Category Archives: Survival

AA 12 shotgun….hmmm

The Beginning of the End for Social Security: How ‘Secure’ Are We?

Social Security to start cashing Uncle Sam’s IOUs

AP – FILE – In this Feb. 23, 2005 file photo, Susan Chapman, director of the Division of Federal Investments, …

By STEPHEN OHLEMACHER, Associated Press Writer – Mon Mar 15, 7:57 am ET

PARKERSBURG, W.Va. – The retirement nest egg of an entire generation is stashed away in this small town along the Ohio River: $2.5 trillion in IOUs from the federal government, payable to the Social Security Administration.

It’s time to start cashing them in.

For more than two decades, Social Security collected more money in payroll taxes than it paid out in benefits — billions more each year.

Not anymore. This year, for the first time since the 1980s, when Congress last overhauled Social Security, the retirement program is projected to pay out more in benefits than it collects in taxes — nearly $29 billion more.

Sounds like a good time to start tapping the nest egg. Too bad the federal government already spent that money over the years on other programs, preferring to borrow from Social Security rather than foreign creditors. In return, the Treasury Department issued a stack of IOUs — in the form of Treasury bonds — which are kept in a nondescript office building just down the street from Parkersburg’s municipal offices.

Now the government will have to borrow even more money, much of it abroad, to start paying back the IOUs, and the timing couldn’t be worse. The government is projected to post a record $1.5 trillion budget deficit this year, followed by trillion dollar deficits for years to come.

Social Security’s shortfall will not affect current benefits. As long as the IOUs last, benefits will keep flowing. But experts say it is a warning sign that the program’s finances are deteriorating. Social Security is projected to drain its trust funds by 2037 unless Congress acts, and there’s concern that the looming crisis will lead to reduced benefits.

“This is not just a wake-up call, this is it. We’re here,” said Mary Johnson, a policy analyst with The Senior Citizens League, an advocacy group. “We are not going to be able to put it off any more.”

For more than two decades, regardless of which political party was in power, Congress has been accused of raiding the Social Security trust funds to pay for other programs, masking the size of the budget deficit.

Remember Al Gore’s “lockbox,” the one he was going to use to protect Social Security? The former vice president talked about it so much during the 2000 presidential campaign that he was parodied on “Saturday Night Live.”

Gore lost the election and never got his lockbox. But to illustrate the government’s commitment to repaying Social Security, the Treasury Department has been issuing special bonds that earn interest for the retirement program. The bonds are unique because they are actually printed on paper, while other government bonds exist only in electronic form.

They are stored in a three-ring binder, locked in the bottom drawer of a white metal filing cabinet in the Parkersburg offices of Bureau of Public Debt. The agency, which is part of the Treasury Department, opened offices in Parkersburg in the 1950s as part of a plan to locate important government functions away from Washington, D.C., in case of an attack during the Cold War.

One bond is worth a little more than $15.1 billion and another is valued at just under $10.7 billion. In all, the agency has about $2.5 trillion in bonds, all backed by the full faith and credit of the U.S. government. But don’t bother trying to steal them; they’re nonnegotiable, which means they are worthless on the open market.

More than 52 million people receive old age or disability benefits from Social Security. The average benefit for retirees is a little under $1,200 a month. Disabled workers get an average of $1,100 a month.

Social Security is financed by payroll taxes — employers and employees must each pay a 6.2 percent tax on workers’ earnings up to $106,800. Retirees can start getting early, reduced benefits at age 62. They get full benefits if they wait until they turn 66. Those born after 1960 will have to wait until they turn 67.

Social Security’s financial problems have been looming for years as the nation’s 78 million baby boomers approached retirement age. The oldest are already there. As that huge group of people starts collecting benefits — and stops paying payroll taxes — Social Security’s trust funds will shrink, running out of money by 2037, according to the latest projection from the trustees who oversee the program.

