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Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Turning Vets into Farmers, Lower Utility Bills, Property Taxes

Bruce’s Poor Man Survival Bulletin

A Digest of Urban Survival Resources

ISSN 2161-5543

A Free Press is the Guardian of a Free People

In This Issue:

1.       Lower those utility bills

2.      Lower your property tax bill

3.      More, useful self-sufficiency sites, Vets into Farmers

4.      Overlooking small money matters can cost you plenty

5.      Wall Street continues its bad practices

"Politicians never accuse you of ‘greed’ for wanting other people’s money—only for wanting to keep your own money."
-- Joseph Sobran
(1946-2010) Columnist

Here are simple ways by which you can significantly lower your exposure to rising utility bills:

Two weeks ago I shared with readers why your utility rates are going up.  Here are few useful tips on how to lower those painful rate hikes.

Turn your thermostat down 8 degrees before you go to bed. Use heated mattress pads or heated blankets to keep yourself toasty while you sleep. This could easily yield savings of 10%.

Turn your thermostat way down when no one is home. Yes, it will feel chilly for a few minutes when you come back home, but avoiding all the wasted heat during the hours or days while you are gone will translate into big savings.

Get an insulation jacket for your water heater (assuming it’s not recommended against by the manufacturer of your particular model). By wrapping up your water heater, you can cut heat losses by 25% or more. A simple wrap kit from a home improvement store will pay for itself in less than a year.

Use Your Shades

During the day, open your shades to let the sunlight help warm your house. Close your shades at night to help your house retain heat.

Explore installing a wood burning heat source.  Wood, in most parts of the country is still pretty cheap and if you have your own wood supply on your farmstead, so much the better.

Find more useful tips here:

PM’s Compendium of Useful Resources

More useful resources for living a frugal, self sufficient life...

Free ebooks on Self Sufficient Living - Handy

Interesting site and good article on working from home

Homesteading Information Directory - A directory of homesteading sites including topics such as animal husbandry, self-sufficiency, and more.

Well Kind Of – With Self Sufficiency & Frugal Living Tips Plus Musings from the Mountain.

Veterans to Farmers

Non-profit group that teaches vets the skills they need to begin a career in agriculture; includes paid training at one of their network farms in organic farming and growing techniques.  Can be completed in nine months or less.  Get more information at:

Property Taxes Got You Fuming?

Don’t take any “official” appraisal of your home as the final word. If you believe you have been over-assessed, you can appeal. The county assessor’s office will inform you of the process upon request. Substantiating your appeal may be as simple as printing out recent sale prices of similar properties in your area culled from a five-minute Internet search


Two of the leading property tax reduction services are:

EasyTaxFix 888-292-5050;

LowerMyAssessment  877-908-7191;

Overlooking old library fines or parking tickets can cost you…

Big complication: To raise revenue, many U.S. libraries and municipalities are turning unpaid debts over to collection agencies. Once an agency takes over your debt, even if it is only $20, you can count on a big dent in your credit score―100 points or more, according to Craig Watts, a spokesperson for Fair Isaac Corp., the financial-management company that developed the FICO credit score, a number that determines a borrower’s credit history.

Small mistake: You make an insignificant claim on your home owner’s insurance.

Big complication: It can increase your monthly premiums, and you could be dropped as a customer. If dropped, it could be hard to find other coverage, as most companies share claim information.

Cut your losses: Before filing a claim, talk to your agent to help you decide whether to make the claim, advises Lamont Robinson II, a Chicago-based insurance agent for Allstate. You should pay small repairs (those less than $1,000 or less than your deductible) out of pocket. Also, raising your deductible to around $2,500 may lower your premium and deter you from making small claims.

