STATE DEPARTMENT AUDITOR: Uhm, Any of You Guys See $6 Billion Lying Around Somewhere?

But, hey: what’s $ 6 billion among friends?

The State Department has no idea what happened to $ 6 billion used to pay its contractors.

In a special “management alert” made public Thursday, the State Department’s Inspector General Steve Linick warned “significant financial risk and a lack of internal control at the department has led to billions of unaccounted dollars over the last six years.

The alert was just the latest example of the federal government’s continued struggle with oversight over its outside contractors.

The lack of oversight “exposes the department to significant financial risk,” the auditor said. “It creates conditions conducive to fraud, as corrupt individuals may attempt to conceal evidence of illicit behavior by omitting key documents from the contract file. It impairs the ability of the Department to take effective and timely action to protect its interests, and, in tum, those of taxpayers.”

In the memo, the IG detailed “repeated examples of poor contract file administration.” For instance, a recent investigation of the closeout process for contracts supporting the mission in Iraq, showed that auditors couldn’t find 33 of the 115 contract files totaling about $ 2.1 billion. Of the remaining 82 files, auditors said 48 contained insufficient documents required by federal law.

…Before Linick took office last fall, the State Department had been without an inspector general position for five years—the longest IG vacancy in the government’s history, as noted in The Washington Post.

By contrast, the Air Force — in order to save just $ 3.5 billion over five years — slashed the invaluable A-10 Warthog (pictured above) program.

Priorities: for Democrats, waste, fraud and abuse trumps protecting America’s warriors.

Hat tip: BB.

Doug Ross @ Journal

Responding to Iran: Americans are not fooled by Khamenei’s lies. But what troubles us most is President Obama’s “feckless” policy towards Iran. He is presiding over the systemic collapse of American credibility around the globe.

MEME-SecondHolocaust-small(New York City, New York) — An Iranian official this week attacked an op-ed I recently wrote with Senator Santorum for CNN.com as “ludicrous, counterproductive and unfortunate.”

You can read our original op-ed here, and the Iranian official’s op-ed here.

Here is Senator Santorum’s and my response:

The American people are not fooled by the lies of Ayatollah Khamenei and his regime. Americans understand that Iran’s illegal nuclear program poses a grave danger to U.S. national security, to Israel, to NATO, and to our Arab allies in the Middle East.  

As we stated in our column, a new poll shows that 80% of Americans fear a “Second Holocaust” if the world allows Iran to build nuclear weapons and the missiles to deliver them. Given that the Khamenei regime is one of the world’s worst state sponsors of terror, Americans are right to be so deeply concerned.

 

The regime’s response to our column would be laughable if its intent wasn’t so diabolical. Tehran is trying to use Hitler-esque spin as part of its charm offense. The mullahs are saying they just want peace and are hoping the West will surrender and ease off — or dismantle — the sanctions, even as they steadily develop the ability to annihilate their enemies.

 

What troubles us most, however, is the feckless, rudderless foreign policy of President Obama. Do our enemies fear him? Do our friends trust him? To the contrary, Mr. Obama is presiding over the systematic collapse of American credibility around the globe, from the Middle East to Russia to Asia. This vacuum of leadership is creating a very dangerous global environment and must be corrected quickly.

 

We believe in a bipartisan approach to American foreign policy. The challenges we face are serious but manageable if we unite as a country around a policy of peace through strength. That said, we also believe in the important role of a loyal opposition that warns the government when it is heading in the wrong direction.

 

In the 1930s, Winston Churchill warned the world that Adolf Hitler and the Nazis represented a gathering storm that had to be stopped early and decisively lest disaster ensue. A new gathering storm is brewing, as dangerous as the last, if not more so. We need an honest, strong, principled American foreign policy now more than ever, especially when it comes to the Iranian nuclear threat.

The stakes are too high for miscalculation.