The recession is making things worse, at least in the short term. Tax receipts are down from the loss of more than 8 million jobs, and applications for early retirement benefits have spiked from older workers who were laid off and forced to retire.

Stephen C. Goss, chief actuary for the Social Security Administration, says the crisis has been years in the making. “If this helps get people to look more seriously at that in the nearer term, that’s probably a good thing. But it’s only really a punctuation mark on the fact that we have longer-term financial issues that need to be addressed.”

In the short term, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office projects that Social Security will continue to pay out more in benefits than it collects in taxes for the next three years. It is projected to post small surpluses of $6 billion each in 2014 and 2015, before returning to indefinite deficits in 2016.

For the budget year that ends in September, Social Security is projected to collect $677 million in taxes and spend $706 million on benefits and expenses.

Social Security will also collect about $120 billion in interest on the trust funds, according to the CBO projections, meaning its overall balance sheet will continue to grow. The interest, however, is paid by the government, adding even more to the budget deficit.

Don’t Tread On Me!

This is from Dr Piazza, founder of Frontsight, a firearms training facility in Nevada.  I like his idea.

When I started this blog, 100 Mondays ago, I didn’t think it would grow so fast. We now have over 275,000 subscribers who read my posts and forward them on to their family and friends.

Over 275,000 subscribers and growing is a number I want you to remember because collectively, with the power of the Internet, 275,000 subscribers can make history and in doing so influence a much needed and proper “change” in the direction our country is heading!

I’m serious and not only am I going to prove it to you, I am going to make it so simple for you be a part of making history through influencing a much needed and proper change in the direction of our country, andI’m going to reward you greatly for doing so!

Here is what I mean…

As you know, there are a number of organizations that have conducted marches and events to send a clear message to our government that the Silent Majority in this country are more than unhappy with the direction America is heading.

The discontent has no party lines. We are disillusioned with and distrustful of “politicians” in general and that includes Democrats and Republicans. Basically, we are damn tired of the Constitution and Bill of Rights being ignored, our freedoms trampled, and those we elect continuing to forget who they are supposed to serve… WE THE PEOPLE.

As you are well aware the, Tea Party Movement is holding numerous rallies in cities across the country through April 15th. The Second Amendment March on Washington, DC is happening on April 19. These are great events that will attract a significant amount of people attending, but there is no way that the “Silent Majority” will be properly represented because we cannot ALL attend.

But WE THE PEOPLE, the Silent Majority who are armed, understand our rights, and recognize that the current batch of elected servants in Washington, DC just don’t “get it” can send a clear and concise warning to the government that will make our Founding Fathers smile from above and send a cold chill down the spines of those failing to “…preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States.”

Here is how easy you can make history and influence a much needed and proper “change” in the direction of our country!

Step 1. Print out FIVE COPIES of the most descriptive flag in American history, the symbol Benjamin Franklin felt was the most appropriate for the revolution when he wrote, “She never begins an attack, nor, when once engaged, ever surrenders: She is therefore an emblem of magnanimity and true courage. … she never wounds ’till she has generously given notice, even to her enemy, and cautioned him against the danger of treading on her.”

Don't Tread On Me
Click on Flag to Get Printable Version

Step 2. Fold one of the 8 1/2 x 11 inch flags and insert it into an envelope addressed the President of the United States. The President’s address is:

President Barack Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500

Fold another and insert it into an envelope addressed to your Federal Representative. Fold another two flags and address them to each of your Senators in Washington, DC.

Click here to find the addresses of your Senators and Representative.

Place all four envelopes in the mail so they are postmarked MONDAY, APRIL 19th. Why April 19th? Because April 19th is the anniversary of the “Shot Heard Round the World.” On that day in 1775, our forefathers stood their ground against British tyranny in the Battle of Old North Bridge at Concord, Massachusetts.

Save the FIFTH FLAG for the reward I will give you after April 19th. That fifth flag will be worth thousands of dollars to you to show my thanks for your participation in sending a clear message to our government that the Silent Majority in this country will not tolerate the direction America is heading.

