Monday, July 21, 2014

Just Because

A friend of mine sent me the link to this video.

There is so much bullshit going on in the world right now, it is refreshing to see something happy, positive and creative.

Enjoy.  It will lift your spirits.

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Copyright 2014 Bison Risk Management Associates. All rights reserved. Please note that in addition to owning Bison Risk Management, Chief Instructor is also a partner in a precious metals business. You are encouraged to repost this information so long as it is credited to Bison Risk Management Associates.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Cloward, Piven and Obama

Like most Americans, the news I've been watching and reading has focused on the illegal alien children rushing our southern border.  They get to the border and promptly search out and locate a border patrol agent. 

Why?  Because they're getting in line.  First in, first served, so to speak.  They get sent to one of the very private Club Feds that we've set up around the country to handle the processing.  They are eventually sent on their merry way after a responsible adult is found for them in the US.

Now, this is not done without obligations, though.  No siree.  They must pinkie-swear that they will come back to have a hearing about whether they get to stay here for the rest of their natural lives.  In the mean time, we get to pay to house them, feed them, educate them, doctor them, clothe them - hell, whatever they need.

Last I heard, over 52,000 of these illegal alien minors, plus another 39,000 adults with minor children (that's over 90,000 for the calculator-challenged) have taken advantage of the VACANCY sign, with the number expected to hit an estimated 190,000 before it's all done.

President Barry has asked for $3.7 billion in emergency funding just to process all of these kids.  Doing the math once again, that's nearly $20,000 for each person processed.

Man, I gotta get into that business.  The pay is GREAT.

But, it's only the beginning.  And it's just one more piece in a much bigger puzzle.

I was listening to the talking heads on Fox this morning, and most of them were saying the same thing:  This is a horrific mess for Barry, it was handled so poorly, the "optics" suck, and it could mean the downfall of the Democrats.

Are you kidding?  This is working perfectly.  Barry and his minions have this latest operation running in high gear, with nary a sputter from the engine.  They may be hurt in the next election cycle, but so what?  Their long-term strategy is working flawlessly.

Let's say, somehow, the Republicans are able to cap the number of illegal aliens who ooze through our border at the 190,000 figure (highly unlikely).  That means we now have another 190,000 mouths to feed, clothe, house, educate, etc.  For "humanitarian reasons" few, if any will be sent home.

If any of them pop out more kids, the new ones get automatic citizenship.  They're not going anywhere.  I'd bet money that inside of 5 years, bodies directly attributable to this current circus will exceed 600,000.  Easily.  I'm probably being too conservative.

So, if the Dems are going to take an ass-whoopin' in the next election, how can their strategy be working so well?

Because they know that elections are for suckers.  They are irrelevant.  Their real power comes from tearing down our society, blaming the collapse on the conservatives, then building it back up as their socialist nirvana.

Meet Mr. Cloward and Ms. Piven.

Back in 1966, the husband and wife socialist tag-team of Richard Cloward and Frances Piven wrote a paper that laid out their plans to end poverty.  All ya gotta do is ensure everyone has, "a guaranteed minimum income."
The ultimate objective of this strategy—to wipe out poverty by establishing a guaranteed annual income—will be questioned by some. Because the ideal of individual social and economic mobility has deep roots, even activists seem reluctant to call for national programs to eliminate poverty by the outright redistribution of income.

OK, that's all fine and rosy, but, as they themselves noted, people won't stand for that.  "[I]ndividual social and economic mobility..." is a core value of America.  They understood that you had to take little bites at the apple, not gobble the whole thing down at once.

Their idea was to overload the social "safety net" to such an extent that it would collapse, and the new day of socialist nirvana would dawn. 

Things are going according to plan.

Cloward/Piven (CP) saw that it started with Social Security.  Condition the people that getting payments from the government is a good thing.  Good, hard working folks.  Hell, who's gonna say No to that?

You then tweak the system - just a bit - and add a disability component to it.  Who doesn't want to help the disabled, right?

Then you give blacks a "hand up" with affirmative action.  They were treated so poorly until the Civil War, that we just need to help them get ahead.  What, you don't agree?  RACIST!

Just keep piling on these programs that never, ever go away.  Once a social payout gift program is implemented, it keeps on giving - kind of like a venereal disease... and the ideal of America is the body that's rotting from within.

CP understood this and made it the core of their strategy -
Michael Reisch and Janice Andrews wrote that Cloward and Piven "proposed to create a crisis in the current welfare system – by exploiting the gap between welfare law and practice – that would ultimately bring about its collapse and replace it with a system of guaranteed annual income. They hoped to accomplish this end by informing the poor of their rights to welfare assistance, encouraging them to apply for benefits and, in effect, overloading an already overburdened bureaucracy."
Barry executed this plan this perfectly.  He invited south and central Americans to send their kids to the land of milk and honey.  Who's going to say No to kids?  He even planned for transportation for them months before they arrived ("Gov’t Confirms Authenticity of Contract Request for ‘Escort Services for Unaccompanied Alien Children’ at the Border"). 

