Know Your Gear/Run What You Train

In one of the most famous stories from the Bible a young shepherd, David, decides to stand up to a monster of a man who was defaming Israel, Israel’s king and (more importantly) the one true God. No one else in the army of Israel was willing to take this man on. David wasn’t even in the army. He was there to bring supplies to his brothers who were.

Young David is confident in his skills and even more confident in the power of God. His brothers, the leaders of the army and the king are not so sure but nevertheless Saul, the king, takes the boy into his tent and equips him with the finest armor and weapons, his own.

Then Saul dressed David in his own tunic. He put a coat of armor on him and a bronze helmet on his head.
David fastened on his sword over the tunic and tried walking around, because he was not used to them.

-1 Samuel 17:38-39

As we see, David gave the new (better) gear a quick shakedown but instead of wearing the top line gear the King has he decides to run his shabby gear that he is used to:

“I cannot go in these,” he said to Saul, “because I am not used to them.” So he took them off.
Then he took his staff in his hand, chose five smooth stones from the stream, put them in the pouch of his shepherd’s bag and, with his sling in his hand, approached the Philistine.

-1 Samuel 17:39-40

See, David had trained in his gear. Not against an up-armored giant but against lions and bears that had threatened his father’s sheep. Because he had trained in it he trusted it and he trusted his capabilities while running it.

There are two key lessons here:

    1. Trust in God, despite the odds.
    2. The gear you have and train in is the best gear there is.

Just because some YouTubing, former whatever tells you that if you don’t have the latest and greatest plates made of angels breath and unobtainium your “gonna die in the streets.” Or, that if you don’t have the latest geewhiz gadgets on your rifle you won’t be able to stop the bad guys from taking your goodies from you.

Buy the best you can and spend the money saved to train, train and train some more.

Don’t get me wrong, anytime things get so bad you need to kit up and go to work you have a good chance of getting dead or having your goodies stolen. That’s where is is critical to get right with God and loved ones now…like right now. But, you’ll stand a better chance in decent gear that you’ve trained in until it is like and extension of your own body than the super deluxe stuff that leaves you too broke to train or you can never get around to affording.

Pray up, Stock up, Train up, Team up!

God bless and God save the Republic.

 

Ukraine – Pray, Pray Now, Pray Hard….

I have tried not to be a fear monger on the Ukraine crisis but…

The situation in Ukraine looks to be escalating even closer to war. We have sent 8000 troops and F-15s to Eastern Europe and 8 B-52 bombers (we only announced 4) to Western Europe. Israel is evacuating their embassy staff and has issued a travel warning. Ukraine has given Russia 48 hour deadline to explain troop movements in the Eastern regions already occupied by Russia. Putin pulled his personal yacht (unfinished) out of a German shipyard and he and “Sleepy Joe” have scheduled an emergency phone call for tomorrow. There’s more but those are the high points.

Most analysts expect any action to begin between the 14th and the 20th but it could be anytime. If we can make it through February without WWIII starting it will be a miracle (so, get to praying if you are not already).

The immediate impact on us would be massive increases in gas prices (oil proces are already going up in anticipation of an attack), cyber-attacks could cause banking and\or credit card systems to fail. Logistics and supply chain attacks have already started so we might see even worse problems with availability of critical goods and supplies (like food). The power grid could be knocked out for a while (at least regionally) as well.

If you haven’t already started (why not?) I suggest that you get busy preparing like you would for a a natural disaster; food, water, fuel and cash. If supplies are limited for more than a short time we could see civil unrest and violence.

If you are already prepping it might be a good time to get finalize what you can and top off your preps.

Keep a close eye on world events so nothing takes you unprepared and please pray that the idiots in charge get smart and this does not happen. We may well need a miracle at this point.

Take care and God bless.

Train In Adverse Conditions

There is more to preparedness than buying a bunch of gear and supplies and stuffing them in a closet. Whether it is bush craft gear, camping gear or self-defense gear you have to practice with it and you have to practice with it in conditions that (excuse my language) suck. Being a little uncomfortable today could save your life, and more importantly, the lives of those God has entrusted to your care, in the future.

Be alert, get prepared, fight the good fight!

God bless and God save the Republic.

US Terrorism Scoreboard 2022

The US (in)justice department is creating a specialized task force focused on the growing threat of domestic terrorists. Specifically on those Americans who “are motivated by racial animus” or “ascribe to extremist anti-government and anti-authority ideologies.” In other words, conservatives, patriots and don’t forget soccer moms at school-board meetings .