Maine, New York, and Hawaii exact the highest average levels of taxation. Alaska, New Hampshire, and Delaware offer the lowest tax rates overall. For a comprehensive and up-to-date
listing of the highest-tax and lowest-tax states for retirees, visit the web site of the Retirement Living Information Center (

The Nanny State Updates…

Can You Hear Me Now?  Everything’s free in America

The federal government is giving out free cell phones and free cell phone minutes to welfare recipients? It may be hard to believe, but it is true. Right now, there are companies that are running advertisements specifically targeted at low income Americans informing them of the fact that all they have to do is sign up and they can get a free cell phone and hundreds of free cell phone minutes every single month and it will all be paid for by the federal government. Some have referred to this as "The Obama Phone", but that is not exactly accurate. The outrageous federal programs that are paying for this were initiated before Barack Obama entered the White House.

But the fact that welfare recipients have been receiving free cell phones and free cell phone minutes under both the Bush and Obama administrations has been confirmed as being true by Snopes. All of this is paid for by "the federal Universal Service Fund". That is one of those annoying little taxes that you may have noticed on your phone bill. So what is essentially happening is the federal government is taking money from all of us so that they can provide free cell phone service for welfare recipients every single month.

For most people, drinks are a substantial expense that can add up at the end of the month to a lot more than you might think. Is it really worth spending $3.50 at Starbucks every morning

($105.00/month)? Or $30.00 on cocktails when you go out every Friday evening


The Parting Thought – No one does the time though

Wall Street Continues to Break the Rules

Many of you might recall that the straw which broke our financial back was the repeal of the 70-year old law which prevented Wall Street from becoming a casino, playing with your money.  That law was repealed by Bill Clinton on the advice (and avarice) of Wall Street insiders who effectively got what they wanted from the White House.

The repeal of provisions of the Glass–Steagall Act by the Gramm–Leach–Bliley Act in 1999 effectively removed the separation that previously existed between investment banking which issued securities and commercial banks which accepted deposits. The deregulation also removed conflict of interest prohibitions between investment bankers serving as officers of commercial banks. This repeal directly contributed to the severity of the Financial crisis of 2007–2011 by allowing Wall Street investment banking firms to use their depositors' money that was held in the commercial banks.

Bill Moyers of PBS aired a show recently in which the players behind this influence were interviewed, admitting this was a big element leading to our downfall.  Further, they admitted this repeal was a done deal while they filed papers announcing the merger of financial firms which allowed what was to become CitiBank, even though they knew it was against the current law.

Yet, to the best of my knowledge, none of these insiders were ever brought to justice.  Indeed, it has showcased the revolving door of Washington bigwigs and Wall Street CEOs, who have taken over the country.  This is why I call them the Washington-Wall Street Cartel  See more at:

The Journal: Achieving Financial Reform

How did Big Finance grow so powerful that its hijinks nearly brought down the global economy -- and what hope is there for real reform with Washington politicians on Wall Street's payroll? Authors Simon Johnson and James Kwak, two of the nation's most respected economic experts and authors of the new book 13 BANKERS: THE WALL STREET TAKEOVER AND THE NEXT FINANCIAL MELTDOWN.

“Until the next revolution”, the Poor Man

Remember, remember the 4th of November…

Get your “We don’t need another election” Protest T-Shirt Now

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Keep our services free, visit our sites…

Check our Resources

New self sufficiency books added weekly

A Shallow Planet Production

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Surviving When UE Runs Out, When Stopped by Cops, When Snowbound

Bruce’s Poor Man Survival Bulletin

A Digest of Urban Survival Resources

ISSN 2161-5543

A Free Press is the Guardian of a Free People

In This Issue:

1.       Safer winter driving tips

2.      What to do when the unemployment runs out

3.      Free download of the LDS Preparedness Manual

4.      What to do if you’re pulled over for a traffic stop video

5.      Old Cajun health remedies, DYI Energy Bars

What’s “just” has been debated for centuries, but let me offer you my definition of social justice: I keep what I earn and you keep what you earn. Do you disagree? Well then, tell me how much of what I earn “belongs” to you -- and why?"
-- Walter Williams

Winter Safety Tips

Each time inclement weather strikes, I watch as drivers attempt to negotiate their way to work and school.  Too many drivers fall into the category of motoring morons, forgetting such simple things as turning on their headlights during foggy, rainy weather.  Even in AZ, if it rains, drivers forget basic rules of driving or in the case of the real idiots, they wind up stuck in a rain-filled gulley (even though signs block such roads).