They got to the border, and he chose to ignore our immigration laws that require him to stop incoming illegals.  He then upholds the law that says we must provide food, housing, et al, if they make it across.

Well played, sir.  Well played.

Maybe Boehner can sue him over this as well.  Sorry, milk just came shootin' outta my nose 'cause I was laughing so hard.

The Dems have embraced this strategy wholeheartedly.  Everytime some special interest group has its free stuff threatened, the Dems cry, "racist" or "hater" or "racist" or "denier" or "racist".  The Republicans curl into the fetal position, and the media laps it up.

Benefits never go away.  Never.

Right now, we have 47 million people on food stamps.  One in every seven Americans.  How are you ever going to stop feeding these people that have become dependent upon government script like a zoo animal is dependent upon its handlers?

You're not.  Not until it all comes tumblin' down.

And that's the plan.  Barry is doing nothing more than adding a few more lengths of straw to the camel's back.  The pressure is never relieved.

Forty-seven million here, another half a million there, and pretty soon, you have a camel with a busted back.

Welcome to America.

Where are YOU hiding your money?  Hide it well, 'cause they've gotta pay for this nirvana somehow...

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Copyright 2014 Bison Risk Management Associates. All rights reserved. Please note that in addition to owning Bison Risk Management, Chief Instructor is also a partner in a precious metals business. You are encouraged to repost this information so long as it is credited to Bison Risk Management Associates.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Skype and Emergency Comms

My wife and oldest son are in Peru right now.  They're there for another couple of weeks on a medical mission with a church group, helping some very poor folks in the Lima area.

My son is a paramedic, and is doing a lot of the triage work - screening the folks coming in, evaluating the severity of their illness and determining whether they see a doctor, nurse or another paramedic.

Lots of heart-related stuff for the adults.  Lots of broken bones that were set incorrectly and malnutrition ailments for the kids.

That's not part of the story, though.  I'm just braggin'!  ;-)

Before leaving for the trip, I wanted to figure out how we were going to communicate.  They're several thousand miles away and my Papa Bear instincts were on full alert.

In downtown Lima, they would be able to make cell phone calls, but at a hefty cost, and they would only be in town during one day of the trip.  The place they're staying is a couple hours outside of Lima, and has Internet service, but no cell service.

So, our options were email and some sort of VOIP (voice over internet protocol) phone service.  There are bunches of these services, but we decided to go with Skype.

Why?  People that had done this trip in the past said Skype worked in Peru.  That was huge.  The time to test new options is not when your family is a gajillion miles away.

Also, it's free, and it gives you 3 options to communicate.  First, their flagship video call service.  Second, if connection quality is low, you can use it to make a regular voice call.  Finally, it has a text message feature in case the connection quality is really poor.

I loaded the program on both my home computer and my smart phone.  My wife and son both loaded it on their smart phones and my wife also put it on her IPad.

We tested it here in the states, and it worked great.  At home, we got crystal-clear images and virtually zero latency in the calls.  On the way to the airport, we tested the quality using 4G (cell service) and also had great quality, with only slightly increased latency.

When I got home, they did a video call from the public network at the bar at SFO (my wife REALLY hates to fly!), and everything worked great.

On to Peru!

At the airport in Lima, she texted me using her SMS cell service.  They got in later than expected, and I was teaching a gun class at the time, so I didn't get to try texting or Skype.

That night, she Skyped me, but we had to just use the phone call service.  Absolutely horrible call latency.  It was like those Fox News interviews from friggin' Bangladesh where there's a 4 second delay between speakers.  It sucked badly.  Not enough bandwidth on her end to have the images or sound work well. 

I could hear others in her group doing the same thing in the background.  Hmm.  Everyone talking at once.  So we decided to try again a little bit later when the bandwidth wasn't being so taxed.

Bang-zoom, baby!  It worked!  We did a phone-to-phone video call, and it worked flawlessly.  Seriously, it was incredible.  Perhaps a half-second of latency.  I was truly impressed.

The next night, we decided to try again at the later time, and this time I was going to use my PC for the video call.  No bueno.

Running the feed to my PC just ate up too much bandwidth.  We tried the call again with her Ipad to my smart phone, and it worked perfectly.

So, Skype has been added to my communications preps.  If TSHTF, I want multiple options for communicating with my family.

We take this stuff for granted - that we can call anyone at any time and speak with them.  The stress and anxiety of my wife and oldest son being outside of normal communications channels was huge.

I knew where they were, but was still stressed out.  I can't imagine the anxiety I'd have if some sort of event - natural or man made - occurred here in the states, and I couldn't locate my family.  Couldn't communicate with them.

More research on this topic, guaranteed.


Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know.  I just opened up my whole world to the evil Skype/Microsoft cartel.  Like they didn't already have access to it!

There are some alternatives to Skype, but it works, plain and simple.  I had a former co-worker from my banking days who used to Skype his family in Fiji every week.

It's a proven platform.

