Tag Archives: hard times
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Do you have a friend to help you through the tough times?
President Putin urges Russian resilience for hard times
President Vladimir Putin has warned Russians of hard times ahead and urged self-reliance, in his annual state-of-the nation address to parliament
Hasbro 2Q results miss Wall Street’s expectations
PAWTUCKET, R.I. (AP)— Hasbro’s second-quarter net income fell 16 percent, hurt by cautious consumer spending and a steep drop in sales of boys’ toys.
Toy industry sales have been in a slight decline all year, stung by a video game industry slump, shoppers’ curtailed spending and increased demand for electronic gadgets like smartphones and tablets.
Separately, the nation’s second biggest toy maker announced on Monday that it is expanding its merchandising relationship with The Walt Disney Co. for properties including Marvel and Star Wars.
For the period ended June 30, Hasbro Inc. earned $36.5 million, or 28 cents per share. That compares with $43.4 million, or 33 cents per share, a year earlier.
Removing pension-related charges of 1 cent per share, earnings were 29 cents per share.
Analysts expected earnings of 34 cents per share.
Revenue for the Pawtucket, R.I., company fell 6 percent to $766.3 million from $811.5 million, missing Wall Street’s $800.6 million estimate.
Sales were weak not only in the U.S. and Canada, where a 4 percent decline was reported, but overseas as well, which posted a 6 percent drop.
Sales of boys’ toys declined 35 percent against tough year-ago comparisons that got a boost from merchandise tied to movies. While Nerf sales rose, sales of other brands, such as Marvel and Beyblade, weakened.
25 Things That You Should Do To Get Prepared For The Coming Economic Collapse
April 9, 2013
Do you think that you know how to prepare for the collapse of the economy? If so, are you putting that knowledge into action? In America today, people are more concerned about the possibility of an economic collapse than ever before. It has been estimated that there are nowthree million preppers in the United States. But the truth that nobody really knows the actual number, because a lot of preppers keep their “prepping” to themselves. So what are all of those people preparing for exactly? Well, survey after survey has shown that “economic collapse” is the number one potential disaster that preppers are most concerned about. Of course that shouldn’t be surprising because we truly are facing economic problems that are absolutely unprecedented. We are living inthe greatest debt bubble in the history of the world, the global banking system has been transformed into a high-risk pyramid scheme of debt, risk and leverage that could collapse at any time, and wealthy countries such as the United States have been living way above their means for decades. Meanwhile, the United States is beingdeindustrialized at a blinding pace and poverty in this country isabsolutely exploding. Anyone that is not concerned about the economy should have their head examined. Fortunately, I have found that an increasing number of Americans are becoming convinced that we are heading for a horrific economic crisis. Once they come to that realization, they want to know what they should do.
And the reality is that “getting prepared” is going to look different for each family based on their own unique circumstances. Some people have a lot of resources, while others have very little. Some people are very independent of the system and can move wherever they want, while others are totally dependent on their jobs and must stay near the cities at least for now.
In addition, it is important to distinguish between the “short-term” and the “long-term” when talking about economic collapse. As I have written about previously, our economic collapse is not going to happen all at once. It is going to unfold over time. In the “short-term”, many are moving money around and are building up “emergency funds” to prepare for the next recession. For the “long-term”, many are storing up food and huge stockpiles of survival supplies in order to be prepared for the total collapse of society. Both approaches are wise, but it is important to keep in mind that different approaches will be needed at different times.
The strategies posted below are a mix of both short-term and long-term strategies. Some will be important for our immediate future, while others may not be needed for a number of years. But in the end, you will be very thankful for the time and the effort that you spent getting prepared while you still could.
The following are 25 things that you should do to get prepared for the coming economic collapse…
#1 An Emergency Fund
Do you remember what happened when the financial system almost collapsed back in 2008? Millions of Americans suddenly lost their jobs, and because many of them were living paycheck to paycheck, many of them also got behind on their mortgages and lost their homes. You don’t want to lose everything that you have worked for during this next major economic downturn. It is imperative that you have an emergency fund. It should be enough to cover all of your expenses for at least six months, but I would encourage you to have an emergency fund that is even larger than that.