I thought it would be interesting and informative to begin tracking domestic terrorist events or attempted terrorist and put together a scorecard of the incidents. So far in 2022 we have had two events that I could find. The most recent was the Congregation Beth Israel hostage taking here in Texas and the other was a young man affiliated with Antifa who was arrested with bomb in his backpack at a conservative rally in Florida. We will track the number of incidents per group, the number of wounded and the number of folks killed (hopefully, those last two stats remain at zero).

Affiliation Incidents Wounded Dead
Islam 1 0 0
Antifa (Left) 1 0 0

Be sure and let me know in the comments if I miss any or if you think I am calling something in the wrong category.

Events List:

January 15th – Islamist – Malik Faisal Akram took four hostages at the Congregation Beth Israel in Colleyville, Texas demanding the release of a convicted Islamic terrorist (link).

January 6th – Antifa/Left – Garrett Smith arrested for making and possessing explosive devices at a rally on behalf of alleged Capitol rioter Jeremy Brown. Smith was dressed in “Black Bloc” had notes related to Antifa (link).

***

Be alert, get prepared, fight the good fight!

God bless and God save the Republic.

A Time To Reflect And Plan (Part 2)

In Part 1 we looked, at a high level, at what specific scenarios we are preparing for. In this post we will look at the plan we have put together for becoming more prepared in 2022.

We will use the same format as we use in the Preparing For the Resistance series of posts:

Toughen Up

Spiritually:

      1. For 2022, I want to complete a detailed study of four books of the Bible.
      2. Perform three additional service projects per year

Mentally:

I don’t know of anyway to specifically strengthen myself mentally for what is coming. Strengthening myself spiritually and physically requires and will build mental toughness. Tactical training that forces a fighting mindset strengthens mental toughness. As does a basic awareness of what is happening in our nation and our world.

An even tougher question is how to help those around me become stranger mentally without discouraging them…

Physically:

      1. First and foremost, I want to get my shoulder squared away and healed so I can work and fight more effectively.
      2. I want to lose 15-20 pounds
      3. I will get myself in good enough cardio condition to run half a mile and be able to pass the Marine Corps Combat Fitness test and complete a “Murph Challenge.”
      4. I want to get Wonderful Wife into a regular workout routine.
      5. Finally, I need to get off my duff and get a fully functional security system set up and running as well signing up for a monitoring service for the system.

Be Smarter

      1. Pass my exam for a Ham license
      2. Complete a medical training class
      3. Complete at least six tactical training classes during the year.

Be More Resilient

Supplies:

      1. We are in the process of building up our stockpiles and would like to complete that in Q1 of 2022.
      2. Fill in the holes identified in the 100 Things That Disappear In A Collapse exercise.

Gear:

      1. Our bugout bags are a mess and have been pilfered through the lock-downs of 2020 and 2021. We need to get these ready to go at a moment’s notice.
      2. The same goes for my get home bag. It’s been so long since I really left the house that I need to get this back back in shape and restocked.
      3. I also want to put together a get home back/crate/tub for my Hippy Dippy daughter in San Antonio.
      4. I need to do a test run on a number of critical gear items; single room air conditioner, new propane heater,  butane powered burner, propane stove, and our lanterns.

Finances:

      1. Add $24,000 to our savings/investments
      2. Write our will
      3. Purchase a prepaid funeral plan

Energy:

      1. Buy a backup generator
      2. Buy a small solar charging system that can be used for charging electronic devices

Those are my goals for 2022. How about you? Do you have a prep plan for next year? Feel free to share it in the comments below.

Be alert, get prepared, fight the good fight!

God bless and God save the Republic.

A Time To Reflect And Plan (Part 1)

About this time every year I try to take a little time to reflect on my general state of preparedness and make some plans for the coming year. It is easy to get caught up in things that are fun or easy and overlook critical items that are not as much fun or not as easy to accomplish. Having a plan at the beginning of the year helps make that what is most important gets taken care of.

The first thing we do is to decide what we should be preparing for. This has remained pretty consistent since Hurricane Harvey:

    1. Death – Death is a given. We will all die at some point it is just a matter of when. We have both accepted Jesus Christ as our savior and have received His grace so while we are not exactly ready to go shuffling off we know we will be with Him in eternity. From our perspective, the most important prep of all is handled. However, neither of us wants to be burden on those we leave behind so there is still some things we need to take care of in order to feel fully prepared. Specifically, we need to get our wills done and purchase a funeral policy so those costs and arrangements are out of the way.
    2. Retirement – Hopefully, this happens and happens before item number one. We were poor as church mice when we got married and it took everything we had to raise the kids and make sure they had what they needed so we go a late start on retirement planning. We are playing catch up on this big time. I contribute as much as possible to our 401k but we also need to build up other investment and annuities to make sure we can retire and not have to eat out of a dumpster. Based on the current state of the Social (in)Security program, we are not counting on it at all.
    3. Hurricane – On average a major storm hits this area about every ten years so we should be good for a bit. Averages are funny things and we don’t take it for granted that we could get hit at anytime during the season and need to be ready.
    4. Flood – This was never an issue until Hurricane Harvey but it weighs heavily on our planning at this point.
    5. Financial Collapse – Well, this isn’t so much a possible scenario as it is one we are living through right now. Wonderful Wife was laid off twice this year and inflation is tearing into our savings and disposable income like a pig into slop. I believe we are in the early stages of a financial collapse or at least some of the hardest economic times in living memory.
    6. Social Disruption – Have you seen the news? Again, I think we are already on that ride we are just slow part of the ride before the bottom drops out.

These are the scenarios we are trying to prepare for in Part 2 we will look at how we plan to be better prepared for them.

Be alert, get prepared, fight the good fight!

God bless and God save the Republic.

Ukraine – A Depressing Bit Of History (Plus)

As I briefly mentioned in my post Ukraine – Something Wicked This Way Comes… Russians, historically, are quite adept and willing to engage in winter operations. Defensively and offensively it has served them well in the past. Joe Dolio over at Tactical Wisdom shared a rather depressing bit of history extending on that thought they also like to leverage holidays and international events to slow and confuse western response to these operations.

For example, the Russians rolled into Afghanistan on Christmas Eve in 1979 because they knew Western operations centers would be lightly staffed for the holiday. National and military leadership would also be out of pocket for the same reason. Moreover they have used international events such as the Olympics (starting soon) to help take advantage of the distractions they provide:

Russia took advantage of the Olympic Opening Ceremony to strike Georgia in 2008 and the Olympic Closing Ceremony in 2014 to take the Crimea.

He has some even more chilling concerns in this post (Learning from Mongol Moon) related to China. I encourage everyone to check it out and prepare as you see fit based on the scenario outlined.

(Plus)

Most assume a Russian offensive would begin with or include a cyberattack on the US and Western powers. So, is the discover of and widespread use of the Log4j vulnerability a coincidence?

I don’t have enough information to say one way or the other but…

Take all information like this with a grain of salt. Then take a look at your preparedness/readiness level and take whatever measures you feel are appropriate.

Be alert, get prepared, fight the good fight!

God bless and God save the Republic.

Bloomberg’s Inflation Advice And Backlash

Bloomberg recently published an article on how Americans could benefit from the advice of Argentinians on how to deal with inflation: For Americans Shocked by Inflation, Argentines Have Some Advice. I became aware of it only because one of the news sources I subscribe to countered with a scathing rebuttal on the advice provided (Sorry, I misplaced that link). The article from a news source on the other side of the political spectrum blasted the advice from Bloomberg’s minions. The rebuttal, from a news source that touts 6.8% inflation as “apocalyptic” on a nearly daily basis, argued that the strategies employed by Argentinians to deal with 50% inflation didn’t apply here.

So what were the lessons from Argentinians?

    • Spend Your Paycheck Right Away
    • Borrow Lots of Money
    • Negotiate a Pay Raise — or Two
    • Buy Inflation-Linked Bonds
    • Buy Homes and Cars

How good is this advice? Let’s look at each one, in reverse order.

Buy Homes and Cars

The price on homes and vehicles is skyrocketing.

When shopping for a replacement to the car my daughter wrecked we found 10-20% premiums over sticker price on the entry level subcompacts. On used cars we found the same thing. One of the lots we visited had a truck the same year as mine (2019), with twice the miles and fewer options. They were asking more than what I paid for mine brand new! All of this assumes you can even find vehicle you want in stock somewhere. Decently priced (by current standards) would be sold in hours.

Home sales are in a similar situation. When my middle daughter and her husband were house shipping they were putting offers in based on Internet photos as soon as the house was on the market. All offers were over the asking price and they were seeing bidding wars on several houses they liked. New home prices are going up (around here) on average of 10% per month. People with the funds to do so are buying houses new and “flipping” them within a year and making huge profits.

At the same time mortgage and auto loan interest rates are at an all time low (or pretty close) and are well below the current inflation rate.

So, is it a good idea to buy something that is going up in value so quickly? I would think so. Why wouldn’t you buy an asset that is appreciating in value at a higher rate that inflation?

Is it a good idea to make those purchases with someone else’s money when the rate they are charging for using their money is lower that the inflation rate? Seems logical to me.

This is not a bad advice as far as I can see. (Disclaimer: I am not a financial advisor and you should do your own research?

Buy Inflation-Linked Bonds

I didn’t even know these were out there!