If you're uber-paranoid (not a bad thing), outfits like Tracfone have phones that can be set up with an anonymous (fake) email account.  They have 3G compatible smart phones for as little as $50 (most are over $100, though).  Buy the access minute cards (with cash) as you see fit.  Set up a Skype account with the fake email account as well, and just load up your family/friends on the phone.

Yes, it does leave "bread crumbs" to you if you do it that way.  I guess you could either write down or memorize your family Skype names, and not load them until needed.

Not sure I'd want to do that in a stress-filled situation.  YMMV.

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Copyright 2014 Bison Risk Management Associates. All rights reserved. Please note that in addition to owning Bison Risk Management, Chief Instructor is also a partner in a precious metals business. You are encouraged to repost this information so long as it is credited to Bison Risk Management Associates.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

How To Encourage Your Customers To Go Elsewhere

My fiscal year ended yesterday for this business.  I know, it sounds like a pain in the butt, but I actually get my CPA fees much cheaper, as CPA firms don't have much business after the April 15th tax rush.

Always looking to save a buck.

Anyways, I decided to pry open the old checkbook and upgrade my version of Quickbooks Pro.  Start the new fiscal year with a nice, clean slate.

I happen to be out and about, so I stop at Office Depot.  It's near my home, and they're generally a good bunch of folks at this store.  Particularly in the printing department, where I get most of my lower-end marketing materials printed.

I find Quickbooks Pro 2014.  It's priced at $199.95 - with tax, that's $216.95 out the door.  I whip out my smart phone, and say, "Quickbooks pro discounts."  DING!  Up pops a Walmart ad showing it at $179.95.  I ask some propeller-head walking the aisles if they do price matching.  Yep.

Cool.  He gets on his walkie-talkie, and lets the register know a "price match customer" is on the way up.  I show the lady at the checkstand my phone, with the Walmart page at the reduced price.

She then gets on the walkie-talkie system and calls for someone to bring me the actual software, as they only have display boxes on the floor. 

Dude shows up with the wrong version.

Off he trots, gets the new one and again asks to see the reduced price.  My smart phone still has the page up, and he says, "I can't find that price on their page on the computer in back.  I think what you've got is a cached page from an old ad."

Mildly insulted - as he's insinuating I'm trying to rip him off - while at the same time, mildly proud that he believed this old fart knew how to do that (I do, by the way!).

I refresh the page, show him it's actually the Walmart page, and it's the mobile site.

"I still can't find it."  Goodness, this isn't in my job description. 

We walk over to a PC, and I say that perhaps Wally World is having a bigger discount for mobile users.  I don't know, and I don't care.  I tell him the steps I went through to get the page.  Am I going to get the discount or not?

He's having none of it.

"Well, sir, I have to find it online.  Our policy says that if the manager (that's HIM!) can't find the discount online, it's not allowed.  I'll be happy to give you our $199.95 price." 

I almost hit him in the head.

I give him one more shot:  "You're saying that because YOU can't find the exact same thing I found - even after I've told you how to find it on YOUR smart phone - you won't match the price of one of your competitors.  You're going to penalize me because of your incompetence?"

That went over like a lead turd, although it did get a chuckle from the check out lady.  Hell, I was leaving anyway, so I might as well have some fun in the process.

I get home, do an exhaustive, mind-bending search... that took 38 seconds... and found a little company that had the software for me to download.  Maybe you've heard of them -  I think they're going places...

They've got it for $169.95.  And no sales tax.  It took 4 1/2 minutes to download.  Less time than I spent with the manager trying to show him how to do his job.

Regular $199.95 + tax = $216.95 out the door
Sale $179.95 + tax = $195.25 out the door
Amazon $169.95 out the door

All in, I saved $47 - nearly a 22% savings.  I need to send the mouth-breathing, soft-headed manager a thank you card.

So, what did we learn today?

If you're a business in a highly competitive industry, build your sales structure to allow your employees to retain the customers that come in the door.  It's expensive to get them there - better make a couple of bucks while you've got them.

If you don't trust your managers enough to have the flexibility to make decisions, you either have the wrong person in the job, or your business model is too rigid to withstand change.

Now, Office Depot obviously knows about Walmart and  All three of them compete on the Internet for sales of office and business items.  With online purchases, the out-the-door price is the primary sales driver, as whatever you order will be there in a couple of days, regardless of which company you choose.

With software and digital media, price is ALL that matters.  Click, click, clickity-click, and you're done.

Office Depot fairly chased me out of their store into the arms of Amazon.  Perhaps Amazon should send the manager a thank you card as well.

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Copyright 2014 Bison Risk Management Associates. All rights reserved. Please note that in addition to owning Bison Risk Management, Chief Instructor is also a partner in a precious metals business. You are encouraged to repost this information so long as it is credited to Bison Risk Management Associates.

Friday, June 27, 2014

The Fourth Branch Of Government

Sorry for the extended absence.  Been crazy busy.  More on that to come.