#2 Don’t Put All Of Your Eggs Into One Basket
If the wealth confiscation in Cyprus has taught us anything, it is that we should not put all of our eggs in one basket. If all of your money is in one single bank account, it would be easy to wipe out. But if you have your money scattered around a number of different places it will give you a little bit more security.
#3 Keep Some Cash At Home
This goes along with the previous point. While it is not wise to keep all of your money at home, you do want to keep some cash on hand. If there is an extended bank holiday or if a giant burst from the suncauses the ATM machines to go down, you want to be able to have enough cash to buy the things that your family needs. Just ask the people of Cyprus how crippling a bank holiday can be. One way to keep your cash secure at home is by storing it in a concealed safe.
#4 Get Out Of Debt
A lot of people seem to assume that an economic collapse would wipe out all debts, but that will probably not be the case. In fact, if you are in a tremendous amount of debt you will be very vulnerable if the economy collapses and you are not able to find a job. Just ask the people who were overextended and lost their jobs during the last recession. So please get out of debt. Many debt collectors are becoming increasingly ruthless. In many areas of the country they are now routinely putting debtors into prison. You do not want to be a slave to debt when the next wave of the economic collapse strikes.
#5 Gold And Silver
In the long-term, the U.S. dollar is going to lose a tremendous amount of value and inflation is going to absolutely skyrocket. That is one reason why so many people are investing very heavily in gold, silver and other precious metals. All over the globe, the central banks of the world are recklessly printing money. Everyone knows that this is going to end very badly. In fact, there is already a push in more than a dozen U.S. states to allow gold and silver coins to be used as legal tender. Someday you will be glad that you invested in gold and silver now while their prices were still low.
#6 Reduce Your Expenses
A lot of people claim that they can’t put any money toward prepping, but the truth is that we all have room to reduce our expenses. We all spend money on things that we do not really need. Those that are “lean and mean” will tend to do much better during the times that are coming.
#7 Start A Side Business
If you do not have much money, a great way to increase your income is by starting a side business. And it does not take a lot of money – there are many side businesses that you can start for next to nothing. And starting a side business will allow you to become less dependent on your job. In this economic environment, a job could disappear at literally any time.
#8 Move Away From The Big Cities If Possible
For many people, this is simply not possible. Many Americans are still completely and totally dependent on their jobs. But if you are able, now is a good time to move away from the big cities. When the next major economic downturn strikes, there will be rioting and a dramatic rise in crime in the major cities. If you are able to move to a more rural area you will probably be in much better shape.
#9 Store Food
Global food reserves have reached their lowest level in nearly 40 years. As the economy gets even worse and global weather patterns become even more unstable, the price of food will go much higher and global food supplies will become much tighter. In the long run, you will be glad for the money that you put into long-term food storage now.
#10 Learn To Grow Your Own Food
This is a skill that most Americans possessed in the past, but that most Americans today have forgotten. Growing your own food is a way to become more independent of the system, and it is a way to get prepared for what is ahead.
#11 Nobody Can Survive Without Water
Without water, you would not even make it a few days in an emergency situation. It is imperative that you have a plan to provide clean drinking water for your family when disaster strikes.
#12 Have A Plan For When The Grid Goes Down
What would you do if the grid went down and you suddenly did not have power for an extended period of time? Anyone that has spent more than a few hours without power knows how frustrating this can be. You need to have a plan for how you are going to provide power to your home that is independent of the power company.
#13 Have Blankets And Warm Clothing On Hand
This is more for emergency situations or for a complete meltdown of society. During any major crisis, blankets and warm clothing are in great demand. They also could potentially make great barter items.
#14 Store Personal Hygiene Supplies
A lot of preppers store up huge amounts of food, but they forget all about personal hygiene supplies. During a long crisis, these are items that you would greatly miss if you do not have them stored up. These types of supplies would also be great for barter.
#15 Store Medicine And Medical Supplies
You will also want to store up medical supplies and any medicine that you may need. In an emergency situation, you definitely would not want to be without bandages and a first-aid kit. Over the course of a long crisis, you do not want to run out of any medicines that are critical for your health.
#16 Stock Up On Vitamins
A lot of preppers do not think about this either, but it is very important. These days, it is becoming increasingly difficult to get adequate nutrition from the foods that we eat. That is why it is very important to have an adequate store of vitamins and other supplements.