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Joel C. Rosenberg’s Blog

SHTF Planning: 7 Ways to Use The Items Around You To Adapt and Survive

“It is not the strongest species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one most adaptable to change.”
– Charles Darwin

Editor’s Note: Being prepared for a disaster doesn’t necessarily require you spending thousands of dollars on gear. While it’s certainly a good idea to have reserve food stores, water sources, self defense armaments, and other supplies, it’s also important to keep in mind that all of your best laid plans can very quickly fall apart. Should that situation befall you the only option you’ll have left is to use that which God has given you, and one key gift we’ve all received is the ability to adapt to changing circumstances.  It’s what makes us human. During a high-stress emergency we’ll quickly realize that random items, perhaps even trash, may mean the difference between life and death. In the following article Tess Pennington of Ready Nutrition and author of The Prepper’s Cookbook highlights several mundane items that are easily accessible, but can be fashioned in various ways to help you thrive in the midst of crisis. From broken down washing machine parts that can be used for creating electricity to soda cans that will keep you warm in the middle of winter, necessity will very much be the mother of invention. 

shtf-adaptIn a critical emergency, how quickly we respond to a disaster directly impacts how successful we are at coming out of the situation. Many of us typically go through a processing phase, or what many call the normalcy bias. This bias is actually a coping mechanism that occurs when we are trying to register and sort out a traumatic event or impending disaster. It is very natural to slip into this phase – but getting out of it is takes a little longer. The reason being is we are creatures of habit and resist change at every turn. When we begin to come out of the normalcy bias, only then do we open our eyes to the changes that have occurred in our lives; and we must react to them. Sometimes these changes are short-lived and sometimes, depending on the disaster, will be long lasting. Our military forces train for reacting quickly in a situation, and we must train for this as well.

Having a plan and a supply of food is well and good. If you need a good place to start, I suggest using the 52 Weeks to Preparedness series. It’s the skills and ingenuity that will help you thrive and stay alive.

As much as I do not like to spew doom, mark my words – after a disaster, times will quickly change, and the sooner we can adapt, the better our chances at survival will be. One of the first things we should do following a disaster (assuming the danger has passed and everyone is safe) is to begin to see how everyday items can be used as tools for off-grid living. A simple credit card or a busted cell phone can go a long way in surviving an emergency. We can easily find items around our home to promote our security and wellbeing.

7 Ways to Use Items To Adapt and Survive

  1. Gravity fed water filter – Water is key to survival and your number one priority when all hell breaks loose. When you drink unpurified water, it can cause severe illnesses, even death. If you haven’t invested in a water filtration system, then you need to learn how to purify water for consumption. Here are instructions for the most basic type of water filtration system. It’s so easy to make, it’s an elementary school project!
  2. Rope – Rope or paracord can serve multiple purposes in off grid living. Read about the 50+ ways to use paracord toward surviving. One of my favorite uses is to line dry clothing.
  3. Busted motors – Essentially any motor with a copper wire can be converted into an energy producer. You could easily convert your washing machine into windmillto make power. This is an essential skill to have for surviving a long term emergency.
  4. Stationary bikes – Did you ever think that stationary bikes could help to promote your self sustainability? Attaching your wheat grinder to your stationary bike by a pulley will help you put the peddle to the metal and grind grains more efficiently. Here are few additional ways to produce energy using a bicycle.
  5. Passive solar heater – We tend to think of solar heating as an expensive option, but with a few 2×4′s and a stash of soda cans you can create a passive solar heater. This could be a life saving item if you find yourself living in a grid down environment in a cold climate. Here are some basic instructions for building this.
  6. Cellular phones – As mentioned previously, cell phones have many uses in a survival situation. If your phone is still intact, you can download survival programs now (some are even for free) to learn and practice in your free time. However, if your phone is busted during a disaster there are core parts that can be utilized towards your survival. Some of these parts are the speaker, LCD screen, metal divider, wire, circuit board and battery. Read more on how you can meet some of your basic needs.
  7. Biomass briquettes – Your trash could save your life. Biomass briquettes are a green fuel source and are comprised of compressed organic compounds such as corn husks, coconut shells, grass clippings, dried leaves, saw dust, cardboard or paper. Biomass fuel sources are equivalent to that of common fuel sources and can be inside or in outside settings. Learn how to make them.

If you have any ideas you’d like to share, please feel free to do so in the comments section below.

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Prepper's Cookbook

Tess Pennington is the author of The Prepper’s Cookbook: 300 Recipes to Turn Your Emergency Food into Nutritious, Delicious, Life-Saving Meals. When a catastrophic collapse cripples society, grocery store shelves will empty within days. But if you follow this book’s plan for stocking, organizing and maintaining a proper emergency food supply, your family will have plenty to eat for weeks, months or even years. Visit her web site at ReadyNutrition.com.


