Showing posts with label mexico. Show all posts
Showing posts with label mexico. Show all posts

Friday, April 5, 2013

Death Squads, What Collapse Looks Like and Things To Do Now

Well it looks like the friendly (snark) local Aryan Brotherhood offed that DA and his wife, as well as the Colorado prison department guy in Colorado and probably the ADA from Texas. As AM noted recently Assistant Attorney Jay Hileman stepped down from prosecuting an Aryan Brotherhood case. Part of me says the dude should man up and do the job Texas is paying him to but on the other hand I can see his perspective. The guy took the job to bridge into something else and now all of a sudden some crazy honkeys are killing folks in the exact situation he was in. As AM noted this is bad.

I do not know what will happen. It is worth noting this is how death squads come to be. Some group either Criminal or Revolutionary in nature (yes there could be others but lets keep it simple)  decides to start hitting back at the cops and or soldiers (for the sake of flow I will just say cops from here on). The cops decide that it sucks when they are being attacked and killed. In small to medium sized groups they decide to do something about it. Given that they are the cops who have significant discretion about which cases to pursue and where to pursue them, especially with politically marginalized people, the odds of getting caught are about zero. Cops know who the bad guys are, who their friends are and where they hang out. Maybe they go all Vick Mackey and bend some rules, slap some folks around for info or whatever; or they might go strait to 'black sight prisons, torture and summary executions and shallow graves. In the big picture it doesn't really matter because it is bad.

Every action has an equal and opposite reaction. Actions by angry groups of armed men are typically violent. Once the pro regime death squads get going the anti regime (criminal or revolutionary) death squads are sure to follow, if they do not exist already. The tit for tat spiral goes into full effect. The end result is Iraq from 2006-2010ish, the dirty wars in South America or Mexico right now. For those who are not up on their current history that means very bad. Tons of people getting killed or just vanishing. Some are legit players in the conflict but many, of not most, are normal folks ratted out for personal reasons or just at the wrong place during the wrong time.

This is the kind of thing that happens with the mob in Italy or tribal groups in Iraq during the bad years. It leads to a paralyzed system in the short term due to turnover. Eventually folks get into these positions who are not inclined to prosecute these cases unless it's a slam dunk (like caught on live TV and the guy says his name out loud) or maybe even not at all. It would be difficult to overstate the impact this sort of thing has on rule of law.

Along other lines (well except mooching off AM for material;) we need to know that collapses do not typically happen in a day. Rome wasn't going great then all of a sudden those pesky Germanic Hordes showed up. One could make a legitimate argument that right now is what collapse looks like.

What can we do? Long term shelf stable food and dehydrated emergency food are good options. Ammo and precious metals are always good ideas.  A quality water filter is essential. All old hat.

Today I had a couple of cavities filled. Not so long ago I went to the eye doctor to get a couple extra sets of glasses. Wifey has done or is about to do these things. We make sure the kids stay current on all their stuff too. Typically these are things that get put off or delayed when money gets tight, which it is now for about everybody. Best case you still have a job but magical price increases that are clearly not  inflation are decreasing purchasing power.

I urge you to take care of this stuff ASAP. A tooth that you've been putting off getting fixed would be a real problem if things go all Argentina on us. Ditto for needing a spare set of spectacles. If your family need medicine it would be prudent to stock some. Yes it costs money, sometimes a lot of money. However I can't see medical/ dental/ optometry care getting cheaper, more available or better in the next couple years. Quite frankly I suspect the opposite is going to happen. In other words that filling or new pair of glasses you are putting off now will be even less affordable in a year. They may just plain be out of the reach of many folks who are currently in the middle class.

Along the health and fitness effort line work on getting into shape. Also slowly work to make your addictions into luxuries. In other words decrease frequency and consumption such that if you need to stop using them it is not a big deal. Do this a bit at a time and it doesn't suck that bad. I'm down to 2 cups of coffee a day and more days without beer than with so it can be done. It's not fun but sure beats needing to quit these things because you do not have and can not get them during an already stressful situation.

 That covered a lot of ground but hopefully everyone got something out of it.Get moving and do something.


Wednesday, January 23, 2013

From Around The Web

Commander Zero tells a personal story about firearm registration. We need to fight any form of national gun registration or attempts to limit private party firearm purchases as vigorously as possible. If your state sucks and requires firearms to be registered I recommend voting with your feet.