#17 Make A List Of Other Supplies That You Will Need
During any crisis, there will be a lot of other things that you will need in addition to food and water. The following are just a few basic things that it would be wise to have on hand…
– an axe
– a can opener
– battery-powered radio
– extra batteries
– lighters or matches
– fire extinguisher
– sewing kit
This list could be much, much longer, but hopefully this will get you started.
#18 Don’t Forget The Special Needs Of Your Babies And Your Pets
Young children and pets have special needs. As you store supplies, don’t forget about the things that they will need as well.
This may sound trivial, but the truth is that our entertainment-addicted society would become very bored and very frustrated if the grid suddenly went down for an extended period of time. Card games and other basic forms of entertainment can make enduring a crisis much easier.
In the years ahead, being able to defend your home and your family is going to become increasingly important. When the economy crashes, people are going to start to become very desperate. And desperate people do desperate things.
#21 Get Your Ammunition While You Still Can
Your firearms will not do you much good if you do not have ammunition for them. Already there are widespread reports of huge ammunition shortages. The following is from a recent CNS News article…
“The run on ammunition has manufacturers scrambling to accommodate demand and reassure customers, as many new and seasoned gun owners stock up over fears of new firearms regulations at both the state and federal levels.”
Don’t just assume that you will always be able to purchase large amounts of ammunition whenever you want. Get it now while you still can.
#22 If You Have To Go…
Have a plan for what you and your family will do if you are forced to leave your home. If you do have to go, the following are some items that you will want to have on hand…
– a map of the area
– a compass
– backpacks for every member of the family
– sleeping bags
– warm clothing
– comfortable shoes or hiking boots
One of the most important assets in any crisis situation is community. If you have friends or neighbors that you can depend upon, that is invaluable. The time spent building those bonds now will pay off greatly during a major crisis.
#24 Have A Back-Up Plan And Be Flexible
Mike Tyson once said the following…
“Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth.”
No plan ever unfolds perfectly. When your plan is disrupted, what will you do?
It will be imperative for all of us to have a back-up plan and to be flexible during the years ahead.
#25 Keep Your Prepping To Yourself
Do not go around and tell everyone in the area where you live about your prepping. If you do, then you may find yourself overwhelmed with “visitors” when everything falls apart.
And please do not go on television and brag about your prepping to a national audience.
Prepping is something that you want to keep to yourself, unless you want hordes of desperate people banging on your door in the future.
For much more on prepping, please check out some of my previous articles…
– “Should You Move To Another Country To Escape The Collapse Of America? 10 Questions To Ask Yourself First”
– “14 Questions People Ask About How To Prepare For The Collapse Of The Economy”
– “Rise Of The Preppers: 50 Of The Best Prepper Websites And Blogs On The Internet”
– “120 Powerful Pieces Of Advice For Preppers”
Sadly, most Americans still have blind faith that our “leaders” actually know what they are doing and will be able to fix things.
Most Americans still are convinced that everything is going to be just fine.
And of course the mainstream media does all they can to reinforce faith in the system. Day after day, we see mindless news headlines such as this: “Californians Champing at the Bit Over Powerball Debut“.
But if you are reading this article that means that you are probably much more awake than the average American is.
Please get prepared while you still can.
A great storm is coming, and time is quickly running out.
So do you have any points that you would add to the list above? Please feel free to post a comment with your thoughts below…
This article was posted: Tuesday, April 9, 2013 at 6:06 am
The Great Recession Has Been Followed by the Grand Illusion
Don’t be fooled by the latest jobs numbers. The unemployment situation in the U.S. is still dire.
The Great Recession is an apt name for America’s current stagnation, but the present phase might also be called the Grand Illusion—because the happy talk and statistics that go with it, especially regarding jobs, give a rosier picture than the facts justify.
The country isn’t really advancing. By comparison with earlier recessions, it is going backward. Despite the most stimulative fiscal policy in American history and a trillion-dollar expansion to the money supply, the economy over the last three years has been declining. After 2.4% annual growth rates in gross domestic product in 2010 and 2011, the economy slowed to 1.5% growth in 2012. Cumulative growth for the past 12 quarters was just 6.3%, the slowest of all 11 recessions since World War II.