Step 3. Forward this email to your family and friends, everyone on your e-mail lists, and place it on all the chat rooms you frequent. Make this April 19th postmark “Don’t Tread on Me” mail campaign go viral throughout the Internet and OVERWHELM our elected officials in Washington, DC so they know, without a doubt, that the Silent Majority, who understand the Constitution — whether Democrat, Republican, Libertarian, or undeclared are NOT TO BE TREAD UPON!

Remember I told you that I would prove to you that as one of the 275,000 subscribers to my blog, collectively, with the power of the Internet, you can make history and in doing so influence a much needed and proper “change” in the direction of our country!

Well here is the proof…

If you and my other subscribers follow all three steps and just ONE of the people you send this email to does the same, and just ONE of the people they send this email to does the same, and just ONE of the people they send this email to does the same, and so on… by April 19th, TENS OF MILLIONS of “Don’t Tread on Me” letters will flood Washington, DC throughout the week of April 19th creating a thunderous “shot heard round the world” that the media and every elected official cannot ignore!

All it takes to make YOUR shot heard round the world is to follow the 3 simple steps above.

And remember to save the fifth flag you print out for the amazing reward I am going to give on April 20th to YOU and everyone who participates in the Monday, April 19th “Don’t Tread on Me” postal mail campaign. Believe me when I say it is worth thousands of dollars to you and will dwarf everything I have done as the “Millionaire Patriot” to date!

Follow the three simple steps above and get ready to fire your shot with your “Don’t Tread on Me” postal mail drop on Monday, April 19th, 2010.

Our Founding Fathers stood their ground against the greatest military machine of their time, sacrificing EVERYTHING to win our freedom. Let’s show Washington, DC that the blood of our forefathers is still pumping through the arteries of the Silent Majority and we are rattling a warning… Don’t Tread on US!

Follow the 3 Simple Steps above TODAY and get ready to fire your shot with tens of millions of your fellow patriots through the Monday, April 19th “Don’t Tread on Me” postal mail drop!

Thanks for your patriotism.

I post a different article on this blog each Monday so I look forward to your visit next week.

(If you are new to this blog and have not yet subscribed, click here for my free Gun Training Reports.)

If you have an interesting photo, story or tip about a relevant topic of interest to gun ownership, firearms training or Second Amendment issues, please feel free to send it to me at:

info@frontsight.com or

Ignatius@frontsight.com

See you next week.

Sincerely,

Dr. Ignatius Piazza
Founder and Director
Front Sight Firearms Training Institute
P.O. Box 2619
Aptos, CA 95001
http://www.frontsight.com
info@frontsight.com
1.800.987.7719

PS Here are some great links that give you more history on the “Don’t Tread on Me” flag.

http://www.gadsden.info/history.html
http://www.foundingfathers.info/stories/gadsden.html
http://www.interesting.com/stories/gadsden/

Norway doomsday seed vault hits 1/2 million mark

By IAN MacDOUGALL, Associated Press Writer

Wed Mar 10, 7:01 pm ET

OSLO, Norway – Two years after receiving its first deposits, a “doomsday” seed vault on an Arctic island has amassed half a million seed samples, making it the world’s most diverse repository of crop seeds, the vault’s operators announced Thursday.

Cary Fowler — who heads the trust that oversees the seed collection, which is 620 miles (1,000 kilometers) from the North Pole, said the facility now houses at least one-third of the world’s crop seeds.

“In my lifetime, I don’t think we’ll go over 1.5 million. I’d be rather surprised if we go over a million,” Fowler told The Associated Press. “At that point, we’d have all the diversity in the world … and the most secure samples.”

Located in Norway’s remote Svalbard archipelago, the Svalbard Global Seed Vault is a safeguard against wars or natural disasters wiping out food crops around the globe. It was opened in 2008 as a master backup to the world’s other 1,400 seed banks, in case their deposits are lost.