Rural Mexicans form local security groups to protect their families and towns. The police and military either can not or will not protect them so these folks are doing it themselves. Note that lawful gun ownership in Mexico is seriously restricted. That combined with the abject poverty most rural Mexicans live in explains the single shot shotguns and other antiquated and less than ideal weapons.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Mexico urges U.S. to review gun laws after Colorado shooting- Got To Be Kidding Me

You can read the story here. Mexico's moral high ground when it comes to violence and the murder of innocent people is about that of Charley Sheen on the use of crack cocaine. To put this in perspective roughly 4X the amount of people killed in this unfortunate episode had their heads cut off not too far back in what was depressingly a fairly average week down in Ole Monterey.

That nation is engaged in a defacto civil war against massive drug cartels which are regularly fielding platoon sized elements which are engaging government forces with heavy weapons. These aren't some rinky dink gangbangers who have to steal an AR-15 from some citizen's house. They can just get guns from Mexican Army deserters or buy them on the world market.

Something about glass houses and stones comes to mind here.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Book Review- The Western Front Part 1

I read The Western Front Part 1 last night. The basic plot is that southern Texas is facing a defacto border war with Mexican drug cartel's. The economy is on the verge of collapse and the dollar is not doing well. The book follows a few characters including a rancher and a Texas guardsmen (of sorts) through this ugly scenario.

Part 1 of this book is pretty realistic and entertaining. I was pleasantly suprised that the frequent tangent rants which can happen in this sort of book were not present. At 60 pages it was a quick read. The scene was set and things got going just enough to hook me. I can't wait for part two.

Since this novel is being released in parts I am going to hold off on the traditional review format until the end. In any case I enjoyed The Western Front Part 1 and recommend it to readers.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Monday Randomness

So France elected a Socialist president. I am pretty ambivalent about this as I do not live there or have any meaningful ties to the place. This could be interesting because it would push back against Germany's austerity measures when it comes to their broke, dysfunctional and still running a deficit southern neighbor Greece as well as not far behind Portugal and Spain. Right now Germany is the only one that can really try to bankroll continued enabling temporary aid. As their smaller, poorer, weaker and generally far less masculine next largest European partner France has really helped this be a united front instead of mean old Germany. This could be fun to watch.

The thing that lots of folks don't seem to get is for governments spending  and income as measured by taxes or growth as measured by GDP are related. Spending affects the economy through jobs, buying things, etc. Increasing revenues via taxes can also hurt the economy. The typical IMF style austerity plan is really a downward spiral. Imagine a company deciding to save by cutting out the advertising that brings in customers or in a more extreme case a dairy farmer cutting expenses by feeding his cows less. Obviously not a good plan. I don't know the answer is. You can tell the debtors to shove it (if you owe the bank 10k they own you but if you owe them 10 billion then you own them) which Greece is not big enough to do; or to not get into the situation in the first place.

Mexico is still a mess. Their government can't or won't stop the cartels from acting with total impunity and doing things like hanging a bunch of bodies from bridges or decapitating people. If there is anything good in the future there I am not aware of it and in fact the place seems to be in a downward spiral. I would not be suprised if I get a paid vacation there at some point in the next few years.
Metals are down a bit but I am not sure it is buying time. I feel a dip coming.

I have been trimming up some lately. I switched to light beer and have been paying more attention to what I eat as well as to portion sized. It seems to be working. Nothing huge really but I didn't need a massive course correction anyway. Hopefully in the next few days I finally kick this bug and can get back to doing some good PT. Don't worry I am still lifting heavy things in order to continue to be awesome. I don't believe in big changes in routines (powerlift for 3 months to "bulk" then do cardio and bodyweight to "tone" or whatever) but running, rucking and biking or whatever more during the spring and summer then hitting the gym a bit more in the winter when it is nasty outside seems like a pretty natural rhythm.
Anyway I hope you all have a decent Monday. Mine was pretty chill and I got to hit the gym so I will call it a win.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Movie Review: Machete

First Danny Trejo is a really scary looking dude. Second I think this movie is going to be cheesy and entertaining. It is suprising how many big name actors and actresses are in this movie. Some of the action is downright ridiculous. Like completely over the top. There is a real pro illegal alien criminal position in this movie that is made quite clear by the storyline. That would have bothered me more except the whole thing was so rediculous that it didn't.

