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There are two ways to sleep well at night ... be ignorant or be prepared.

Friday, February 29, 2008

Prince Harry Pokes Al Qaeda in the Eye

Well, it seems Prince Harry has been or will soon be spirited out of country. Hats off to the guy for doing his duty.

He did some real damage apparently while on the ground in Afghanistan, so now he figures he will be an especially tempting target back in Britain for their very own radical Islamists.

Anyway, Harry has poked a thumb in the eye of those AQ dastardlies and now for the time being at least, he can go "na-na, na-na-na, you missed me, you missed me."

Just think what kind of rep he'll have if he manages to now sneak a little tour of duty on the ground in Iraq!

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Get Ready ... Seriously - www.safecastleroyal.com

Monday, February 25, 2008

Unprecedented Food Cost Hikes Ahead

Shoppers warned bigger bills on way
By Javier Blas
Published: February 24 2008 22:02


When William Lapp, of US-based consultancy Advanced Economic Solutions, took the podium at the annual US Department of Agriculture conference, the sentiment was already bullish for agricultural commodities boosted by demand from the biofuels industry and emerging countries.

He added a twist – that rising agricultural raw material prices would translate this year into sharply higher food inflation.


“I hope you enjoy your meal,” Mr Lapp told delegates during a luncheon. “It is the cheapest one you are going to have at this forum for a while.”

His warning that a strong wave of food inflation is heading towards the world economy was met by nods from agriculture traders, food industry executives and western’s government officials at the USDA’s annual Agricultural Outlook Forum.

Larry Pope, chief executive of Smithfield Foods, the largest US pork processor, warned delegates of a wave of “real food inflation” just at the time central banks were under pressure to cut interest rates.

“I think we need to tell the American consumer that [prices] are going up,” he said. “We’re seeing cost increases that we’ve never seen in our business.”

[snip]


Get Ready ... Seriously - www.safecastleroyal.com

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Palestinians Plan Mass Rush on Gazan-Israeli Border Monday

http://debka.com/headline.php?hid=5050

Excerpt:

Beefed-up Israeli military and security forces prepare to repulse thousands of Palestinians planning to crash the full length of the Gazan-Israeli border and its crossings at 10:00 a.m. IT Monday, Feb. 25. (3am EST)

Behind the human shield of women, children and elderly leading the assault on Monday, Hamas, Jihad Islami and Fatah are expected to shoot, send in suicide bombers and unleash a Qassam barrage. If Israeli forces are goaded into opening fire, civilian casualties may be heavy enough to draw international condemnation.

[snip]

Update:

Palestinian scheme for mass charge on Gaza-Israel border collapses
February 25, 2008, 1:41 PM (GMT+02:00)


Get Ready ... Seriously - www.safecastleroyal.com

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Oil at $150 by Year-end

Oil and food -- modern life's two necessities seem guaranteed to skyrocket through at least the next year. The logical result of that, in your day to day life, is something akin to chaos.

Bank projects oil will hit $150 by year's end

ABU DHABI — The price of crude oil was expected to skyrocket to $150 per barrels over the next few months.

An analysis by Saxo Bank said the price of oil would continue to rise sharply in 2008. The analysis said inflation as well as growing demand would fuel the rise in global prices.
Saxo, the specialized investment bank headquartered in Denmark, said gold would hit $1,000 per ounce as the price of all precious commodities would rise. The analysis linked the movement of oil and gold.

[snip]


Get Ready ... Seriously - www.safecastleroyal.com

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Deep Survival--Stories to Ponder

National Geographic Adventure is one of just two magazines to which I subscribe. It is a rare treasure, given it's ability to deliver relevant, helpful, and fascinating information about our natural world and how we interact with it.

Two recent, thoughtful columns under the heading of "Deep Survival" are highly recommended to our readers who are interested in being fully prepared for disaster. They are unusual and memorable in that they approach unique aspects of being ready ... that is, how apt are you to make wise decisions in dangerous conditions.

