A number of television shows have touched on “prepping” and there’s even one that we’ve mentioned a few times (“Doomsday Preppers”) which seems to find more good copy in the extreme fringe of things than in mainstream following of common sense. That a lot of people feel a sense of dis-ease about world conditions lately admittedly ain’t very sexy to put on television. The Boy Scouts “Be Prepared” is just good ol’ American common sense.
Still, even though we have been writing about establishing your own separate way of living – less dependent on systems supplied by others, whether it’s food, waste disposal, heating, cooling, energy or whatever – since 1997, we are in the period right now when “prepping” has (in marketing terms) crossed the chasm.
I got an email just last night from a fellow at Pilgrim Studios which is doing a “prepper” project…
“We are currently casting a new Spike TV show about families that are preparing for any kind of global disaster. After over looking your website, we think that your subscribers might be interested in this opportunity.
Please find attached a Casting Flyer with information about the show, who we are looking for and how anyone interested can apply today. We would be very grateful if you could email blast, post on your site or otherwise let your subscribers know about this current casting process.
Thanks so much for helping us spread the word about our search! Below is some info that you can use in any way that you see fit. I’ve found that email blasts and postings in online newsletters are the most helpful (if you can help us get on any). Also, posting on social networking sites like FaceBook and Twitter are very helpful! Anything we can do to get the word out! I’ve attached a PDF of a casting flyer incase you have use for it!
I’ve often thought about this kind of thing – the TV deal. Once upon a time I even ran the numbers out on doing a prepper radio show (before anyone else did it) and thought to myself “Gee, interesting…but do I want to do work like that?” Had pretty much my fill of broadcasting and those damn clocks and deadlines back in the day.
Most people don’t realize (if they don’t live in “hit the network at the top of the hour” or TimeCodeLand the immense pressure of daily content that rocks and delivery that is smooth. So I admire these people.
On the other hand, being talent in such a thing isn’t really hard…you just “be you” in front of a camera, but even that’s a kind of pressure. Up to you if you want to enter – you have till June 20…but ask yourself this up front: Do you mind sharing what you know (and maybe even what you have) on national television? Something to think about seriously before signing the release papers.
Speaking of prepping, one other item before we move on: Had a note from Christopher Parrett who is the editor of the LDS Preparedness Manual, 2012 edition which is just out. If you click over to the LDS Another Voice of Warning Site, you can download the whole thing – free.
The most interesting part – if you already have a preparedness plan for your family and loved ones – is Section 4: Preparedness outside your comfort zone, which is pretty interesting stuff. The Mormon Church has been a leader for more than a century – one could say the “invented the niche” and not be far wrong. The manual covers just about every conceivable condition and is little different from the just-slightly-longer blue covered edition which includes notes on ward and stake administration/disaster response plans for church members.
Very much worth your time downloading for all the good prepping info it contains.
Reader’s Writes – Student Loans
Earlier this week, I spent an unusual amount of time on the Student Loan debacle which is preventing what would otherwise be normal growth resuming in America, except that young people – like our kids – can’t get two dimes to rub together to buy homes, cars, and all the rest. A good reason is they have too much student loan debt, which is a kind of financial albatross on what should have been a screaming recovery from here.
Not everyone was happy with my position, or that of my consigliore – like this fellow:
“COUNTERPOINT: Your tax-consigliore did not accurately summarize the bankruptcy code, and is perpetuating/supporting the Establishment’s student loan myth – that student loans simply _cannot_ be discharged, so don’t even go there (ie never, no way in hell, 100% certain it cannot be done). That is a false statement.
The bankruptcy code _does_ allow for the discharge of student loans at Section 523(a)(8). Yes, there have been many changes to make it more difficult for people, including those by VP Joe Biden (thx, Mr. Wall Street!), which do not apply to businesses. It’s not easy to discharge student loans (or may be impractical if parents co-signed), and requires an extra step that the dime-a-dozen bankruptcy attorneys do not want to take. Reality is that most “bankruptcy” attorneys buy software, plug in numbers and e-file the bankruptcy forms, while collecting upwards of $1,000 per filing; there’s one court appearance (meeting of creditors with trustee), and it’s easy money without really having to know much (software does it all).
The extra step is called an adversary proceeding, and it’s started by filing an “adversary complaint” against the loan provider (e.g., Dept of Ed) and asking the court to make a determination that the repayment of the loans would pose an “undue hardship” on the debtor. It HAS been done successfully, and people have been granted discharges of student loans. The bankruptcy code does not really define “undue hardship” and so far the courts have taken it upon themselves to set up different tests - the main one used by most courts is the Brunner test. With times now being very different, economically and job-wise, more people would qualify now than in the past. And, the cyclical economy argument used by Dept of Ed won’t work so well (ie that things will improve, and therefore you will get a job making enough to pay back loans). However, the Dept. of Ed and US Govt (and all the profiteers such as Sollie Meyer et al.), for obvious reasons, do not want people to look at that section, or be fully informed, and know their options… they like having a noose around the majority of people aged 20-50.