On the way in to my precious metals store, I was listening to my go-to radio station.  They had a guy they call, "Tim The Lawyer".  He's the big-shot lawyer at an outfit called the Pacific Legal Foundation.  This guy and the Foundation are awesome.

They fight for Constitutional rights.  What a concept, right?

They were talking about how government has gotten away from us.  How we elect congress critters, Senators, presidents and the like, and it does nothing.  Even when we run 'em outta town on a rail, nothing changes.

We just saw the majority leader in the House get bounced from Congress.  Never happened before in the history of the US.

Big woop.  Nothing will change.


Because the elected officials are no longer the government.  The government is now the bureaucracy.  The three branches of government are now four.  And the fourth - the various agencies, departments, bureaus and commissions - actually run the show.

They're unelected, yet they are the ones who make us jump through hoops like trained chimps.  Congress abrogates its duties by passing vague laws that essentially say, "Get this broad goal accomplished," and the agencies write the rules, regulations and penalties - not Congress.

Often - very often - they grant themselves extraordinary powers.
Last week the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, through the power of Dodd-Frank, passed a rule giving the agency unprecedented power to shut down businesses, no matter what the reason, at any time it wishes through a cease-and-desist order. Further, the rule puts businesses at the mercy of the CFPB and they cannot go back into operation until government approval or a court ruling is made over an issue.

So, if you're a business that is not favored by the current administration, you can be shut down without so much as a chance to plead your case beforehand.

Guilty until proven innocent.
We are fast approaching the stage of the ultimate inversion: the stage where the government is free to do anything it pleases, while the citizens may act only by permission.
--Ayn Rand
The IRS scandal - which will go fully unpunished IMO - is just the latest, nausiating example.

Did you see that new head bastard on the TV in front of some committee? His arrogance - his utter contempt for we citizens and the rule of law - was palpable.

He was basically telling Congress and all of America, "We can do whatever the hell we want, and you can't do dick about it."

Smug Bastard
And he's right.  Congress can hold hearings.  They can puff their chests, and harumph, harumph, harumph all they want, but nothing will change.  A couple of slapped wrists and all will be forgotten.

The game is fixed, and it ain't in your favor.  Worse yet, the fixers are in positions where they can't lose their job.  Hell, they'll probably get a bonus.

My favorite sage of the Interwebs - Ol' Remus in his weekly Woodpile Report - has long been a proponent of not voting because of its futility.

By voting, you're legitimizing, "the system".  All the politicians care about is being able to stand in front of a display of flags and bunting, and a politically correct selection of diversely skin-toned folks, and say that millions of people voted for them, democracy is alive, and the American system is sound.

Strike up the band and drop the balloons.  On to the next fund raiser.

"But, but, but... Chief, if we don't vote we're letting the other side get in office."  Don't you understand?  There is no, "other side".

Republicans and Democrats are two sides of the same coin.  They just have different special interest groups to whom they cater.  And by 'cater' I mean taking your money and giving it to others.

What it all comes down to is our never-ending willingness to forgo freedom and liberty for safety.  At least the perception of safety.

You can protest all you want, as long as it's in the designated Free Speech Zone.

You can drink all the soda you want, as long as it's in a cup no larger than 16 ounces.

You can travel all you want, as long as you first submit to government sanctioned fondling.

You can buy all of the milk and cheese you want, as long as it's been properly altered for safety by government approved methods.

You can have as much money as you want, as long as you don't try to take it out of the country without their permission.

You can choose any doctor you want.... oh wait, there are no more doctors.  Never mind.  They all quit.

How's all that hopin' and dreamin' workin' out for ya?

Most Americans have the view that, "Well, it's not as good as it used to be, but it's still better than most other countries."

It's that attitude that got us here.  A shit sandwich is still a shit sandwich, even when served on a toasted sesame seed bun.

"Chief, that's all well and fine.  Yep, everything sucks.  What do we do about it?"  My wife asked me that question this morning (she calls me 'Honey', not 'Chief', though...).

We wait and we prepare.

We cannot change the course of this train.  It's going where it's going, and nothing we can do will alter its path.  Understand that.  The inertia of the bureaucracy is too massive.  The makeup of the 537 elected federal politicians is irrelevant, so don't waste your time participating.

We can only wait for the train to plunge off the bridge.

We know from historic fact that every socialist, centrally planned society has eventually failed.  Without exception.  Their 'business model' fails because human nature collides with idyllic fantasy.

The fantasy is that everyone has a job, we all get paid the same "living wage", and we'll all work for the common good.  Kumbaya, dumbass.

It's that last part that causes the ultimate failure.  The nature of humans is to exert the least amount of effort for the greatest reward.  Under the socialist model, people soon recognize that they will receive the same amount of benefit from society regardless of their effort.

Work your ass off, you get paid.  Don't do squat, you also get paid.

Guess which option people choose.

Eventually, the system crashes because there's no one left to pay the bills.  No one is working, no one is producing, so 'the system' isn't able to pay all the slackers.

The free food, free health care, free housing, free education all disappear.

Boom-boom, out go the lights.