War wiped out seed banks in Iraq and Afghanistan, and another bank in the Philippines was flooded in the wake of a typhoon in 2006. The Svalbard bank is designed to withstand global warming, earthquakes and even nuclear strikes.

Despite the rapid progress, Fowler said the bank still has significant holes in its collection.

“There are a few unique collections that we don’t have up there yet — Ethiopia and some of the Indian materials and some of the Chinese materials,” he said.

The most recent additions include a mold-resistant bean from Colombia and a collection of nearly every agricultural soybean species developed in the U.S. in the last century.

Appleseed Shoot

The Appleseed project will be holding a couple of events out at the Big Sioux Rifle & Pistol Club by Corson SD.

Here is an excerpt from Appleseed’s main webpage. http://appleseedinfo.org/
*****
The Appleseed Program is designed to take you from being a simple rifle owner to being a true rifleman. All throughout American history, the rifleman has been defined as a marksman capable of hitting a man-sized target from 500 yards away — no ifs, ands or buts about it. This 500-yard range is traditionally known as “the rifleman’s quarter-mile;” a rifleman can hit just about any target he can see. This skill was particularly evident in the birth of our country, and was the difference in winning the Revolutionary War
*****

The events will be help on the weekend of May 15 and 16, and also the weekend of July 24 and 25.

I heard an interview today from Michael Adam at of the appleseed project at http://www.thesurvivalpodcast.com/ and he was really quite compelling. I am seriously considering attending the May event, and thought that some of the people who visit here might like to have the same opportunity so here you go.
Here also is a link to the Big Sioux Rifle & Pistol Club’s website, http://www.sdshootingsports.org/big-sioux.htm if you want to know any more information about them.

God bless
CompleteFaith

Let’s Play Makebelieve

Let’s pretend that our community, and those surrounding are hit by a devastating natural disaster… Maybe an ice storm followed by blizzard lasting several days. Let’s also say this storm stretches from Kansas City to the Canadian border. The storm would have been well broadcast ahead of time so people would have had time to hit the grocery store, and stock up for a few days.  

Anyone who has spent more than about 5 minutes in South Dakota this winter knows this is not too hard to imagine. The reality is, this just keeps happing this year, and if you watch our local stores, every time the forecast is bad the store shelves clear out faster than you can say TEOTWAWKI.

But these have all been day or two storms. South Dakota has seen worse, and will see it again. So in this scenario we are talking about being cut off from outside food supplies. Water lines starting to freeze, power loses due to ice on the lines, and the conditions are bad enough that outside resources start to dry up. Trucks aren’t moving so gas stations start to run out of fuel, no food coming into the stores so on and so forth. You find that you are forced to rely in yourself and your family.

What if it gets so bad that people start resorting to desperate measures? In a South Dakota blizzard no one questions when they don’t see movement around a house for a few days. So it would be a perfect time for someone to come in and take what you have… there will be no report of a missing person, or family for several days…

Times are starting to get desperate, and people are starting to band together. You have to choose, do you join up with those who are looting, steeling and causing harm to survive, or to you take sides with those who are at least trying to maintain some moral reserve, only taking from the dead, only causing harm in self defense and trying to rebuild?

After you choose your side, what are you going to do to contribute to the new community? Are you medically trained, or good with computers and networking? Are you a leader, if so are you able to hold onto that position, or are you willing to sit as second in command? Are you a hunter, a scavenger, a cook or butcher?

So here is the question…

Which side you take, why are you choosing that way, and what will be your position in this new community?

There are no wrong answers, just food for thought, and discussion.

Please use the comments section below to share your thoughts.

What did you do last weekend?

So…

We had our first Survival Club, preparedness experience this past weekend at the Gun Show. I would like to say it was a planned exercise, but unfortunately it was not. It was a scenario where yours truly was severely lacking in a critical component of the prepper life style, and that is Situational Awareness.

