Bruce’s Poor Man Bulletin
Your choice for urban survival resources
In this issue:
1. Opting out of Social Security
2. Bottled water on the cheap for emergencies
3. Rising gold prices mean rising commodity prices ahead
4. How to get a free car
5. Buy a home-get a $100K discount
6. Mothers Home Business Network Resource
7. Jim’s Amazing Secret Bunker, More useful stuff!
Go green - recycle Congress in 2010!
Government Spending Gone Wild!
For a couple of years now I’ve been trying to interest some TV producer in my game show The Middle Class Squeeze, without luck…now, I figure, I’ll try another show which I plan to call - government spending gone wild, a natural for the Fox Network!
With gold on a record-setting streak, and the battered ol' greenback plumbing new, multi-year lows, the debate over the "Battle of the 'flations" has returned with a vengeance.
We all know the government's CPI numbers are a junk stat...at best. For those of us living with the cost of food and energy, which the CPI reading conveniently excuses, the eroding purchasing power of the once- mighty US dollar is becoming an increasingly painful concern.
"Monetary warfare!" says The Financial Times. In North America, the US is pointing its heavy guns at China... the US Congress has proposed a bill naming China as a 'currency manipulator.' How, exactly, is China manipulating the renminbi? It is holding steadfast to the dollar! This, says US Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, "translates into a significant subsidy, artificially making US products more expensive, and jeopardizing efforts to create and preserve manufacturing jobs in America."
Who would have figured?
You may have seen this on the news but I don’t recall seeing much play on network news (what a surprise)…but our Social Security system now takes in less than it pays out…after years of its funds being raided by Congress…
“The Social Security Trust Fund is misnamed. It cannot be trusted, and it is not funded.”
–Former US Comptroller General David Walker, July 2010.
It’s official, Social Security is essentially broke - How You can Opt out of Social Security
If David Walker – who was essentially the US government’s accountant from 1998-2008 – can make jokes like that about Social Security, we’re in trouble. Indeed, as we noted in our essay “The End of Social Security as We Know It”, the Social Security Trust recently began paying out more than it is taking in. Over the next 75 years, the Fund will require an additional $5.4 trillion to pay for scheduled benefits.
Given the deplorable fiscal condition of the Social Security Trust Fund, some forward-looking Americans are asking, “Why can’t I just opt out?” Even middle-aged members of the Baby Boom generation are wondering if there will be any Social Security left for them when the time comes…and if they wouldn’t be better off abandoning the government’s mandatory retirement plan.
So can you opt out? In a word, yes. Read more here:
"Never trust governments absolutely
and always do what you can to prevent
them from doing too much harm."
-- John Arthur Passmore
(1914-2004) Australian philosopher
This Week’s Hints, Freebies & Resources
Find coupons for online stores here plus other consumer tidbits
Buy a home - get a $100K Discount
How to get a free car…in return for becoming a rolling advertisement. Some firms provide a car with advertising on it to people who do a lot of driving in heavily populated areas. Others use vinyl film that promotes a product. You might be asked to drive specific routes or park in specified areas to maximize exposure.
To find such a company, sign up with an information directory, such as Free Car Index at: www.freecarindex.com or www.thefreecar.com
Most have a small sign up fee of about $30 but they connect you only with legitimate sources.
Wanted: Writers and film makers. If this is your passion visit www.DemandStudios.com, which make use of freelancers to create content which they in turn sell to bigger web portals. Payments are based on either flat rate or revenue-sharing basis.
Visit Kelly Land’s site for advice and at-home legitimate job listings at:
Mothers’ Home Business Network is another useful site to learn about working from home. Go to: www.HomeWorkingMom.com
Stay on top of coupon scams which posts copies of recent fakes…
Speaking of coupons, fill your cart and save at this site:
If you’re an AARP member-save at least 50% on restaurant gift certificates:
Though most of us have toned down holiday spending over the past few years, often opting for the practical over the glitzy…try this online resource to get cash back…
online stores participating with Ebates are well known retailers. For example, particpating retailers include Walmart, JC Penney, Staples, Nordstrom, Kohls, Orbitz, HP, Disney, and the list goes on. Ebates is about as easy a way to save money on everyday purchases as you'll find anywhere.
To date, Ebates members have already earned more than $55,000,000 and you can join them today for free! To get more information and to sign up for free, visit Ebates.
Civilization is the progress toward a society of privacy
GLOBAL COMPETITIVENESS RANKINGS
Switzerland is once again ranked number one on the Global Economic
Forum's latest international competitiveness rankings. Sweden, rising
to number two, is also joined by Finland, the Netherlands, and Denmark
in the top 10, making the Nordic countries one of the most economically
competitive regions in the world.