We see what's coming, so we prepare.  Those of us with initiative and drive, work to build and secure assets to use after the crash

Again, history has taught us that after things crash, opportunities blossom.  Big time.

So we buy and bury gold and silver.  And I literally mean bury it.  They can't confiscate it if they don't know you have it.

We buy and bury guns and ammo.  There will come a time when we'll need to defend our persons and property from criminals - elected and otherwise.

We buy and bury tools and supplies.  You can't take advantage of the coming opportunites with your good looks alone!

We acquire skills and knowledge to feed, house and clothe ourselves.  The monolith won't go down easily, and times will get worse before they get better.  We know this, and will be prepared for this dark period.

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Copyright 2014 Bison Risk Management Associates. All rights reserved. Please note that in addition to owning Bison Risk Management, Chief Instructor is also a partner in a precious metals business. You are encouraged to repost this information so long as it is credited to Bison Risk Management Associates.

Monday, June 9, 2014

The Vegas Shooting

By now, most of America has heard of the shooting of two Las Vegas police officers -
(CNN) -- A Las Vegas couple who gunned down two police officers and a civilian before killing themselves apparently looked at law enforcement as oppressors, a sheriff's department official said Monday.

Among the clues: a "Don't Tread on Me" flag and a Nazi swastika the couple placed on one of the police officers they ambushed Sunday at a pizza restaurant. They also pinned onto the officer's body a note saying something to the effect of "this is the beginning of the revolution," Second Assistant Sheriff Kevin McMahill told reporters.

"We believe that they equate government and law enforcement ... with Nazis," McMahill said. "In other words, they believe law enforcement is the oppressor."
 I think this Sheriff hit the nail on the head.  I think it's part of a trend, and one that's going to continue.

And if you own guns, I believe this is going to impact you directly.

Back in 2013 I wrote this ("Losing Trust and Respect") -

But, there is some push back.  And, I predict, if the police and bureaucrats don't start policing themselves, I believe hell is going to rain down on their heads.  The push back will become more common, more covert and more aggressive.

It is already happening on a sporadic basis.  The recent shooting at LAX was by a guy pissed off at TSA tactics.  There was just some guy in Arkansas that was caught blowing up electrical transmission lines.  Christopher Dorner - the former LA cop - went off on a killing spree because he felt the system was being stacked against him.

This government 'superiority complex' is out of control.
In this case, the perceived or actual oppressor was the police.  It may be the EPA, the BLM, the TSA - any government agency that runs rough-shod over citizens with no checks-and-balances or realistic opportunity for "redress of grievances."

People are going to take justice into their own hands.

The power to stop this is 100% within the power of these government agencies.

Saying "officer safety" is of paramount importance falls on deaf ears.  I care about my family.  My rights.  My property.

If the only way you are able to do your job is by abusing the people you're charged with protecting or serving, then you shouldn't be in that job.

A little more brains and a little less brawn is in order.

When a GA Sheriff basically says, "Eh, tough shit.  The officers made a mistake," when they blow up the face and chest of a baby in a bassinet with a flash-bang grenade, people lose empathy for the police.  If fact, they get pissed off.

And many are getting pissed off enough to do something about it.

How in God's name does it seem like a good idea to deploy an armored personnel carrier, 7 officers decked out in full assault garb, all carrying fully-automatic assault weapons, grenades, smoke bombs and who knows what else - to arrest a drug dealer, all on the word of a confidential informant?!

Are you serious? Not some drug kingpin.  Not some guy holed up in a fortified, machine gun protected fortress. 

But a street-level meth dealer.

But they won't change.  Why?  Because of human nature. 

If you've got a bunch of toys, you want to play with them.  If you dress up these "elite" units, they want to go to the dance once in a while.
But we all know nothing will change.  In fact, it will get worse.  If, as I predicted, people start shooting back,  sabotaging government facilities and assets, and in general, making life unpleasant for TPTB, the police and government officials will only clamp down even tighter.  We'll have more restrictions, more intrusions, more checkpoints, more abuse.  This will bring more retribution.

It will be a vicious, vicious circle.

I still believe this.  The myriad CONUS-based government agencies that have purchased over a billion hollow-point rounds of ammo didn't buy them for target practice. 

They believe the abuse/retribution/abuse/retribution cycle will happen, as well.

Accept The Challenge

And this is where non-criminal gun owners need to pay attention.  We're next.

These Vegas shooters draped a Gadsden flag and a swastika over the officers.  The Gadsden is probably the most common icon that the media associates with TEA partiers and gun owners.

The male shooter had a lengthy but largely trivial police record.  It won't be portrayed that way by the Talking Heads on TV, or the breathless Bloomberg gun-grabber bloggers.  This dude will be painted to be the second coming of Charles Manson.

Guns + Gadsden + swastika + criminal record will all be melded together as further proof that all gun lovers and TEA partiers are nothing more than blood thirsty anarchists looking to overthrow the government.