I also find it remarkable that more employers don’t encourage their employees to work from home.  The internet, cell phones, faxes and the like make this pretty easy and it certainly would ease traffic congestion.  Doesn’t it always seem the worst traffic accidents and obstacles occur during the rush hour!

The three P’s of Safe Winter Driving:

PREPARE for the trip; PROTECT yourself; and PREVENT crashes on the road.

Maintain Your Car: Check battery, tire tread, and windshield wipers, keep your

windows clear, put no-freeze fluid in the washer reservoir, and check your antifreeze.

Have On Hand: flashlight, jumper cables, abrasive material (sand, kitty litter, even

floor mats), shovel, snow brush and ice scraper, warning devices (like flares) and

blankets. For long trips, add food and water, medication and cell phone.

Stopped or Stalled? Stay in your car, don’t overexert, put bright markers on antenna

or windows and shine dome light, and, if you run your car, clear exhaust pipe and

run it just enough to stay warm.

Plan Your route: Allow plenty of time (check the weather and leave early if

necessary), be familiar with the maps/ directions, and let others know your route

and arrival time.

Practice Cold Weather Driving!

* During the daylight, rehearse maneuvers slowly on ice or snow in an empty lot.

* Steer into a skid.

* Know what your brakes will do: stomp on antilock brakes, pump on non-antilock


* Stopping distances are longer on water-covered ice and ice.

* Don’t idle for a long time with the windows up or in an enclosed space.

Preventing Accidents

* Drugs and alcohol never mix with driving.

* Slow down and increase distances between cars.

* Keep your eyes open for pedestrians walking in the road.

* Avoid fatigue – Get plenty of rest before the trip, stop at least every three hours, and rotate drivers if possible.

For more tips and how to videos, go to this AAA site:

Canned beer hit store shelves for the first time in 1935.  They became an instant hit because of its durability and it took less time to chill.

PM’s Compendium of Useful Resources  

Check Atty, Marc Victor’s website to view his video on what you should do if you’re pulled over for a traffic stop (Thanks Marc and yeah, we miss the AZ warmth)

LDS Preparedness Manual – Very Useful Free Download

Old Cajun Home Remedies

For those whose cold or flu symptoms included annoying coughs, this Cajun remedy was likely to be a mixture containing baking soda and honey. It was not unusual for a little whiskey to be added to the homemade cough medicine so the patient could get a good night's sleep (this was long before the days of Nyquil and other over-the-counter products laden with alcohol). Just mix a teaspoon or so with an ounce of honey, add whiskey sparingly.

Using Strawberries…
1. Treatment for Acne, Blemishes, and Unwanted Freckles:

Mash up 1 cup of strawberries, and then add 2 cups of white vinegar, allowing it to steep on a very low heat for three hours. Strain the pulp and seeds. Massage the remaining liquid on the face and leave overnight. Don't worry, the mixture dries quickly. Wash off in the morning with slightly warm water.

If that remedy did not work: Wet the leaves, mash them thoroughly, into a green paste, and apply them to the blemish.

Another facial recipe for blemishes: Was to mash the strawberries into a juice,

2. Treatment for headaches:

 Mash the strawberries into a juice and drink. I know, that strawberries contain organic salicylates, which is similar to the active ingredients in aspirin, so this treatment makes sense.

Homemade, healthier energy bars

Love the idea of energy bars but freaked out by the sugar and preservatives? Turns out it's easy to make healthy versions of energy bars at home.