It was an entertaining movie. At times it was somewhat serious and had good dialog with interesting plot twists. At other times it was cheesy and rediculous and funny. I really enjoyed it. Assuming you take the movie for what it is, a cheesy B movie with a bunch of A list actors you will enjoy it. A good thoughtless movie that is best served with a couple beers, buddies are nice but not required.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

UN Talks About Food Prices

You can read the article here.

A guy from the World Food Program said "Food might be there on the markets, but people don't have the resources to buy it because it is too expensive."

I am not worried about MY access to food. However I am worried about world stability. The reason I am not worried is that I am, at least relative to the entire world, rich. Like most Americans and western Europeans I spend a relatively small percentage of my income on food. If food prices go up 15 or 20 percent I would notice and grumble but could easily pay. If food prices went up 100 percent or even more we would change the way we eat and have to adjust our budget but we would be able to afford some sort of food to eat.

However food prices radically going up screws with a lot of people. Poor folks (and I'm talking 3rd world poor not those whining Americans with a comfortable residence, 2 cars, flat screen TV's and an Ipod's) can't do this. They spend a very high percentage of their income on food. They don't have room to shift things around if food prices go up 30 percent, let alone double. This means they need to earn more money which is not a solution because if they were capable of that they would already be doing it. What it really means is that some people might starve and lots of people will start protesting and burning stuff down. These folks are ripe for getting whipped up by political agitators of all kinds as they are in a bad spot as well as generally being poorly educated and often illiterate. This is the kind of stuff that, if left unchecked can topple or radically reshape countries.  In particular Mexico (not that it is the most vulnerable but by proximity it would have the biggest second and third order effects on the US) is quite vulnerable to changes in corn prices.

Something to pay attention to if not to freak out about.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Rural Living for SHTF Security

Yesterday I ended up driving some distance through rural Germany. To quote a co worker everything is so beautiful I just want to take pictures of it all. Anyway more importantly I want to talk about how they live. Rural Germans live in little villages.

Village is a term I will use in the future because it is to me more descriptive than the ubiquitous phrase "town". There is a church, a couple little bars, a Gasthaus or two, a small market, maybe a couple random shops and then a few dozen houses. Between a village and the next it might be as little as 5k or more like 10+ in any given direction. In the middle are fields of all types and woodlots.

People pretty much everywhere have traditionally clustered together for collective security. In wild and crazy days that are generally past an isolated family farm was easy pickings for some brigands or bandits. However 5-30 families clustered together could put up a defense and make the juice not worth the squeeze. In Germany the local villages control who can and can't build outside of the village area. Not saying it is right or wrong but well, German. Seeing a farmer driving a tractor with a trailer from his house in town to his fields a couple kilometers away is common place. Basically they live in town and go out to work their fields.

Rural Americans have for a variety of reasons (lower population densities, high gun ownership, sense of community, etc) gotten a pass from the violence that strikes elsewhere. Rural farmers in  Rhodesia/ Zimbabwe and South Africa have had a horrible time. Most of them lived in large family compounds, were quite well armed and often had combat veterans in the family. These folks were driven from the land their ancestors farmed because they were killed or legitimately feared being killed. A steady nerve and an FN-FAL did nothing to protect them. There was a rather unique situation in both South Africa and Zimbabwe where what essentially amounted to gangs of armed thugs got a get out of jail free card for anything they did to rich white people who somewhat justifiably (though short sight idly since they fed everybody) fell out of political favor. This is a stark reminder that how much law enforcement helps or hinders you is at least loosely related to the political favor of whatever group (s) you are identified with. It isn't nice to say and I hope it never gets that bad in America but it is something to consider.

One could say this situation is somewhat like that in the American Southwest near the Mexican border. I really wouldn't want to be a rancher within 2 gas tanks drive of the Mexican border. In Argentina living rurally is a bad idea, a very bad idea. Will America every get like this? I certainly hope not. If our economy gets much worse and folks who believe violent criminals are innocent disadvantaged youths get/ stay in power things could get worse.

The idea of a reinforced family compound out in the hinder boonies is nice. However realistically in any place isolated enough to be a good family compound candidate jobs are a real issue. If Pa can figure out how to earn a living that is great. However the odds that sons John and Tim and sister Jills husband can find jobs at livable wages which they can commute to are not good. The idea that everybody will just show up if S hits TF is great for a couple of very limited and unlikely scenarios. The odds that 6 armed like minded individuals will be hanging around your house on a random Wednesday when 6 meth heads decide to pull a home invasion on the couple with the nice house and all the guns/ stuff who live alone way outside of town are slim. You are going to be alone watching TV with the Mrs and there will be 6 guys coming to your house.