And last year’s anemic growth looks likely to continue. Sequestration will take $600 billion of government expenditures out of the economy over the next 10 years, including $85 billion this year alone. The 2% increase in payroll taxes will hit about 160 million workers and drain $110 billion from their disposable incomes. The Obama health-care tax will be a drag of more than $30 billion. The recent 50-cent surge in gasoline prices represents another $65 billion drag on consumer cash flow.
February’s headline unemployment rate was portrayed as 7.7%, down from 7.9% in January. The dip was accompanied by huzzahs in the news media claiming the improvement to be “outstanding” and “amazing.” But if you account for the people who are excluded from that number—such as “discouraged workers” no longer looking for a job, involuntary part-time workers and others who are “marginally attached” to the labor force—then the real unemployment rate is somewhere between 14% and 15%.
Other numbers reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics have deteriorated. The 236,000 net new jobs added to the economy in February is misleading—the gross number of new jobs included 340,000 in the part-time, low wage category. Many of the so-called net new jobs are second or third jobs going to people who are already working, rather than going to those who are unemployed.
The number of Americans unemployed for six months or longer went up by 89,000 in February to a total of 4.8 million. The average duration of unemployment rose to 36.9 weeks, up from 35.3 weeks in January. The labor-force participation rate, which measures the percentage of working-age people in the workforce, also dropped to 63.5%, the lowest in 30 years. The average workweek is a low 34.5 hours thanks to employers shortening workers’ hours or asking employees to take unpaid leave.
Since World War II, it has typically taken 24 months to reach a new peak in employment after the onset of a recession. Yet the country is more than 60 months away from its previous high in 2007, and the economy is still down 3.2 million jobs from that year.
Just to absorb the workforce’s new entrants, the U.S. economy needs to add 1.8 million to three million new jobs every year. At the current rate, it will be seven years before the jobs lost in the Great Recession are restored. Employers will need to make at least 300,000 hires every month to recover the ground that has been lost.
The job-training programs announced by the Obama administration in his State of the Union address are sensible, but they won’t soon bridge the gap for workers with skills in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Nor is there yet any reform of the patent system, which imposes long delays on innovators, inventors and entrepreneurs seeking approvals. It often takes two years to obtain the environmental health and safety permits to build a modern electronic plant, a lifetime in the tech world.
When employers can’t expand or develop new lines because of the shortage of certain skills, the employment opportunities for the less skilled are also restricted. To help with this shortage, the administration’s proposals for job-training programs do deserve support. The stress should be on vocational training, postsecondary education and every program that will broaden access to computer science and strengthen science, technology, engineering and math in high schools and at the university level.
But the payoffs from these programs are in the future, and it is vital today to increase the number of annual visas and grants of permanent residency status for foreigners skilled in science and technology. The current situation is preposterous: The brightest and best brains from all over the globe are attracted to American universities, but once they get their degrees America sends them packing. Keeping these foreigners out means they will compete against us in the industries that are growing here and around the world.
What the administration gives us is politics. What the country needs are constructive strategies free of ideology. But the risks of future economic shocks will multiply so long as we remain locked in a rancorous political culture with a leadership more inclined to public relations than hardheaded pragmatic recognition of what must be done to restore America’s vitality.
Mr. Zuckerman is chairman and editor in chief of U.S. News & World Report.
Time To Plan For The Worst Rather Than Hope For The Best
March 22, 2013
Preparation for disaster, whether natural or man-made, should be as vital as any ideal found in the various practices of religion and spiritualism. Preparedness should be treated with reverence, discipline and duty. The drive for preparation should be seated in the very heart of humanity. As individuals and as a society, we should hold preparedness dear, for it is an expression of the desire for survival and the key to maintaining our inherent freedoms. Without self-sufficiency, we set ourselves up for endless failure and enslavement.
Preparedness must be approached with passionate resolve; otherwise, there is no point. Halfhearted survivalists are just as likely, if not more likely, to get themselves killed as the average oblivious urbanite and suburbanite. Unfortunately, even in the liberty movement, I have come across many halfhearted and lazy survivalists who would rather hope for the best than prepare for the worst.