With the rate of return on most bonds lower than the inflation rate having an investment that protects your wealth seems like a darned good idea. This is the same logic used to justify investing in precious metals.

Again, this isn’t a bad idea at all.

Negotiate a Pay Raise — or Two

Oh, how I with I could…

In Argentina the unions are strong enough to negotiate multiple wage increases per year to adjust wages for inflation. Good for them. It would be nice for my purchasing power not to go down, down, down as inflation goes higher, higher, higher…

Again another decent idea even if it won’t work for the majority of Americans. Yet…

Borrow Lots of Money

If the interest rate is lower than the rate of inflation…and you can afford to make the payments, go for it. Paying money back in deflated dollars leaves you ahead in the long run.

However, what you spend on is equally important as part of this advice. Buying food or durable goods with someone else’s money and paying it back in deflated dollars makes sense as long as the interest rate is fixed and lower than the inflation rate and (again) you can afford to make the payments.

I have hear Fernando “FerFAL” Aguirre tell the story a number of times about how a neighbor found a good deal on hardware (nails, screws, nuts, bolts, etc) at the beginning of the economic collapse of 2000 and bought all he could. The man literally filled his garage with them. As prices continued to increase and shortages become widespread, the man (who most of his neighbors thought of as crazy) had a gold mine in his garage that helped his family make it through those dark economic times.

Spend Your Paycheck Right Away

If inflation reaches the point where the money is worth significantly less at the end of your pay period vs. the beginning this makes sense. I don’t think we are there currently.

However, putting money into savings  and hanging on to it when the interest earned is significantly less than the rate of inflation doesn’t make sense currently. Personally, we are moving money out of savings and into investments that are (currently) returning at a higher rate than inflation. We still keep some emergency funds in cash in savings but we are reducing how much.

The Bottom Line

I don’t see where any of this is particularly bad advice. Being aware of the strategies Argentinians use is a good idea as we head into an increasingly uncertain future.

Ukraine – Something Wicked This Way Comes…

So, it seems the threat of a war in the Ukraine has filled the airwaves and the other propaganda outlets. It sure seems like a convenient way to make sure people are not paying attention to the various courtroom dramas, legal setbacks of the ruling junta, and the failing economy. What better way to take the nation’s attention off of the our own collapse than the threat of war?

That is not to say that the threat of war is not serious. It would not be the first time political posturing to take a nation’s mind off of domestic issues spiraled out of control. I have followed the situation in Ukraine for years and every previous time there was a “Russian buildup” it was tied to strengthening the bargaining position of one side or the other. Four decades after the end of the Cold War nothing opens the floodgates on US aid money that the threat of a mass of Russian tanks crossing a border somewhere. That same mass of Russian tanks tends to be very effective at influencing the behaviors of smaller nations facing those tanks.

The same pundits who have always had an valid explanation other than a Russian invasion for the troop movements are now saying that the tanks are very likely to roll this time, probably sometime in in January or February. Some will argue that will not happen. After all, who attacks in winter? The answer to those who only think they know history is…the Russians.

So, there is a very significant probability that the Russians are willing to roll this time. Based on the track record of those who have stolen control of our nation, the Russians are probably pretty confident that the US will fail to defend Ukraine as we are treaty bound to do. It is also probable that the current regime in the US will bumble their way into a war that they are incapable of winning. No matter how this plays out the US will suffer. As will the Ukrainian people.

Now, what happens if the US gets tangled up in the Ukraine?

First and foremost, we will likely face a massive wave of cyber attacks on critical infrastructure and financial systems. The Russian hackers are very good. We will probably see power outages, cellular and Internet outages and issues with electronic banking including EBT, debit, credit, zelle, etc being unavailable.

So, keep the fuel in your vehicles topped off. Have a backup power source and plenty of fuel and a way to stay warm in the cold. Keep some extra cash on hand if you can. Have an alternate means of communication and receiving news. I have sent out an message to my family to be prepared for such things and will be communicating it to my extended team before long.

Iran could decide it was time to actually use some of the newly purchased (with dollars provided by President Obama’s administration) military toys it has. Saudi Arabia, through Yemen, or Israel could face a firestorm.

With the US tied up fighting Russia, North Korea could decide to forcibly unify the peninsula.

Even more likely, China could move forward with bringing Taiwan into the fold by force. I don’t think they would directly invade Taiwan but they could take some of the smaller islands controlled by Taiwan relatively easily and set up a blockade of the nation as  whole. The US would be unable to respond in any meaningful way.

I pray that there are enough adults in the room to prevent a worst case scenario.

Be alert, get prepared, fight the good fight!

God bless and God save the Republic.