SHTF Plan – When It Hits The Fan, Don’t Say We Didn’t Warn You

Elite Insider Predicted Massive Crash in 2012: “Very Large Probability… Around March 4, 2014″

We understand that Doomsday predictions are aplenty these days, but given what’s going on around the world right now it may be time to revisit the eerily prescient forecast of an elite insider.

Grady Means is a former advisor to Vice President Nelson Rockefeller, a former economist at the U.S. Department of Health, Education and Welfare, and has managed multi-billion dollar firms over his career. Back in October of 2012 Means penned a commentary and analysis for the Washington Times in which he noted that “America’s fall will take global economies with it.”

But he didn’t stop there. Means gave us a target date.

There is a very large probability that the real end of the world will occur around March 4, 2014.

The doomsday clock will ring then because the U.S. economy may fully crash around that date, which will, in turn, bring down all world economies and all hope of any recovery for the foreseeable future — certainly over the course of most of our lifetimes. Interest rates will skyrocket, businesses will fail, unemployment will go to record levels, material and food shortages will be rampant, and there could be major social unrest.

Any wishful thinking that America is in a “recovery” and that “things are getting better” is an illusion.

The central issue is confidence in America, and the world is losing confidence quickly. At a certain point, soon, the United States will reach a level of deficit spending and debt at which the countries of the world will lose faith in America and begin to withdraw their investments. Many leading economists and bankers think another trillion dollars or so may do it. A run on the bank will start suddenly, build quickly and snowball.

At that point, we will need to finance our own deficit, and we will not be able to do so. We will raise bond rates to re-attract foreign investment, interest rates will go up, and businesses will fail. Unemployment will skyrocket.

The rest of the world will fully crash along with us.

There’s a sentiment among those on Main Street, and as of today on Wall Street, that there is a major disconnect between company stock valuations and economic activity in the real world.

Despite their best efforts to convince us that we’re in a recovery, the establishment is running into a problem… reality.

This morning we learned that the Institute for Supply Management monthly report went kaboom, showing a large contraction in new production, indicating that retailers are pulling back on stocking their shelves. Perhaps the ISM report has something to do with consumer sentiment, which according to today’s Gallup survey on consumer spending suggests consumers are cutting costs wherever possible.

But that’s not all. Even the largest retailer in the world is having problems and seeing negative growth. Walmart announced that last November’s cuts to food stamp recipients hurt their fourth quarter sales, adding further credence to the notion that without direct government bailouts the stability of America’s companies comes into question.

Need we even mention that over 100 million Americans are not in the labor force, or that five million people may lose their unemployment benefits by the end of this year?

And, of course, let’s not forget that we’ve created more debt as a nation in the last five years than in all of the years from our country’s founding through the year 2008 combined.

Those investing in financial markets have certainly taken note. On top of the 326 point decline in the Dow Jones today, the market is down a combined 1,000 points from its peak just a month ago. And, with three well known bankers committing suicide in the last week, people are starting to pay attention.

No one really knows exactly why the market is falling or what happens next, but if you’re going to consider any prediction on the future of the financial and economic sector, why not consider what the elite have to say about it?

If there is a major financial collapse in the works as we speak, then Grady Means’ prediction should scare the hell out of you. If he’s right, then this isn’t just going to be a market crash.

We could well be facing the beginnings of an all-out financial Armageddon that will make 2008 look like a brief warm up.

This collapse, as noted by the US Treasury Department and Grady Means, is going to have generational effects – a depressive economic environment for our entire lifetimes.

Preparing for such a scenario is not easy. One must take into consideration everything from emergency supply lists to deal with the instantaneous collapse of our monetary system and financial markets, while also considering long-term strategies that involve the development of barterable trade skills and relocating to land that has productive capacity so you can grow your own food.

We had a reader recently comment about the coming collapse. She warned that preparing for a weeks- or months-long emergency is insufficient. She suggested that perhaps we need to consider the worst case scenario: years of joblessness, destitution and depression.

It’s happened before and it was so bad that we still talk about the Great Depression to this day.

Who’s to say it can’t happen again?

house-of-cards


SHTF Plan – When It Hits The Fan, Don’t Say We Didn’t Warn You