got fried, so that’s why I had no Internet or phone line.
Also, make certain appliances, except the refrigerator, are turned off so that when electric power comes back, they will not be overloaded and possibly be damaged.
What Else Do You Need?
Something for kids of all ages when boredom sets in. Forget the electronic games, even battery-operated, which can conk out and cause more frustration than needed. Consider having on hand:
- decks of cards for several types of card games with instructions if necessary
- board games like Monopoly, Checkers, Chess, and age appropriate games
- word puzzle books, e.g., Sudoku, crossword puzzles, find the words, etc.
- coloring books and crayons for very young children who enjoy coloring
- box of sharpened pencils with a hand pencil sharpener, plus ballpoint pens
- a spiral-bound, lined notebook so everyone can tear out a sheet of paper and have something to write or draw on
A Few Creative Survival Recipes
Don’t expect gourmet quality food; be grateful for something nutritious and palatable.
Breakfast Cereal or Anytime Food
Into a bowl place breakfast flake cereal along with some chopped walnuts, non-dairy milk, and half or whole banana cut into slices. For added protein, add a tablespoon of organic chia seeds [1 tablespoon contains 3 grams of protein].
Applesauce with either chopped nuts or Trail Mix spooned over. Chia seeds add more crunch, taste, and protein.
Hot water added to chocolate mix and topped off with non-dairy coconut milk. Very tasty!
Fruit juice tea (either hot or cold; see f. above) with crackers and almond butter or cashew butter or peanut butter
Note: If you have a wood stove fired up, you can have hot water, tea and coffee. If not, when you crank up the outdoor tabletop grill, heat water in a pot, then transfer it to the thermos bottles to keep it hot. If you have neither, and it is safe to travel, get in the car and see if you can find a place that is open and has hot water, coffee, and tea to fill your thermos bottles. I was lucky to find a Whole Foods open—it had power, but no phone; and a Wegman’s that was operating on generators.
I want to express my most sincere thanks to both those supermarkets for what they did to help people get food, and to all who helped during this disaster: road crews, plow crews, tree and landscape people, fire departments and emergency rescue crews. Without you we could not have made it through those trying days.
But the real heroes of the ice apocalypse were the unselfish power company linemen – 6100 talented pole climbers – some who came from as far away as Canada, Nova Scotia, Illinois, Arkansas and probably places I didn’t hear mentioned on the radio, to help their fellow humans suffering in a situation deemed worse than Hurricane Sandy. Personally, I can’t thank each person enough; you saved the day, as far as I’m concerned. I hope our power company, PECO, never has to reciprocate your good deed, but it probably will have to, as all power company users will become more vulnerable to the ravages of going off the grid. Thank you for a job superbly done in what may be considered record time, even if it didn’t seem like it was for some of us. God bless and keep you safe always.
If readers have any suggestions of how to make it through a winter disaster, please share your ideas in the comments section, and thank you. Please keep safe and warm.
Catherine J Frompovich (website) is a retired natural nutritionist who earned advanced degrees in Nutrition and Holistic Health Sciences, Certification in Orthomolecular Theory and Practice plus Paralegal Studies. Her work has been published in national and airline magazines since the early 1980s. Catherine authored numerous books on health issues along with co-authoring papers and monographs with physicians, nurses, and holistic healthcare professionals. She has been a consumer healthcare researcher 35 years and counting.
Catherine’s latest book, published October 4, 2013, is Vaccination Voodoo, What YOU Don’t Know About Vaccines, available on Amazon.com.
Her 2012 book A Cancer Answer, Holistic BREAST Cancer Management, A Guide to Effective & Non-Toxic Treatments, is available on Amazon.com and as a Kindle eBook.
Two of Catherine’s more recent books on Amazon.com are Our Chemical Lives And The Hijacking Of Our DNA, A Probe Into What’s Probably Making Us Sick (2009) and Lord, How Can I Make It Through Grieving My Loss, An Inspirational Guide Through the Grieving Process (2008).