The first step will be in coming for the "gun and ammo" hoards.  Remember, to the compliant media and the uneducated public, a Mark III pistol and a 10/22 rifle with a "value box" of 500 rounds is considered a hoard.

The shooters in Vegas had 200 rounds with them, in what was called, "a small arsenal".  I guess what I bring with me to practice at the range would be considered a national security event.  Same goes for most of the folks that frequent most public ranges.

We've got a big target on our chests with lots of red laser dots dancing about.  Government, media, and the gun-grabbers all have us lit up like a Christmas tree.

So, other than the guns you carry every day, and those that you use for home defense, everything else needs to find a new place to stay.  It's simple math:  Don't have everything you own all in one place.

This is good practice anyways, but is virtually a requirement now.

Stock up on the down low.  Fill or build that hoard, but do it with cash only.  No debit or credit cards, no checks, no Paypal.  Nothing but cash.

Same goes for reloading supplies if you partake in that activity.

In general, stay off the ridgeline.  Don't make yourself an easy target.

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Copyright 2014 Bison Risk Management Associates. All rights reserved. Please note that in addition to owning Bison Risk Management, Chief Instructor is also a partner in a precious metals business. You are encouraged to repost this information so long as it is credited to Bison Risk Management Associates.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Unpredictable Violence

Low Probability/High Impact Events

In our Emergency Preparedness course, we talk about disaster events that are very unlikely to happen, but if they do occur, the consequences can be devastating.

An extreme example would be a meteor screaming out of the heavens and landing on your house.  There is little you can to to prevent it, It's very unlikely to happen, but would be horrible should it occur.

There are a number of events that are much more likely to occur - although still unlikely - yet most people give them almost no thought. Like the meteor example above, there may be little we can do to stop the disaster from happening, but there ARE things we can do to minimize the negative impact.

Do you remember the rioting in LA after the first Rodney King verdict?  It was essentially spontaneous.  As soon as the verdict was known, the lid came off, and the violence escalated.  If you were in the wrong place when it started, you were in immediate, life-threatening danger.

Staying out of LA on the day a verdict was to be presented would have been a prudent decision.  You have no idea how it will turn out, and some people might not like it.

The same goes with Super Bowl winners, NBA Championships and World Series final games.  People get crazy when big events happen, and that craziness often leads to violence.

Don't tempt fate.  Stay away.

But what if you're caught totally off-guard and find yourself in the middle of a threatening situation?  Here are some ideas:

Assume the police are overwhelmed.  At the very minimum, it will take several minutes for them to arrive.  A lot of bad things can happen in 5 minutes.  You are now 100% responsible for your own well-being until they arrive, or until you can get to a safer location.

If you're in a car, stay in it and lock all doors and windows.  Drive out of the area as quickly as possible.  If your tires are slashed, don't stop.  Drive on the rims if need be.  Escape and evasion are your priorities.  Exit the car, and you're likely to become a victim.

If you're on the street, get inside as quickly as possible.  If you're able, pick an office building before you pick a retail store, as stores are more likely to be targeted by looters.  Move to the back of the building if possible.  Try not to go to upper floors - if a fire is started, you may be trapped.

Arm yourself.  If you have a firearm, defensive spray or stunning device, have it ready and prepare yourself mentally to use it in self-defense.  If these aren't accessible, grab whatever is available.

ALWAYS look for a chance to get to safety.

Never let your guard down.

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Copyright 2014 Bison Risk Management Associates. All rights reserved. Please note that in addition to owning Bison Risk Management, Chief Instructor is also a partner in a precious metals business. You are encouraged to repost this information so long as it is credited to Bison Risk Management Associates.

Friday, May 30, 2014

Starter List: Essential Items To Keep In Your Car

Whether you’re a newly minted car-owner, or need some help brushing up on the basics, knowing what to keep in your car in case of an emergency is infinitely useful. Here are a few useful items that every car-owner should have at hand:

Spare Tire and Related Tools

Keeping a spare tire in your trunk is absolutely essential. Make sure that you’re checking it periodically to make sure that it’s in good, working condition. If you don’t know how to change a tire, now is the perfect time to learn. Here’s a handy resource to get you started. A tire jack and lug (or spider) wrench will complete your kit, allowing you to change your own spare, if the occasion should arise.

Emergency Kit

Start with an Auto Emergency Kit such as this one from Interamer and work your way outward, expanding it with other ICE (In Case of Emergency) items. This kit includes emergency blankets and ponchos, along with a first aid kit. A great feature of this kit is the fact that it comes with jumper cables, an absolute necessity for any car.

Additional items you might want to consider keeping in a more easily accessible place, like your glove compartment would include a glass and seatbelt cutter, both of which would be useless if tucked away in your trunk. A smaller first aid kit with the basics and a second flashlight might be good to keep on hand up front too.

Phone Charger

Smart Phone batteries are notorious for their short life spans, so having a spare battery source readily available is always a good idea. Chargers that connect and charge through the lighter will do in a pinch, but a better one to have would be something like this one by Juicebar, via Tiger Direct. Holding a charge for up to 30 days, this charger charges by USB port, giving your phone a full-battery’s worth of juice. Set a reminder to check on this charger about once a month to ensure that you’re not caught with a non-functioning spare battery when an emergency hits.

