Sunday, February 26, 2012

Peak Oil: Implications for Preparedness and Self-Sufficiency

By James Wesley, Rawles -- Editor of

I'm often asked about Peak Oil Theory, (or "Hubbert's Peak") and whether this is valid. Let me start with a little background, courtesy of the hive mind at Wikipedia:

"In the context of Hubbert Peak theory, peak oil is the date when the peak of the world's conventional petroleum (crude oil) production rate is reached. After this date the rate of production is predicted to enter terminal decline, following the bell-shaped curve predicted by the theory.
Some observers such as Kenneth S. Deffeyes, Matthew Simmons, and James Howard Kunstler believe that because of the high dependence of most modern industrial transport, agricultural and industrial systems on inexpensive oil, the post-peak production decline and possible resulting severe price increases will have negative implications for the future outlook of the global economy. Predictions as to what exactly this negative effect will be vary wildly. More positive outlooks, putting the peak of production in the 2020s or 2030s show the price at first escalate and then retreat as other types of fuel sources are used as transport fuels and fuel substitution in general occurs. More dire predictions which operate on the thesis that the peak will occur shortly or has already occurred predict a global depression and even the collapse of industrial global civilization as the various feedback mechanisms of the global market cause a disastrous chain reaction. The shortfall will either have to be mitigated through conservation or through alternatives."

Some proponents contend that the oil production peak has already occurred, we are now on the downhill slope, and this will result in global economic troubles at best, and a total socioeconomic collapse in the worst case. Other folks (including myself) contend that there will indeed be an oil peak but that it will not occur for another 10 to 50 years. And a third camp contends that there never will be an oil crisis because either A.) alternative energy sources will be exploited, or B.) Oil is still being generated in the Earth's crust. (The "abiotic" or "abiogenic" oil theory.) There are lots of ongoing arguments on the Internet, supporting these positions. Some of the best Peak Oil web sites include The Oil Drum and Matt Savinar's Life After The Oil Crash (LATOC)

With all these arguments aside, my stance on Peak Oil is simple. It is essentially the same as my position on Y2K back in the late 1990s, and also for the more recent concerns about a possible global influenza pandemic: The threat could be huge, or the threat could be hugely overstated. But even if the threat is minimal, it is still wise to prepare. By preparing to survive in a post-Peak Oil world, you will also be prepared for a myriad of other inimical circumstances. I strongly encourage all SurvivalBlog readers to both relocate to safe, lightly populated agricultural areas with plentiful water, and to strive for self-sufficiency. Statistically, life in the hinterboonies will be much safer, regardless of what happens.

If you take Peak Oil Theory seriously, then you should embark on some active measures to prepare for a multi-generational societal collapse. The preparedness and self-sufficiency measures for Post Peak oil are just about identical to what others recommend for long term TEOTWAWKI planning, as described in great detail in SurvivalBlog's daily articles and posted letters.Post-Peak Oil preparedness does have a few peculiarities. For example, you will likely place a stronger emphasis on fuel storage and energy self-sufficiency. And if you think that transport will be adversely affected in the long term, then you might want to choose your retreat locale either inside or in close proximity to a community that you believe will fare well following a post Peak Oil crash. You need to find a community that has the potential to be fully self-sufficient in the absence of outside commerce. Some of the communities mentioned in my Recommended Retreat Locales web page may match that requirement.

In my estimation, those preparing for post-Peak Oil are not much different than folks that are preparing for other scenarios. Most of them, I have found, are a bit naive about the threat of societal unrest, dislocated populations, and looting. For this reason, they don't view high population density with the same alarm that I do. Many "Peak Oilers" have chosen to relocate to Texas, California's Central Valley, and the Southwest, with the fair assumption that the warmer climate will require less home heating, and the high number of sunny days will facilitate photovoltaic power generation and solar water/space heating. They certainly have that right. But given the high population density of Texas and California, the illegal immigrant population throughout the southwest, and the arid climate in most of the region could pose problems in the event of a grid-down collapse. (Much of the region is dependent on electrically-pumped well water. In the event that the western power grid goes down, even the "farming country" in most of the southwest would soon revert to desert and hence there will be massive numbers of desperate refugees. Even if you have a self-sufficient farm with a photovoltaic power well pump, nearly all of your neighbors won't. Odds are that when the grid goes down, they will be hungry, thirsty, and desperate. My general guidance is to relocate to the Inland Northwest region. This lightly populated region has more plentiful water than the southwest. Granted, there are fewer "solar days", but I'd rather have plentiful water and less worry about huge waves of refugees.