Realistically, though, the colleges are equally to blame in the scam, with promises of lucrative jobs they cannot deliver, and the gloss-over when it comes to signing papers for the loans. Who reads them, let alone comprehends them, at 18-22 years of age? This is the “new” indentured servitude, like the strategy corporate-America adopted in the 1930′s-1940′s with mortgages, to keep workers tied to their jobs. Don’t complain about working conditions, or you’re fired and your family is out on the street… [Caveat: yes, I'm an attorney, but this is not legal advice...] Couple of people to look for/read are Rafael Pardo and U of Ch economist Scheimer (who also works for the Fed), about discharging loans and probability of finding a job. Some attachments to add to your reading list!
So, with a knowledgeable attorney contributing I immediately sent it on to my consigliore to respond:
Ah … of course there are exceptions, but they are tough and narrow and do NOT apply to most and if you talk to Bankruptcy Attorneys are an almost impossible hurdle for almost all who have Student Loans.
“Courts use different tests to evaluate whether a particular borrower has shown an undue hardship. A common test is the Brunner test which requires a showing that
1) the debtor cannot maintain, based on current income and expenses, a “minimal” standard of living for the debtor and the debtor’s dependents if forced to repay the student loans;
2) additional circumstances exist indicating that this state of affairs is likely to persist for a significant portion of the repayment period of the student loans; and
3) the debtor has made good faith efforts to repay the loans. (Brunner v. New York State Higher Educ. Servs. Corp., 831 F. 2d 395 (2d Cir. 1987). Not all courts use this test. Some courts will be more flexible, some less.”
Note particularly the requirements: “minimal” standard of living; AND likely to persist for a significant portion of the repayment period. Those are DRACONIAN requirements for a loan that may have a 20 to 30 year duration.
“Student loans are usually non-dischargeable in bankruptcy. This means that after your bankruptcy erases all your other debts, you still have to pay student loan debt. If you fall nine months behind, your lender can call the whole loan due at once. Filing bankruptcy can be an option in only one circumstance.”
Again note the issues of “minimal standard of living”; AND the forward looking nature of your finances looking forward for the next 15 to 30 years.
There are good links at the first website in particular about how the changes to the Bankruptcy Code were done to PREVENT the normal operation of the Bankruptcy Code from applying.
A very very tight exception to the Rule doesn’t change the General Rule that Student Loans for MOST kids are non-dischargable. (there are exceptions to everything in life … but that doesn’t change the thrust of the general rule).
My consigliore and I then had a conversation with what courts are interpreting as a “minimal standard of living” and that seems to include no ability to pay for a telephone, cell phone, or internet connection.
I’d like to thank both gentlemen for contributing to this – and refer you to the two websites we have quoted for additional information. This is not the kind of thing to be taken on without counsel.
If you were a juror in a bankruptcy case, how would you vote? Or, are trials by jury in bankruptcy even done? If they’re not, you may still get a chance to “vote” on this kind of legislation: Look up how your congressional representatives voted on making student loans prime fodder for the greed machine with life-long indentures and cast your vote according to your convictions in November.
If, that is, you can find the politician who’s willing to stand up to the onslaught of campaign money that will be dumped into the battle to keep more reasonable views of how long indentures last.
The right solution – at least the honest one – would be to make student loans interest free. If education really is such a fine thing to have – and really makes people wealthy over time, then government should be satisfied with the higher incomes resulting from such rewarding educations because the government would more than make back their student loan interest costs via higher income taxes and it would punish government for continuously eroding the purchasing power of its money. In other words, paying back an interest-free loan over 20-years wouldn’t be a problem for most.
The fact is, higher education is dressed up in Holy Robes but then – being made holy, it is systematically defrocked by adding charges…simple as that.
And as usual, the problem is interest and where there is interest there are derivatives, structured finance packages and banksters in the wings.
Like we hadn’t noticed…
Around the Ranch: Back to Vivid Dreaming
Had an odd dream about “cross northland night before last” – and I’m wondering WTH is that? nearest I could find was the Minnesota Red Cross online…so I’ve been watching for something big (emotionally impacting) up that way, but so far nothing. Weird thing to pop out of a dream though, very vividly “cross northland.”
Don’t know whether that a hint that I should travel that way, or what…just damn weird…so much so that I thought I’d mention it.
Write when you break even: firstname.lastname@example.org
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Part 2: The End of ALL Jobs
In Wednesday’s report, we made an astounding forecast, which unless I live to be well into triple digits, I would be around to see, but my son – and if he ever gets hitched up and has kids – following generations of the Ure clan will. But that’s where we run into issues: Big Ones: Because once an economy runs out of jobs, the “economy” as we know it implodes. With no jobs, no one has income, so unless machines are going to provide us with Nanny State comforts (in which case what’s the point of “living”?) we’ll crash and burn in a major way long before our forecast date. So this morning, besides laying out our retirement saving plan in the ChartPack, we pick up the scent and see what are some of the “best case” ways for the End of All Jobs to arrive. After we march through some of the morning headlines…
Safer Computing: Swearing Off Cookies
It has been a while since I roared the praises of the Maxa Cookie Manager which you can download and install for a free test drive by clicking here.
To upgrade from the demo to full working is still less than $30 (During their Spring Sale) and one heck of a bargain at that, if I do say so.
A new version of Maxa is due shortly (V. 6.0) and we’ll advise in due court when it is due for release, upgrade paths, and all that-there kinda like stuff.
“Live on $10,000″ A Year
Having a hard time making ends meet? (Like who isn’t, right?) A good starting point to better match up income with outgo is our $10 e-book “How to Live on $10,000 a Year…or less!”
It’s an automatic download. . Click here for the index and details.
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