We have talked about living rurally vs in a small town before 1, 2. There are potential advantages to both. However just maybe a modest house in a small town on a big lot and a field with a shed/ barn a little bit out of town is an option to consider. I just think it is worthwhile to consider history and how peoples who actually lived through centuries of very rough times live. Furthermore it is naive to think that all villages/ small towns will turn into tyrannical little fiefdoms but rural people will be entirely unaffected by said fiefdoms AND not see a major increase in crime of things go truly crazy. The real answer is that rural people could well have most of the same problems as those in town AND face a real security problem.


Thursday, December 31, 2009

Book Review: Starting A New Life In Rural America by Ragnar Benson

I got this book in my last Amazon purchase. I needed a knife and had a few bucks leftover so picked up some books. I started this one first because I really enjoyed his book on the Underground Economy and since this book is short it would be a quick read. Read about half of it last night.

To be honest last night I felt like the book was a complete waste of my time and money. Guess in fairness it is designed as a guide for people who have a completely urban or suburban background. The book goes into great detail talking about gravel roads and there is literally an entire chapter on firewood. I am glad that I didn't stay up and finish this book last night and write a scathing review.

I have only really trashed one book in a review. In hindsight I regretted that. Not to say that I changed my opinion on the book but I could have gone about it another way. Saying "this book sucks" doesn't have much value and is just negative. Most of the books I read are fairly popular and probably have value to some readers. Just maybe I can help folks know if a book would be entertaining or useful for them, or if their time and resources are better spent elsewhere. Reviews have been done in this manner for some time and likely will continue to be done this way.

Today I finished this book and upon reflection I definitely see some value in it. It didn't knock my socks off like the last one did but I certainly don't think my time or money was wasted. Well worth $10ish and a couple hours of my time. The latter part of the book had some parts that were more useful to me and a bit less obvious.

Anyway to the review:

I suggest this book for people who have spent their whole life in an urban or suburban setting and seek to move to a more rural environment. I would also suggest it to people who plan to purchase and build on rural land, regardless of any previous rural domicile. Growing up on Daddy's farm teaches ton about country life but there are still some considerations of developing raw rural land you might have missed.

For the first group you will get a whole lot out of this book. Vastly out of proportion to its minimal costs (a bit more than $10) you will learn a lot about the everyday practicalities and considerations of rural life. For the second group (or really anyone who is used to wood stoves and gravel roads and combining tasks and errands for the long drive into town, etc) this book might give well help you avoid some pitfalls if you want to buy rurally or especially if you want to develop raw rural land.

I fall into the second group. This reminded me about some of the eccentricities of rural zoning and property rights. Often parcels were originally based on a hilltop and a fence or in the worst case a river or creek. Those parcels were divided and sold and redivided and sold again and often never really properly surveyed. If you are buying a piece of land getting it surveyed might well be worth the money, particularly if the parcel is on the smaller side or important features are near boundaries. A couple feet of land this way or that isn't a big deal unless it is that pond you love or the barn or in the absolute worst case your access to the county road.

A quick hint here. If the sign says 25.85 acres it has probably been surveyed. If it says 25 +/- acres it probably hasn't been surveyed. If all the key features are in the middle that likely isn't an issue but still it might be worth knowing for sure. If you are going to spend 100k for the land and then build a house on top of it getting it surveyed would be very prudent.

Going along with this it is worth noting that rural and very small town people try to deal with problems personally before getting lawyers involved. It might be a disagreement or an issue of property lines or whatever but it is worth at least trying to settle it in a friendly way. Rural people dislike lawyers more than anyone except maybe IRS accountants. While big city people see lawyers as their neighbors who work for some obscure business for rural folk every time a lawyer is involved it costs a ton of money and someone gets a raw deal.