For further details on how and where to set up a self-sufficient survival retreat, see my nonfiction book Rawles on Retreats and Relocation.

Copyright 2007-2012. All Rights Reserved by James Wesley, Rawles - Permission to reprint, repost or forward this article in full is granted, but only if it is not edited or excerpted.

About the Author:
James Wesley, Rawles is a former U.S. Army Intelligence officer and a noted author and lecturer on survival and preparedness topics. He is the author of the novel "Patriots: Surviving the Coming Collapse" and is the editor of popular daily web journal for prepared individuals living in uncertain times. - Derivatives - Derivatives

Note: Permission to reprint, repost or forward the following article in full is granted, but only if it is not edited or excerpted.

(This article was first posted to on Sept. 25, 2006.)

Derivatives--The Mystery Man Who'll Break the Global Bank at Monte Carlo

By James Wesley, Rawles -- Editor of

When I do radio interviews or lecture presentations, I'm often asked: "Mister Rawles, what do you see as a likely 'worst case scenario'?" People expect me to say "a full scale nuclear exchange in World War III" or, "a stock market crash", or "a flu pandemic", or "a sudden end to the current real estate bubble." But most of them are surprised when I respond: Economic collapse triggered by the popping of the derivatives bubble. Many people that are involved in the periphery of the investing world--including most small investors--have never even heard of derivatives. They may have heard of 'hedge funds", but they don't understand what they are. Yet in terms of the sheer number of Dollars, Yen, and Euros traded, these investments represent the biggest financial market of all.

What are derivatives? The Derivatives Primer sums it up nicely in one sentence: "Derivatives are financial contracts designed to create pure price exposure to an underlying commodity, asset, rate, index or event." Another way of putting is it is that a derivative contract is a secondary or "derived" wager on the future price of an investment in an underlying market. It is much like the futures markets for stocks, bonds, and commodities. But a derivative can be something even more speculative. A derivative can be a bet on a incremental market change in yet another bet on an incremental change--in effect a hedge on a hedge, or bet on a bet. Derivatives are traded globally, and are less regulated than other financial markets. All traders like to hedge their bets. And these days they typically use exotic derivative contracts to do so.

Derivative contracts can be traded in just about anything: stock, bonds, commodities, credit, interest rates, or currencies. You can place a derivative bet on next year's price of QQQ (the aggregate price of all NASDAQ stocks), or you can place a bet on the price of tea in China. A corporation can make a forward rate agreement (FRA), predicting the interest rate that it will pay on money that it plans to borrow for a factory expansion in two years. An agreement to borrow or lend a certain amount of principal at a specified interest rate and time.You can bet on the future of the futures market in pork bellies. Economist Robert Chapman summed it up best when he wrote: "The point everyone misses is buying derivatives is not investing. It is gambling, insurance and high stakes bookmaking. Derivatives create nothing."

How big is the derivatives universe? As William Shatner would say: "Big, reaalllly big!" The scary thing is that the volume of derivatives trades is much larger than their underlying markets. To give you some perspective, here is a quote from economist Gary Novak, "The total annual product of the globe is around $30 trillion. I estimate that the total value of the global real estate is around $50 trillion. A few years ago, Alan Greenspan said the amount of derivatives on the books was $200 trillion. More recently, the figure was stated to be $300 trillion. Now, someone is saying $770 trillion." That's a lot of zeroes.