I ask that you read through each of these columns linked below and spend a bit of time mulling over the mental and emotional wherewithal you might have at your disposal when you are at sudden risk. (The lessons offered are applicable across the spectrum of episodic daily-life.)

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Get Ready ... Seriously - www.safecastleroyal.com

Friday, February 08, 2008

Wheat Prices On Fire

Wheat is just leading the upward charge. Other food commodities are rising as well.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

"Business Not as Usual: Preparing for a Pandemic Flu"

Excellent new video made for businesses and organizations in Seattle and King County ...

Click link to open streaming video:


Windows MediaPlayer must be installed on your computer to view the streaming video through your Internet browser. Install Windows MediaPlayer (free).
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Get Ready ... Seriously - www.safecastleroyal.com

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Montague Folding Bikes & Swiss Bikes - Preppers' Bikes

Think spring. Think portable transportation. Think riding under your own power down city streets, along dusty trails, and across babbling brooks.

These bikes are tough and cool. Easy to carry in your compact trunk, on a plane or train, or stowed under your desk or in your apartment closet. Just 30 seconds to fold down or to reassemble, light enough to carry in a special shoulder bag--being prepared for the unexpected or the inconvenient should always be so easy.

I have the Montague Paratrooper and it is by far the most adaptable, enjoyable, most rugged yet most comfortable ride I've experienced. In fact, that's why I sell the Montague and SwissBike lines. I believe in them.



Check out our folding bike listings here (remember--we ship free to the lower 48, AND our members get 20% off the list prices)!



Get Ready ... Seriously - www.safecastleroyal.com

Killer Tornadoes Wreak Devastation in 4 States

The severe storm season in the U.S. has made a sudden, tragic entrance on the scene.

Folks are free to play the odds and hope they aren't ever struck by the fury that is possible out there, but we have to encourage you to have in place a viable shelter that will withstand winds that otherwise threaten those who are unprepared.

Twisters Kill at Least 50 in Southern States

LAFAYETTE, Tenn. - Rescue crews, some with the help of the National Guard, went door-to-door looking for more victims a day after a cluster of tornadoes tore through the South, killing at least 50 people and injuring several hundred.

Residents in five states tried to salvage what they could Wednesday from homes reduced to piles of debris. Dozens of twisters were reported as storms swept through Kentucky, Tennessee, Mississippi, Arkansas and Alabama.

Seavia Dixon, whose home in Atkins, Ark., was shattered, stood in her yard, holding muddy baby pictures of her son, who is now a 20-year-old soldier in Iraq. Only a concrete slab was left.

[snip]


Get Ready ... Seriously - www.safecastle.com

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Legendary Investor Counsels Rich to Prepare for War in "Wealth, War, and Wisdom"

Excerpt from Bloomberg:

Biggs's Tips for the Rich: Expect War, Study Blitz, Mind Markets

Jan. 30 (Bloomberg) -- Barton Biggs has some offbeat advice for the rich: Insure yourself against war and disaster by buying a remote farm or ranch and stocking it with "seed, fertilizer, canned food, wine, medicine, clothes, etc.''

The "etc.'' must mean guns.

"A few rounds over the approaching brigands' heads would probably be a compelling persuader that there are easier farms to pillage,'' he writes in his new book, "Wealth, War and Wisdom.''


Biggs is no paranoid survivalist. He was chief global strategist at Morgan Stanley before leaving in 2003 to form hedge fund Traxis Partners. He doesn't lock and load until the last page of this smart look at how World War II warped share prices, gutted wealth and remains a warning to investors. His message: Listen to markets, learn from history and prepare for the worst.

[snip]

My Take: I haven't read this yet, but I will certainly be getting a copy.

According to his bio, author Barton Biggs spent 30 years at Morgan Stanley. Capping his many achievements, he served as Chairman of the investment management firm.

At various times during this period (1973-2003) he was ranked as the number one U.S. investment strategist by the Institutional Investor magazine poll and then, from 1996 to 2003, as the number one global strategist. In 2003, Biggs left Morgan Stanley and, with two other colleagues, formed Traxis Partners. Traxis now has well over a billion dollars under its management.