Case in point, My father bought a house on a little piece of land about a decade ago. In the process of his house being built the land was surveyed and it became apparent that the neighbor lady had inadvertently built her shed about a foot and a half over the property line. I remember the conversation distinctly. She walked over to us one day and said she didn't know her shed was over the line and would move it in the next couple weeks. Dad said that she did not need to bother and to just leave it where it was. Later he commented that in a few years it would become hers but he didn't care about a foot and a half of land in the field anyway. She was a great neighbor and always willing to help out with with the odd neighborly stuff. This brings us to an interesting point. Knowing who has legal access or has otherwise been accessing the land you want to buy for years is a good thing. It might keep you out of a situation you don't want to be in.

When it comes to developing raw land the issues of water, power, and phone connections were brought up. These considerations need to be factored into your decision making. Numerous cases of people jumping in with both feet and ending up way over their heads were given. It is also worth mentioning that just about any problems can be overcome with enough money. A properly funded and motivated individual could have a venerable oasis in the Mojave desert or run phone and power lines 25 miles to their new rural home. That being said most of us don't have that sort of money and many folks try to move into a rural area on a shoestring budget. Due diligence and the considerations mentioned in this book will help a person be able to figure out if they can afford to develop a certain lot into what they want it to be. This information could well allow you to either choose a situation in which you can afford to build what you want or otherwise temper your expectations to your pocket book.

One big thing that kept coming up towards the back half of the book is that people move to rural areas with unrealistic expectations. Even worse they move to a rural area and want to change things. This reminds me of Mexicans (some other groups do this too but this seems to be the predominant group) who move to America and all of a sudden want to change it.  You are leaving wherever it is you are used to living for a reason. Also you are moving to where they live, not visa verse. If they wanted to live in a big city or the burbs they probably would and you used to and no longer want to so stop trying to change the country into there. For example it is really stupid to buy a piece of land next to a dairy or a cattle lot or a hog farm and then get upset if it doesn't smell nice come summer.

I am going to put this book on the shelf and read it again in a few years when we are looking to purchase a rural home. In any case it was well worth the $10 or whatever it cost.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Book Review: The Next 100 Years A Forecast For the 21st Century

I stumbled into this book at the library and it just seemed interesting.I don't know if this book is for everyone but if politics, foreign affairs, geography and history interest you and you're willing to push through a few bland parts the book is interesting.

I got a couple of big things from this book. First and foremost history is not over. Nations are going to grow and shrink. There are going to be major wars which reshape our political maps. Lots of people thought that was the case in the pre WWI era and boy were they wrong.

Second of all and maybe the most interesting the book almost completely discounts China as a potential power. I certainly agree that their current growth is not possibly sustainable. Also the delicate balance of business on the coast making a ton of money and poor people in the inland areas is not going to work in the long term. China is certainly limited in its potential growth by significant geographic boundaries.

Third that this book talks of economics, military power, geography and war as they relate to and shape each other makes a lot of sense to me. I don't think we can fully grasp one without looking at the others.

The outlook might be a bit fatalist speaking of events as though they were almost sure to happen. There was however a great point about the way that countries relate to each other and deal with various situations. Think about it like the beginning of a game of chess. Seemingly there are endless moves but for a good player there are far fewer viable moves as many of the given possible moves would lead to disaster.

Also there is a great point about how the changes in global birth rates are going to actually lead to a drop in the world population over the next 100 years. This will play out in all sorts of interesting ways, particularly as the boomers age and retire.

I got a lot out of the book and think for those of you who are interested in its content it would be a good read.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009


" Qaeda is casing the U.S. border with Mexico to assess how to send terrorists and weapons into the U.S. "Four pounds of anthrax -- in a suitcase this big -- carried by a fighter through tunnels from Mexico into the U.S. are guaranteed to kill 330,000 Americans within a single hour if it is properly spread in population centers there..."

Monday, June 1, 2009

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Cinco De Mayo

I think we need to celebrate more than normal today because Mexico has been feeling down a bit lately. Here at the TOR place we are having a wonderful meal of Mexican and loosely Mexican inspired foods. Chips and salsa to start out then Tacos for the main course all washed down with Strawberry Margaritas. Should be pretty enjoyable evening. Also a picture of Salma Hayek because including her in every post might not be a bad idea.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Mexico's Awesome Response To Swine Flu

Rangerman or whoever is writing SHTF blog these days did a good albeit disturbing post on Mexico's response to the Swine Flu epidemic. I feel bad for Mexico, they really aren't catching any breaks these days.

I wish we had the easy going land of Taco's, big hats and great drinks back. While they aren't and will never be a serious danger to our nation their problems can complicate our lives for sure.
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