Economist Robert Chapman was one the first to warn the public about the full implications of the derivatives bubble. More recently, there have been many others, most notably by Michael J. Panzner, (best known as the author of Stock Market Jungle), who last year penned The Coming Disaster in the Derivatives Market. In a July, 2003 commentary titled "He's Forever Blowing Bubbles" (about Alan Greenspan), Dr. Gary North encapsulated the greatest risk of the ever-expanding hedge trading universe: "The derivatives market is an interconnected system of debts and credits that are based mainly on expected earnings of assets of all kinds. Sellers of expected earnings discount them in a highly leveraged financial futures market. Winners and losers offset each other in any transaction. It's a zero-sum game: for every loser, there is a winner, assuming – the central assumption on which our civilization rests – the loser pays off. If he doesn't, "the knee bone's connected to the thigh bone; the thigh bone's connected to the hip bone." It's cascading cross defaults time!"

The first really big indication of the potential risk of derivatives came in 1999, when the heavy-into-hedges trading firm Long-Term Capital Management (LTCM) collapsed. At the time, they were carrying $1.4 trillion (that's trillion with a "T", not "B" for billion) in derivatives on their books. But LTCM had only about $4 billion in net asset value, with assets totaling over $100 billion. Again they had about $1.4 TRILLION in derivatives bets on the table when the house of cards collapsed. They were quietly and quickly bailed out in joint effort between the U.S. Federal Reserve and some big banks, minimizing the public outcry. (Unlike the Enron collapse, with the LTCM collapse, few small investors were hurt.) In testimony before congress about the LTCM mess, former Fed chairman Al Greenspan noted ominously: "...on occasion there will be mistakes made, as there were in LTCM and I will forecast without knowing who, what or where, that there will be many more. I would suspect there are potential disasters running into a very large number, in the hundreds."

Robert Chapman pointed out that had not the Federal Reserve and the big lenders stepped in on the LTCM debacle, the markets would have had to absorb an $80 billion hit. At the time that LTCM went down in '99, only six banks had notional derivatives exposure above $1 trillion. But there are now dozens and perhaps a hundred or more private banks, investment firms, central banks, and national governments with that much derivatives exposure.

Before the 1999 LTCM debacle, there were some forewarnings of derivatives disasters:

The Future

The global derivatives universe hums along nicely in times like these--in times like we've had since 1988. There are no nasty LTCM-type headlines. In such times market changes are gradual and incremental. For example, a derivatives trader makes a tidy profit when he bets that the Dow Jones will be 2.2% higher next year instead of the generally expected 1.9% Or another bets that higher fuel costs will put the pinch on bird guano miners in the South Pacific, curtailing their annual profits. What the hedge book boys have never encountered is a market with huge swings--something like the equities markets of the 1929 to 1935 era. If that volatility were to occur today, many derivatives traders would surely be wiped out. Their losses would be monumental. Again, we are talking about somewhere between $300 trillion and $770 trillion presently on the casino table. These are boggling figures. The risks, in absolute terms, are incalculable. Don't forget that directly or indirectly, central ("state") banks and national governments themselves are now inextricably tied to the derivatives trading universe. They are not just "dabbling in derivatives". Rather, they are in derivatives up to their necks. If and when the global derivatives bubble ever pops, it may topple not just trading companies like Goldman Sachs, or corporations like GM, Daimler-Chrysler, or RCA, but entire nations. I'm not kidding.

The derivatives market was relatively small when the U.S. markets had their last big hiccup in 1987, and it was even smaller when the commodities markets went through their last big spikes in 1978 to 1981. The whole derivatives universe has grown up since then. So we are in essentially uncharted waters, with no way to predict the effects of huge markets swings on the derivatives markets. The hedge boys will be entering terra incognita. The big market swings will blind-side the hedge traders. Some will get hurt very badly. The implications could be huge.

As another precursor of trouble ahead, the latest hedge fund fiasco was reported in September of 2006 by Bill Bonner and Lila Rajiva: "Hedge fund Amaranth Advisors [an Energy derivatives firm] managed to lose $4.6 billion - about half its entire value - in a matter of just a few days through a sensational miscalculation of the price of natural gas futures in the spring of 2007. Today's news tells us the figure has now grown to $6 billion."