On "War, Wealth, and Wisdom," the publisher summarizes:

During our current years of political upheaval and dramatic market swings, it's important to look back on historic periods to gain insights into the direction of stocks and economic stability for investment opportunities today. In Wealth, War, and Wisdom, legendary Wall Street investor Barton Biggs has analyzed, for the first time, the major events of World War II and how they shaped the stock market and individual wealth from 1930 to 1945. No one before Biggs has traced this intersection, and the lessons for investing today are unparalleled. In Wealth, War, and Wisdom, Biggs discusses the performance of equities in both victorious and defeated countries. He then reveals how individuals preserved their wealth and explores whether or not public equities were able to increase in value and serve as a wealth preserver in spite of the ongoing battles. Besides examining the stock market, Biggs looks at how other assets, including real estate and gold, fared during this dynamic and devastating period. His unique account of the Second World War is lively and lesson-filled on life, politics, and survival, and completely relevant to predicting the way modern financial markets and the economy may act during times of uncertainty. Filled with in-depth insights and practical advice, Wealth, War, and Wisdom will help investors apply these original financial lessons directly, and beneficially, to today's turbulent markets.


Get Ready ... Seriously - www.safecastleroyal.com

Friday, February 01, 2008

Fifteen More Cities on Homeland Security Terror-Risk List

The Associated Press reports that the Department of Homeland Security has added 15 cities/regions to its list for funding priorities--areas thatare at high risk of terrorist attack.

See Fox News' report here.

Added to last year's Tier II list: Albany, NY; Rochester, N.Y.; Syracuse, N.Y.; Austin and Round Rock, Texas; Baton Rouge, La.; Bridgeport, Stamford and Norwalk, Conn.; the Hartford, Conn., region; Louisville and Jefferson County in Kentucky and an adjoining area in Indiana; Nashville, Davidson County and Murfreesboro, Tenn.; Richmond, Va.; Riverside, San Bernardino and Ontario, Calif.; Salt Lake City; San Juan, Caguas and Guaynabo, Puerto Rico; and Toledo, Ohio.

The FY07 Tier II list:
Anaheim/Santa Ana Area (CA)
Atlanta Area (GA)
Baltimore Area (MD)
Boston Area (MA)
Buffalo Area (NY)
Charlotte Area (NC)
Cincinnati Area (OH)
Cleveland Area (OH)
Columbus Area (OH)
Dallas/Fort Worth/Arlington Area (TX)
Denver Area (CO)
Detroit Area (MI)
El Paso Area (TX)
Fort Lauderdale Area (FL)
Honolulu Area (HI)
Indianapolis Area (IN)
Jacksonville Area (FL)
Kansas City Area (MO)
Las Vegas Area (NV)
Memphis Area (TN)
Miami Area (FL)
Milwaukee Area (WI)
New Orleans Area (LA)
Norfolk Area (VA)
Oklahoma City Area (OK)
Orlando Area (FL)
Philadelphia Area (PA)
Phoenix Area (AZ)
Pittsburgh Area (PA)
Portland Area (OR)
Providence Area (RI)
Sacramento Area (CA)
San Antonio Area (TX)
San Diego Area (CA)
Seattle Area (WA)
St. Louis Area (MO)
Tampa Area (FL)
Tucson Area (AZ)
Twin Cities Area (MN)


The Tier I list of cities (that receive the most funding):

Bay Area (CA)
Chicago Area (IL)
Houston Area (TX)
Los Angeles/Long Beach Area (CA)
National Capital Region (DC)
New York City/Northern New Jersey Area
• New York City Area
• Jersey City/Newark Area



Get Ready ... Seriously - www.safecastleroyal.com

U.S. National Guard & Reserves NOT Ready for Attack Within US




Get Ready ... Seriously - www.safecastleroyal.com

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Pakistan is the Front Line

He says he's "not interested" in Pakistan's nukes. Uh, OK then.