Weather Related Tools

The aforementioned Auto Emergency Kit contains a three-day food bar, which would come in very handy should you get stranded. Depending on your location, some seasonal materials are necessities in your trunk. For areas hit particularly hard by snow, sleet and hail in the winter months, make sure that snow brushes, ice scrapers and shovels are in the trunk from about mid-October to mid-May. Sand and/or tire chains are also very useful in the winter months.

Useful in all seasons, but especially in areas hit by excessive heat and humidity, would be bottles of water. Bottled water does have an expiration date, so if they’ve been rolling around in your trunk for 12+ months, it’s time to replace them. 5-Year Shelf Life purified waters like Aqua Blox might be your better bet here, though another option would be a bottle of germicidal tablets to clean suspicious water. Ponchos, plastic bags and umbrellas come in handy year-round, but especially in the rainy months.

The Extras

These are likely items that are already in your car in some capacity, but they bear reminding: extra tissues, baby wipes, feminine hygiene products, pens and a pad of paper are all useful items that should be at arm’s reach in your car.

For some this may seem like an excessive number of things to keep in your car, but you’ll be happy to have them in a pinch. For those who feel like we missed out on something essential, be sure to let us know in the comments what else you’ve included in your car’s emergency kit.

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Copyright 2014 Bison Risk Management Associates. All rights reserved. Please note that in addition to owning Bison Risk Management, Chief Instructor is also a partner in a precious metals business. You are encouraged to repost this information so long as it is credited to Bison Risk Management Associates.

Monday, May 26, 2014

All Ya Gotta Do Is Ask

Negotiating.  Most Americans hate it. 

As the owner of a retail precious metals (PM) store, I can tell you that 9 times out of 10, if I quote a price for either buying or selling PMs, that's the price that's paid.

But, that one person in ten that asks for a deal usually gets it.

For instance, if someone is buying jewelry, they may ask for a lower price - or may just say what they'll pay.  If it's not outrageous, we can usually work something out.

I may say I can give them a discount on a necklace, if they also buy a pair of earrings.  We both win.

I sell more product and build a customer relationship, and he or she gets what they want at a discount.  People with an affinity for haggling know it goes both ways!

I've got a very good friend who asks for a price cut virtually everywhere he goes.  From a roadside fruit stand (where you'd expect such a thing) to a national brand sandwich shop ("Hey, toss on an extra piece of cheese or slice of meat, won't ya?").

Most of the time they do it.  He's a master.

What's the worst that can happen?  They'll say, "No'.  He can live with that!

This article has some very good guidelines, as well as some do's and don'ts.  I'll tell you one thing:  practice makes perfect.  Think of it as a business activity - your job is to get the greatest value for your company money.

Trust me, it works!
Negotiate Everything And Anything
By Patricia J Moser

I read  an article in Consumer Reports entitled "How to bargain for almost anything". The basic premise of this article was that although most consumers are comfortable negotiating the price of a house or car, they believe that everything else must more or less be accepted at the price offered.

In the US and Canada, we tend to buy without considering the fact that there is an option to negotiate, whereas in other cultures there is an expectation that one does. This also transcends into the corporate arena, where often one encounters the attitude from the inevitable end users of a product or service that a quote is the end of the negotiation.

There is often fear associated with further negotiation --"What if they get offended, then they won't do business with us!"

This is such a ludicrous opinion that you want to give folk a shake and say "Wake up! These suppliers are in the business of getting our business".

People fear the little two-letter word "no." It can hold many hostage, because they believe that there is no retort to this word. People feel embarrassed when someone says no, but in reality, in my mind, no just means find another way.

The one thing you don't do in a negotiation is state an ultimatum such as "if you don't do this I won't buy from you," unless you are truly willing to walk away, and never re-engage with this particular company. Don't bluff, because you might be called on it and then you've lost all your leverage. It is better to stay engaged, probe and discover the other party's business drivers, and carefully, but skillfully peel back to onion of the real issues and determine what their bottom-line is and see how it maps to yours.

Beyond the business aspects of this, as Consumer Reports points out, you can negotiate everyday, for almost everything. I've negotiated down my cable rates, my phone rates, my Internet rates, just by asking how important my business was to these companies. I also ask for some type of discount when I purchase clothing (which is probably far too often!) particularly if I'm a regular customer. I ask how important it is to this store to retain my loyalty.

In regards to loyalty, I have also recently written to my bank which has both my personal and business accounts. I am always disturbed when corporations have special promotions to get "new" clients, but take their current and loyal clients for granted. Seeing one promotion which gave new customers an iPod for switching their business to the bank, I wrote an email, asking what they were going to do for existing and loyal customers.

After a couple of emails (never accept the first response) I received $200 credited to my bank account. Not bad for a 1/2 hours work.

Everything is negotiable. You just have to ask!