Protect Yourself with Tangible Investments

The early 21st Century may go down in history as the era of the Derivatives Implosion. Because of their derivatives books, some major corporations may go down in flames, wiping out investors. Entire currencies might even cease to exist. Protect yourself. Diversify out of dollar denominated paper investments. Hedge into tangibles like silver and gold. Buy some productive farm or ranch land with plentiful water where you'll fare better if the power grid goes down. For some detailed guidance on both tangibles investing and physical survival,

In closing, my advice is to do your own form of hedging: Hedge against the future follies of the big hedge funds by diversifying out of dollars and into tangibles. You can expect trouble to occur when you start to see radical swings in interest rates or in the stock and bond markets. I predict that someday there will be big, bad, financial news about derivatives in the headlines. How big? Reaalllly big.

Disclaimer: I'm not a registered investment adviser. I'm just an individual investor with my own opinions.

Copyright 2006-2012. All Rights Reserved by James Wesley, Rawles - Permission to reprint, repost or forward this article in full is granted, but only if it is not edited or excerpted.

About the Author:
James Wesley, Rawles is a former U.S. Army Intelligence officer and a noted author and lecturer on survival and preparedness topics. He is the author of "Patriots: A Novel of Survival in the Coming Collapse" and is the editor of popular daily web journal for prepared individuals living in uncertain times.

Do It Yourself Gunsmithing, by Charles M. -

Do It Yourself Gunsmithing, by Charles M. - Do It Yourself Gunsmithing, by Charles M.

Much has been written about what particular guns are best for home defense and SHTF, but I haven’t seen much about taking care of these weapons when gunsmiths are not around. Let’s look at what typically causes firearms to fail.

As a gunsmith, the main cause of firing malfunctions I see is dirt. This can be crud built up from dust collecting in oil forming a grease-like substance, or rust, or build-up from burned powder (carbon), or residue from the casings or shells.

The second most encountered problems stem from magazines, or broken or weak springs. Lost pins or screws, and broken extractors or firing pins tend to be the next [most common] group of failures.

So how do you prepare for these problems? First, if you don’t have an owner’s manual for your gun, go to the manufacturer’s web site and download one. It will give you information on proper operation, how to field strip the gun for cleaning, and lubrication instructions. If it is an older gun, you may be able to find a manual at The next document you should have is an exploded parts list and instructions on disassembly and assembly of the firearm. Many of these are also available at

Frog in the Boiling Pot of Government: How the Fall of Greece Affects YOU | Gerald Celent...

Frog in the Boiling Pot of Government: How the Fall of Greece Affects YOU | Gerald Celent...: How the Fall of Greece Affects YOU | Gerald Celente Trends Blog How the Fall of Greece Affects YOU They are printing money because t...

Revelations of the Mayans 2012 and beyond - The coming Disclosure | Gerald Celente Trends Blog

Revelations of the Mayans 2012 and beyond - The coming Disclosure | Gerald Celente Trends Blog: Revelations of the Mayans 2012 and beyond - The coming Disclosure
Revelations of the Mayans 2012 and beyond coming Disclosure...2012: The Fall of the Aztecs.Mayan Calendar. The Serpent god of the Cross Returns.We are also asked if we believe the world will end in 2012? The answer is: "no." The next cycle of the Mayan calendar ends on 2012. Does this mean the Maya's believed the world end on 2012? No. It means the calendar ends. Yet, there is also a warning, and we must learn from the past, so let those with eyes, see. A recent Mexican documentary about Mayan civilization has proof that aliens visited earth, according to its producer. Really. Raul Julia-Levy, son of actor Raul Julia, made the bizarre claims about 'Revelations of the Mayans 2012 and Beyond' to industry site. He told them the movie will show "codices, artifacts and significant documents with evidence of Mayan and extraterrestrial contact, and all of their information will be corroborated by archaeologists." .

'Officer Safety' Uber Alles: The Coercion Cartel's Prime Directive by William Norman Grigg

'Officer Safety' Uber Alles: The Coercion Cartel's Prime Directive by William Norman Grigg: This would expand existing legal protection for the defensive use of lethal force against home invaders -- including, where appropriate, the government-employed variety. That prospect is causing the local tax eaters’ guild to irrigate their skivvies.