More Dangerous Than Osama
Militant Leader Claims He Is Fighting a 'Defensive' Jihad to Destroy the White House


By NICK SCHIFRIN

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan Jan. 28, 2008

He is more dangerous to Pakistan than Osama bin Laden, analysts say. He may be the single most important person in Pakistan's fight for its future. And for the first time, he has described the goals and the details of the network of militants responsible for the most violent time in Pakistan in 60 years.

During a 25-minute sit-down with al Jazeera, Baitullah Mehsud, the man Pakistan blames for killing former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, claims he is fighting a "defensive" jihad with the goal to destroy the White House, New York and London.

[snip] Click article title to read on.
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Get Ready ... Seriously - www.safecastleroyal.com

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Cost Analysis on Preparedness Foods

As a part of the work that went into our new calorie-based/budget-options food listings, we did some pretty in-depth research.

We found that the best estimates today, are that Americans spend an average of $2.88 per meal per person.

That's over $3100 a year per person to keep them fed (and in America, that really means, over-fed).

As a percentage of disposable income, food expenditures average between 10% and 11% per household.

How Does that Matter?

For our latest preparedness food packages, we were aiming to put together convenient, good-tasting foods that would not only satisfy nutritional/caloric requirements, but budgetary requirements as well.

Our calorie-based variety packages come in at over 2200 calories a day--not far under the average daily caloric consumption (after spoilage and plate-waste adjustments). Cost-wise, at three meals a day, we are looking at an average of $2.70 per meal in these packages--well under the current budgetary demands Americans are currently putting up with.

Much to Consider

It's important for people to know that a smart food preparedness program accounts for a number of factors:

1. Budget--obviously a key. People want to be sure they do not over-pay for their emergency rations. (With the rapid rise in food prices these days--well-packaged, properly stored emergency food actually appreciates in value with time.)

2. Nutritional value--nutritional value and caloric requirements are often not adequately considered, strangely enough, by those who put food away for a rainy day. If you want to eat like you're used to, you may need to store enough to eat about 2800 calories a day. Americans should have a minimum of 2000 calories a day stored away.

3. Variety, ease of use--perhaps the most important rule of all in food storage--"Store what you eat, eat what you store." In times of stress, it's important you have food that you are familiar with, that you enjoy eating, that you do not have food allergies to. Beans, rice, and wheat serve a purpose in most food storage efforts, as they are cheap and high in caloric value. But if that does not define your diet now, then you should be sure to also have on hand the kinds of foods you DO eat regularly--meats, pastas, stews, etc. And you should be comfortable with how your storage foods need to be prepared. Freeze-dried and dehydrated foods, you need to add water. Staples require more processing and cooking.

4. Shelf life--most foods at your local grocery store are good for months to a couple of years on the shelf. 50-pound bags of staples you might buy locally or online should be stored away in vacuum-sealed buckets to maximize storage life--as long as 10 years for many of those staples if done properly. MREs are good for a few years only, and as with most foods, they are very sensitive to storage conditions. Wet-packed meats, canned cheeses and dairy products canned for storage are often going to be good for 10-15 years. Freeze-dried and dehydrated foods will be good for 15-30 years.

The longer the shelf life and the better the storage conditions (consistently cool and dry are the ideal), the less you will need to rotate and replace the stocks.

Bottom Line

There is much more to a good and effective food-storage program than initial price. If you consider all the factors above for your personal situation before you make your emergency food purchases, you will arrive at THE best value. And THAT is what will result in peace of mind and real security.


Get Ready ... Seriously - www.safecastleroyal.com

Friday, January 25, 2008

"When All Hell Breaks Loose: Stuff You Need to Survive When Disaster Strikes"

Safecastle just purchased a quantity of Cody Lundin's new book, "When All Hell Breaks Loose: Stuff You Need to Survive When Disaster Strikes."

Do you know Cody? Two things: he's an animal! ... but he's an articulate animal!

I wanted to get copies of this uniquely powerful survival manual in the hands of as many of our friends as possible. So here's the deal--new Safecastle Royal members signing up get a FREE copy by entering this coupon code on the payment page of the checkout process: FREEWAHBL (while supplies last).