What to Do When Unemployment Runs Out
As the emergency fund dwindles, there are options for staying afloat while being unemployed

14 Ways to Buy Produce for Less
You are on a mission to get your family to eat healthier. You go to the store to stock up on fruits and vegetables, only to be halted by the high prices. Stick to your produce plan by learning the tricks of purchasing the right way.
Read more.

Wear socks to bed.  The extra layer under the covers can help improve circulation in your extremities which can help you fall asleep faster.

The Nanny State Updates…

"If you win this case," Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer told Deputy Solicitor General Michael Dreeben during oral argument in U.S. v. Jones last fall, "there is nothing to prevent the police or the government from monitoring 24 hours a day the public movement of every citizen of the United States." That prospect, Breyer said, "sounds like 1984 ." Fortunately, says Senior Editor Jacob Sullum, the government did not win the case. But Sullum argues that the Court's unanimous decision, announced on Monday, may not delay Breyer's 1984 scenario for long.

A DeKalb County, Georgia, police officer went to a home to investigate a possible domestic dispute and shot the family's dog. The officer claimed the dog, which was chained, lunged at him. Homeowners Anthony and Bobbie Currie ran out when they heard the shot, and Anthony says the officer, who wasn't named by local media, pointed his gun at him and threatened to "blow your brains out." It turns out the officer had gone to the wrong house. Officials say the officer faces no disciplinary actions.

The Parting Thought – Impoverished and less free

The single biggest threat to the general welfare and financial stability of this country has been Washington DC politicians…

A horrifying aspect of modern life is how nearly daily threats to fundamental freedoms and human rights nearly require that citizens become politically aware and active.

Americans are much more prone to get angry about the government tampering with the Internet than they are to worry about the maturation of an all out police state or our astronomical debt.

You are being impoverished by the state in order to make you less free

 A theft so vast that it is almost unimaginable…the U.S. government is borrowing an astounding 150 million dollars an hour that our children and our grandchildren will be expected to deal with.

As the U.S. economy worsens, protests such as those carried out by the Occupy Wall Street movement will turn ugly, breaking down into waves of violent unrest across the nation, says billionaire financier George Soros.

George Soros recently told Newsweek....

“I am not here to cheer you up. The situation is about as serious and difficult as I’ve experienced in my career,” Soros tells Newsweek. “We are facing an extremely difficult time, comparable in many ways to the 1930s, the Great Depression. We are facing now a general retrenchment in the developed world, which threatens to put us in a decade of more stagnation, or worse. The best-case scenario is a deflationary environment. The worst-case scenario is a collapse of the financial system.”

"It will be an excuse for cracking down and using strong-arm tactics to maintain law and order, which, carried to an extreme, could bring about a repressive political system, a society where individual liberty is much more constrained, which would be a break with the tradition of the United States," Soros tells Newsweek.

A self-serving government class has taken away the ideals our ancestors fought and died for...Nowadays the global police state is... global. There is hardly a country that won't just roll over for the U.S. authorities

In a recent interview with Gerald Celente....

I believe that we have to watch out for something along the lines of an economic martial law. The European system is in collapse. The financial system in the United States is just as tenuous, if not more, and I believe they will not admit there will be a financial crash but rather they will use a geo-political issue to get the people in a state of fear and hysteria whereby they'll then call a bank holiday or devaluation of the currency, or a hyperinflation of the currency, and blame it on somebody else

It is the dream of every government that all its subjects obey without question.

Barely a day goes by when we don’t read of some new encroachment on our freedoms.
You can see more and more videos spreading over the Internet, not just of police brutality, but demonstrating the militarization and federalization of police, who are being inculcated with both disdain for and paranoia about ordinary citizens.

Unrest in the United States will serve as one of many symptoms of a worsening global economy, which makes wealth preservation and family preparation a priority over getting rich.

“Until the next revolution”, the Poor Man

Remember, remember the 4th of November…

Get your “We don’t need another election” Protest T-Shirt Now

Follow us on Facebook


Keep our services free, visit our sites…

Check our Resources

New self sufficiency books added weekly

A Shallow Planet Production