Dennis Flaherty, executive director of the Minnesota Police and Peace Officers Association, complains that enactment of the measure "could result in dangerous situations for police officers, who regularly enter homes without permission," reports Twin Cities ABC affiliate KSTP. "We’re fearful that people will react and shoot and our officers could be mistaken for someone that they believe is trying to jeopardize their safety," simpers Flaherty. In encounters of the kind Flaherty describes, it would be more accurate to say that citizens would recognize police officers as people who "jeopardize their safety."

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Digital Devices And The Question Of Privacy | Fox News

Digital Devices And The Question Of Privacy | Fox News

Digital devices and the question of privacy


Published February 23, 2012


As we become more and more dependent upon digital devices (Blackberry, Ipad, Android, computer) to store personal information, most of us take for granted that the information is private. But is it?

On January 24, 2012, Google announced it was changing its privacy policies. Instead of a policy for each individual product (YouTube, Gmail, Google search, Picasa), all 60 Google services will now be covered by a blanket policy, one that is a lot shorter and easier to read.

And for the first time, information across all platforms will be combined to create a fuller portrait of users. Ostensibly, the move will help Google better tailor ads to people’s tastes. Google says they’ll never sell your personal information, or share it, without permission.

Simple enough …but the fact that users cannot “opt out,” and given Google’s checkered past regarding privacy issues, serious concerns are being expressed by privacy experts, federal agencies and congressional lawmakers.

Google is already under a consent order from the Federal Trade Commission for using deceptive tactics and violating consumer privacy, when it launched its Buzz social network in 2010.

And according to the Department of Justice, Google has also paid, “one of the largest settlements in U.S. history,” as a result of a criminal investigation by the DOJ and the United States Attorney in Rhode Island.

If you use Google, YouTube, Gmail or Picassa -- be sure to tune in to Justice Saturday night at 9 p.m. ET. Prepare to be outraged! Forewarned is forearmed.

Justice w/ Judge Jeanine airs on Saturday night at 9 p.m. ET on Fox News.


Read more:

Survival Techniques when the SHTF by Joe Nobody | Gerald Celente Trends Blog

Survival Techniques when the SHTF by Joe Nobody | Gerald Celente Trends Blog: Survival Techniques when the SHTF by Joe Nobody
The Health Ranger talks with Joe Nobody, author of Holding Your Ground: Preparing for Defense if it All Falls Apart, Without Rule of Law: Advanced Skills to Help You Survive and other titles. Joe has provided systems, consulting and training for the U.S. Army, Department of Homeland Security, Office of Naval Research, United States Border Patrol as well as several private firms and government agencies which cannot be disclosed. There are always previews prior to the real thing happening on your front doorstep. Currently the civil disorder in Greece, and the UK riots are two such previews for the future

On the Brink: Fiscal Austerity Threatens a Global Recession

On the Brink: Fiscal Austerity Threatens a Global Recession: On the Brink: Fiscal Austerity Threatens a Global Recession

G. Edward Griffin, "The Federal Reserve is a Private Banking Cartel" - YouTube

G. Edward Griffin, "The Federal Reserve is a Private Banking Cartel" - YouTube: G. Edward Griffin, "The Federal Reserve is a Private Banking Cartel"

Complete Urban City Preparedness Guide for Economic Collapse, Natural Disaster, WROL SHTF - YouTube

Complete Urban City Preparedness Guide for Economic Collapse, Natural Disaster, WROL SHTF - YouTube: Complete Urban City Preparedness Guide for Economic Collapse, Natural Disaster, WROL SHTF

Secure Your Home

Secure Your Home: Secure your home

The most important precaution you can take to reduce damage to your home and property is to protect the areas where wind can enter. According to recent wind technology research, it's important to strengthen the exterior of your house so wind and debris do not tear large openings in it. You can do this by protecting and reinforcing these five critical areas:

A great time to start securing - or retrofitting - your house is when you are making other improvements or adding an addition.

Remember: building codes reflect the lessons experts have learned from past catastrophes. Contact the local building code official to find out what requirements are necessary for your home improvement projects.

The National Flood Insurance Program, is a pre-disaster flood mitigation and insurance protection program designed to reduce the escalating cost of disasters. The National Flood Insurance Program makes federally backed flood insurance available to residents and business owners

Flood damage is not usually covered by homeowners insurance. Do not make assumptions. Check your policy.