The Global Competitiveness Report compares countries on the strength of
such measures as infrastructure, institutions, labor market efficiency,
education and training, technological readiness, and innovation, in
addition to a poll of more than 13,500 business leaders in 139
economies. The goal is to give policy leaders a picture of their
competitive strengths and weaknesses.
The United States fell two places from 2009 to 2010 (placing fourth
behind Singapore). According to the report, the downward slip in U.S.
competitiveness reflects concerns for the strength of U.S. public and
private institutions, as well as its financial markets.
SOURCE: Global Competitiveness Report 2010-2011, World Economic Forum
Bottled Water Storage-Reader tip!
I live in one of the hurricane regions...Texas, near the Gulf.
Right now, I am finishing up my hurricane preps---something I do every year down here.
First and foremost: WATER.
I don't have the money to go out buy a crap load of bottled water, so I bottle my own.
I use 2 liter soda bottles. There is a never ending supply of those where I live now...got a bunch of 20 somethings in the apartments below me and across from me and they happily give me all their *empties*!
I scald out all the bottles and drop the caps into boiling water for one minute.
Although everyone tells me that city/municipal water supplies probably have enough chlorine in them to insure against molds/bacteria/fungus/etc., I still put a three drops of bleach in each bottle. Fill with tap water, cap tightly and store.
I use a *sharpie* marker and put the date on each bottle (I write it on the label).
I bottle water every 6 months...the bottles I am currently filling now will be *retired* in 6 months...I will dump all the water out, scald them again, let them dry completely, then fill with rice or beans to tuck into my food storage.
I aim for twenty 2 liter bottles per person here, thirty if I can squeeze a few more under beds and such.
I have a dog, so ten bottles for her are also stored.
It doesn't take a lot of time, effort or expense to do this---I can do a bunch at once or just a few per day.
Having water stored like this has come in handy on several occasions, especially during Hurricane Ike. Thanks Tim for forwarding this to us…you’ll get a PoorMan CD in the mail!
Get ready for winter. Have a sturdy fire wood shed to supply your fireplace or woodstove.
Illustrated, step-by-step building instructions, by John Vivian, will let you customize and then build your own version of a classic 4'x8' New England Saltbox fire wood shed. With timber-frame construction and cedar shingle roof, this shed is designed for years and years of use.
And, you don't have to be a wood burner to use this design. Drive through New England and you'll see many little sheds, just like this one, used for a variety of purposes. They make great run-ins for small animals and shelters for bales of hay. With sales tables in front they are often used as farm stands. And, you'll also see them by the sides of roads keeping rain and snow off kids as they wait for their school bus.
Click here to see a photo and to get the the complete free building guide from Mother Earth News >>>
( http://www.todaysplans.net/use-motherearthnews-diy-woodshed-building-guide.html )
Click here to find more shed plans, kits, free plans and building guides >>>
( http://www.abettershed.com )
How to seal a bag and make it air-tight!
Cut up a disposable water bottle and keep the neck and top.
Insert the plastic bag through the neck and screw the top – to seal
The bottle is made to be air-tight, such that water will not leak, the secret lies with the top and screw…thanks Carolyn for sending us this tip! You’ll get a copy of our most recent Poor Man III CD.
"Trust is a two way street. If your government does not trust you, how can you trust your government?"
-- Bruce Montague
Google – the Big Brother of the internet.
Google not only wants to know it all, it already – um – kind of does. As Eric Schmidt, Google’s CEO so aptly puts it, “We know a lot about you. We know a lot about what you care about. We know where you are, and we know what you like.”
Great. Makes me feel safe. So how do we find out what Google knows – or wants to know?
A man by the name of Jamie Wilkinson got concerned enough about Google’s tracking practices that he developed an add-on for Firefox called Google Alarm. This nifty add-on alerts you by sight and sound every time your personal information is being sent back to Google’s servers. And if you don’t want a (pretty-obnoxious-as-far as-I’m-concerned) fog-horn alarm sounding off every time you visit a site that is being tracked (which was quite often, at least in my case), Google Alarm gives you the option to turn it off and only be notified visually. In addition, Google Alarm keeps running stats (by percentage) of websites your have visited that have Google bugs present and shows you those, too. I downloaded this add-on and it indeed does everything it says. Google Alarm is free.