The primary issue has always been one of “distraction.” Even those who are fully informed of the very real and immediate dangers to our economy and our Nation as a whole find it difficult not to get wrapped up in the concerns of the old America. Mind-numbing job environments, superficial family dramas, television hypnosis, Facebook narcissism, consumer addictions, improving one’s perceived social status: all of these things waste precious time in our daily lives, making us weak and sapping our resiliency. They encourage us toward apathy. Always, we are telling ourselves: “I did nothing today, but tomorrow will be different.”
I hear many excuses and conflicts in my work as an economic analyst and preparedness adviser. Some come from people who are already in the liberty movement and should know better. Others come from people who for one reason or another seek to dissuade us from personal preparation. Here are just a handful of the many irrational arguments against survival planning that I am confronted with on a daily basis.
“Prepping Is For Crazy People And Chicken Littles”
Catastrophes occur all the time. Sometimes they are regional, sometimes they are national, and sometimes they are global. Since the age of the baby boomer, America has been spared widespread disaster for the most part, and this has bred in us a deep-rooted normalcy bias. We wander about in ignorance, thinking that tomorrow will always be just as comfortable as today and that because we have never witnessed real pain and suffering, we likely never will. To me, this attitude is far more unbalanced and insane than the forward-thinking mindset of the average prepper.
Hilariously, survivalists are called “crazy” simply because they refuse to operate on foolish assumptions like the rest of society. We know from modern historical example — from the Great Depression to Weimar Germany to the collapse of the Soviet Union, Bosnia, Argentina, Greece, etc. — that the prepared and independent live, while the rest often die. We refuse to assume, especially in light of recent events, that such calamity will not occur in the United States.
It’s true, propaganda organizations like the Southern Poverty Law Center have gone out of their way to attack and marginalize survival culture. They seek to draw false associations between us and racist, extremist domestic terrorist, blah, blah, blah. In the end, none of this matters. The SPLC is an irrelevant entity clamoring desperately for relevance, and America’s survival communities continue to grow despite their subversive activities. The truth, once recognized, has a way of steamrolling over groups of liars.
Individual preppers and potential preppers need to stop worrying about what everyone else thinks and do what they need to do to ensure the longevity of themselves and their families. Labels are only as powerful as the credence we give them.
“My Family Is Not On Board”
I hear this one all the time; and, really, it doesn’t matter. If you can’t take preparatory actions without constant approval from your family, then perhaps you need to examine your family dynamic rather than throwing away your survival plans. Doing the right thing is not reliant on the affirmations of a spouse or relative. Doing the right thing means taking action regardless of the obstacle, even if that obstacle is family.
It might not seem like it now, but survivalism is worth all those late-night quarrels, angry stares and sarcastic rolling eyes. If they can’t accept that preparedness is a part of your life, then that is ultimately their problem, not yours. You can continue in the knowledge that, one day, they will thank you for ignoring their ankle-biting and self-absorption.
“I’m Always Too Busy”
No one is too busy for preparedness. Much of what the average American does each day is designed to distract and entertain him, rather than enrich him in a useful way. The sad reality of the American lifestyle is that it revolves around the desire to avoid being alone with our own thoughts. In fact, the consumer ideology thrives on people’s need to fill the vacuum with incessant entertainment and diversion. Much of what we call being “busy” is actually a self-created matrix of illusory and shallow amusement designed to help us forget the more important and vexing matters of the world.
Turn off the TV, skip a few parties, rethink the career you hate, take your eyes off your damn iPhone for a day and consider what is really important. Stop worrying about what is comfortable and accept that very soon all the conveniences you now find yourself attached to may disappear anyway. Wean yourself off the teat of the establishment now or be forced to go cold turkey later. These are your options. Get used to it.
“I Can’t Afford To Prepare”
In some cases, I find this to be true. We are, after all, in the midst of an economic collapse, and many Americans are indeed falling into poverty. However, in at least half of the instances where I hear this excuse, it turns out not to be true.
Every survivalist starts out with nothing. He first builds a foundation, usually with a storage made up of essential bulk foods, and then expands. Food is the greatest Achilles’ heel of our culture. With the freight system our country has in place, grocery stores keep little to no real inventory and only a normal week’s worth of supplies on the shelf at any given time. During a crisis, this food disappears within hours, not days. Any imbalance in our freight system (like an explosion in gas prices) would result in a complete loss of national supply. A mere six weeks of disruption (as things stand today) would likely wipe out about 80 percent to 90 percent of the U.S. population through starvation.