The book will take 3-4 weeks to arrive.

Established club members--you can of course get in on the deal as well. You can purchase the book (see link above) at the standard 20% member discount (let me know if you need the member discount code again). OR, you can get a free copy with any purchase of more than $150, after your universal member discount is applied. Simply mention the book offer in the comments section in the checkout process and we'll get you your free copy.

Want to know more about the author? Watch the YouTube clip of Cody at the bottom of our listing. (If you are sensitive about language or primitive survival methods, you may not want to play the vid.)
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Get Ready ... Seriously - www.safecastleroyal.com

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Personal Reflection on the Times

Seems like all I've been posting here lately is a wide variety of threatening headlines from around the world.

Although there should be no denying the fact that our shrinking globe is getting more dangerous on an almost daily basis, I really want to keep this blog's primary message front and center ...

That is, there is NO reason to freak out. In fact, since you presumably are approaching things properly today, if and when the day ever does arrive when most of your neighbors are running around with their hair on fire, you will have no reason, even then, to lose your cool.

Boiled down, there are two main rationales for household preparedness.

One--it is a very good thing to have in place the supplies, gear, knowledge, and frame of mind to deal with a sudden crisis or disaster. Crises happen. One MAY happen to you, so do you want to be equipped to deal with it if it does? Or do you want to put your family's welfare on the line strung between government competence and local benevolence and community teamwork?

Two--more immediate and universal ... when you are prepared, you invariably feel better and more at peace with your place in the world. Whether hell ever comes a calling or not, you DO have an increased measure of substantive peace of mind, and the only way that is taken from you is if your preps and your pre-positioned learnings and mindset disappear.

Beat the Rush ... Panic Now

Just kidding. But really, if there is anxiety and a sense of urgency out there today ... it is among those who have delayed in putting together their readiness plans and acting on them. It's almost never too late to get started, but plainly, more and more people out there are feeling the urge. That only makes things more difficult if you are in competition with others for limited resources.

Get yours in place before all the emergency-storage food companies are back-ordered. Related gear providers, guns and ammo dealers, and shelter builders to mention a few other resources also can get quickly swamped. It happens in times of national stress--two or three times in the last several years that I recall. And we haven't even really experienced a real national crisis yet in our day. Not the kind that is materially relevant to most everyone in every home.

If that ever does happen (think pandemic, think economic calamity, think coordinated NBC attacks, think outright global warfare), your chances for getting squared away suddenly drop to nil.

Contingency planning is smart. It's logical. We expect it from our government, corporate, and church leaders. But even if they live up to their obligations--there is little overlap with your needed household contingency planning needs.

Get with the program. No one else can do it for you. When you do, you'll be breathing easier.


Get Ready ... Seriously - www.safecastleroyal.com

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

H5N1 Gaining Momentum in India

This is a scary example of how important education is in pandemic preparedness. One region where education is lacking COULD come back to haunt all of us.

India faces bird flu 'disaster'
By Sailendra Sil in Kolkata
January 22, 2008 08:12pm

Excerpt:
INDIA'S worst ever outbreak of the virulent H5N1 strain of bird flu could turn into a disaster, an official warned, as five people were reportedly quarantined with symptoms of the virus.
Eight districts in the eastern state of West Bengal have been hit by the virus, with dead birds being sold to locals who are said to be "feasting" on cheap chicken.

The state's animal resources minister, Anisur Rahaman, said authorities were "determined to cull all poultry in the districts in three or four days, otherwise the state will face a disaster".
More than 100,000 bird deaths have been reported, and teams are racing to cull two million chickens and ducks.

The Times of India reported five people in West Bengal have been quarantined with "clinical symptoms" of avian flu - including fever, coughing, sore throats and muscle aches - after handling affected poultry.

If the tests are positive for H5N1, this will be the first case of human infection in India, home to 1.1 billion people and hit by bird flu among poultry three times since 2006.


Get Ready ... Seriously - www.safecastleroyal.com