Here’s the story, as I pulled off the main road, onto the road that would lead us to the convention center where the gun show was being held,  I immediately saw that the place was packed. This did two things in my mind…

  1. Told me all the good parking places would be used up, and I should look for alternate parking.
  2. Got me really fired up that we were about to see something really good, all those people can’t be wrong, right?

 

So, there’s an innocent looking parking lot across the street, which belongs to a closed business. There were maybe 20 or 30 trucks parked in the lot. The fact that they were all 4 wheel drive vehicles should have been a clue, I thought I had hit the jackpot, so I pulled in and started driving down the single lane, not really taking note that as I drove, the loose snow was starting to get deeper. At this point I had “My Spot” picked out. Like a hungry eagle going after a slow rabbit I zeroed in on my target, and nothing was going to stop me, until…

I pulled just past the last truck and things started to look really ugly really quickly. This is the point at which I came to realize that this lot may not have seen a snow plow in the winter of 09/10, and was not a good place to be in my minivan. Well within about 10 feet I was immovably stuck in that glorious white blanket that graces every single square inch of the South Dakota planes right now.

Thus began the great “Dig CompleteFaith out of the Snow” survival training… Class was in session.  Let me just start by saying I was totally unprepared for this situation, and what I did have on hand, I forgot about. So I want to start out by making a list of the mistakes I made.

  1. I became uber focused on my goal, and lost focus on my current situation.                
  2. When a bad situation arose I reacted instantly.
  3. I forgot what tools I had on hand to help deal with the situation.
  4. I did not have set of tools on hand to deal with things that are likely to happen in a South Dakota winter.

I am sure there are more things that can be added to that list, but that’s what I will start with.  So let’s take a look at each of these things.

  1. I focused on the end goal, and became blind to what was going on at the moment.   I took for granted that the road under me would be passable, and in this case it was not. I neglected to practice situational awareness in any form. Situational awareness is something I have always known about, but really haves started to take an interest in over the last year, and try to practice as much as I can. I think I need to work on that more. I believe Situational Awareness is a topic a post all to itself, so is something I am starting to formulate now.  

 

  1. I jumped in headfirst without assessing the situation. Simply said, I reacted. I think this made things slightly worse and more unpleasant then they needed to be. I have always thought a guy should carry a cigarette in his tool kit, and when something does happen the first thing he should do is sit down, spark one up and think about what’s going on. As an ex-smoker I don’t practice this, but it at least introduces the idea of taking a moment or two to fully assess the situation before taking action. In this case I was wearing street shoes and a hoodie so I would be comfortable walking around the gun show, and in the back of the van I had a good pair of boots, heavy gloves and a winter hat, which would have made things much more bearable.  I totally forgot to look at what I had available and let my hands get so numb in the snow that they still ach 3 days later as I type this up.

 

  1. Had I done #2, this would not have been a problem.

 

  1. Shoulda, coulda, Woulda… I should have had some sort of shovel on hand at the very least. In this case something to provide a little traction, such as floor dry, or cat litter may have helped. A tow rope was the tool we ended up using in the end.

 

So to wrap up here, if it weren’t for Dr. Mark, Strider and the kindness of some locals I would still be sitting there feeling like a bone head in a snow filled parking lot. It ended up taking 2 4×4 trucks and the efforts of about 10 men, and hour and a half to get unstuck.

So what good came of this? Well, a small group of men came together with an unexpected but common goal and were able to come up with an answer and saw it through to the end. A core from that small group found a stronger bond, by facing a trial together. Best of all Big Z, my 7 year old son, was able to witness this, and learn that part of growing into a man is a willingness to get out and get dirty, break your back a little to help another fella out of a tough spot. We were also blessed with the opportunity to

What did it cost me? Some pride and $40 to go see Dr. Myles at http://dixonfamilychiro.com/. I do owe Dr. Mark one fancy ice scraper/snow removal tool, but all in all a fair price for a day that will last a long time in our memory.