Patricia J. Moser is President of i3 ADVANTAGE, a boutique consulting firm. Visit and read more of Patricia's writings at

Article Source: Negotiate Everything And Anything

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Copyright 2014 Bison Risk Management Associates. All rights reserved. Please note that in addition to owning Bison Risk Management, Chief Instructor is also a partner in a precious metals business. You are encouraged to repost this information so long as it is credited to Bison Risk Management Associates.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Post Disaster Potable Water

The city sewage treatment plant goes off line due to a terrorist attack.

A natural disaster - such as Katrina - devastates and floods large geographic areas, making all water unsafe to consume.

An earthquake strikes or wildfire races through your area, knocking out power for your entire region.

A train derails and dumps thousands of gallons of toxic sludge into your city's primary water supply, making it unusable for consumption or sanitation.

Bottom line:  You are forced to evacuate, and must look elsewhere for water to consume.

Your plan is to rush down to the local super market and grab all the water off the shelves and hit the road. 

The problem is, everyone else had that same plan, and they got there before you.

 Most people that study and practice prepping know about The Rule of 3's:
You can live 3 minutes without air
You can live 3 hours without shelter
You can live 3 days without water
You can live 3 weeks without food
Water, though, has some rules.  You can't just drink any water - you've got to drink potable water.  Potable simply means, "safe to drink".

Drink contaminated water, and you may be accelerating your death, not preventing it.

The two biggest enemies here in the US are Cryptosporidium and Giardia.  Nasty stuff, both of them.

Both of these protozoa can give you severe gastrointestinal distress.  That's a nice way of saying diarrhea. 

Both are capable of causing you to lose more fluids than you are able to retain, and you slowly die from dehydration. 

If you are able to get to a medical facility, recovery can take upwards of 6 weeks for severe cases. If you can't get to facilities, your options are severely limited. 

The long and the short of it is:  Don't ingest these protozoa!

As we age, this is even more critical.  In general, we are faster to get ill - when compared to a typical 20-something - and are slower to regain our health.  A bad case of, "The Revenge" can take your life if you don't have immediate access to medical care.

Far and away, the most effective way to make your water potable, is to boil it. 

Many (if not most) survival and prepper sites will tell you to boil your water for 5 minutes.  In my opinion, that is a waste of precious resources (fuel and evaporated water) and time.  

Water is pasteurized (all bad stuff killed by heat) when it reaches 191F for 1 second.  You'll notice that this temperature is below boiling temperature of 212F. 

Most people don't carry a thermometer with them, so they can't tell when they've hit 191F.  For me, I wait until I see my first big boil bubble in the pot.  

By that time, I have already blown through 191F and have reached 212F.  I know with certainty - even at higher elevations up to 11,000 feet - that the water has been pasteurized and is safe to consume. 

Also, it's very important that the turbidity of the water be removed.  What does that mean?  It means you want the water to look clear.  Particulates floating in the water can house the protozoa, bacteria and other harmful bugs, and prevent the boiling from being fully effective.  

If you don't have some sort of a filter, let the water sit undisturbed for a half hour, and pour off the clear water on top. 

Lastly, stay away from water with a chemical or solvent smell.  There are ways to remove these contaminants, but you are ill-equipped to employ them during an emergency situation.

This first video shows how to make a survival filter.  Perhaps more valuable, she shows how to make an Egyptian Well - using natural sediments near the body of water to pre-filter the bad stuff -


 Sometimes you're fortunate enough to have some gear with you.  In this case a Life Straw.

This inventive teacher mixes up a batch of Cow Poo Tea.... and then drinks it with the Life Straw.  A pretty good addition to any Bug Out Bag, car emergency bag, or camping gear backpack -


 This creative fellow fills his canteen... from a tree!  Very easy to do with just a knife and a canteen.

 And a tree, of course!


 Dave Canterbury - formerly of the Discovery Channel show, "Dual Survival" shows us how to treat water in a number of ways.


Lastly, this video show how to make a solar still - producing pure, distilled water.

 As the video highlights, a LOT of work goes into solar stills, and you typically get very little water in return for the effort.  Use this technique in conjunction with other, more productive techniques.


 Learn about the water in your area.  Where are the treatment plants?  Where are naturally occurring bodies of water such as rivers, lakes, ponds and the like?  Are they up- or down-stream of potential contamination sources?

Where are man-made sources of water, such as swimming pools, storage tanks and cisterns?  Toilet tanks and water heaters?  Having this information before you need it can be a life-saver.

Do you have the ability to make a fire to boil your water - any time, any where?  Pots or other containers to hold it?  Chemicals to disinfect it?  Filters - or the skills to make one - to clarify it?

The skills and tools needed to make your water potable are readily available.  It's your job to make sure YOU have them.

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Copyright 2014 Bison Risk Management Associates. All rights reserved. Please note that in addition to owning Bison Risk Management, Chief Instructor is also a partner in a precious metals business. You are encouraged to repost this information so long as it is credited to Bison Risk Management Associates.