Today, a single paycheck ($600 to $1,200) could be used to purchase enough dry bulk foods to last a family of four close to a year. Though variety may be lost, at least starvation is averted. Yet, many people, including those in the liberty movement, do not have even a year’s supply of basic staples, despite their low cost. If every family in the United States used one paycheck to purchase a food foundation, the effects of an economic collapse would be vastly minimized.
“I Like The Convenience Of The City, Even Though It Will Be Dangerous During Collapse”
The city is a distraction addict’s paradise. There is always something to mesmerize the senses at any given hour. On top of this, many cities are slathered with Federal funds, which the cities use to pour into beautification projects that give residents the illusion of economic improvement and progress. On a recent speaking tour in the Los Angeles area, I was reminded of the conundrum of the city environment. Millions of people on welfare and food stamps, exponential homelessness, massive potential for violence and destruction: yet they are surrounded by sharp, sleek, new shopping centers and refurbished business districts. The reality of many cities is that they are financially imploding, but on the surface everything glows like gold. This gives the average person and even some preppers a false sense of security.
If they refuse to move away from their beloved metropolis, preppers should at least have a retreat location relatively far from the area — at minimum, a day’s drive away and several days’ walking distance. If you do not have this, you are not prepared. The bottom line is: more people, more problems. Anyone who claims otherwise has never studied the collapse histories of other modernized nations.
“What’s The Point Of Preparing? You’re All Going To Die Anyway”
This is the nihilist argument, and it’s my favorite. Nihilists are weak-minded and weak-spirited people who realize, at least subconsciously, that they are incapable of struggle and survival. Deep down, they feel shame and self-loathing. But they would never admit to this openly. Instead, they project their weaknesses on the rest of humanity. In their mind, if they can’t survive, nobody can survive. By assuming that their weakness is everybody’s weakness, they protect their own fragile ego and avoid admitting that they are the only ones that have no chance of weathering a disaster.
“Stop Living In Fear: Humanity Is Adaptable, Technology Will Save Us”
This is probably the most idiotically pretentious philosophy being peddled around the liberty movement today, and it stems from what I call “delusional optimism.” You see, looking into the abyss and accepting the fact that you are about to be pushed over the edge is a difficult thing to do. Some people respond to the terror through fantasy. They imagine that the worst could not possibly happen, that there will be no consequences, that the pain of hitting the bottom will not be so bad, that in mid-drop someone will come along and teach them to fly. They search and search for that silver bullet solution that will save them from the wretched horror of full-blown social destruction.
This delusion manifests itself in many ways, but lately I have seen it coalesce in a movement toward technology worship.
Hell, I’m a fan of new technologies, too. And I certainly believe that many of them are suppressed by the establishment to keep the masses physically and psychologically dependent. That said, I am not foolhardy enough to believe that the mere presence of these technologies alone will save us from fiscal collapse and totalitarianism. Given time (lots of time), new technologies could help the masses break away from the mainstream system. This is time, I’m sorry to say, that we do not have. As I have discussed in recent articles on our economic situation, any tremor in the global system will be enough to send the entire edifice crashing down.
Hoping for a slow steady grind until we are able to adopt fantastic new tech is pushing the envelope of logic.
We already have the technological capability for the average person to live comfortably off the grid with electricity and other amenities we have grown fond of; yet the establishment elites are still in power, and they are still engineering numerous misfortunes. Until they are removed from power, no amount of invention is going to change a thing. The technological fantasy is used by many people to avoid the reality that a very ugly fight is coming, and whether they like it or not, they may have to one day experience and perhaps even participate in that ugliness.
Finally, survivalists do not do what they do out of fear. We do what we do out of love. We love freedom. We love the principles of liberty that founded this country. We love our children and seek to secure their futures. We are not afraid of collapse, because we are ready for collapse. We do not need to con ourselves with false optimism and false hope, because we have already strengthened our souls with reason and courage. True survivalists are exactly what every American should be already; honorable individuals steeped in the confidence of their own ability to handle any adversity, no matter how monstrous it may be.
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