Ghostery is a very impressive program (add-on). It tracks and shows you all of the companies currently tracking you and your browsing habits (and there are a lot of them). Not only that, it gives you the information on any company that has been tracking you and the offer to block the company from access your surfing habits, as well. It gives you a link to each company so that you can research the company and find out their practices and policy practices. It is a very simple program to use. Ghostery is free
To read more about Erick Schmidt and his predictions on the future of the internet, click here for the article from ReadWriteWeb.
"You know, the very powerful and the very stupid have one thing in common, they
don't alter their views to fit the facts, they alter the facts to fit their
views, which can be uncomfortable, if you happen to be one of the facts that
-- Doctor Who
A little fun…
I like to slam eBay a lot and here’s a little parody about buying on eBay from Weird Al Yankovic
Jim’s Amazing Secret Bunker-for the serious prepper!
Gear Up -- Appropriate and Redundant Technologies for Prepared Families
I frequently stress the importance of well-balanced preparedness in my writings. All too often, I've seen people that go to extremes, to the point that these extremes actually detract from the ability to survive a disaster situation. These range from the "all the gear that I'll need to survive is in my backpack" mentality to the "a truckload of this or that" fixation. But genuine preparedness lies in comprehensive planning, strict budgeting, and moderation. Blowing your entire preparedness budget on just one category of gear is detrimental to your overall preparedness.
Another common mistake that I see among my consulting clients is an over-emphasis on either very old technologies or on the "latest and greatest" technologies. In the real world, preparedness necessitates having a bit of both. At the Rawles Ranch we have both 19th century technology (like hand-powered tools) and a few of the latest technologies like passive IR intrusion detection (Dakota Alerts), photovoltaics, and electronic night vision. My approach is to pick and choose the most appropriate technologies that I can maintain by myself, but to always have backups in the form of less exotic or earlier, albeit less-efficient technologies. For example, my main shortwave receiver is a Sony ICF-SW7600GR. But in the event of EMP, I also a have a pair of very inexpensive Kaito shortwaves and a trusty old Zenith Trans-Oceanic radio that uses vacuum tubes. Like my other spare electronics, these are all stored in a grounded galvanized steel can when not in use.
Here is my approach to preparedness gear, in a nutshell
* Redundancy, squared. I jokingly call my basement Jim's Amazing Secret Bunker of Redundant Redundancy (JASBORR)
* Buy durable gear. Think of it as investing for your children and grandchildren. And keep in mind that there'll be no more "quick trips to the hardware store" after TSHTF.
* Vigilantly watch Craigslist, Freecycle, classified ads, and eBay for gear at bargain prices.
* Strive for balanced preparedness that "covers all bases"--all scenarios.
* Flexibility and Adaptability (Examples: shop to match a 12 VDC standard for most small electronics, truly multi-purpose equipment, multi-ball hitches, NATO slave cable connectors for 24 VDC vehicles, Anderson Power Pole connectors for small electronics--again, 12 VDC)
* Retain the ability to revert to older, more labor-intensive technology.
* Fuel flexibility (For example: Flex fuel vehicles (FFVs), Tri-fuel generators, and biodiesel compatible vehicles)
* Purchase high-quality used (but not abused) gear, preferably when bargains can be found
* If in doubt, then buy mil-spec.
* If in doubt, then buy the larger size and the heavier thickness.
* If in doubt, then buy two. (Our motto: "Two is one and one is none.")
* Buy systematically, and only as your budget allows. (Avoid debt!)
* Invest your sweat equity. Not only will you save money, but you also will learn more valuable skills.
* Train with what you have, and learn from the experts. Tools without training are almost useless.
* Learn to maintain and repair your gear. (Always buy spare parts and full service manuals!)
* Buy guns in common calibers
* Buy with long service life in mind (such as low self-discharge NiMH rechargeable batteries.)
* Store extra for charity and barter
* Grow your own and buy the tooling to make your own--don't just store things.
* Rust is the enemy, and lubrication and spot painting are your allies.
* Avoid being an "early adopter" of new technology--or you'll pay more and get lower reliability.
* Select all of your gear with your local climate conditions in mind.
* Recognize that there are no "style" points in survival. Don't worry about appearances--concentrate on practicality and durability.
* As my old friend "Doug Carlton" is fond of saying: "Just cut to size, file to fit,, and paint to match."
* Don't skimp on tools. Buy quality tools (such as Snap-on and Craftsman brands), but buy them used, to save money.
* Skills beat gadgets and practicality beats style.
* Use group standardization for weapons and electronics. Strive for commonality of magazines, accessories and spare parts
* Gear up to raise livestock. It is an investment that breeds.
* Build your fences bull strong and sheep tight.
* Tools without the appropriate safety gear (like safety goggles, helmets, and chainsaw chaps) are just accidents waiting for a place to happen.
* Whenever you have the option, buy things in flat, earth tone colors
* Plan ahead for things breaking or wearing out.
* Always have a Plan B and a Plan C
If you are serious about preparedness, then I recommend that you take a similar approach.
Obamacare-Breastfeeding the Nation
How do you feel about "We the People" and what little this seems to mean to most of our elected officials these days? This quote summarizes how many of us do feel…
"If we expected self-reliance of family groups, if we expected hardiness and
resilience and initiative on the part of individuals, and if we rewarded
initiative instead of dependence on government, we would not only ameliorate
many of the family-related social problems we see at present, but we would also
reduce our vulnerability to terrorism. People who are hardy, resilient, and
self reliant are a lot harder to terrorize."
-- Bernard H. Levin
FBI National Academy Associate
The problem, however, is too many are…
Two Paychecks Away from Homelessness
The Las Vegas Sun newspaper has done something most other papers don't bother with. They haven't just paid lip service to homelessness. They actually keep on printing stories about homeless people.
At the end of August, the paper printed an essay by a homeless man, Rodger Jacobs, who is a freelance writer:
I am a 51-year-old professional writer; throughout my 20-year career I have been an award-winning feature documentary producer (“Wadd: The Life and Times of John C. Holmes” and multiple educational documentaries), a trade and arts magazine journalist, a successful playwright (“Go Irish: The Purgatory Diaries of Jason Miller”), a true crime author and a literary event producer. For the past two years, I have enjoyed my role as a book and literature columnist for Pop Matters, a popular online journal of cultural criticism.
But in the larger scheme of things, my credentials are utterly meaningless. In less than two weeks, my girlfriend and I will be without a home in a town where we have no friends, no family, and apparently no safety net to catch us when we fall.
An interesting read, get the rest of the story:
This week started the first weekend of a local indoor flea market and none too quickly as it seems someone literally turned the switch off on summer - it’s a cold autumn! I’ve always enjoyed flea markets, the final vestige of true free enterprise and capitalism in its most basic form.
The Phoenix area used to have some of the best swap meets in the country but they went the way of Mexico or urban expansion and essentially no longer exist. Indeed, Phoenix is no longer a quaint town. It’s become a suburb of Los Angeles and Scottsdale, which once boasted to be the ‘west’s most western city,’ has become a suburb or Beverly Hills, complete with drive-thru plastic surgery centers! Most folks there no longer even know what a horse is!
While visiting the weekend flea market, I ran across entrepreneur, Courtney Garner, who makes his own salsa, something I would expect to see more in the Phoenix area than MI! The salsa is darn good and comes in several varieties.
The products are sold direct and as a ‘healthy fundraiser’ and they have a website you can view at: http://www.josesalsa.com
Gold's role as an inflation barometer, or even as a hedge against inflation, is its least important role right now.
In fact, that's way down on the list, because what gold is really telling you is that ...
Our current form of government is broken. Period.
It's corrupt (it either missed, ignored, or perhaps even turned a blind eye to the Madoff Ponzi scheme and the real estate bubble, just two examples) ...
It's inefficient (it can't pay its bills without robbing from Peter to pay Paul, or by printing more fiat money) ...indeed, expect to pay more for things like coffee, sugar, clothing & other commodities in the coming months.
After the Arab Oil embargo in the 70s, Pres. Carter promised the American people we would get off our foreign oil addiction…
The Department of Energy was created in 1977 to lessen our dependence on foreign oil. It has ballooned to 16,000 employees with a budget of $24 billion a year and we import more oil than ever before. They had 32 years to get it right and it is an abysmal failure
The feds have FAILED in every "government service" shoved down our throats while overspending our tax dollars….perhaps they need a lesson on how to run things from WalMart, the largest enterprise on the planet and one of the most successful (regardless of how you feel about them, Americans spend $36 million there EVERY SECOND - so someone must like them)! Will Rogers got it right when he stated…
"Things in our country run in spite of the government, not by the aid of it."
-- Will Rogers
Yours for better living - the Poor Man!
The next issue might be a tad later than usual…our little log cabin might just up and running & we’ll have some photos posted on our site AND a funny story as to our how we managed to nearly double the size of living space on the property for less than $3000!
Give a holiday gift or birthday present that won’t set you back a dime-a free subscription to our weekly newsletter…your friends will thank you for it - forward this today!
Don't Get Caught With Your Pantry Down-New 11th Ed.
A Shallow Planet Production